Sunday, May 19, 2013

Back on the local running circuit:
Coming in nearly last in Bedford, N.H.

When you run what seems to be a strong race and still come in 238 out of 255, you're clearly not in it for the glory.

That's what I thought after completing the Bedford (N.H.) Rotary Club's 12K race, which was held under sunny morning skies on Saturday, May 18.

My time? 1 hour, 21 minutes, 31 seconds, giving me a pace of 10:56. Pretty good for me!

The good news? I wasn't absolute dead last. The bad news? I was 47 out of 47 people in my age group.

But still, I can take some solace that I finished ahead of 17 people. It would have been only 16 if not for my last-minute sprint right before the finish line, which enabled me to finally power past a guy I'd been chasing pratically the whole race. Nothing like a strong finish! (My wife pointed out that I should be proud of outrunning a 65-year-old guy.)

The Bedford Rotary 12K was a consolation race for me. What happened was, I got up too late to make it up to the small town of Hill, N.H., where they were running a rare 5K that started at 8 a.m.

Since Hill was out, I figured I'd run the Bedford race, which starts and finishes a short walk from my driveway. How often is that possible?

Even so, I didn't get to the registration table until about 10 minutes prior to the gun—cutting it close as usual. Just enough time to stretch out a bit and get to the starting line.

It's weird to run a race in the town where you live, and on roads you know so well. For one thing, it's very stress-free. I knew exactly where the hills were and how long they were, what kind of shade was present (or not), and so on. No surprises there.

But I did experience things I'd never encountered before. At the start, the bagpiper sent us off with a bagpipe version of 'Chariots of Fire.' And on Patten Road, a small band of elderly folks were manning an unofficial water stop, handing out cups of water filled from a garden hose while a sound system boomed Elgar's 'Pomp and Circumstance' March.

In local news, I saw that a long-time town resident's house is sale, so the race helped me keep up with neighborhood scuttlebutt.

The race seemed short in part because I thought the mile markers were kilometers. This delusion was in effect until about Mile 5, when it became clear that we were more than half-way through, so the numbers couldn't be kilometers. This might be why the whole thing seemed relatively easy, even though I was running continuously for more than an hour. :)

Physical deterioration department: I was pleased to find that I survived the whole course pretty much without developing serious problems. The only part of me that felt like it was taking a beating was the feet. About two-thirds through the race, both felt like someone had taken a ball peen hammer to them. Just stress on the tissues and bones, I think. But no muscle cramping, chafing, or other complaints. Guess I'm starting to build up my tolerance and resistance.

So that's primed the pump for more road races or independent runs in the next few months.

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