We headed to Kate's parents house to drop off our two youngest children. It was going to be to cold for them to stand around waiting for the start. The route went right past her parent’s street and they would be able to see me there. We headed down to the start at about 10:30 and we met up with a friend who was also running. We tried to warm up a little before they announced runners to the start. They corralled all 1816 of us into the starting area, everyone was jumping up and down trying to keep warm while the Miss.New Bedford sang the National Anthem and the Mayor said a few words about our fine city! Let go already I’m getting cold again! A quick wave and we were off!
The pace was a little quicker than I had planned for. I was thinking 9 minute miles would be a good start for me. They had pace counters at every mile, so when I reached the first mile and heard 7:58, 7:59…8:00 I thought crap…I better slow down. Mile two and three was about the same… 16:03, 24:00. I was trying to slow it down a little, but running in such a large pack carries you along. Then I hit the first of two hills. The first major hill on Hathaway road was the only hill that I was a little worried about. It was long with a significant grade and I hadn’t fully warmed up yet. The top of the hill was mile 4…32:20! It must have been the pack of runners that carried me up that hill.
The next 6 or 7 miles were relatively flat and I was able to get into a comfortable pace… thankfully. My whole family was waiting for me at mile 6, it was great to see them all standing there cheering me on.
We headed down Rockdale Avenue towards Rodney French Boulevard, along the beaches. This is where the wind really started to pick up. Gusts of wind would come and push you sideways, you had to just put your head down and push through it. I had a guy that kept using me to block the wind for him, I would move to the side to let him pass and he would follow…it was funny!
Did I mention I forgot my IPod… well I did and I definitely could have used a little distraction at this point. The crowds of cheering people were gone, most likely the cold was keeping them away. I was now approaching the 12 mile marker, the breaking point, the final big hill! This mammoth hill had reduced many runners to a slow walk while others could only manage to crawl in a desperate effort to complete their own personal journey… just kidding It wasn’t that bad!
The streets were lined with people again cheering you up the final hill. Runners who had finished already were on the way back “to rub it in”… I mean to give us support. Just one mile to go to the finish, you can do it! The music was getting louder now and I could hear the announcer reading off names as they crossed the finish line. I rounded the final corner and saw the finish. I could see my wife and son waiting at the finish… they were smiling! After I crossed the finish, volunteers where waiting to take my chip and pass out finishers metals… My first one!
My official time was 1:49:11.
I did learn a few things during this race.
1. I “can” handle a faster pace on race day.
2. Water running down your neck while trying to drink at a water stop in 32 degree weather is cold!
3. Puffy yellow jackets in the wind acts like a sail. (Not in a good way)
4. When you feel the urge to P before a race…do it! It doesn’t go away!
5. Have more confidence in my abilities.
Mooseman Here I Come!