Mary reaches for Annie Sullivan's hand and then signs the word for "water?"
Ahh, Stu's 30K.
It's a nice little race. With a few long-ass hills. And a few long-ass downhills. And also, it is just long.
The perennial question here in the New England running scene is this: Which is more of a bitch? The Derry 16 Miler or Stu's 30K?
Most people vote for Derry. It's got an elevation profile that is definitely--hard. It climbs (according to the Garmin, which for elevation is totally inaccurate, but whatever) 2400 ft, whereas Stu's only climbs a measly 1340 ft. (again, according to the inaccurate Garmin). However, Derry is shorter course, and that does count for something. Stu's also ends with its steepest hills, whereas Derry has its steepest hills about 2/3's the way through, and then you are blessed with a few downhill miles at the end. I've always felt that Stu's was slightly harder, but that's likely because I seem to always run more slowly at Stu's.
And today was no exception. I ran more slowly (by a lot) today than I did at Derry. I think I looked cuter today than I did at Derry, though, and that is something. When the race began my friend David looked over and said, "Mary, you're looking hot today." I blushed. (not really.) He then told me he just said it so I'd mention it in the blog. Thanks, David!
I did look cute, though. I had on these adorable little shorts from LuLuLemon. You can't tell in this picture but I also have on really cool socks with cows on them. I was styling.
But enough on that.
I ran most of the race with my club-mates Maria and Rose. I am training them each for Boston (very proudly coaching them, I will add) and their plan was to take out the first 10 miles steady but not hard, and then to go for marathon pace until the end of the race. My plan was to accompany them to mile 10, and then stay steady while they plowed ahead.
It was really nice to run with people.
But it was really, really hard to hold back.
I had to keep checking my watch to make sure I wasn't picking up the pace. The crowd surged ahead of us and we just had to let them go. I will add here that many, many of these people should NOT have been surging ahead of us. We weren't being slow-pokes! We were running 7:55-8:05 pace! We gradually picked up the pace so that we were averaging just under 8:00s by mile 10. We steadily passed people. I'm not sure anyone at any point passed us. It felt way too easy--but sure enough--at mile 10 my legs started to feel that very special achy feeling. By mile 12 my legs were like, Um, Mary? Usually we stop around now? We are at mile 12? Ummm, what is up here? I began to realize it was a damn good thing I had taken it out slowly! 18.6 miles is a wee bit longer than I've run since... ummm. my marathon last October.
Maria and Rose went ahead as planned. I was sad to let them go, but I was determined to no be stupid and try to go with them. I let myself go a little faster, but the achiness in my legs and ass kept me from letting me get too far ahead of myself. It was a gorgeous day, and I really focused on how NICE it was to have sun on my face. Then I got sick of that and decided it was time to pass people.
I waited until mile 15 to do this, and I'm proud of that. At that point, though, everyone was slowing down around me, and I could see whole clumps of women ahead of me just waiting to be passed. Oh! I had fun those last few miles. I made it hurt--but I did not kill myelf. I just made sure I passed a good chunk of people who had no business being ahead of me.
Maria kicked my ass and finished ahead of me. Rose didn't feel great and slowed up a bit (though not much), and had a solid race. I was proud of them both for sticking it out and sticking with the plan, and giving it what they had. I'm proud of me for not being the dumbass jackrabbit I usually am when racing.
It was a good race and a good day.
When I finished my calf cramped and then the cramp shot trough my hamstring and into my ass. OUCH! I limped around for quite a bit, but was able to massage it out a little in the car. I feel good right now--ready to begin again. That's a good thing, b/c I have a three hour ride scheduled for manana.
Buenas Noches. (That's me. The short one in the awesome shorts.)