I finished this race in 23:17. Quite a bit slower than 5 to 10 years ago, but 5 to 10 years from now, 23:17 will probably seem fast. I hope a miracle, a scientific breakthrough, or maybe hard running will lead to faster times in the future, but if not, I may never be this fast again, so I am going to be happy.
Pre-race was similar to last year: a nice warm-up with my high school geometry teacher, Mr. Gary Larson. Note: I graduated from high school 30 years ago. He talked about an interesting relay he did. Last year I wanted to stick with him, but he was too fast. This year we had quite the partnership / battle.
I was able to start quickly this year. Last year I had a problem with my knee wrap falling off at the start. I had the same worry: it felt loose. I am glad to write it worked the entire race. However, I had a problem with the GPS/Phone/timer. I forgot to start it. After 100 yards I tried to pull it out of the holster, start it, and put it back. I thought I accomplished the task, but it was beyond my skill. At the end of the race, it reported two seconds. Oh well, no GPS data. I had a wrist watch I successfully started.
The first mile is a gradual up hill. I have run this course many times, and have made the disastrous mistake of going out too fast. This time I did a good job. Around the ¾ mile mark I caught up with Gary Larson. I felt good about that. Last year I was not able to. As we turned off Summer Street onto Fairview Avenue, Gary Larson suggested we “relax, stick together.” He said there was a “fast, old guy, like me,” behind us trying to catch him. That made me laugh. Mr. Larson, the Geometry teacher, was always able to make us laugh in class, back “when Hector was a pup,” (a favorite saying of his.)
At the one mile mark we both looked at our clocks. I saw between 7:30 and 7:35 – I think – something like that. I remember being happy with the time.
We got to the long downhill by the fairgrounds. I let Gary Larson know I was going to take advantage of the hill. I pulled ahead. He easily caught up after the hill was over. Then we started one of the more difficult parts of the course: after leaving Fairview Avenue, and crossing a bridge, we ran up a hill to where Merritt Square used to be, turned right, and continued to run an uncomfortable uphill stretch to the banks in town. Gary Larson suggested we run in the road where the footing was better. Good advice, I had always run in the parking lane where more care was needed. We made it to the banks, and I thanked Gary Larson, saying, “thanks; that was good work.”
At this point, I thought about the last hill of the race, the one behind the hospital. My parents and Doreen wait at the top of the hill, taking pictures. Having them there provides a lot of motivation. Last year, Doreen took a great picture of Gary Larson and me before the race. A picture of us together at the end of the race would even be better. I let Gary Larson know my parents and Doreen would be there. I suggested we smile and try to look good when they take the picture.
After running through town, and taking yet another right turn, there is a stretch where runners need to cross a busy street. I try to cross when others cross. Safety in numbers, and, well, I try to be in front of someone crossing – they will stop cars – one way or another. Gary Larson and I made it across safely. We ran past the post office. Gary Larson suggested I take off, pull ahead. I told him I am happy with the pace. He was helping me tremendously. I could not run faster.
We took a left onto Winter Street. Then a right, then a left, and there we were! Ahead on the left was the back of the hospital. On the right, on top of the last hill of the race, were my parents and Doreen, taking pictures:
The results posted here. Thanks for reading.