"Renew thyself completely each day; do it again, and again, and forever again." Chinese Inscription
Friday, July 1, 2011
Squantam 5 Miler: I Like Doing This
After doing weights on Wednesday I was unsure as to whether I wanted to run this race or not, and hadn't made a firm decision until about 1:00 yesterday afternoon when my boss came to my desk to say that the weather outside was absolutely perfect and that I would be crazy not to go. I agreed with her and started getting excited about the race. I rode down to Quincy with Zani, Doug, and Deb, and we arrived with enough time to register, warm-up, stretch, and do some striders before the start. I started out at a pretty quick pace with Zani and Tom, but before we even hit the 1 mile mark I started chasing the women ahead of me. On the first hill I passed 2 women that had been ahead of me for the first mile and a half or so, and I then proceeded to chase down 2 other women throughout the hilly section. One was a 14 year old girl who was tall and thin and looked made to run, and the other was a strong looking woman about my height probably in her mid-thirties. I caught the (relatively) older woman first and, not content to be passed, she ran with me until we caught the younger girl. As soon as we caught up to her I pulled away from both of them, exchanging breathless pleasantries (gasp, good, gasp, job girls, gasp) in the process. I was feeling good at that point, and right afterwards I passed the halfway point of the race. The course continued along the water for a bit and we were running into the wind when I started to feel tired/ lazy, having felt like I had done what I wanted to do in passing the two women ahead of me. I instinctively knew, however, that the older of the two women I had just passed would be back to get me. I glimpsed her out of the corner of my eye during a turn probably 1.5 miles from the finish. She passed me with about 1 mile to go, and I spent the rest of the race trying to stay with her, all the while knowing that I wasn't going to be able to pass her again. I knew that we were the 2nd and 3rd women, so I was happy enough with that to just hang on for the finish. It was a painful race for me - I was feeling pain in my hip and my legs were tired and sore; towards the end I was ready to throw in the towel and call it a day. I kept thinking, "wait a minute, I like doing this? This is what I love to do? What's wrong with me??!!" I was able to run through it, though, with my usual inner dialogue of, "relax, stay strong, calm down, you got it, relax..." I finished in 33:47 with an average pace of 6:45, which I'm pleased with. The post-race party was out of control with free beer, hot dogs, a band, fireworks over Boston, of which we had a beautiful view from where we were on the marina, and lots of crazy runners. We spoke with a man who was the 20th person in the world to run a marathon on every continent. He was the kind of person who uses running as a means by which to live every moment of his life to the fullest. He told stories of staying up drinking shots until 3:00am, only to wake up two hours later to run a marathon. It may have been the beer, or the post-race high, or the beautiful view of my new city, which I am falling in love with, but it felt like things could not get any better than this. We raised our drinks to "extreme physical pain" or something like that, and, while I had planned on getting home early to do laundry (I can be pretty lame, sometimes), we stayed out until 10:30 celebrating. I got home an hour later and grabbed my journal to write down, through my drunken haze, "the best part of life is the part that involves running." I like doing this. This is what I love to do.