Monday, 14 June 2004
I've done a bit more journaling than has been apparent lately. I wrote almost all of the entry about my reading at Quimby's, but then left for my vacation early without getting it finished and posted. While I was on vacation I didn't write proper entries, and won't try to recreate them now, but since that one was written at the time and nearly done, I've gone ahead ahead and posted it in proper sequence back on June 3rd.
For the vacation itself, Steven wrote some brief notes about what we did in Gettysburg last week in his June 10th journal entry, so I won't duplicate that effort.
It was great to have all the Brewers together. That hasn't happened in a very long time.
Jackie and I headed home after lunch on Thursday, pushing on as far as Columbus before stopping for the night. We got home Friday early enough that we could unload the van, return it, and then have some time to relax that evening--important, because my race was the next morning.
I almost didn't go, because of thunderstorms. (I'll face mud and wet, but running in lightning exceeds my threshold of stupidity.) In fact, around 6:30 AM I heard that there were flood warnings and severe thunderstorms warnings, and decided to give up on the race. I was pretty sad, since I'd been looking forward to this race for a year. I consoled myself with a bit of StarCraft, but it wasn't really making me feel much better. Then, I noticed that there was a bit of sun! I checked the weather on the computer and saw that the line of thunderstorms had moved on. I told Jackie that I wanted to go see if I couldn't run the race after all.
We had to hurry, but we got there with a few minutes to spare. I registered, pinned on my number, and got to the starting line after the race director had already started with the final instructions. He said that they'd checked the course the day before and had thought they'd have to cancel to race or change the course, as there was chest-deep water flowing over the trail at one point. But by that morning the water was down to just knee-deep and they'd decided to go ahead.
I managed to keep my feet mostly dry for the first five minutes of the race, but pretty soon there seemed to be no point in trying to avoid the puddles. Shortly after that, avoiding the puddles was impossible anyway. Two places I waded through water up to the middle of my shins. Once I went through mud that was over the tops of my socks. (Water right after that let me rinse most of the mud off my shoes.)
Despite all that, the only real problem was the slipperiness of the mud on the steep bits of the trail. There were several places where it was just almost impossible to get up the hill, because you slid down as fast as you could go up. I managed, though, picking my footing as best I could, getting off the trail and climbing up through the trail-side brush at one point.
The results have been posted. I'm down there at 203rd (out of 228 finishers). I ran the 7.1 miles in 1:46:56.7, for an average pace of 15:04.
When I mentioned my performance to my family, I got a couple of encouraging notes. I guess I sounded like I was discouraged at placing so low. ( I was 26th out of 29 in my age group, but I would have been the last finisher in the 45-49 age group--the group I would have been in if the race had been held a week later. Perhaps saying that was what made me sound discouraged.) Anyhow, let me just say that I'm not a bit discouraged. I'm unquestionably in the best shape of my life. If I keep up the running, I'm sure I'll get quite a bit faster without having to go to any great effort. If I do some training for speed, I can probably go faster yet. I'll definitely do the former. Doing the latter would cut into the energy I have for writing, so I'm going to hold off on that for a bit. Maybe I can fit it in. I'll wait and see.