I was pleased with my race this morning, even though it didn’t go quite as planned. I finished in 20:12 (just off my goal time of twenty minutes, but 1:56 faster than last year), good for fourteenth place in the 140-man field and first in my 14-man age group. Still, I could have run a smarter, better, and faster race if I had handled a couple errors better.
The first big error was the race organizers’ – they didn’t tell those of us at the 5k starting line (a couple blocks away from the starting line for the 15k race) when to expect the gun, so we were just milling around when there was a bang and a puff of smoke down the block. Here was the second error, mine: I went off way too fast, leading the race for the first 500 meters. The only good that came of this was being in front of all the tweens and teenagers who run like oxen, clogging up the road over the first mile. Anyhow, I led through the first corner, and then started giving up places as the real racers caught up to me and the front of the 5k field hit the back of the 15k field.
From there, I was pretty much in survival mode, with my heart rate averaging about 179 (something like 95% of my maximum – which I nearly reached in the last sprint) and my legs feeling increasingly cooked. One by one, other men passed me, with the last one – an old guy! with gray hair! and colossal thighs! – going by just before the two-mile mark. I tried to latch on to each one, but each time, my legs said, “WTF, dude! No way.” I just couldn’t overcome the lactate built up during my stupid all-out start.
Thankfully, the course rescued me. The last third is flat and then gradually downhill to the finish line, helping me hold my position to the finishing chute and even look sorta fast there at the end. (Shannon took this shot just about when I heard Julia cheering for me.)
This year, I trained all spring and summer to run the sibling race, a 15k over a pretty hilly course, but my training regimen was blown up by illness last month, so I stepped down to the 5,000 meter race. This is not only hella shorter, but the course includes just one climb worth mentioning (300 meter run, 10 meter rise). Hoping that my distance-oriented training will translate to this shorter event, my race goal is to run under 20 minutes. Depending on the size and quality of the field, this time might get me into the top 10. In keeping with my goal for tomorrow morning, my goal for tonight is to avoid partaking of the chocolate ice cream in the freezer.
September seems to have slammed the door on summer like a toddler experimenting with the door to her room. This morning when Shannon headed out for her day o’ presidenting, it was about 75 degrees F with 95% relative humidity. At about 10:30 or 11:00, the temperature dropped more than 15 degrees, and – I think – fall began. Not only the weather suggested this. For their morning snack, the girls and I went to the downtown coffeeshop, where a group of middle-aged women at the next table oohed and aahed over them (partly because Vivi wouldn’t take off her sunglasses) and then mentioned that they were celebrating-slash-mourning that they had just sent the last of their girls off to college. Traipsing around town and then playing at the park after snack, we crunched through plenty of fallen leaves. We got home just in time to catch Julia’s favorite PBS.kids show (Dragontales), which is on at a new time for the school year. At 3:30, I drove to an appointment and passed a score of high schoolers running (or, actually, walking) through their cross-country practice. After the girls went to bed, I headed out for a run that was pleasantly chilly and that ended in the dark (even though it was only 8:20!). Friday is Julia’s first day back at preschool! It should be a great autumn…
I’m smitten by the British-English convention of using the suffix “-side” to denote locations. I first noticed this construction when I was doing dissertation research on shipbuilding, and read about the world-famous shipyards of Tyneside in northern England, but there are lots of other examples, such as Cheapside in London Now that the Olympics are over, I think the world is ready for a broader use of the convention. Forthwith, a few options for my little slice of the eastern edge of Northfield:
We’re back home from Summer Vacation 2008. As I told Shannon, “It was great, and kicked my ass.” The ride home was uneventful and not unpleasant. The only downside is that I’ll now have the Barney theme song in my head for weeks after easing the last hour of the drive by run a couple episodes on the laptop.
Neither girl napped a wink on the way home (stop me if you’ve heard this before), but on arriving home, they tore into their almost-forgotten toys and had a great time playing until dinner. After dinner, they were hustled into bath and then bed, where Julia said, “But I don’t want to go to sleep! I’m not *yawn* tired!” To her credit, she realized how ridiculous this was, and relented. After hearing her two songs, Genevieve screamed for about two minutes, then dropped off as well. A nice quiet night, all in all.
My recent post about running in the Arb was free of actual visual evidence that the Arb is gorgeous right now, so here’s some belated proof from a run this afternoon. (The grasshoppers were too fast for me.)
My eye ordeal knocked me off my running schedule, but back at it now, I’ve discovered that it’s high summer in the prairie. There are two main signs of this state.
First and best are fields full of yellow-and-black flowers. The black-eyed susans lean gently in one direction or the other, trying to find open space to soak up the sunlight. The sunflowers, on the other hand, just grow straight up on their thick, prickly stalks. They seem to get taller in the twenty minutes between my outbound northerly passage and my southbound return trip. I hardly noticed them two weeks ago, when they were poking their heads up over the other prairie grasses, but now they’re as tall as I am, and soon will tower over me.
The second, and much less appealing, emblems of high summer are the grasshoppers. Everywhere. Brown, green, black. Hopping, leaping, flying. Buzzing, clicking, making no sound. They look like rocks or twigs lining the path until I get too close and they launch themselves away from me, around me, toward me, into me. I haven’t had one actually fly into my ear or mouth or nose yet, but it’s probably only a matter of time. I can see why Yahweh used them to punish evildoers.