One of the most beloved parts of running for me is the alone time in training. For as much as some people might love being surrounded with others, I crave periods of specific focus on single tasks, where I can clear my head in the solitude. Day after day and week after week in my training I log hundreds of miles on the streets, largely by myself. There are times when I do want to socialize and even weekly I attend a local running group, which has become a highlight of my week. But when it comes down to hard workouts and weekly long runs, I know that I will perform better with no distractions. Race day however, brings a much different strategy. The more fans along the course, the more competitors near my pace, the more friends I know in the race, the better! In the 40 odd races I’ve done since my first race, just three days shy of 3 years ago today, the enduring memories are the races shared with friends and loved ones. Solid individual efforts certainly make me happy, but even a bad race shared with people who care about me and I them, will live on in joyous memory longer than the short lived success of a breakthrough.
I have started with this brief explanation to give some prologue to my recount about the most fun I’ve ever had at a marathon. A marathon that I was inadequately trained for due to injuries and had no hope for getting the time I had planned for. I went into Smuttynose Rockfest with my goal time of
2:40:00 crossed out of my running log and beneath it written; “For fun, just finish. Maybe sub 3 hours…” and that is exactly what I did. The fun was not from my planning though, but from the amazing friends and family that I shared it with. I ended up snagging seventh place and second in my age group with a 2:54:31 and my friend Austin won the age group and grabbed a 5 second PR, while finishing in sixth overall. It was hardly the best weather for PR’s or finishing strong as the wind and rain picked up from mile 16 on, but we had a fun race none the less. Austin and I actually ran together, chatting most of the way until mile 24 or so, when my lack of fitness meant watching him surge ahead in a well executed kick. I did manage to have nearly even splits from half to half, with my strongest miles being in the middle. After the race we trudged back to the car which was easily a half mile from the finish line and donned dry and warmer clothes before going back to sample the post race festivities. With lobster rolls and hot soup in hand we had a beer (Smuttynose is a local NH brewery) and proceeded to dance the afternoon away until the finish line funk band called it quits and we meandered down the shore for some real lunch. I still cannot believe that we were loose enough to pull off some impressive dancing after running marathons and half marathons, so well that the band designated us; ” The Solid Gold Dancers!” Never has it felt so fun doing the limbo while proclaiming that, she is indeed, a brick house. I’m sitting here typing this at 2 PM, having called out of work today to let my legs recover. Even calf sleeves and foam rolling couldn’t trick them into being loose the day after, but man, yesterday they were just fine!
I’ll wrap this up with some specific thanks for the friends and family who supported, cheered and raced yesterday. My mom and dad were both at the start/finish for the first time ever and despite nearly losing toes from the cold (mom) they stuck around to cheer me on! My friends mom rode with them and grabbed a picture as I crossed the line even though her son only ran the half and had already left, thanks Mrs. DeHart! A big thanks to my crazy runner friends who all ran yesterday and celebrated before and after; Sam, Austin, Alli, Trish, DeHart and anyone else I might be forgetting! I’m still not sure What The Fox Says, but Sam could better explain that. Alli and Trish really define what running friendships are all about and Austin was a good sport to stick with me until mile 24, even though he seemed to have more energy from mile 16 on. So blessed to have such fantastic friends and family. Even on days when my time in the race is not one I am proud of, the individual training has led me to some very good times at the race. Counting it all joy and rejoicing always!
Video of the post; dancing shenanigans before my legs realized they were thrashed!
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