And it’s over. 6 weeks of preparing, all for today, and it was really worth it. I was even able to get my sub 25 minute 5K! Barely, at 24:58, but it still counts. It SO counts. First, before anything else, here’s the real distance and info recorded from my Garmin and shown to you in beautiful red by strava.
The race was held in the old mill area of Manchester, New Hampshire. When I researched the race before, the layout looped around the local AA baseball stadium and back to the start. This year it was an out and back. This is only my second race, and my first where the course just folded back on itself, and I have to tell you, I’m not a huge fan. It was nice to cheer on the leaders as they came by. I liked the course itself, mostly shaded and mostly flat. I did feel a bit squeezed by the path at certain points. That’s probably just in my head though. When I run bike paths and trails, it never feels tight. I think it was the adrenaline of the day and my mind thinking that we were on roads most of the time. Just silly hogwash. The day was an absolute beauty. Low humidity, low temperature and a nice breeze. Weird thing is that I got real dehydrated halfway through the race. before the race I held the same routine I do every day before running, and running way farther than 3.1. I’m thinking that the adrenaline and excitement must have taken a bit more out of me pre-race than I thought they would.
Now, my Garmin says 3.16, strava says 3.2 and so does map my anus. I did the first 3.1 in 24:39 which is a little slower than my PR from last week, but the route I often run here has a sweeping downhill that I’m usually able to fly down. To be fair, it also has some bitch hills that today’s course did not, but either way you cut it, no excuses, I finished the race, officially at 24:58!
I mentioned that I beat my goal of 25 minutes, but I didn’t mention that I actually nailed down 2nd place in my division and 21 overall! AND, I was the oldest in my group. Those kittens have got some serious tomcat shit to worry about next year!… That sounded, bizarrely gross… Never mind. I’ll take it. My first race. I accomplished my goal, actually for the year, but whatevs. Actually placed in my group and had a blast doing it. I’m a little disappointed in the way other runners finished and just took off, but that’s on them. I had a blast cheering on the finishers and spending the morning in a beautiful sun.
My folks were able to come, and so did my brother in-law, Steve and my old timer pal, John. John’s training for the DeMar Marathon that is run here in Keene and the nearby “villes”. We went to high school together and never really decided that it wasn’t a good idea to hang out. Someday, the stories of our troubled past will be told, but this is not that day. It was amazing driving over with my parents. I wrote before how my mother was a long time runner, but I never mentioned that my father also ran state championship level track in high school in Ohio. He was also a star half back and played college football as a defensive back. During my senior year of high school, I was lucky enough to have been elected co-captain of the football team. After the season, during the awards banquet, which anyone who has ever played high school sports knows, is an absolute waste of time and a real bore. Usually held in some shit-hole gym or cafeteria and usually a good 30 degrees warmer than could ever be comfortable. Our football banquet was absolutely no different. That all sucked, believe me, but what was worse than that, what was an absolute failing on my part, was that when the captains were allowed to spend some time thanking people, I neglected to mention my father. My father who had hardly missed a single PRACTICE since I started playing football, let alone games. My father who was a junior high math teacher who also taught an advanced class which started an hour or so BEFORE school in a town 30 minutes away for 35 years and still got to our practice field nearly every day to watch the second half of practice and drive me home. My father, who always kept his cool when I turned into an idiot stoner for most of my junior year. My father, who’s son got up on stage and thanked coaches, fellow players and maybe even a trainer or two, and never once thought about thanking his father, never mentioned it. My father, who has lost both of his parents to cancer and nearly his son, drove with said son, an hour and a half away and cheered him on while he ran a race dedicated to raising money for cancer research.
Pops, thank you. Thank you for coming to all of my practices and games. Thank you for showing me how a man is supposed to play sports. Thank you for teaching me that eating a raw onion before a football game is a god-damned genius way of creeping the shit out of opposing running backs (and a few teammates too). Thank you for brilliantly composing a teaching career that has impressed thousands of students, athletes, parents and piers. Thank you for being a father, never an enemy, always a friend and forever a mentor. Thank you for never, ever disappointing me. If I can ever be half the father you were to Deanna and I, my daughter will want of little. Thank you dad. I love you.