Sunday, June 01, 2003

Race Day - Covered Bridges

We got up at 6:30 and dressed for the race. It was drizzling out, but not raining. We discussed not going, but I pointed out that if we didn't, we'd regret it. So we went downstairs and had a nice breakfast of oatmeal, waffles and bananas.

We got to the race parking on time and took a bus to the start at Suicide Six ski area. We ran into Steve from the day before and hung out with him while we waited for the race to begin. Having a new friend made the time pass quickly. There was no rain, although the skies looked threatening. But after a bit of debate we decided to leave our jackets in our bag and take our chances.

I had been worried that my legs would be tired after the previous day's mountain climbing, but I felt surprisingly good for the first nine miles. I had decided to run without a time goal, so I started with conservative 9:30 miles. This quickly became boring and I speeded up a bit. I ran for awhile with an older gentleman from Mystic, and mentioned that Dan and I have Indian food there every year. It was a good thing I talked to him because he told me that our favorite Indian restaurant had closed. He told me of another Indian restaurant in Mystic and a good one in New London.

Around mile 9 I began to feel the effects of the previous day's hike. The run became more difficult, but with only 4 miles to go I figured I should be able to finish in 2 hours. I passed a girl wearing a shirt from a running store in Austin, and ran with her a little way, curious to find out what brought a fellow Texan to Vermont. It turned out she had moved there and was loving it. It gave me food for thought.

I finished the race just under 2 hours, much to my surprise given what I had put my legs through the day before. I saw Steve at the finish and went to talk to him after I got my water and had my timing chip removed. Steve couldn't talk long though, because he was off to find his wife. I needed to go find Dan, so I headed out, too, stopping to get my finisher's t-shirt and managing to get the last small shirt they had.

Soon after I got back on the road I saw Dan and ran him in a little way. I was startled when a guy in front of him collapsed, clearly in a lot of pain, just after crossing the mats. Two years before, this is what had happened to Dan, who had run the race on a cracked ankle. I helped the guy over to a chair, gave him my unopened water and removed his chip for him. I talked to him for a few minutes to make sure he was going to be okay, then I went looking for Dan. By now it had started raining and not only did I want to find my husband, but I wanted to find our bag so I could get my jacket. I found Dan talking to the New Jersey couple from the night before. He realized he hadn't gotten his finisher's shirt, so while he went to do that, I went to the food tent and got some chocolate chip cookies. It's important to have one's priorities in order.

Then we waited in the rain for a bus to take us to the parking area. I drank my post-race Endurox and ate cookies while we waited. Finally a bus came, we pushed through the people who tried to cut ahead of us, and got back to the parking lot. I was cold and soaking wet by this point. A hot shower, tea, puff pastries and brownies back at the inn fixed everything. Then it was time for a short nap.

After our nap we drove to Hanover, New Hampshire, for our traditional post-race Indian food. Service was slow, but the tandoori, saag paneer and naan were worth the wait. It was too damp and chilly to walk after dinner so we went back to the inn, had some tea in the parlor and read some of the local magazines. Then we went upstairs, packed and went to bed.

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