I’m spending the spring training for shorter distances, even foregoing the chance to run the Boston Marathon again to do so. I’ve been training hard for this short distance stuff. I raced a 5K on January 1st, but hydrating with champagne and fueling with chocolate-orange challah the night before proved a sub-optimal strategy. The Run for Refugees 5K would be the first real test of the new training approach. Read more >>
Angelica and I both ran races in Philadelphia in November 2019. Since we only saw each other in passing at the expo, we decided to interview each other about our respective races. First up, let’s hear about Angelica’s race!
When did you decide to do the half at Philly?
Philly had been on my radar since summer with the caveat that I wouldn’t sign up until after Chicago because I wanted to see how that race went.
What was your goal(s) going into the race?
Partly I was on a scouting mission to see if I wanted to run the full marathon in Philadelphia in 2020 (verdict: no). I also wanted to run a half marathon somewhere around 1:45 without a pacer. I had run 1:45:45 in June 2018 with a pacer and I ran 1:44:48 in Sept 2019, but randomly ran into a friend on the course mid-race. I wanted to see if I could hit 1:45 on my own. Also, I love the city of Philadelphia, so I wanted to have some fun with friends.
This race took place in March of 2019.
On St. Patrick’s Day, I ran the Hampton Court Half Marathon. High Power Running Mentor #1 talked me into this race several months ago. I was trying to plan my racing schedule a bit more sensibly this time around, with races building to my goal race, Boston. HPRM#1 kept saying that doing a prep race 4-6 weeks out from the marathon was important and it’s true that lots of runners I admire seem to do this. The Hampton Court Palace Half Marathon looked amazing. Hampton Court is a Tudor palace from the days of Henry the 8th. The race has a Henry theme – he appears on the medal and the t-shirt, and you run through the palace grounds. Spectacular!
The Hampton Court Half was also not at all next to the university where I was staying for work. A friend from the Running for Real Facebook group tipped me off that I would not be able to get from the university to Hampton Court on race morning on time for the start. She also came through with a suggestion of an inexpensive hotel in the vicinity of the palace. I could shift hotels on Saturday and sleep near the race. Brilliant. The Incredible Mervus was on board with my spending two extra days in London, simply because he’s amazing.
The real reason for the trip was a workshop on parties of the mainstream right in Europe so I spent a lot of time doing the typical academic thing: listening to people present their research, giving comments, presenting my own work. It was a very good workshop, if a little stressful. This is a new project for me and new colleagues so I didn’t know what to expect. I also ran 38 miles in London in the days leading up to the race. Read more >>
I ran this race two months ago (!), but it’s been a really busy spring. So, here’s a very old race report about the first indoor track race I ever did. Enjoy!
At some point last fall, some of my online friends got started thinking about the possibility of a meet-up. We fairly quickly settled on the notion of meeting at the Armory, a famous indoor track in New York City. After some back-and-forth, we finally settled on the idea of a 5k on January 24th. The logistics of us all making it to the track at 7pm on a the appropriate Thursday were epic enough to fill an entire blog post, but I’ll spare you. The weekend included copious eating and drinking and lots of non-Armory running, but I wanted to focus here on the race itself.
Many of us had never raced a 5K on a track before though my High Power Running Mentor has actually raced at the Armory and was sort of the driving force behind this venture. After my disappointing New Year’s Day 5K, I was looking for some redemption, but this training cycle has had a lot of ups and downs. Despite the EPAT treatment, my foot was still hurting every run, just sometimes more and sometimes less. The stomach flu in December was a huge setback. And the Armory was weekend #2 in a series of three weekends being out of town and all the disruption to life and training that travel brings with it. Plus, 5K on an indoor track is a whole lotta laps, 25 to be exact, but who’s counting? Stay tuned for the answer to that question! Read more >>
I am writing a race report for the Boston Marathon because I ran the Boston Marathon.
This is an obvious and yet astonishing sentence.
I first started dreaming of Boston in spring 2014 while training for the Providence Marathon with a friend, who said we should run it together some day. I didn’t really know what it was all about, but the seed was planted, and in September 2018 I qualified at the Erie Marathon.
So here’s how Boston 2019 played out:
It was finally time for the Erie Marathon. I’d made no secret of my goal to BQ or bust at this race. The alarm on race day went off at 4am, which is mighty early. It was, of course, totally dark out, but the race gives you a flashlight in your swag bag. How cool is that? We got up and I had my pre-race oatmeal – a double portion of oats, plus a banana, a tablespoon of almond butter and some chocolate flavored protein powder. Yum. And coffee. The whole family was out the door with all the various things everyone needed at 5:15am. Not bad. We were parked and on the shuttle by 5:30am and at the race by 5:45am. Logistically, in terms of finding a place to stay, getting around, organization – this race is excellent.
It was still so dark but kind of cool because everyone had flashlights and the race provided some illumination. We set up our folding chairs near the main pavilion and hunkered down. Read more >>
I ran a 1:45:45 half marathon — a PR by seven minutes — and I am still smiling. I can hardly believe I did that! Read more >>
When we left off, I had run enormous PRs at the 10 mile and 10K distances and I was poised to race the Run for the Cows Half Marathon in Redding, CT, hoping for another PR. So how did that play out? I *did* run a PR of 1:51:28, but I had been hoping for under 1:50, potentially a good bit under 1:50.
A PR is a PR and of course I am happy. But I’ve also been mulling about what happened and why I wasn’t faster. Was this a case of mission creep? A harder course than expected? Not enough mileage? Unwillingness to face the race demons? Maybe some of all of that. Racing is always a learning experience and I’m still learning the lessons from this one.
You’ve heard about how I trained all winter for the Donna marathon, which ended up a disappointment. You’ve heard about my post-race tendon flare-up and the never-ending New England winter. A 5k PR at the end of March gave me hope that my disappointing marathon experience really was the result of hot weather and a bad day at the office, and was not a reflection of my real fitness level, but would my newfound speed hold up over longer distances? I signed up for a 10 miler and a 10k, followed my coach’s training plan, and hoped that it would. Read more >>
Kind of a funny thing to be looking for at a race called the “Bunny Rock 5K” but life is funny sometimes.
After recovering from plantar fasciitis and having my best marathon training cycle ever, I got hit with high heat and humidity for the Donna marathon in February. I know bad weather is always a risk and if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen. In other words, if you can’t stand to have your race plans ruined by bad weather, don’t run marathons, blah blah blah. It’s still pretty much of a bummer to train for months and then have your race go badly.
How can my heart be overflowing with joy, while at the same time breaking just a little bit?
My feelings about this race ranged from excited expectation to business-like execution to serendipitous joy. The Ghost Train Half Marathon is a small local race put on by the Parks and Rec Department of the towns of East Hampton, Colchester, and Hebron, CT.
Five years ago, I introduced my friends Snarky Girl and Fast Friend at this race and they ended up running the whole thing together. It was the start of our teaming up for lots of shared running adventures. I had initially been looking forward to meeting up with the two of them this year, but then Fast Friend pulled her back and couldn’t run. For me, it was also only three weeks post-Hartford. In the days leading up to the race, my original excitement shifted to a case of the blahs.
While texting Coach Mick on Thursday, he threw in the word “relentless.” He doesn’t know it, but that word has been something of a touchstone for me this year. Something to focus on when getting up to go swim or ride the video bike last winter. “Relentless pursuit” — of getting healthy, of running faster, of figuring out how to live and run on my own terms. My daughter Rose can be incredibly relentless — not always a lovable attribute in a child — but maybe she got that from me.
Friday before the race was a good day. I did some solid writing for work. I met Rashi for coffee. It was all fine, but I felt like I was checking off boxes mentally. My main mantra for the race seemed to be: Don’t screw up, which felt less than inspiring. I told Coach Mick and he texted back: “Try Not To Suck” (Joe Maddon — Cubs manager). I wondered if the Cubs were a great source of inspiration … but that was their motto for 2016, the year they won the World Series. That puts a whole different twist on it.
“Trying Not To Suck” in my mind means no major mistakes. It means things like, eat the pre-race breakfast that works, get to the race on time for a proper warm-up. Line up appropriately. Don’t go out too fast. Remember to fuel and hydrate. Do a cool down and take care of my foot. This is sort of basic stuff in some ways, but it’s surprisingly easy to goof it up. It is a little like checking off boxes though and for the first time in my life I thought – is this what people mean when they say running feels like a job? Is remembering to pack Gu the equivalent of getting your PowerPoint presentation in order? Is this “professionalization” of race routine the thing that sucks joy out of running for so many people? Then I thought, nah, at least not for me. I still love running and come to think of it, I like my job pretty well too. It’s ok to want to do both of those things well and “Trying Not To Suck” is for sure a part of that.
“Trying Not To Suck” came together as a five-point plan for this race. 1) Get to the race on time and do the planned warm-up. 2) Stay on top of fueling and hydration. Particularly because this race supposedly only had three water stops and because not looking at my watch has left me a little disconnected from fueling. 3) Start slow to finish fast — i.e., don’t go out too fast. 4) Stay strong at the end — relentless pursuit. 5) Do a cool down and post-run foot routine.
Race day morning prep was solo this time and I missed Corgi Speedster’s excellent spirit! But the Incredible Mervus left out a fun note for me.
I wanted to balance “Relentless” and “Try Not To Suck” so I took them both with me by writing them on my forearms.
Snarky Girl and I drove together and arrived on time for the very first shuttle to the start. So far so good in terms of Operation Try Not To Suck. We got our bibs and the very nice race shirts and hung out with Fast Friend’s husband in the school gym. Eventually I said I wanted to warm up and Snarky Girl moaned and groaned a bit but came with me, as she always does. We found a little dirt track, did a little running and some drills, all perfectly timed for the start of the race. Yeah!
Then I went back into the school for one last chance to pee. Uh oh. Earlier there had been no one but now the line was HUGE. Oops. It was 8:50 with a 9 a.m. start time and there were a bunch of women ahead of me. No waiting for the men’s room, though, so I started agitating with another woman that we should just go ahead. The men coming out said “You don’t want to go in there. The smell is terrible. Place is a mess.” Hmmmm. I said I can stand a little smell in order to make it to the start on time and my fellow agitator made her move. I followed. The smell was fine. We had to be careful where we looked because, well, not everyone in a men’s room pees in a stall. But we were done quickly and we weren’t the only women invading that “male space” that day.
Out at the starting line, I found my friends getting ready to line up. They had an actual chalk line on the street for the starting line, completing the Beardy Guy nature of the race. I am not even sure they had a gun because we didn’t hear anything so maybe someone up at the front just said Go! And off we went.
I ran 1:55:39 at Hartford three weeks prior to this race in hotter weather on a hillier course. I was hoping to go a bit faster at the Ghost Train run but I was pretty sure I was not close to PR territory of 1:52:44. Part of the reason for the feeling of box-checking was surely that I felt pretty confident I could beat my Hartford time and equally confident that I was not in shape to PR. Where’s the excitement in that?
Then, just a minute or two after we started, Ghostie popped up next to me. Ghostie is a friend of the Retiree’s who I have met on a few occasions, most recently pre- and post-Hartford. He asked me what I was running and I said sub-1:55. He said something or other about pace and I said I was running without looking at my watch. Then he made an interesting move and covered his own watch. We agreed to run together for awhile, as long as it worked out.
The first mile was definitely too fast, but of course, the start is exciting and the weather was perfect and this race starts downhill. Ghostie asked how I was feeling and I said, this is too fast. I had planned to check my watch after the first mile because I had done that at Hartford and I liked being able to calibrate how things were feeling. 8:20. Yup, too fast. But it wasn’t just the number on the watch — it felt too fast. For the next mile or so, I worked to get back to the pace where I wanted to be. Snarky Girl passed us. A girls’ cross country team passed us. Some other folks passed us. Let them go, I thought. Better to start slow. Try Not To Suck stage 3.
Then Ghostie and I fell into a fantastic groove. We were running at a decent clip. Fast enough that I knew we weren’t too slow, but slow enough that we could chat. We filled each other in on our various friends who were racing that day. We discussed the Hartford race again. We talked a bit about running and racing without a watch. We went over how many times we had each done the Ghost Run. It was absolutely downright delightful.
Unlike Hartford where I felt very dialed in on my breathing and focused on maintaining the right effort level, here I had an actual conversation partner so it was much easier to tell my pace in terms of “sentences.” The whole first 3 miles were a tad faster than I would have wanted them to be, but we settled into a good pace and I figured I did not need to speed up much after mile 3. Ghostie sometimes pulled ahead a little when someone passed us or at water stations and I just let him go. He slowed a bit and waited for me. We passed a lot of happy miles that way with his occasionally checking on my effort level and my occasionally holding him back a tad. At one point I did see my watch by mistake and caught sight of an 8:42 split. Perfect.
This race is billed as flat and by Connecticut standards, it is flat, but Strava shows that you actually run downhill for the first 8 miles and then uphill for the last 5. We got to the uphill portion and it certainly felt like more work. Ghostie again asked how I was doing and I said something about wishing we didn’t have quite as far to go. Miles 8-10 were the hardest of the race for me and that shows in the splits. I caught a glimpse of the 9:07 mile by mistake and thought, urg, let’s get going here.
By mile 10 I remembered the plan of trying to pick up the pace, if possible. I wondered about the wisdom of the somewhat-quicker-than-planned start again, but heck, it was only a 5K to go at that point and I found a little bit of gas left in the tank, even going uphill. Ghostie and I were so tuned in to each other that he felt this too, of course, and I said, it’s ok, this is part of the plan. Conversation had dwindled on my part by now. But then we saw Snarky Girl ahead of us and we were reeling her in. Passing Snarky Girl in a race is not something I have a lot of experience with (by which I mean, zero experience) and I admit to enjoying it even though she was running with a slower friend. Then we saw that girls’ cross country team ahead of us and I said oh, let’s get those girls too. I threw in a bit of a surge and we sailed by. Fun!
Then it was pedal to the metal until the end. I know this stretch of trail pretty well and I flashed back to a training run with Fast Friend and Snarky Girl when I was running so hard I was almost hallucinating and they were chugging along having some conversation about a TV show about cats. That was three years ago! Funny how certain stretches of ground can trigger a particular memory.
By now we were almost done. I tripped on a rock and almost went down, which would have taken the race right into boy-did-that-suck territory, but luckily I stayed upright. Finally we rounded the last corner and ran into the school parking lot to cross the finish line. Ghostie and I high fived each other like crazy. 1:54:24! Running with him was SO much fun!
I have said not looking at your watch meant you get your splits as a surprise at the end so we took a peek. Very happy with the results! This is my second race without looking at my watch and mostly we were right on track. The start was a little fast and I had one slower mile when the hill at the end got into my head, but otherwise good. I’m completely shocked at how fast I’ve acclimated to running #nowatchme and how much I like it.
Fast Friend met us at the finish line with her adorable daughter, Mini-J. I continued with stage five of Try Not To Suck and managed a short cool down, but I was pretty darn done. Instead I mostly enjoyed the post-race chili, chatted with friends, and played a bit on the playground with Mini-J. Third in my age group really Did Not Suck though I know that’s mostly about who shows up on race day.
Snarky Girl and I stopped for donuts and coffee on the way home and I did my post-run foot routine at home because they didn’t have ice at the race. I also went out to dinner with the family to our favorite race-day restaurant. These are also boxes to get checked off, in a sense. I feel really good about how this race went, both in terms of results and the process. I did not suck. Combined with Hartford, the two races give me a good sense of where my fitness is and also show me that I didn’t forget how to do this race thing. Maybe most importantly, I got two chances to do what I love and I still love it even after that big break. Bring on marathon training.
What a difference a year makes! Last year’s Hartford Half resulted in a PR, but also the realization that I was a bit of a mess, physically, mentally, spiritually. It’s been a long road back, but I am definitely getting there. No PR this year, but a totally solid race at 1:55:39 with no foot pain and a completely different attitude about life and running.
The Friday before the race, I was distracted because I had to do some race prep (I was hosting a post-race party) but I also had to give a talk on the German radical right and attend the post-talk dinner. This was a seriously compartmentalized day. I got up early, finished writing the talk, did my 2-mile shake-out run, and checked the mailbox, like I always do. But today I had a surprise waiting for me!
I’ve reconnected with a running friend, Rashi, who sent me the best possible pre-race card in the mail!
I’ve run Hartford a bunch of times and I always end up rushing through the expo because it’s always on Friday when I am, you know, working. This was no different. I got my bib and shirt and made sure to get my sticker for Corral B. I love having a seeded start for this race. Feels so elite!
Once we gathered everyone up, we headed out for Thai food. Nothing like a big gang of marathoners and half marathoners looking for carbs. Lunch was delicious food and lots of tales of races past and plans for the next day.
Friday was such a day of ticking off tasks that it felt a bit like “experience pre-race anxiety” was simply an item on a to-do list. After lunch, but before the talk, my brain cleverly reserved one little pocket of time to worry.
Some questions had been lurking in the back of my head all week and they pushed their way forward Friday afternoon. What if my foot started hurting? What if I started way too slowly? Starting too fast hasn’t usually been much of an issue to me, but my longest training run was 10 miles. What if I died at the end of the race? I sent these off to Coach Mick in a flurry of texts, more or less while grocery shopping, and luckily he always responds quickly: What if your foot is fine? What if you start at the right pace? What if not looking at your watch helps you run faster but not too fast? Ok, fair enough, and with the pre-race anxiety box checked, I went and spoke about the radical right in Germany and enjoyed dinner with colleagues and students.
My friend Corgi Speedster stayed with me, and we got up and did our pre-race routines. I was so lucky to have her staying with me! I haven’t raced a half marathon in a year. A year! Maybe it’s like riding a bike and you don’t forget how, but it sure was nice to have some company. I had my oatmeal and my coffee. I packed up everything on my check list and we headed out into the dark.
We should have left earlier because we hit serious traffic once we got in the vicinity of the race. I started getting pretty antsy looking for parking and kept telling myself to shut up because Corgi Speedster sure didn’t need my pre-race nerves getting her jittery. We eventually just parked semi-legally behind “Johnnie’s Auto Repair” or some such establishment. The Retiree was pacing the half so we met at the pacer group and got an early morning pre-race Sub-30 photo.
We couldn’t find North Shore Strider and she and I had really wanted to start together. But it was getting late, so Corgi Speedster and I did a little mile warm-up jog. I had planned to do some drills but then realized I had totally forgotten to do the lunge matrix I’ve been doing before every run. Now it was only 10 minutes to start time so I just did the lunges and called it good. Oops.
That’s what being out of practice looks like. Show up a bit late, struggle with parking, short-change the warm-up. That’s all right. It’s coming back to me. Then while I was standing in the corral, I spotted North Shore Strider on the sidelines. We could start together after all! I was so happy! She squeezed in next to me and off we went.
The full and the half start together at Hartford and it’s a bit of a disaster. Too many people in too small a space. Last year they seemed to have corrected this issue with the seeded starting corrals, but way more people were in the corrals this year. North Shore Strider and I had a chance to check in and wish each other luck and just run together for that first mile. She is someone I text with every day and I would be so overjoyed if we could run together more often, but I will take any mile I can get at her side.
I had a few things to try out with this race. One big one was racing without looking at my watch. Tina Muir’s group, Running for Real, is hugely enthusiastic about this approach. I am philosophically agnostic about it. That is to say, I am really keen to run fast and if not looking at my watch helps with that project, I am all for it. On the other hand, I’ve run pretty well looking at my watch. But that 5K back in August when I didn’t look was compelling evidence that I should at least try it. The idea is to tune into your body and run by effort rather than try to hit a particular pace. There are all kinds of reasons to do this. Sometimes the watches aren’t that accurate. If it’s hot or windy, you might need to run slower. The pace function on GPS watches also tends to jump around so you might see a big range of numbers. Some people get freaked out and think they can’t run as fast as the watch says they are running. Or they get freaked out in the other direction and give up hope if the watch says they are running too slowly. I’ve pretty much had all of that happen to me.
On the other hand, in distance running, part of the key to success is not going too fast at the beginning and going fast enough at the end. A watch can be a great tool for helping you figure out how to do that. Maybe you push yourself faster when you need to because of what the watch says. Or maybe you hold back even though you are excited because the pace on the watch reminds you to keep it in check.
I’ve argued this both ways in the last few months (because, any argument, either side, right?). But I’m really interested in this training by effort idea and like I said – that 5K from August was pretty compelling. I would have run that way slower if I had paid attention to my watch. A half marathon is more complicated than a 5K but if I eventually want to run a marathon without looking at my watch, I sure need some practice doing a half that way. Anyway, I had promised myself I wasn’t going to look.
Despite the best of intentions though, at the end of that first mile, North Shore Strider looked at her watch and I looked at mine. 9:03. I actually sort of wanted one peek just to calibrate. I mean, if I had been running 9:40 at that point, maybe I wanted to know. Coach Mick and I generally talk about speed in terms of effort rather than pace. So instead of running 8:50-9:00 pace, I might get instructions to run at a pace at which I can talk for 2-3 sentences. That was indeed how I was planning to start the Hartford half and this felt about right. North Shore Strider peeled off for the full at that point and I continued with the half.
For the first 3 miles, I was supposed to stick to 2-3 sentences effort level and I think I pretty much did. My pace got a lot quicker in mile 2, but there’s a big downhill there. The weather had been looking warm and humid and I kept reminding myself of a new friend who ran Chicago very successfully by starting slowly. I also went ahead and dumped water on my head at every water stop. It’s much easier to stay cool than it is to cool off.
The watch still buzzed at me for the mile markers because I left the auto lap function on, but I’ve had the pace function turned off for weeks so “#nowatchme” was much less weird than expected. In addition to that first mile, I peeked and saw 8:40 at mile 4 by mistake. That led me into a mix of feelings. Damn, I looked. Whew, I am not still running 9s. Shoot, is that too fast or too slow? Will I just spend the rest of the race fretting about this? But then I got very Zen about it and just let all that go.
Running #nowatchme is incredibly yogic somehow. When I started to fret about whether I was at the appropriate pace, I would just check in with my breathing and get it to where it was supposed to be and that was that. It was also much less different from running with a watch than I expected. My brain tends to be busy when I’m running. That internal chatter used to focus around pace: “I’m supposed to be at 8:40 now but watch says 8:35. Do I need to slow down or is that just watch bounce? Now it says 8:50 but this is definitely a hill, so that’s ok.” I guess for a lot of runners, this chatter is accompanied by anxiety, but for me, mostly it hasn’t been. I wanted to race well – I still do – and that used to mean being in tune with the watch. Now it means being in tune with my body — but it’s still an ongoing conversation.
For miles 4-10, I was supposed to move to effort at around 1.5-2 sentences. During training runs, I have invariably checked my effort level by pretending to talk to Snarky Girl, but I tell her stuff. While racing, I literally talked about sentence length. Instead of the internal brain chatter about the watch, I now had external chatter about effort level: “Is this one sentence or two sentences?” “Am I still at 1.5 sentences?” “How long are these sentences supposed to be anyway?” Yes, out loud. Don’t race near me if you don’t enjoy this astonishingly boring conversation topic, I guess. In any case, I felt really good, especially around miles 6-9. I was so happy to be running again. I thought about North Shore Strider and Corgi Speedster running the full. I thought about Mervus and Southern Rock and Coach Mick and my girl-gang getting my splits. Every time I crossed the timing mats I thought, “Well, now they know. And they can see I’m having a pretty good day!”
Somewhere around mile 8, I started to get impatient. Like, what the hell. Let’s just get to the faster part of this race already. This is also the section of the course that goes through Elizabeth Park. It’s the prettiest section and now that my son goes to school in Hartford, I know this neighborhood better. I had one of those runner high moments when we ran by the UConn soccer fields. Hey, my kid plays there! My kid is so amazing! He’s going to this cool magnet school! He’s going to grow up to do amazing things! I love Hartford! Yeah, running can do weird things to your brain. Still, I’ll take happy thoughts over sad ones any time.
During those joyful miles, Let It Go came on the shuffle. I know it’s a bit cheesy. I know the song has been played a million times and some people are sick of it, but I’m not. It felt like everything I wanted at that moment. The chance to let go of the last year. Let go of being injured and sad. Let go of the pre-running me, who used to be so shy and nervous and wall-flowery. I listened to that song two or three times and loved every minute of running free with a heart full of joy.
Finally around mile 10, it was time to speed up a bit. I was running near a couple of classic Old Guys. These guys were certainly in their 60s, possibly 70s. Running together with their matching short grey hair and neon t-shirts and beautiful upright posture. They just radiated Old Running Friends and they were so calm that I knew they would hold a good pace. I thought, oh good, I’ll just tuck in behind these Old Guys. I’ll finish with them. We’ll have a big hug at the finish line and thank each other for pushing each other. It will be lovely. But after a few minutes I thought, huh, I am faster than these particular Old Guys. I need to go ahead and pass them and we’ll see if they come with me. So I did. And they didn’t. Which was also ok, but if someday that is me and Snarky Girl, flying down the streets of Hartford at a good clip with gray ponytails streaming out behind us? I can think of a lot of worse things in life.
In the last mile, the Retiree popped up to run me in as he had said he might. He asked how I was doing and I wasn’t really talking much at that point so I guess I had achieved the effort level of “words” which was the goal. He asked how I was feeling and I think I just gave him a grunt and a thumbs-up. He asked about my foot and I said it was fine. Which was true! I had completely forgotten about my foot until around mile 9, when it was clearly ok. We ran on together like that for a bit and then he turned to go and called out “F–k Plantar Fasciitis!” and I almost lost it. I thought, damn you, I have 400 meters to go, I can NOT start crying now, though I really wanted to.
Instead of crying, I ran on towards the finishing chute. Now I could see the finishing time and it was around 1:55, which is just what I would have predicted, if I had had to bet on it. Finish time: 1:55:39.
Would I race #nowatchme again? You bet. With a grand total of two races sans watch under my belt, I can hardly imagine going back. It’s not that I don’t care about my time because I certainly do. Focusing internally instead of externally just feels better, more appropriate somehow. Running a marathon like this will be an even bigger challenge, but it’s one I am looking forward to.
I got my water, medal and food, I found my way to the post-race “banquet.” I’ve never eaten the race food at Hartford before and I’ve no idea whether it is actually any good or not, but it tasted like the best soup of my life. After plopping on the ground for awhile, I called the Incredible Mervus and chatted for a few minutes. I texted everyone I could think of. Then I collected myself and did a cool down mile on the way to the car to get changed. Back at the finish line I watched Corgi Speedster finish with a massive BQ! I also saw North Shore Strider come in with a HUGE PR, but no BQ, so that was bittersweet.
We definitely PR’d the post-race celebrating this year. We hung out at the race for a bit. We got massages, ahhhh. We headed to a brew pub for pizza and amazing beer (all post-race beer is amazing, with the exception of Michelob Ultra). Later, a gang came over to my place for cocktails and soup. It was about the most perfect comeback race day I could wish for.
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