Monday, March 31, 2014

The Riot of Spring: An Ras Mor (3/30/14)

#2 shall be first, Larissa en route to her win
Photo by Tom Cole
Race: An Ras Mor
Location: Cambridge, MA
Goal Time: 19:30?
Actual Time: 20:01

I took the right on the turn for home and saw the clock - it was about to flip to 20 minutes.  umph... not good but probably what I deserve. As I finished the race I lamented what could have been but wasn't too unhappy.  An Ras Mor is Somerville Road runners' annual Rite of Spring.  But this year's "spring" and late winter calendar had not set up for me to have a good day.  I have still been recovering from the Masters' Pentathlon / Half Marathon Double and I had blown off running most of the week as I was boycotting temperatures in the teens.  17F (-8C) on March 25!

100 years ago - in May 1913 - Igor Stravinsky premiered his "Rite of Spring."  According to reports of the time and recollections years later, the revolutionary ballet caused a riot - punches thrown, chairs wielded and police hat to be called in - to the ballet.  There is some question as to the validity of all the recollections.  Maybe there was just loud booing and throwing programs?  Maybe noone was arrested?  But, "Riot at the Ballet" sure makes good copy.

Throughout the early 20th Century, "modernity" - the incipient cultural change brought on by second stage Industrial Revolution - had challenged the preconceived notions of the former agrarian culture.  The US had just sent off the Great White Fleet of steel warships and the 1912 election revolved around not progressive vs. conservative but three different levels of Progressivism. In the UK the Labour Party had won 42 seats in the House of Commons and in Russia the beginnings of Bolshevik Revolution was fomenting.

Art kept pace with this revolution in culture.  In a visual analogy, Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" was to Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake" as Picasso's Cubism was to Monet's Impressionism.  Culture was looking at "modern" society in ways unfathomable even 30 years before.

This year's An Ras Mor was a revolutionary change from previous rites of spring.  I would call the weather before the race abysmal - but then you might think it was nicer than it really was.  Other than the horrid mess of the 2010 tsunami, it could have been the wettest race I've seen (and I stayed on my porch in '10). Additionally, as a USATF championship it drew lots of fast and club runners - but very few recreational joggers.  (My cousin must have blown it off with the rain).

As the gun went off, I charged off.  I hit the first mile right on target - 6:15.  The course then flattened out and that's where I was going to drop another gear and hit it hard.  Instead, I was already in the top gear apparently.  All I could think was: well the next 15 minutes are going to hurt.  Sure enough, in bad cruise control I hobbled and wobbled home.  My only motivation in the last mile was to pass Matt Ridout... BAM!

Fortunately there were no riots or punches thrown and nobody had to call in Officer McGinty...

Some serious running going on here...
Photo by Tom Cole
Shoutouts -
Larissa won the woman's race!
Robert, Justine and Karen E all took age-group prizes
My High School friend Eamonn and his better half fought in from Weymouth for their first road race of the year

SRR Teams -
Men's - 8th Open, 2nd Masters (I was not involved), 1st Seniors!!!
Women's - 3rd Open (rival Millennium took 2nd), 2nd Masters, 4th Seniors

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