Sunday, June 06, 2004

Covered Bridges Half Marathon

Race Day! Thankfully there was no sign of the predicted rain. It was warm and sunny for the first time in the four years I had done this race. I dressed, went in to breakfast and tried to eat light, but Dan's waffles looked so good I couldn't resist having one myself on top of the bowl of oatmeal I had already eaten.

Dan drove me to the race start-- quite an indulgence, since we usually parked and rode the bus like everyone else. Alone waiting at the start, I busied myself with my timing chip, race number, water, etc. I visited with the other runners, went for a walk up one of the ski slopes where I saw clovers as big as pansies, and then I finally went for a short warmup run.

The race started okay, but I could tell right away that the past week of hiking had taken a lot out of me. My legs felt like lead weights before we even got to Woodstock, just four miles away. It was hard to let go of my desire to better last year's time, but the pain it would've put me in wasn't worth it. I was on vacation, after all. So I just slowed down a bit and tried to enjoy the race. Two little girls came out to watch us from the back of a spotted pony. Horses ran along their paddock fences as if they would join us. Bagpipers and barbershop quartets serenaded us. Dan met me at the Woodstock bridge where I was feeling a little nauseous from my big breakfast and I told him if I didn't feel better by Taftsville, I was quitting. He nodded like he understood, but I think he knew me well enough to know I would have to have a broken leg to stop. Sure enough, by Taftsville it seemed silly to quit. My stomach had settled down and by now the race was over halfway done. Dan met me at the Taftsville bridge and said he'd see me at the finish. I continued on. Miles nine through eleven were the worst because there was less to see and fewer distractions from my tired, heavy legs. But then like magic we were at mile twelve, with the finish line just over a mile away. I was given an excellent incentive to pick up the pace when the mile twelve entertainer launched into an off-key rendition of "Yesterday." It was a toss-up which was worse, the choice of song or the singer.

So I pushsed on through for another three quarters of a mile. After that we could start hearing the crowd at the finish line. It's always easy once you can hear the crowd. Dan was at the finish and the announcer even called my name. I was disappointed with my time, but that's how things work out sometimes. At least they still had small finisher shirts available.

So after I got my shirt and water, I met up with Dan in the post-race area. I grabbed some yogurt and Dan found some cookies for me and a bagel for himself. We sat in the grass and ate, then found the car and went back to Kay's where I showered and dressed. Then we drove over to East Dorset for dinner. After we ate and hung out a bit, we headed back toward Kay's, taking a detour into Woodstock. As before, nothing was open, but we walked around a bit.

Then we went back to our B&B where Dan crashed while I ate brownies, drank tea and read the New York Times. Ronald Reagan had just died and they had a lot of stories about him. Kay's family upstairs made quite a ruckus, but they finally settled down and I went to bed.

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