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.