Mar 8, 2011

Claddagh Pub 4 Mile Race recap

Posted by Jan on Tuesday, March 08, 2011 with No comments
On Sunday, March 6th, I found myself making my way to Lawrence, MA, to compete in the Claddagh Pub 4 Mile race. It was part II of a 3 part race series that I signed up for back in January.

The weather, although cloudy, was a balmy 53 degrees. Finally, it seemed like spring was trying to poke her head out of the dirty snowbanks. This past winter in New England has not been easy and there has been an abnormal amount of treadmill miles ran in the last few months by all runners. But you could hear the relief in peoples voices at the race start line and see the smiles on the faces, that for once, we didn't need layers of clothing to protect us from the elements. Even though sunshine would have been nice, we will take what we can get.

I have never been to downtown Lawrence -- just to the outskirts of the city. It is evident, that like my beloved Lowell, it is a city struggling for a post mill industry identity. It has some ways to go as compared to downtown Lowell. Some sections were downtrodden, but only in appearance. As I ran along Water Street, locals had their children out on their porches waving to the 750 runners, other people smiled and snapped photos on their camera phones from their cars, small business employees stood on the sidewalks, watching in amusement the crazy spectacle. I smiled and waved to all and received the same in return. I love humanity.

Over dressed...again!
Around the 1.5 mile mark was the start of a steady incline. It was subtle, but you could see it. No worries. I handled last weeks hills in Haverhill with better than expected results. I wasn't keeping track of my pace. I was just doing what I normally do. Run to the edge of the "comfortableness" because I am doing this for the health of it. If I improve, so be it, I welcome it. If I don't improve, that's okay. No pressure.

We made our way to the Tower Hill section of town. And then it hit me as we turned the corner onto Cypress Street. The dreaded hill everyone talked of. Yes, it was awful. You know the sensation of when you were a little kid everything seemed so much bigger than it really was? Well, that is how my mind, at 48 years old, felt about this hill. And it was huge, like Mount Everest steep! All I could imagine was whispy clouds floating by at its peak!

I ran jogged 1/3 of it and threw in the towel. There was no point wrecking my shins over it. I had my expensive compression socks on for the first time and I didn't want to judge how well they worked based on this ridiculously steep hill. It seemed a bit unfair.

The hill made a slight jog to the left, so in my mind, I thought redemption of the "flatland" was right around that corner. Wrong! Around the corner I went and then some more hill. Finally, I reached the pinnacle and the water table. I was cussing away in my head, but thanking the volunteers on the outside for the water hand outs.

Going downhill on Lowell Street was not a peach of an experience either. It was joint rattling. But finally I was back on to Riverside Drive, following the mighty Merrimack River and I was on my way back to the heart of the city and to, hopefully, a cup of cold beer!

At the finish line, my time was okay. Not thrilled, but considering I walked a portion of it, I accepted the time the best I could. I didn't think I placed pressure on myself, but it is evident that my disappointment in walking 2/10th of a mile made me feel like a failure. Crazy, but I know there are some of you that can relate to this. The lesson I learned from this is if I can scope out the course ahead of time, I will do that so there are no mental surprises. I think the "hill" knocked the wind out of me physically and mentally.

After race festivities included music, hot baked ziti, salad, bread and beer. The racing bling again was terrific. Nice preshrunk long sleeve T-Shirt (I really like the design) and part II of my three part finishers medal. The organizers of this series are fantastic and I am so glad that I decided to take it on even though it 4 and 5 milers are outside my comfort zone. It has taught me some valuable lessons as a newbie runner!

Bring on the Hynes 5 miler!


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