When the alarm clock went off at 4:30 am this Sunday morning, I wasn’t really happy. I had this terrible cold that made it impossible to breath through my nose, plus, I couldn’t stop coughing. Great day for a 10 mile road race that is 3 hours away. Sigh. I ripped myself out of bed, headed downstairs, warmed my truck up, and got ready to go.
I threw an Odwalla bar in my pocket as I headed out the door. “Well,” I thought to myself, “I signed up to volunteer, and they are probably expecting me to show up for that at least.” Tissues, DayQuil, and cough syrup in hand, I walked out to my truck and headed south for the 29th annual Mid-Winter 10 Mile Classic.
Why would I drive 3 hours to go to a 10 mile road race? Well, for a few reasons. One, I live in Caratunk, and I have to drive at least 2 hours to get anywhere, especially somewhere there is a race. Two, this race is one of my favorite races, the Maine Track Club knows how to run a race, and this is one of their best. Three, if I stayed home I probably would lay in bed all day wining about my cold and never get my butt outside.
I arrived at Cape Elizabeth High School around 8am, ready to volunteer before the race. After I fully drugged myself up, of course. Volunteering before a race is always a blast for me – it fits many of my basic neurotic needs – I get to arrive early, be helpful, meet new people, and talk about running and triathlon. Really, it doesn’t get much better than that for me before a race. Besides, I am always there early (see basic neurotic need #1), and what is the fun of sitting there for two hours with nothing to do? Here is a picture of me at registration. Happy Happy.
The time to race was fast approaching, and I headed out to the starting line. The temperature wasn’t bad, mid 20’s, with very little wind. For this race, that is really warm weather. Looking around me, there were people in everything from shorts and a t-shirt to full on winter parkas with big gloves. I always like to start in the back – mostly because it is the only way I get a chance to pass people, so basically, it is really good for my ego. The cow bell rang, and we were all off and running.
This is where I get really bad at talking about road races. I don’t remember much between the start and the finish, unless something interesting happens. I can tell you the course is has some rolling hills. Some would call it kind of hilly, but I don’t get freaked out on hills. I just grind them out without thinking much about it unless there is some kind of landmark. Basically, I zone out for the time of the run, and have these random conversations with myself that basically consist of this:
Oh, girl in a baby blue shirt I think I will follow you. Oh wait, I think I can pass you. Sweet. Who else can I follow? Ahhh. Red jacket girl, I like your pace. I wonder if I should make some muffins when I go home? Oh Mile 5, cool, there is a time clock. 40 min? Crap, I am running way too fast. Maybe DayQuil is a performance enhancing drug? Should be some good commercials on tonight. Just keep running, just keep running. Bye red jacket girl. Oh.Wow. That guy in the dark blue jacket that just passed me is hot…Maybe I can follow him? Nope, too fast. Darn. I am hungry. Chocolate would be good now. Oh yes, overdressed grey sweatshirt man, I think I can reel you in.
Yeah, I know, I am nuts. I get into this stream of consciousness thinking and I focus on people’s backs and try to pass them. For me the best part of this race is the last mile, where you are greeted by the moose holding the sign that says something different every year.
This race has a nice little trick at the end, when you reach Cape Elizabeth High School. It winds around for more than 1/4 mile (I didn’t measure it, but I am sure that it is that far) and people who haven’t run the race open their stride up and sprint as soon as they get to the school, and then run out of steam well ahead of the finish line. Three or four people flew by me as I turned into the school. I waited until about halfway around the loop before I increased my speed. I caught and passed all but one who passed me, which felt really good. Also, I got a new PR for 10 miles – 1:25:37 – a 8:34/minute mile pace. Not bad for a sicko. I couldn’t find any pictures of me running on the Maine Running Photos website (thank you guys for what you do by the way), but if I do come across one, I will post it here.
I know, I am no speed demon, I am a true mid-packer. But I am thrilled with my time, it is a big improvement over my old time of 1:30. I am also super happy I didn’t ignore the alarm in the morning like I really wanted to. And despite what all of you logical people might think – that running 10 miles on a cold day in February with a bad cold is stupid – I don’t feel worse today than yesterday, I actually feel a little better. Must be that PR.