I ran Falmouth again this year. This is the second time I’ve run this one. I don’t run it for the medal because they don’t give medals usually as I learned the hard way last year. Come to find out they give medals at this race every 5 years. This year was the 45th running of this bucket list race so guess what I got! Yep a medal! It’s beautiful and so worth the 7 mile struggle over hills in the heat.
ANYWAY… Today was many things. It was definitely all about the bling and the experience. As those of you who know me well understand, I love me a good medal! The race itself is always a hot one which makes it harder than other races. IT took us 25 or so minutes to actually walk from where we hit the main drag TO the starting line because in this race they do a pulse start which just means we set of in groups of like 50 at a time then they wait a minute and send the next group. It spaces us out and helps keep things moving. Even this small detail is just one of the many things that make this my all time favorite race ever! I wasn’t sure my race would be a good one because of the time of month it was. I’m always slow just before the blessed event so I was expecting it to be hard, but went into it just wanting to have fun at the very least. That I did achieve with no problem whatsoever. I wanted to beat my 1:18:15 time from last year and amazingly I did!!! I finished unofficially at 1:15:51! I believe 100% that that accomplishment is directly attributed to all the core workouts I have been doing. It definitely paid off because the hills were a bitch, especially the one at the very end that made 7.1 miles feel like 13.1. Over the 7 .1 miles I was perpetually stuck in a large group of runners the entire way so it was nearly impossible to run swiftly when you’re crowded in. I was grateful that that I couldn’t “take off” because it forced me to run a better more controlled race. Probably why I finished two minutes faster than last year. The feeling of struggling for 7 hilly hot miles seems to fade away as you give that last and final ounce of energy to push up that last horrible hill. When you crest it you can see the gigantic American flag that is hoisted above the finish line by a crane just a hundred yards below. You somehow find strength as people are cheering and shouting and you see the Jumbotron with the life finish line stream for those waiting for their loved ones to cross. The air is electric with excitement and you run to that beautiful painted word on the street “FINISH” that sits under the banner just above that signals the end of your 7 mile journey marked by a stomp on the timing mat to seal your race time. You can’t explain how it feels, you have to experience it yourself.
The Falmouth Road Race organizers, volunteers & medics are outstanding! They should get their own medal for the perfected work of making this race such a smooth well oiled event! I’m not kidding you, it is so well organized, you don’t have to search for porto o potties because there are literally about a hundred in the waiting area. Medics were visible with clearly marked signs at several points along the way ready to help those who needed it,. The police rode bikes along the route to ensure things moved along nicely. The people of Falmouth and friends / family of runners literally just line the streets cheering for you, soaking you with their hoses, giving you oranges and ice and 5 bands set up along the route and played music for us as we passed. There weren’t just a few… there were people that in some places were several rows deep just watching us come through. Some gave high fives (the little kids are my favorites to high five. They are wonderful cheerers!) Many blasted the radio, some had cow bells and others had horns. There were so many this year, more than last I thought. Any time I thought I might do some walking beyond just stopping for water I just couldn’t do it because the excitement of being there was compelling. I just cannot say enough good things about this wonderful race.
When you use the word Chaos mostly you think of confusion and craziness that leaves a bad taste in your mouth. The gathering spot after the race can only be described as chaos. I’ve never seen or experienced organized chaos until I ran Falmouth. So many people all in the same spot but it’s oddly and strangely organized. From the pick up letters at the back of the field where families go to meet runners to the guys handing out the Yasso bars by the way, is by far the best at the end of a hard race! The band and the tent volunteers handing out post race goodies somehow swiftly corral all those people through with no waiting line. The whole race was start to finish amazing and something that you should do if you want to see how a good race is run. I can’t wait for next year!!
One of my favorite parts of my experience lies outside the race itself. I run this race with my friend Barbara and we stay with our friends Gary and Gail who live in Falmouth. Staying with friends who give you a ride to the busses and fight the crowd to pick you up from the finish line, who feed you and give you a place to lay your head for free absolutely makes the experience just that much better. Running this race with my friend, even though we don’t run together, is the BEST! knowing that I’m sharing something amazing with her is special. Taking selfies and pictures throughout our days there are memories that I cherish. Having someone to share what will become a tall tale that I tell my grandchildren later in life is one of those things that money can’t buy! I really love my running friend(s). This part of the experience and not having to worry about crowded restaurants, overbooked hotels, driving to the start or finding parking or worrying about my belongings while I’m racing turns what could be a crazy stressful weekend into a wonderful weekend of memories instead!
I see that my new impulse Sparkle Skirt purchase is out for delivery today. It’s worse than when I was a kid waiting for the hour when I could get out of bed to see what Santa left me! I can’t stand waiting! As 5:00 creeps up, actually 4:00 since I am leaving at 4pm, I am now freaking out a little bit that it won’t be here in time for me to get it. It’s awful! The anticipation of having a new fresh unworn skirt to this years race is killing me! When will it be here * track it again to see if the status has changed * Walk up front to see if it’s here and no one told me * Repeat. I’m driving myself crazy! Apparently I’m only getting old on the outside because underneath all this finely aged beauty (insert vomit sound here) I’m jumping out of my pants screaming “when will it be here!” What if it doesn’t get her on time?? That will suck because they will either try to deliver it tomorrow between 9-12 in which case I might be able to pick it up on my way to pick up my running partner for the race. If not then sadly I will be forced to wait until after the big day to get a look at her and take her for a spin. Heinz 57 wasn’t kidding in their commercial that sang “Anticipa-ay-shun is making me wait!” Here’s to hoping I’ll get my package soon and move along to an unfettered racing weekend.
As a side note…UPS showed up at 4:00 LOL Talk about perfect timing!
There’s just something peaceful about morning running. Maybe it’s the quiet of the day or the darkness that hasn’t quite conceded to the bright glow of the majestic day ahead. There are not many cars around nor other runners where I am or even people walking dogs. It’s just quiet almost to the point that I can hear my thoughts out loud. I love that first breath in of fresh crisp air that purges my lungs of night air and fills my soul with brightness. It calls me to it, envelops me and makes me its own for 30 minutes of bliss. I can see the glow of a dawning day in the windows of my neighbors and see those who have started their day. I can smell those ambitious enough to cook something that appeals to my palette as I run on an empty stomach thinking about the pancakes and eggs I’ll make when I return. As dawn lights my way, revealing my form I realize this is the best run that I’ve had in many days. I enjoyed it a lot and am happy I didn’t wait until tonight to go. When I run in the morning I have no worries, no problems, no distractions. My phone isn’t ringing, I’m not tied to the internet and I’m not trying to organize anything. It’s just me, in the dark blending in with what remains of the night. Free as a bird and not weighted down by life at this very moment.
Today as I make my way through my neighborhood wondering who knows I’m passing by, my mind is on my race on Sunday. I’m running The Falmouth Road Race and thinking about how the race will go and whether it will be my race. It may not be. Because of the time of the month it may have to just be fun. I’m not expecting it to be a stellar race because I just don’t do well a few days before I get my period. 2-4 days prior, my legs are heavy, it’s hard for me to breathe and it’s just a struggle. Even if it’s a struggle, I’d like to beat last years 1:18. I’m much stronger this year in my core than last year which will be helpful. Nonetheless, if I go into it not expecting too much and not trying to be faster than last year I think it will be fine. Slow it down and I’ll have more fun. My friend who runs this race with me might like company for the entire 7 miles rather than being dumped at the starting line like I usually do. I well know how not fun running alone is so that might be the way to go I think. It’s all about the fun and the experience.
I don’t know when a race in my mind warranted a new outfit but apparently it did today. I don’t buy new gear for every race, in fact most of what I wear although it may be new or newer is not bought specifically for any race. It has happened don’t get me wrong but I don’t make a practice of it generally. I have plenty of running clothes and now own not 1, not 2 not 3 but 4 count em FOUR @SparkleSkirts with my name on the list for another one. WTH! I remember sort of bashing other ladies for owning so many but I’m now on my own way to obsession! Today I flat out purchased a skirt yes, that one right there, just for the hell of having a brand new skirt to run the race in. It’s fun and bright and colorful. It reminds me of the light and happy atmosphere of the race I’m running on Sunday. The Falmouth Road Race is hands down the best race I’ve ever run. It’s not the longest or the hardest but it is in fact the most fun, well organized race without a doubt. From sign up to race day to the course and course support, I have yet to feel the love in any other event. This skirt screams “let’s have fun!” and I had to have it! I must wear it and I’ll be getting a new bra top to go with it so I’m FABULOUS!! I might also need a new bandana too. Look at it! Even if my time is bad or I don’t have a great race, Tooky Tooky is going to be there the whole way carrying my shit and keeping my attitude in check. So without blinking I ordered this beautiful work of art and of course paid for 2 day shipping which was half the cost of the skirt itself but I don’t care. Sometimes you just have Tooky Tooky do it and not worry about it. It’s pretty rare for me to not have self control so I don’t feel too bad. I’m super pumped up about the race now that I will have the perfect skirt etc. to pound out the miles in. Goal is to beat 1:18 and change for this 7 mile race. Cross your fingers kids! I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. At the very least I’ll look outstanding even if all goes to hell!
Common sense is a really important thing to have especially when it comes to fitness. Sometimes I’m impulsive in trying new workouts but usually never get hurt. I’m smart enough to workout smart and dedicated enough to plan the new stuff in appropriately on most given days. Today, for the second day in a row, had no desire to run first thing at 5am. I bargained with myself for a post work workout and went to work actually on time. Most days although I don’t have an official start time, I should try to be there at 8am. When I work out I get there between 8 and 8:15 most days. Anyway, I just didn’t feel like running this morning. I did however, pack my gym bag because I thought I would hit the gym instead of working out at home. That was a great idea until I started planning to use the squat rack. *insert record scratch here* I told myself that this plan was not a good idea and that I should not go to the gym at all to avoid the temptation that I might actually ignore my own advice and do it anyway. I have seen fate tempted before and it usually doesn’t end up in the favor of the tempter. I know that if I go to the gym and use the squat rack that I am going to get hurt or be so sore that my race on Sunday will suck. Conceding this would be a bad idea, I put my gym bag on my bed and went to work. I don’t need to tempt fate today, however, I will start the squat rack next week in addition to other free weight machines to see how it goes. Happiness is knowing when you shouldn’t do something and actually listening to your own advice. On to Falmouth on Sunday!
I have had a much more aggressive workout routine now for 10 months. Except for this week that seems like a struggle to get any double sessions in but I’ll just roll with it because Sunday is The Falmouth Road Race and I don’t need to have a exercise injury now simply because I am only giving half effort. Anyway, compared to a year ago, I bike, I run, I do strength training too. In my strength training, I have about 15-20 exercises that I rotate between when I work out, not all of which get done every time. It’s good to switch it up so your body doesn’t ever really plateau. I know continuing with the same exercises is still good but for fat burning it is not. I try to switch it up without building so I don’t use heavy weights or too many reps, just heavy enough to be some work without exhausting me. A few days ago I randomly added a few rounds of boxing to the Tabata workout that I was doing and today I can feel it in my back and chest! My abs have that “Please don’t cough” pleading going on which makes me laugh so hard…but not because it hurts, in a good way. It feels great to be sore because I know I am making improvements which get harder and harder to make the older I get. AAhhh the joys of aging! Next up on my radar is trying something from Les Mills called Body Combat which looks like kick boxing which I suck at but really want to try out! Just gotta keep switching it up!
Today’s blog isn’t about running really as much as it is about a runners mentality and how we sort of avoid judging each other or getting wonked out talking with complete strangers. It’s about a double standard whereby runners have a wide berth to just be who we are while the rest of the world stands in our very critical judgement.
Runners are super friendly for the most part I find. They smile, they help you finish races if you are struggling …or LOST like I was one time and they almost always greet you with good morning or a hello or a supportive “you got this”. I myself say hello to nearly every runner, biker, dog walker that I see on the road. Not everyone is responsive but that’s ok. I don’t find anything weird with talking to a running stranger anywhere or any time.
Today I had an experience as I put together my @cumberlandfarms iced coffee, which has stolen my business from the @HoneyDew_Donuts and @DunkinDonuts crooks who think asking $3.68 for a mostly ice, iced coffee is ok. It’s not but I’m no longer your customer so whatever!
Anyway, I was at the counter mixing my flavor into my coffee and went looking for a lid. I didn’t see one in front of me (couldn’t have looked hard!) so I had to encroach upon the space of this nice girl making her own iced coffee to find a lid in front of her. As I leaned back to put the lid on my treat and realized that I had actually had 3 stacks of lids right in front of me. How did I miss that? I don’t know but moving on…. She said something that sort of eluded to the fact that she may have missed the stacks too or maybe something insinuating that CF didn’t put them in plain sight even though they were. Then came the part that made me feel really wonky. This sweet young bleach blond girl with the tiny little nose ring, no make up and a cute outfit randomly says to me “you look pretty today”. I’m now in the Twilight Zone. She looks at my sundress and says “I like flowers”. I say thank you, she tells me to enjoy my day and I return the sentiment to her. I pay for my coffee and gas and head out to my truck. That’s all there was to it. She was sweet and lovely and simply nice and I got all weirded out by it like she was hitting on me or something. I truly felt out of place and in a rare moment, didn’t know what the hell to say to her. WTF! Why is it that I’m totally comfortable talking about nothing to any running stranger yet a very nice person takes a moment out of her day to try and minimalize my irritation at myself for not finding what I wanted and I’m Wonked out? I’m not weirded out often in situations like that but maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting that conversation to go beyond “Excuse me” and “no problem”. “You look pretty” feels like something I’ve stereotyped coming from a close friend, daughter, mother, co-worker or family member. Maybe we just don’t do things like that enough which is probably what is wrong with this stupid world anyway! So, even though I do not know who she was, I want to thank the nice young girl in Cumberland Farms in Bridgewater MA who was simply as nice as nice could be to me. You made my day and made me want to try to be nicer to some stranger some day soon. Maybe my head is too far stuck up my running butt and I’m only super accepting of runners and critical of the rest of the world. I should watch that from now on don’t you think?