I’m still running! And because everyone seems to always love pictures of Ruthie, here’s one to get this post started off on the right foot!
Ruthie, looks like she's smiling, doesn't it?
Last week was an extremely long one at work since I had worked straight through, including on Easter Sunday. By Friday, I was definitely ready for it to come to an end. Some of us went out for drinks after work, but I only had one beer (and didn’t even finish it, lame, I know), but I don’t drink much, and definitely not on the night before a race.
Saturday morning started, as always, with a walk with Ruthie. We have definitely come to the conclusion that before we got her, she must have been attacked by other dogs at some point. We were walking around what is normally a very quiet neighborhood. Long story short, there was a dog off of its leash on its back yard, with no owner outside (and no fence). It came over to Ruthie, while I was frozen in fear, not knowing what to do. We think Ruthie’s attitude in a situation like this is “I’m gonna kick your ass before you get a chance to kick mine.” She definitely fights out of fear. I yelled and screamed for help, and someone who lived down the street heard me, and came running to help. Without that lady, who told me her name was Donna, I have no idea how I would have gotten the dogs separated. Ruthie had her mouth over the other dog’s face, over her eye. I got bit (not sure by which dog, so I got a tetanus shot today), and so did the other lady. I’m not sure if the other dog is up-to-date on its shots (and who knows if they would have been telling the truth even if I asked) but I know Ruthie is. I ended up walking Ruthie a few times after that, and it made me feel awful, but I felt like it was necessary. I’m also changing my route with her on weekend mornings now to avoid that street entirely. She and I walked together today without the muzzle, thank God.
So that was all before 9 a.m. on Saturday. I have to be honest. I was really upset that morning. When I got home, I asked Bill to take care of Ruthie and I was in tears. I feel like I just froze and didn’t react properly. Next time we see a dog off a leash, I’m going to yell and scream at it until it turns around and goes in the other direction. I was worried that if we ran away from it, that it would take chase and that would make things worse.
Bill and I got to the race at 10 am in plenty of time to get my number, bib, and free T-shirt. Unlike last weekend, it was only in the 50s or 60s this weekend, and on Saturday, we had 19-20 mph winds set for 11 a.m. I was kind of doubting my decision to only wear shorts when we first got there, as it was really cold when the wind blew. However, I figured once I got going, I’d heat up pretty good and be fine.
This post has already gotten long so I’ll just mention some of the highlights. Before the race, I pointed out a few guys to Bill, who I thought were the likely winners. You know how sometimes you can just tell if someone’ fast by looking at them? One guy looked to be the winner of the Claddagh Pub 4 Miler I ran in March. (I was right.) Another guy looked like this really fast Master’s age runner from Lowell, MA. (Again,I was right.) By the way, this weekend’s results are here .
Once the runners for the 5 Mile race were moved to the starting area, they had us just milling around for a while. (That was one of the few complaints I’d have about this race, that the start was a bit disorganized-feeling.) We started at least 10 minutes late. But, in the meantime, I’d seen the two fasties just milling around like everyone else. I went up to one of them and said “are you Titus?” thinking that the guy is going to either be nice, or think I’m a nut and try to get away from me. He said that he was and I just looked at him and said “you’re from Lowell, right?” and he said “yep, that’s me.” I told him that he’d won many races I’ve run, and he gave me a big smile. I told him good luck and he thanked me.
Well, as you can see from the results, the guy is smoking fast. And 45!! I wish I could run on such a hilly course as fast as he did. Overall time of 28:52 (trust me, it was hilly, and super windy, and I felt like we were climbing for at least 5 miles with only a few flat breaks). I saw him taking a cool-down run as I was in the last half mile or so, and he gave me a big smile and wave. At that point, I knew I was close, and the fact that someone like him had remembered me gave me a nice boost of speed. (On a flat course, he keeps those mile splits down in the low 5s. Trust me, the guy does NOT look his age!)
This was a challenging course, as I’ve said, with so many hills, but I think it’s one I would do again. My overall Garmin time was 44:55 (official race time of 45:00 because there was no mat at the start). While it’s not a PR for me at this mileage, it was a really difficult 5 mile course (probably my hardest race, hill-wise, at this distance), and with the wind, I am quite happy with the results.
overall place: 85/164
division place: 8/24 of W35-39 (yay, top 10!)
average pace overall: 8:58 pace
mile 1: 8:51
mile 2: 9:13
mile 3: 9:03
mile 4: 9:08
mile 5: 8:36
This race was only run for the second time this year. They do a great job of publicizing it way in advance (putting postcards on our cars at races, 6 months ahead!) There is ample parking, great volunteer support, many water stations, and lots of good food at the end: pasta salad, fruits, water, monster energy drinks, cheese and cracker snacks (love them!), cape cod potato chips! They also had hot dogs and hamburgers you could buy, as well as many many awards to give out. I think as they gain more experience, they’ll be better at starting on time. They don’t get the streets closed off, but not too many races I run, do. Overall, it’s a race I’d recommend.
Anyway, below is a photo of me before the race. Yep, my shirt is tucked into my shorts, because I was turning into a popsicle right about then.