Thursday, August 12, 2010

The most wonderful time of the year …

Nope, not Christmas! Beach to Beacon, of course! This was my second time running this great race founded by Joan Benoit Samuelson and it was just as great as I remembered it to be. Even better, actually. Although my time was nearly three minutes slower than in 2009, I had so much fun this time around! Felt absolutely no pressure, the weather was perfect and I got to see so many people I love to run with. It is a great event and I recommend it for anyone who even remotely likes to run – don’t all get too interested, though, it fills up fast! I was one of the lucky 6,000 who got in back in March and I hope this pattern continues.

Anyway, back to race day. Stupidly decided to take the busy route this year and got stuck in traffic for about an hour. What was I thinking?! My lack of patience usually gets the best of me, so I started counting bumper stickers while hanging out on the drawbridge. Final count - '26.2': eight, '13.1': five, and 'YOUUUUUUKKK': three. Sort of helped to pass the time, but not really. I was supposed to meet up with Danielle and Co. at 7 a.m. and cruised in at exactly 7:24. Yikes! Missed the pre-race pictures, but got there in enough time for her mom to drop us at the start line. Like I said earlier, the weather was perfect. I left my house at 6:15 a.m. and it was a chilly 49 degrees – a nice change from last year, which was so hot and so humid.

The race started a few minutes late, as most do, and it took me about two minutes to actually get to the start line. We were lined up fairly close, too, just over the eight minute sign. Makes me feel for the casual joggers who do this race and line up a mile back from the start line. Crazy!

Miles one and two were like any other race – borrring. I hate the first couple miles, hence why 5K’s are not a favorite. I didn’t really get a chance to warm up due to the traffic jam and I of course had that ‘I need to pee’ sensation I always have at the start of a race. Bottom line: the first few miles feel like an eternity. Not to mention the dodging of the sprinkler, shower, hoses, etc. lined up for runners along the course. Last year I was quite grateful for them, but this year, not so much!

Saw a sign at mile 3 that said, ‘Go Shockers.’ Hmmm. I think I’ll just leave that one alone. Just a few minutes after I saw that sign, I thought to myself, ‘I bet the winner is done already.’ Yup, I was right. He finished in a blazing 27:40 and was pretty much done when I hit mile 4. Ridiculous. Here are the top overall male and female finishers. I’m not going to bother spelling their names, just know they are not from Maine, or the U.S. for that matter.

Caught up with Misty around mile 4 and we entertained each other for a while, pointing out potential houses we could party at. Seriously, she is great! (Fun fact: Misty just signed up to join our Reach the Beach Relay team, Yay!) I also wished I had brought my phone with me to snap a picture of the enormous American flag hung by two fire trucks over the course. It’s such a cool thing to see and makes you realize how lucky we are.

This is me at mile 5. Someday I will learn to look out for cameras so I actually have a decent race picture because this is the best one and clearly not a good one. Blue shorts, black tank :)

And now, the last mile. Surprisingly, I felt great! I had so much energy and even thought about doing a pre-race cool down. (However, I caught eye of some food and so that didn’t last long.) I was doing just under 7:30 at one point – if only I could sustain that for the entire race I would get a serious PR! Aside from the fact that I’m almost done, I love the last mile of Beach to Beacon. It’s gorgeous and there are people lining the course about three-deep – kind of makes you feel bigger than you really are.

Anyway, here Danielle and I are post-race. Can’t tell her 7-foot tall fiancé took this picture, can you? It’s like a bird’s eye view!

Mmmmm cookies. Apparently, this is the only reason Melissa does this race.

Funny story here: There were like six of these guys that ran in that exact smurf outfit – face paint and all. I saw them mid-race and told myself I would definitely get a picture with one of them. So, I told this to my picture-partner-in-crime, Danielle, and she immediately shot down the idea. Well, turns out she knew the kid. SCORE!

While we had the luxury of a start line drop-off, the same cannot be said for the finish line pick-up. The line to board the buses back went forever! See for yourself!

So glad we decided to walk the mile or so out to meet Danielle’s brother, who so kindly picked up six smelly, sweaty runners off the side of the road. Look how snuggled together we are, and happy about it!

And of course, Tyler has to make some ridiculous face:

Overall, GREAT day. So much fun, as always. Next up: Tri for a Cure and possible Chad Hero Half Marathon (They are going for the Guiness World Record of Most People to Race in a Superhero Costume – just might have to bust out the Super Woman.) Also got offered a free entry for the Tough Mountain Challenge - a crazy 10-obstacle course - its only 3.1 miles, but a messy 3.1 miles. Hmmmm. This could be fun.

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