The St. Patrick’s Day Run. Okay. I don’t want to talk about it, but we know we should.
If you ask moi how it went myself will answer with a question of my own, “The race according to whom?” Because it depends on who you ask. The run according to RaceWire is wildly different from the run according to MapMyRun. Observe:
See what I mean? So, let’s talk about this. From the beginning. I was supposed to run with someone else. Someone who runs a six minute mile. I was okay with that. I will never run that fast, but he’s never run more than three miles. He’s unaccustomed to hills and I hadn’t been training for them. My only edge would have been I know these hills so I know what to expect. I know what’s coming. I thought given our strengths and weaknesses we would balance each other out. Long story short, when he bowed out I was half disappointed, but half relieved as well. The half relief comes from being a solo runner. My comfort zone typically doesn’t have room for a companion. The idea of running alone was bringing me back to what I know. Yet. And yet, I was half disappointed because I felt I was undertrained for this run. We established that already. I did one incline practice run with New Guinea and that was it.
Everything about this run was weird from the beginning. For starters, I never got a confirmation email from race coordinators when I registered. Subsequent alerts like bib number and corral placement never came either. In order to pick up my bib I had to delve into the guts of RaceWire, find my registration & determine my number from there. You can’t pick up your gear without it. Luckily, there were no problems.
Race day dawned clear and chilly, warming up to a balmy 42 degrees. For three years in a row I put myself in the eleven minute mile corral. It’s my lucky spot. This year I was supposed to be in the ten minute mile corral (based on my registration). I had decided to get out of the lie of “eleven” and tell the truth of “ten”. Turns out, I ended up in the way, way, waaayy back. We’re talking back of the pack porta-potty way,way back. With the walkers. With the people joking about stretchers and oxygen tanks and exclamations of What Did I Get Myself Into?
How do I describe the run itself? I couldn’t find Kisa in the first mile. That’s a first. My playlist stopped after the kick-off song (Supply and Demand by Amos Lee). That’s a first, too.
Tuba guy. I found him walking up the penultimate hill and never saw him again. Speaking of hills. Have I mentioned the hills? Elevation goes like this: 164 ft -> 259 -> 315 -> 452 -> 187 -> 222. I powered up every one of those hills as if my life depended on it. No walking, no resting. Just a lot of deep breathing and meditative pacing. I ran them just as strong as any other year.
Probably the most moving part of the run wasn’t the near naked guy in a tutu. It wasn’t the couple who insisted on holding hands. No, it was the entire 82rd Recruit Training Troop of the Massachusetts State Police running in formation in honor of fallen office Thomas Clardy. Running along side them made my whole day.
But. But! But, I don’t know if I have a new PR for this run. If I were to go with RaceWire’s time I most definitely did not PR. In fact I ran six minutes slower. I’ll say it again – S L O W E R. I don’t even know how that is possible unless I remind myself I was undertrained. Maybe it only felt like I was running stronger?
If I were to go with MapMyRun I would be thrilled to say I PR’ed it by 1 minute and 47 seconds. I want to believe this time because I really pushed it this year. I felt like I was working as hard as I could. I powered up every incline and sailed through every straightaway; sprinting on the downhills. My split times match the course perfectly mile for mile. I didn’t take time for water, nor to hobnob or high five anyone. In other words I didn’t fukc around.*
Who do I trust? The chip in my bib or the gps in the sky? RaceWire tracked me crossing the start & finish lines. MMR tracked me the entire way. I simply do not know my own time.
*Okay. Confessional: I DID fist pumped a 3′ inflatable alien but only because he was in my way.