Ramble run -- 04/28/10

So... yesterday I promised to show you some pictures of the James Joyce Ramble, which I will do... But first let me provide a link to the Ramble web site where they have an audio file of an NPR feature story about this year's race and its history.

I had said a couple of weeks ago that I would probably alternate running (or jogging) with walking, using taking photographs of the actors as an excuse to stop running for a while. (For those who aren't familiar with this race, they have actors in period costumes along the race course, reading aloud from the works of James Joyce.) However, even though I had signed up to run, the pain in my right heel had convinced me that even walking the course would have been a bad idea.

So Jill and I set off Sunday morning, driving up to Dedham (a town near Boston)... when we got into town, I realized that I did not remember the way to get to the parking lot we had always parked in (and then walked to the race start). I was driving around but could not remember where we needed to turn. (In my defense, there had been some construction around the highway exit since the last time I had been there (two years ago), some businesses had changed names/ownership, and that section of town is a fairly generic highway lined with exactly the same stores and malls you would find anyplace else.) I found a cop, got directions, found I was driving along what would soon be the race course. Then I found the street leading to the start, but it was blocked off, closed to traffic. I let Jill off there and told her to go get her race number and I would find a place to park.

I finally found a place to park on a narrow residential street about three blocks from the race starting line.

I looked for Jill in the huge mob of people lined up waiting for the start. Then, with an echoing note from a gong, the race started...

It was only as the last runners were crossing the starting line that I saw Jill -- She tossed me my race number and then took off running. (That's her in the black pants and the gray shirt below.)
Since I wasn't running, I set out to look around... saw where they had the race t-shirts and went over to pick up Jill's shirt and mine. Then I found a booth for New England Runner magazine (to which I have subscribed for several years) and had a nice chat with one of the owners. (If you live in New England and enjoy running, you should read it.) I wandered about the grounds, chatting with people at other booths and then it was time to watch the runners crossing the finish line. (The first male ran the race in 30:43 -- that's an average pace of 4:57 per mile for more than six miles.)

I was watching a couple hundred feet from the finish. When I saw Jill go past, I headed through the crowd of spectators to the finish area, but I couldn't find her in the crowd of runners and officials and spectators, so I wandered back up to the area where all the food and drink could be found.... and I waited... and waited... and finally she came across the lawn in front of the Endicott mansion. She had thought I wouldn't be able to resist trying to do the race so she had decided to meet me... so after crossing the finish line, she had retraced her steps and ran along the course for about a mile, hoping to find me and run the last part with me. When the last runners were coming past that point, she gave up and then ran back to the finish. So she got in more than eight miles of running... And then she could finally have the beer (Harpoon!)

So that's the story of this year's James Joyce Ramble...

And tomorrow I have an appointment with my podiatrist to check out my heel.

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