Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday, May 19: 5K in Meredith (#133)

Meredith, with its white clapboard buildings and modest strip mall developments, is sort of like the upper middle class answer to Wolfeboro, the extremely well-to-do enclave on the other side of Lake Winnipesaukee.

And the 5K race on Saturday, May 19 was the first really hot one of the season, with bright skies and temps climbing towards 80 during the run. I finished in a pretty respectable time of 29:15, good enough to be 53rd out of 161, although a good number were walkers. (The race was a fundraiser: the Nathaniel Bibaud 5K Run/Walk 2012.)

One thing is that this race was point-to-point, starting at Inter-Lakes High School (perched on a bluff above town) and ending on town's Lake Winnipesaukee docks, where the 230-foot M/S Mount Washington calls. (But only once a week, apparently, according to this year's schedule.)

So it was a net downhill, but not without first taking us up into a residential neighborhood, and only then down a steep hill to the level of the lake, which it then follows around the bay to the town's center.

Unusual for New Hampshire communities, Meredith has an extensive network of sidewalks, which we used for long stretches of the race, especially near the end. Unfortunate, it seemed all the sidewalks were arranged so as to be in broad daylight at 10 a.m., meaning very little shade on this course.

Still, I felt fairly strong throughout the race, and was energzied by the last quarter-mile, which takes you along a network of wooden docks (which wobble a bit as you run on them) and a town park. With the finish in sight, I pushed hard and passed a gal who was also giving it a good try.

It was a good race, although I almost missed it due to incorrect information posted on about it. This happens a few times a year, at least—I'll head all the way out to some unfamiliar part of town to seek out a race, and when I get to the listed starting point, no one's there! I think sometimes these people must fill out the form wrong, putting their office address (as town rec director, for example) instead of where the darn race is supposed to start.

Arriving in Meredith, I spotted the finish line no problem, so at least I knew a road race was indeed taking place. But the listing had the start at "Prescott Park," which was a mile or so up Route 3.

So up I went, to find a lot of people at Prescott Park, but no one who knew anything about a 5K race. So I went back into town, to question the folks at the finish line.

"Oh, it starts at the high school," a guy said. Okay! But how is it that organizers who post race info online get the starting location listed wrong so often? I can't tell you how many times I've been launched on wild goose chases to find races in unfamiliar, sometimes unsuccessfully. Okay, end of rant.

Got there with just enough time to register, bring change back to my car, and then arrive at the start, where festivities were already underway. After barely enough time to adequately stretch out, off we went, around the school and then, surprisingly, UP some side streets. (So much for my visions of an all downhill course...) After going in and out of a cul-de-sac, we then lost most of our altitude all at once, barrelling down a steep hill that bottomed out at lakeside.

For the final mile, the course followed the lake shore around to the town docks. Good news: Meredith is one of those rare New Hampshire towns that actually has sidewalks! Bad news: They invariably exist on the unshaded side of the road, at least during this road race.

Unusual feature: This is the first race I've run in with any appreciable distance on waterfront dockage! Weird, as some of the docks float on the water, meaning they roll a bit underfoot.

Finished strong but pushed myself a bit too hard, I think, judging by the overheated wastedness that enveloped me afterwards. I dispelled this zombie-like state by walking back to the starting point, which I didn't have to ask anyone about.

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