A run in the fog -- 03/03/02

Last Saturday I signed up to run in the March Hare race in Mystic, CT...

Today was race day and I actually drove there and ran it.

Oh, okay, it was closer to jogging than to running... but, nevertheless, I did it...

Jennifer and I had run it together a couple of times... The first time was in 1997... a cold day... there were snowflakes in the air as we were running. Back then she was a serious runner -- she had run on the cross-country team in junior high back in Binghamton, NY before we had moved here -- and here in Rhode Island she was a freshman in high school and had run cross-country in the fall and had just finished indoor track. As usual then, we ran the first couple of miles of the race together and then she picked up the pace and finished quite a bit in front of me. (In fact, she won an award in that race, first or second in age group.) A few days later I was off to Australia for two weeks on a business trip and I found myself a 5k race in a Sydney suburb, running in ninety degree temperatures! The second time we ran it was a year or two later, after she had dropped running, and we ran the race together, having to take a walking break around the two mile mark when she was feeling a stitch in her side from lack of training.

When I got up this morning it was probably around forty degrees, fairly mild temperature for this time of year (but this has been an exceedingly mild winter), but damp and chilly, thick fog and intermittent light rain. Not exactly enticing weather for a run. Oh, I suppose ten or twelve years ago it would not have given me much pause, but these days... these days I am just not in the groove... if I get out running, once I am warmed up, a mile or so into my run, I enjoy it... but the trick is to get out and run... it used to be automatic, now it takes real mental effort and all too often I seem to find reasons and excuses why I should wait until later in the day until I end up not getting in a run at all...

So it was good that I had committed myself to this race, had paid my money... and Nancy had accepted my invitation to come with me. She does not usually accompany me to races but this particular race begins and ends at Olde Mystick Village, a shopping center next to the Mystic Aquarium. I called it a shopping center, but don't picture a supermarket and a couple of department stores with a collection of clothing stores... it's really a collection of small shops with a strong emphasis on tourist stuff (lots of t-shirts and ceramic lighthouses and refrigerator magnets, etc.), a shop filled with candles, another with Christmas ornaments, etc.... Not a place to spend an entire afternoon, but enough interesting things mixed in with the tourist toys to pass a bit of time.

Mystic is not much more than half an hour or so away, perhaps 45 minutes today because of the rain and fog did not encourage high speed driving on I-95 (well, at least not for me, although there did seem to be a few drivers out there who seemed to confuse the highway number with the speed limit).When we got there I picked up my t-shirt and race number, then we wandered around for a bit, looking in at some of the shops. There had been a light drizzle but it stopped shortly before race time.

And then we were off, running through the damp and the fog... the temperature was now in the upper forties, perhaps even fifty or so, a fairly pleasant temperature for running... the more serious runners were in shorts and t-shirts, but I contented myself with sweatpants and sweatshirt... I had started well back in the pack, not wanting to be in the way of faster runners at the start and not having any intention of actually racing anyone... so I began slowly... but there is a psychological pull, being surrounded by people running... years ago, when I first began running races I had to force myself to hold back in the first mile to avoid running at a pace that was faster than I could maintain... and yet there is still a pull and despite a slow start I still found myself going through the one mile point in 8:10... of course shortly past there is a long uphill section which slowed me considerably. Mostly I maintained a steady pace and finished in 27:12... This race seems to have an odd distance... I always thought of it as a 5k (3.1 miles) but they just call it a three-miler... and at the start we were told it was 3.2 miles. Whatever... I had fun...

After the race Nancy and I wandered about the shops briefly and then headed back home. It was a bit mentally confusing to be returning from a race in mid-afternoon. Usually (especially in the summer) races tend to be in the morning, but starting time for this race had been one o'clock in the afternoon.

And here I am, eleven o'clock Sunday night... I've got to wake Jennifer up from her nap because she is working tonight (going in at midnight instead of the usual eleven p.m., that way the store avoids having to pay Sunday time and a half for that hour)... and I've not even begun to pack my suitcase for tomorrow's trip to Philadelphia. In fact, I may put off moving this to the webpage until I get to my hotel tomorrow afternoon and upload it from there. Good night.

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