Tuesday, September 13, 2011
SO SOMETIMES. . . YOU HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HOW BADLY YOU SCREWED UP A RACE.
And this is one of those times. As faithful readers know, I'm not fast. Never going to be fast. At this point, don't even really want to be fast. BUT, for some reason, Falmouth is the one race where I feel like I've got a yardstick for how much better at this I've gotten from where I started.
My earliest Falmouth times were REALLY pathetic. 1 hour 36 minutes to cover the 7.1 miles comes to mind. I also remember the one race where I had to walk before I reached the 1 mile mark. (those may have been the same race, I don't remember). The race where I saw the girl passed out on the side of the road around mile 2 and decided that walking was good enough for me at that point! Then, as I "got more serious" to the extent I'm ever serious, I watched my times slowly improve. From the 1:36 minute to the 1:28 minute to the 1:24 minute and finally, last year in 2010 to my best Falmouth time ever.
As we do every year, my "family" met up at the flagpole down by the school to board the buses to the start line. New friends, old friend, new friends that feel like old friends, cousins, my dad. . we all board the bus and head up to Woods Hole to wait for a few hours. This year was nothing new, other than new race management not realizing that adding 1200 runners and reducing the number of buses by 30 probably was not a good idea. . .
Long after we were ready (due to a 15 minute delay caused by the fact there were not enough buses), it was time to go. I had in my head I need to beat 1:17 minutes to improve on last year's time as my primary goal and as a secondary goal: to finally beat my dad !! I headed out at a steady pace and was right on track as I climbed up the hill by the Nobska Lighthouse to the music from Rocky (I think that music has been on constant replay up that hill for the past 20 years).
Still feeling good, and on pace as we pulled out of the shade and down to the beach. Starting to get hot and sticky (it always does down there by the beach) but otherwise enjoying the music and the amazing amount of spectators who made it out this year. I enjoyed the "Worcester" cheers-- spoken in the proper accent for once-- as I hit the west end of the harbor.
At this point every year, I wish that this was a duathlon. You could have a choice-- run the additional 1.4 mile up and around the Harbor OR take a quick swim of about 200 yards across the mouth of the harbor and be less than a 1/2 mile from the finish line. Just saying. .. its an idea. . . (although those that go around the Harbor are often treated to Tedy Bruschi sightings-- which may just make it worth it).
Around the harbor-- no Tedy, but the ability to kiss a blow up copy of Lord Stanley's Cup and up the final hill to the finish. I'd taken no walk breaks and was feeling strong. My watch had me right on pace to cruise in just around 1:17. All was right with the world.
I got to the top of the hill and there was the real reason I come home to run Falmouth every year-- my mom with the two boys. I've chronicled at length my trials and tribulations with getting my kids to my events, but at Falmouth, Grandma doesn't allow any other options. There they were-In their running shoes and ready to cruise across the finish line with mommy-- Down the hill we ran-- checking ourselves out in the great big jumbotron as we made our way under the giant American Flag.
I hit my watch and saw 1:17:04. Ohh-- it was going to be close-- did I make it?
Hours later-- after the family reunion party that follows every Falmouth-- I jumped online to see my results: 1:17:09-- Did I make it?? Well, my did ran a 1:22:03 so I beat him. I checked the Falmouth 2010 stats to see if I had run over 1:17:09 last year. . . and realized that I'd been wrong. I had run a 1:13 last year. I WAS 4 MINUTES OVER!!! and had no one to blame but myself. By letting myself think that I had to run a 1:17-- I paced myself to run a 1:17-- and ran a 1:17.
Could I have run the 1:13? Probably so if I'd been smart enough to realize I needed to. . . but there is always next year.