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 us...boo 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)

9 comments:

Meg said...

Thanks for this recap! I had just been thinking about Rick early this week, when sadly, my own dad passed away very suddenly.
When your dad had passed away, I had felt so heavy and sad inside, even though we were only blogger friends. However, it was an opportunity for me to feel some gratefulness for having met such a fun, happy and upbeat guy. In some little way, his passing prepared me a bit for my dad's death this week. I immediately looked for some of the finest memories I had of my dad and it's helped me through some of the earlier stages.
I guess you could say that I am now in your shoes and thanks for keeping your dad's memory alive. I hope to do the same!
meg

lindsay said...

i love the fact that you guys are still updating his blog and facebook periodically! i hope you all had a good thanksgiving and remembered all the fun times.

i'm glad you got back out there and ran this race, especially in honor of rick. glad you had a good time running, even if it was cold.

happy thanksgiving!

Keri said...

Your Dad would be very proud :)

Leelee said...

I agree! So good to see MM come up on blogger and facebook...he was such a great encourager...I don't post about running nearly as much because I know he won't comment. I hope your mom and brother are doing well also! Great running story, glad you ran!!

Kathy said...

Happy thanksgiving Rick! I have so missed reading your blog and your re-caps! You are simply an inspiration!! :)

onelittletrigirl said...

I second the sentiments from Lindsay- so happy you are all updating :)

He would be very proud of you!

Kathy said...

ps. hope you will follow my blog! Just getting back from a blog land hiadus! Missed the community mucho, much love! :)

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

I also am so happy you are updating- it's fun to read about your races :)

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