Sunday, March 4, 2007
Well...I was pretty shocked today when I finished my 18.6 mile race and still stood to tell the story to a couple of local reporters. That race drained every last ounce of pain and hunger from my body. The day began with a 1 hour car ride with Tom and Megha where it took 3 of us to read and understand his car's GPS. We gabbed about culinary vs. botanically defined and categorized food, the usefulness of bacteria, and the usual...running! Once in Clinton, Megha and I ran a very short warm-up, or should I say cool-down, since we were significantly colder after finishing the warm-up than we were when we started. We looked like crazed women as we jogged to the starting line in our short shorts and singlet amidst a sea of tights-and-jacket clad racers. If the bitter freezing cold wasn't enough to remind us that we were ridiculously bare, the 320 racers around us certainly didn't let us forget..."are you cold? are you crazy? you have to run fast today to keep warm? you are going to get frostbite." Blah blah blah.
The race began with Moulton darting off to an early lead and the rest of the runners huddling together for warmth through the first mile or so. I crossed the first mile at 6:30. By the 10K, I was running with 3 SISU men who were really supportive and goofy. I had a blast with them. We went through at 40 flat. We played a wicked game of cat and mouse. They would pull away from me on the uphills and I would catch them on the downhills. That entertained us until the 20K, when we hit 80 flat. Dead even. It was pretty impressive given the ever-present gradual hills. Over the last 10K, the guys pulled ahead. I did my best to stay with them...to no avail. The last 10K was quite hilly, especially at the end of the race. The last mile could have been a constant uphill - by that time, I was barely seeing straight. I was pushing as hard as I could. I crossed the line in 2:02 something. The 3rd 10K was a 42. I definitely slowed down during that 10K but I'm not sure how much can be attributed to me being tired or to the magnificent hills over the last 1/3 of the course. Throughout the entire race, Tom's hairy head popped up here and there as he shouted out inspirations such as "winning is good", "let this man buy you a drink (the water station dude)", and "one day this race will be over". The latter was my favorite line.
Once I crossed the line, I was immediately snagged by a couple of reporters. My mouth was so numb that spit was dribbling down my chin as I tried to form words through the frozen mass of skin covering my jaw. I remember massaging my face as I talked to the reporters to try to warm up my mouth. Tom, the ever-protecting coach kindly told the reporters that it was time for me to go inside to get warm. They listened. Tom is like a God.
We cooled down for about 10 minutes. The whole time I internally whined. I couldn't wait to get inside, change my clothes, and get some food into me. During awards, we chilled with a bunch of SISU guys, ate delicious Clam Chowder, and told stories. Such a fantastic way to spend a Sunday.
Megha is right. We need more women runners tuning up at these distance races. I'm glad Megha and I were the top 2 runners, sure, but I'd rather have some wicked great talent to make the race interesting. I was jealous of the guys who kept pace together. Oh - FYI - Megha ran about 110 miles this week.
Last but not least...worth mentioning in a separate paragraph...Tom picked us both up from our homes, drove us to Clinton, ran and drove around the course to cheer us on, and drove us back to our respective homes. What a guy!
It is 8:31. Time for bed.