“But oh, I am so dry! O take me to a brewery, And leave me there to die”
~ Anonymous, parody of the equally obscure “Little Jim”
Race: Black Cat 10, 20 and Relay
Location: Salem, MA
Goals: 1) win relay, 2) 2:10:00, 3) beat Kieran
Time: 2:08:26, 1st in the Relay
Let’s assume it is a scale of 1 to 10: the light-headedness of standing up too quickly after two beers is a 1; and, wandering around at 5 am looking for the subway after 10 hours on the Reeperbahn where Bjoern had taken Andrew, Gabe and you through the various whorehouses and dive bars Hamburg has to offer on the eve of Reunification Day is more like a 12. When I showed up at Bradley’s Sunday morning – after Saturday evening with the Wrights and Greco – I was probably a 5.5.
Fortunately for the start of the race, I was already down to a 4 on the meter.
For the Black Cat 20 Mile Relay, I put together a team of SRR’s B-Class runners – myself, British Tom, Bradley and Anthony. While we aren’t going to light the world on fire – or win the Penn Relays – we expected our average 6:30 mile pace would have a real good chance of winning.
Unfortunately, I was a little less sure once I got to the Start line for leg one. I was a bit confused from my carbing up the night before with boilermakers. But also the race started odd. Kieran mentioned that there was no National Anthem; I noticed that nobody came up and spent a few minutes on a bull horn thanking everyone. Instead, some guy ran to the start line and said: “GO!”
Off all of us went, charging toward Marblehead. I had no idea how many people were running the relay, how many were running the 10 mile race, nor how many were running the 20 mile race. All I knew was I wanted to stay near the front in case there were relay runners in the lead. By about ¾ of a mile, I realized the total stupidity of such a plan. I looked at my watch and I was en route to a 5:45 mile. Whoa, I better slow down.
Fortunately for me – and for those who might be in radius of my vomit – I had sobered up by a little more than a mile into the race. I slowly started to gain on others who had started out too fast as well. By the time I got to Marblehead, I was probably in 12th overall. However, Marblehead greets you with the only hill on the course. Those who were running my speed but doing 10 or 20 miles had no problem with the hill. Those running 4.5 miles around me (well, I guess just me) had to slow considerably.
Despite this slowing for the hill, I was well under the 6:30s we’d planned for this race, well ahead of any other relay team and ahead of Kieran. At 5k, in fact, I had easily run my second fastest 5k – in the neighborhood of 19:15. While the last mile was slower, I still pulled into the exchange point at 27:25 (~6:12s) and did the reverse hand off with British Tom. (This is where instead of giving him a baton, Tommy handed me my sweatshirt and his jacket.)
As Tom ran off back toward Salem and Anthony at the Leg 2/3 exchange point, I wandered into the Deveroux Beach Parking Lot – in case I need to vomit in peace.
I now had nothing to do for about an hour. I could a) jog back to the Starting Line or b) wait around and then jog back with Anthony. I chose b).
Bradley jogged from the start line after parking the car. He showed up about 10 – 15 minutes before the leaders of the 20 Miler, and about 25 before Anthony arrived. Throughout the wait, other relay teams were impressed that he had jogged from the Start Line (because that made 10 miles while everyone else in the race was running at least that?)
By the time Anthony arrived at the exchange point, Kieran had already come through. And he was enough ahead that I knew Bradley would never catch him. Bradley knew it too and didn’t.
Bradley brought it in to finish 2:08:26 – (6:25/ mile pace). 15 minutes ahead of second place Salem Fire Department and 1 minute behind Kieran – bastard.
Now a weekend off of racing before I have to try to hold off Alex White in the Grand Prix standings.