I had the distinct pleasure of meeting up in Narragansett with David, April Anne, and Michelle for the Blessing of the Fleet 10 mile road race. Nothing better at all than getting together with other RBF folks and cranking out a few miles on a Friday Afternoon. Melissa’s new running buddy, Chelsea was there in theory, but I didn’t spot her at the start in the thronging masses.
The scene reminded me of the words of the poet:
Here are ones who like to run They run for fun in the hot, hot sun Oh me, oh my, oh me, oh my Oh what a lot of funny things run by
April and David were fit and ready – both have fall marathon plans. Michelle and I were there and willing. Michelle’d brought a bunch of other CT running chicks, a veritable Bondi posse, and caught David, April, and me about a quarter mile past the start, just after a guy in his yard promised beer when we passed on the way to the finish.
The race was great. Huge crowd for a road race in the middle of nowhere Rhode Island, especially for a Friday Evening. There’s something just phenomenal about a couple thousand people all planning to run 10 miles after work – maybe we won’t turn into a nation of lard-butts afterall. Hitting dips or rises was outstanding – look forwards or backwards and the small roads were shoulder to shoulder covered with runners shoulder to shoulder (read it again, I’m not repeating myself).
About mile 3, we were passing a spectacular beach that I’d never realized was a couple of miles off of my commute, and I started feeling pretty good. April and I had dropped (not in the harsh way, but in the “Hey, go run your race” way) David and Michelle and entourage a couple of minutes back, and I was feeling pretty good – no ill effects from Thursday’s tough lunchtime run. The breeze blew, the birds sung, and the sun beat down on my ears. I was hanging with AA, we were passing people, having started way at the back of the pack, and life was great.
Then, mile 4 – straight into the not-quite setting sun. Uphill (very slight, but still there). Out of the breeze.
In short, it sucked.
AA ditched me. HA. No, more like she zigged, I zagged and got caught behind someone, and then I decided I didn’t have the pop to keep up if I were going to do another 6 of these things.
I soldiered on until I hit mile 5, and took intermittent walk-breaks until mile 6. This stretch was on RI 108, pretty much completely exposed to the sun, slight uphill, and with the breeze – meaning plenty of heat and stagnant air.
Just after mile 6, the race headed into a blissfully wooded section – shade, breeze, and, as is my weakness, a wonderfully fit runner running about the pace I wanted to go who I could follow. So, I drafted off of her for most of the next four miles. There was one downhill section that threw me for a loop – dunno why, but I HATE running downhill.
So, turns out I can still run double digit miles. Not sure when the last time I did it was (Hey, looks like last year’s New Haven Road Race!)
Nike+ gypped me out of 0.15 miles, but overall I’m pretty pleased with the effort. I didn’t make my goal of 90 minutes, but it’s close enough, given the weather.
April found me before I’d caught my breath, and David was there soon after. We waited for Michele and company for a while. As we caught our breath, we figured she’d be where we should be – namely, at the “beverage” tent. She wasn’t, but beverages were.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t hungry. Dunno if was the heat and exertion killing my appetite, or if my body’s deciding to set a new weight threshold and I’m about to drop some weight, but I wasn’t nearly so tempted by the various foods-on-a-stick(and/or deep fried) on offer at the fair. Haven’t been overly hungry today, either.
We hung around and talked (Michele’s husband may be my new hero), and failed to dry off at all. My shorts were still literally dripping when I got to the car. Gnasty.