Tuesday, May 15, 2012

W Mass Mother's Day Half Marathon race report

Seriously -- I have gotta stop doing these back to backs. But, hey, how can I resist the chance to pick up another state?
"scenter" of the universe!

I was feeling really nervous pre-race -- it's a small race, and I was planning on walking the whole way. But (as noted earlier), the swag was really nice -- especially the shirt!

at the start

The race started a few minutes late -- long lines for the porta potties and only gun timing meant they wanted to give people a chance to get in the start area. I lined up at the very back -- I'm nice that way -- and I stretched my hamstring a little. I chatted with a woman named Vanessa, who was running her first race. She was nervous but I promised her she would have fun and finish strong.

The runners took off and I headed out behind them. I quickly passed a group of four women -- one said, "Well, I've walked 8 miles before, so I should be fine"; to which another replied "yeah, we've got four hours." I slid in behind two other women who were walking very briskly.

giant milk bottle at the history museum

After leaving the factory, we followed two-lane roads through the countryside. On the first (and really only BIG) hill I decided that I didn't want to spend the next three hours trying not to eavesdrop on the women in front, so I kicked it up a notch and passed them. One of them said, "Oh, no, we're being passed!" and laughed. I said it was my turn to lead for a while -- that they could pass me again in a few minutes. Weirdly enough, I never actually noticed them again.

We passed the Whately Inn and a pretty old church. An elderly lady was sitting by the road with her family, and said, "Oh, these must be the walkers." I said, "I guess that means that I'm not lost, then!" and she smiled at me.

At some point I passed two more walkers -- so there were now 8 people behind me. This made me feel a little better.

As I headed up another hill, I started getting close to a woman who was running a bit, then walking. As I passed her, I said, "How's it going?" She looked at me and started running. Okaaayyyy... But to be fair, she must have overcome whatever had been making her struggle at the beginning of the race, because I never got that close to her again. Ah, the powerful motivation of being passed by a walker!

I tried to keep up a brisk pace, even daydreaming a bit about trying to walk a sub 3. Ha.

The ile marks were bright green paint on the road, and there also indicated the way. I have to admit, sometimes I worried I had lost the way, even if there had been no turns. But all actual turns WERE marked, so I needn't have worried.

Over hill, over dale -- past farms, fields, pastures. It was lovely and quiet and peaceful.

Somewhere around 9 miles I saw three women talking at the side of the road. They noticed me and two of the quickly said goodbye to the third and started running. They ran for a while, then dropped to a walk again. When they did, I rapidly gained on them. I would get close -- like within a few feet -- and they would take off again. This went off for a mile or so. Seriously.

Their walking breaks got longer, and eventually on one of them I just sailed past them. We said hi, and I never spotted them again. They were probably relieved to have me off their back. If you are keeping track, that's now 10 people.

The walking was really easy, by the way. I did keep moving quickly, but I focused on just walking steadily and trying to stay relaxed.

At mile 12 I spotted two more people. They appeared to be running, but they weren't moving very quickly. I set my sights on them and slowly but surely reeled them in, too. As I passed them, the two women split up and one of them started walking next to me. She said, "Oh, you're walking..." I smiled and said yes, and then she asked if I had walked the whole way. She clearly didn't believe I had. As we went up a slight incline she couldn't keep up, which was fine by me -- I didn't really want to chat. So I wished her a good race and dropped her. Yep, that's 12.


The last mile was pretty uneventful. I passed the factory, crossed the overpass, and went down the little hill to the finish. As I neared the end, I passed small groups of people, some of whom had apparently only finished a few minutes ahead of me. Nice.

ummm... the back of the medal...
Got my pretty medal, some water, and a banana, and walked back to the car while cheering on the folks who were finishing behind me. I didn't feel for at all, and I bet I reduced the soreness I would have felt from the previous day's run.

This was a super cute run -- nothing big or fancy, but nicely organized. Obviously not my best performance, but just fine in the end. I got to spend some time in the sunshine in rural Massachusetts; it gave me an excuse to visit Historic Deerfield in the afternoon; and, most importantly, it gave me state #14!!

WMass Mother's Day Half Marathon medal

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