Thursday, December 16, 2010

12/12/10 Christopher Martin's 5K... It's for the Children!

I know my dad wrote about this race before, but he didn't REALLY write about this race.  He kind of gave the G-Rated version about how fun it is.  For a while, this race was his secret.  Mostly because I absolutely refuse to run outside in the cold.  But, 2 years ago, it was over 40 and sunny, and I told dad I would run this race with him.  Little did I know what I was getting myself into!  New England Brewery sponsors the event, so beer flows freely following the race.  Being that dad was fairly quick and tall, he would station himself right at the bar, make friends, and become a designated beer passer.  DANGER ZONE!  The first year I lost count of how many beers ended up passed to me and uhhh... let's say I over-indulged.  Not one of my most shining moments.  Oh, and Mrs. Marathon Man (AKA my mom) was less than pleased with the shape that dad and I came home in.  Luckily, she just let us fall asleep and woke us up for dinner.  Oops... but boy oh boy did the two of us have a blast!
I did not want a repeat performance the following year.  I took dad's advice and "established the base" following the race.  This means I ate a bagel and some doughnut holes. Mmmmm... I somehow ended up being the beer passer last year, but I behaved and returned home in solid shape! 
This year...well the weather didn't look like it was going to be so fabulous.  At first, it was supposed to snow.  Oh poo!  That breaks all my running rules.  Cold + precipitation = NO RUNNING OUTSIDE!  Thanks to my Kindergarteners (I'm a teacher), I came down with a killer cold mid-week.  Runny nose, runny eyes, sore throat complete with a funny voice.  I took some time off from the treadmill at the gym and actually went home and relaxed on the Thursday before the race.  Plus I ate a lot of black pepper and garlic with my dinner.  I was told this would knock the cold out of my system.  Okay, I'm down to try it.  Miracles of all miracles, I woke up the next morning with no runnies.  Looks like I'm going to be in good health!  Then, I found out it's supposed to POUR on race day.  Double poo!  This definitely breaks all my running rules.  My boyfriend (who never... I mean NEVER runs, but has promised to do this with me) says that he thinks we should bow out if it's raining and being that I'm recovering from a cold, I agree.  Hmmm... riiiiiight... That's until I find out that 6 people (most of which who are non-runners) are running with me snow, rain, tornado, or armageddon.  I'm honored and thankful to have so much support, but that means I'm running in torrential downpours. 
So it figures the weathermen are right on race day.  They said it would pour and it certainly is.  Thankfully, the race starts right at Christopher Martin's bar/restaurant in New Haven, CT.  That means we can wait inside (where it's dry!  and warm!) until the race starts.  As it gets closer to race time, people slowly move outside under overhangs.  Five minutes to race time and we all finally start moving to the starting line.  It's funny though.  It's cold, raining, and I'm drenched, but I feel such a warmth on the inside.  My friends and co-workers knew how meaningful this race was to me and they all showed up despite the absolutely awful day.  There's no announcement for the start of the race.  Everyone just suddenly starts moving.  Thank goodness!  I can't wait to start sweating.  I'm FREEZING!  Running is absolutely hilarious.  Dodge a person here, a puddle there, jump up on the sidewalk to avoid a massive puddle, stomp into an even more massive puddle, continue running with pools in my sneakers.  You get it.  At times, the wind is blowing so hard I swear I'm not even moving.  I get to the first mile and I'm around 9:42.  NOT acceptable!  But eh, this is supposed to be fun.  Mile 2 is torture.  I'm not quite sure why.  The course is as flat as can be, but the cold, wind, and rain are making 1 mile feel like forever.  In my head, I'm telling myself that there must not be a mile 2 marker.  There just couldn't possibly be.  If there was, I would most definitely be there by now.  I must say this to myself for about a half a mile, then BOOM!  Mile 2 marker.  What the... Oh well, I'm at 17 something at this point.  Sweeeeet!  That's more like it (for me, at least)!  Now, I'm thinking of Finding Nemo where Dorie keeps saying, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."  That seems like a logical chant right now.  I start to putter out as I reach the finish line.  Some nasty gusts of wind push me back, but I power through.  My friend Shannon is there cheering for me at the finish line (she finished around 24 minutes) and I finish at 27:33.  Gooooooo me!  My boyfriend, bless his heart, finishes about 4 minutes later.  Pretty fabulous considering that he doesn't run.  We all stand and cheer as everyone else finishes.  It's a great atmosphere! 
Now, off to par-tay!  The boys dig into the hot dogs.  No thanks.  It's not even 11 in the morning.  I can't take a hot dog.  Apple, yep!  Mini muffin, sure!  Free beer... of course!  The problem is, as we're standing the sweat starts to cool us down.  And it's cold.  And it's raining.  So, we move inside to the crowded bar.  It's warmer, but everyone's still cold and wet and starting to shake.  It's going to just have to be one beer this year!  Dad would understand.  Despite the weather, everyone had fun and says that will run it again next year and I'm holding them to it.  Shannon and her boyfriend had even created t-shirts with dad's face on the front that said "Rick's Runners."  The back says "Marathon Man, Run On!"  Everyone's support that day was amazing and definitely helped me through a day that could have been unbearable.  Instead, it left me with another lovely memory. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

Manchester Road Race

So dad and I had run the Manchester Road Race 3 years ago together.  It's actually what got him back into running again.  I had started running and dad said he would start again if I wanted to do the Manchester Road Race with him.  A few weeks before, I gently reminded him that I had signed up and it was time for him to man up and start running again.  One morning, he reluctantly laced up his sneakers, got dressed, and went with me to the Linear Trail.  I told dad we'd take it easy.  Three miles total.  A mile and a half down, a mile and a half back.  No big deal, right?! Dad said I should just run at my own pace, he'd attempt to keep up,  and after I turned around at a mile and a half, I could meet up with him and he'd turn around then and finish my run with me.  He kept joking about how I'd probably find him lying in a ditch on the way back.  I ended up losing him somewhere along the way, but again, I was supposed to meet up with him on the way back.  So, I turned around... and I ran... no dad.  I ran some more... no dad... I ran and I ran and I ran... and there was dad!  Waiting for me right where we had started.  Turns out he hadn't made it very far and had walked back and forth until I finished. 

This wasn't such a stellar return to running for my dear daddio.  Nevertheless, he kept on keeping on and was there with my two friends and me for the start of the Manchester Road Race.  We had even made themed t-shirts for the event with the Fantastic Four logo on it (because there were four of us...get it?!).  I don't really remember too much about the race.  If I finished before dad or vice versa.  What I do remember though, is that I vowed to NEVER, I mean, NEVER run that race again!  Unfortunately, the year we picked to run, it was raining.  Not just any rain though.  Some nice freezing icicle like rain that seeped into your clothes and soaked you to the bone.  During mile 2, I distinctly remember waterfalls flowing down all the hills and splashing through them as my sneakers absorb pools and pools of water.  To add insult to injury, we had to wait in this rain for the shuttle bus to bring us back to the car.  As I stood with my sweat freezing to my body getting pelted by rain, I began uncontrollably shaking.  My fingers, toes, and nose turned a lovely shade of purple-black.  I don't think I recovered for the rest of the day. I immediately parked my booty in front on the fire place when we got home and continued shaking until I could muster up enough energy to get myself into a hot shower.  As my dad often mentioned, I do NOT run in the cold.  Yep, I'm a weather wimp.  I own it and admit it.  That means that the next year dad ran the Manchester Road Race on his own.  Last year, he didn't get to run it because my brother had been sick and he didn't get to register.  This year, he wanted to run it.  I still have the email in my inbox.  The subject line is: Manchester Road Race.  The message is, "I say YES!" 

So this year, I did it.  I did it for him.  I broke every single rule I had created for myself and got ready to run on Thanksgiving morning.  It was NOT over 40 (and honestly I prefer over 50) and it was NOT sunny, but at least it wasn't raining or snowing!  I woke up, put on my Under Armor compression leggings, another pair of running leggings over those, a dry wick tank top, a long sleeve tech shirt (complete with thumb holes!), a water/wind resistant fleece, a fleece head band for my ears, running gloves, AND mittens to go over them.  Yep, I wasn't taking any chances of being cold.  We got there around 8:15.  The race doesn't start until 10.  But hey, when you're running in a race that's been capped out at 15,000 runners and expecting 40,000 spectators, you get there early!  And when I say "we" got there, I mean it was me, Shannon (my best friend who runs faster than I ever will), and our boyfriends (neither one would run with hiss).  Thankfully, Shannon's 5 year old niece had come along too.  This worked out well because we spent much time before the race on the hunt for the elusive chocolate frosted sprinkled doughnut and it's side kick: hot chocolate.  I never would have guessed tracking down a doughnut would have been so difficult, but then again, I've never tried to navigate downtown Manchester on Thanksgiving morning.  Breads, muffins, coffees a plenty.  Seriously, what's a girl got to do to get a doughnut around here?!  I thought America runs on Dunkin'.  We're all going to run, give us some Dunkin'!  Oh thank heaven for 7-11 is all I can say.  They had doughnuts AND hot chocolate (and a microwaveable sausage, egg, and cheese on a biscuit for Shannon's boyfriend).  Phew!  Crisis averted.  Now for the port-a-potty mission.  Thankfully, Fox News had left their potties unguarded, so we were good to go!  That is, until Shannon decided she had to go again later.  I'm sure you all know that the last minute port-a-potty stop before the race is NEVER a good idea.  Seriously, I don't get it.  Do your business and get out!  Yes, I'm impatient.  15 minutes until gun time and we decided the potty stop was bad news.  We ducked under the ropes to the 35-40 minute finishing time (sorry dad... I know, we didn't get the official letter in the mail to let us in here).  At this point, I had removed my mittens only.  All other layers were still on.  And I was still cold. 

Finally, the gun goes off.  We don't move.  Hmmm... I guess this is what running with 15,000 people feels like.  Waiting... Waiting... Yay!  We're moving, we're moving, whoo-whoo!  (Okay, we're kind of moving... I mean, we're walking).  It takes us about 2:30 to get over the starting line.  I had told Shannon she could leave me in her dust, and like any good friend would, she does :o)  I'm feeling good.  I mean, except for the fact I can't feel my feet.  They're like 2 numb metal blocks pounding the pavement.  Boom, boom, boom.  I shouldn't have listened to my boyfriend.  That extra pair of socks would have been clutch right now.  All I can think about while I'm running is "obstacles."  With 15,000 runners, there are A LOT of obstacles to dodge.  I trip over people's feet.  I'm not proud of it, but it happens.  I elbow a half a dozen or so individuals too.  Again, not on purpose, but there's no where for me to go and I want to mooooooove!  Mile 1 feels quick.  Although, when I look at the official time at this point, it's somewhere around 11:34.  I start laughing.  Oops!  Perhaps I wasn't aggressive enough.  Mile 2 is one giant hill with some flat spaces along the way.  Dad would always blow me away on hills.  His long stride took those hills, chewed them up, and ran over their faces.  I'm like the little engine that could up the hills.  I think I can.  I think I can.  I think I can.  I know that this is the worst part of the race.  Make it through mile 2 and I'm golden.  I want to walk.  NO!  You're running!  (Hey dad, how about a little push right now?!)  I will NOT become an obstacle.  The clock is at 20 something when I finish mile 2.  Okay, that's more like it! 

At this point, I'm realizing that yes, I kept too many layers on.  I'm HOT.  But, the feeling in my toes is coming back.  That nice prickly needle feeling tingles through my toes as they come back to life.  This is fun!  People are everywhere.  Running, cheering, celebrating.  I must have heard the theme from Rocky 5 times.  As I run by some new age place, they bang a gong.  How I wish I could talk to dad about the gong after.  "Dude, did you see that gong?"  "See it?!?  It nearly knocked me on my a**!"  I'm seeing my times at each mile, but I'm pretty much ignoring them at this point.  I'm not a fast runner, but I can run forever at my slow and steady pace.  We reach Main Street and many other runner pick up the pace at this point.  Not me.  I know (from dad) that this is just an illusion.  Wait for it... Wait for it... I hear the announcement that this is the minute where the majority of runners finish.  Oh poop!  The clock says 45:50.  Not-ah!  I am NOT letting that clock go past 46:00.  I seriously growl and sprint to the finish line.  I can't wait to see those pictures!  I'm guessing I look like some kind of rabid she-beast. 

My adjusted time was actually 43:22 or a 9:08 minute mile for the 4.748 miles (I don't know why they just don't called it 4.75...but hey).  Not fast, but superb for me! Shannon finished in 37:44 or a 7:57 mile (yep, she's fast).   And it was a blast!  Thank you dad for giving me the motivation to run this again.  And thank you for keeping the rain, snow, and extreme cold away too.  I'll be running it again next year too.  We'll run together again in December.  Christopher Martin's time.  Remember: It's for the children :o)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Our Slideshow of Dad/Rick

Hopefully you enjoy these pictures as much as we do.