On Friday afternoon Gina and I piled the kiddos into the family truckster and headed north to York, Maine where we crashed with my sister, Trish, her husband, Brian, and their month-old baby girl. They were psyched to have us, obviously. I mean who wouldn't want 6 (six!) extra people taking up space in their cozy three-bedroom house when they're still adjusting to life with a newborn baby?
Saturday morning Brian and I got up bright and early and headed over to the high school. I got registered and did a 3-mile warmup jog and when I got back to the school things were a little chaotic--this race had grown quite a bit since last year. I met a few friends pre-race and despite the early start time the energy was festive for the holiday weekend.
The race stayed on schedule though so at around 8 AM we were off. At this race last year, I had run a great race (for me) finishing in 22:44, but since I'm fitter now I figured I could beat that on a half decent day. It was definitely warmer though and right from the gun I never felt quite right. At the mile mark there was nobody reading splits so I went to look at my watch only to see all zeros--I thought I'd started it but apparently not, so I was running blind as far as splits. I was in about 20th place at the mile, moved up to about 15th by the time we came down onto Long Sands Beach just past 2 miles, and pretty much held there until the last mile where I picked up a couple more places.
The section along the beach is a double-edged sword. It's flat, there's good scenery and there's lots of crowd support, but you can also see the sign for the Sunrise Hotel that marks the final turn for pretty much the entire mile and a half or so along the beach. That damned hotel seemed to be moving farther and farther away down the beach leaving plenty of time for me to wonder why the hell I was doing this to myself and other such in-race dialogues that we runners are so accustomed to.
In that fourth and final mile I also kept hearing cheers for the first woman so I had that to help keep me focused--it turns out Lesley Hocking, a really solid BAA runner and the eventual women's winner, was moving up behind me. I don't mind being beaten by a woman a.k.a. "gettin' girled" but when it happens at the very end of a race in front of everyone with the PA announcer giving the play by play and the local media recording it in photos and video, well, it can be tough on a guy's confidence, I'll admit it. Which may have helped me find another gear for the last quarter mile. She would finish about 10 seconds behind me.
I wound up 13th out of 812 runners in 22:58. It was a little slower than I wanted but not a bad race. It leaves me a bit nervous about my chances at a sub 17 5k attempt next Sunday, but maybe that's a good thing at this stage, we'll see.
My kiddos tore it up in the fun run and then Brian and I jogged a scenic 7.5 miles back to their house (during which I stepped on a snake) where we met back up with the wives and kids and headed out for a day at the beach.