I guess I just can't pass up the chance to run a four mile race these days in Branford.
On Sunday I was planning to run 2 hours. Which I did. I ran a 75 minute warm-up with @poycc. In the rain. And the cold. I think it was a little under 50 degrees the whole warm-up, and raining, and then the wind kicked in.
I was wearing light-weight lobster gloves, tights, and jackets for the warm-up but I stripped down to my tri-gear and arm-warmers and headed over to the starting line. The wind kicked up and I couldn't believe it, but I found myself trying to talk myself into the idea that I could actually run the race without resorting to being all bundled up.
And it worked. By the time the race started, as I stood on the line watching the guy with the grey in his hair tying his shoe seconds before the race started (and doing a poor job of it), I thought this would be easy. The countdown came and them we started out, running down past Lenny's and hooking a right.
There were five of us in a pretty tight group, jockeying for for position, the police car just in front of us as we headed past the Owenego and out towards the ocean.
We were running together and no one really seemed to be ready push it. Chris Stonier, who I know is faster than me, was i the group, but no one was giving the sense that they wanted it.
And frankly, I was feeling as good as I could for having already run 70 minutes, for being cold and wet and having ridden 5 hours and run 45 minutes the day before. In other words, I knew what I had- which was nothing frankly.
So I did what crazy old guys that are washed-up runners do when faced with superior talent but running in bad conditions near the front of the pack.
I had a chance to take the lead, to be the guy chasing the police car, and I took it.
What happened the rest of the race really might be immaterial. I mean, I suppose in some ways I was that guy you see lead out at a race with no chance of winning it and you think 'ah, kind of jerky' but then again, not exactly. I wasn't running out of my head or anything. I had a chance to grab the lead, and I took it
Maybe it only lasted 10 seconds, but it was great. I was running hard, not smooth but hard and there I was, out in front. Making the effort. I might not win the race, but I'd taken my best shot it at and it felt great to be there.
And then reality set in, I was passed. We went through a mile at 5:20 and then I quickly fell to fifth.
Other memories- the kid with the track flats that ran me down with a sound like a horse and how I asked him 'what the hell are you wearing ?' as he ran by and he laughed. How my hands went very uncomfortably numb about 1.2 miles into the race. The guy with the shoe tying problem and how he had to stop mid-race to tie his shoe again.
The futile feeling running a course I know so well and knowing I was running out of time and was not going to catch anyone, but just enjoying being on a training course in race situation...
Crossing the line in 23:37, fifteen seconds faster than my last last race before Arizona in much worse conditions.
I was glad I did it. Was it smart training ?
Ah, who cares...