Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

Friday night, I toed the line for my third End of Summer Classic, sponsored by Marathon Sports. Well, I didn’t actually toe a line (I’m not sure that’s in the cards during this lifetime), but I lined up and shuffled across it with a few hundred other runners from the South Shore. The End of Summer Classic is one of my favorite races – it takes place around dusk in the beautiful Bare Cove Park, on a mix of paved and unpaved paths. There are beautiful water views, a nice quiet vibe, and when I signed up earlier in the summer it felt really far away. My goodness this summer has flown by.

Historically, the Classic has been a five mile race, though this year there was an ElliptiGO race and a three mile run option. I signed up to run five, but with an iffy stomach and some digestive discomfort from the start and my first Olympic triathlon on the agenda for later in the weekend, I opted to bang a left at the split and run three instead.

Luckily the course is really pretty and provides lots of beautiful distractions because, as I said, I felt pretty crummy. To entertain myself, since I rarely race with music, I listened in on surrounding conversations (is that terrible?!)…

Here are my top three:

Coming down the path and into a clearing, there was a man walking his two enormous dogs alongside the path (they were Newfoundlands and the man is my neighbor). I crossed a couple of walkers who were headed out as I headed back, one of which exclaimed: My god! No one said there would be bears in the woods!

It seemed like there were a handful of young high school-aged boys running together, probably a cross-country team or something. They were running in a pack together (quickly), chatting back and forth, when one said to another, I know! She’s super normal when you first meet her… They were running fast, so I didn’t catch the rest, but almost didn’t need to. Classic high school.

My very favorite technically didn’t happen on the race course, but while I was walking back to my car pre-race to drop off my race tee-shirt. There was a frazzled-ish woman talking frantically on her cell phone alongside the path and, frankly, she seemed pretty pissed. I literally had to hold back my laughter when she tried to muffle her shout into the phone: It’s always about you and your stupid marathons! Surely every non-runner married to a marathoner has spoken, or at least thought, those same words before, right?

After I finished the three mile race at an 8:54 pace (slow for me, but not bad considering I was trying really hard to not be sick), I grabbed some water and watermelon and moped back to my car. Truthfully, I felt sort of ashamed to cop-out and run the three miler. Not ashamed of feeling sick, necessarily… that had been the case for a few days and it’s just plain miserable, but ashamed because in my heart I knew I didn’t make good choices to avert the crummy tummy crisis.

Friday afternoon I got home from a half day at work and cracked a Summer Shandy because my cousins were on their way for an afternoon barbecue and a 2 PM beer surely wasn’t going to impact my 6:30 PM race. Then maniacal traffic from the city to the Cape derailed their visit, so Nik and I sat down to dogs and another beer around 3. The hot dog was a terrible idea generally (thank goodness summer is almost over and I can stop buying those godforsaken things for another nine months) but the second beer was sort of just careless. I know better. I’ve been thinking (again) about goals, drive, and self-discipline. About my challenges with weigh control and what I put on my plate and in my mouth. About the phrase, “You don’t get what you wish for. You get what you work for.” I think Friday night there was definitely a bit of my both at play… the fact that my body just wasn’t feeling quite right, but also the fact that I hadn’t exactly respected it either.

So that last part is my confession. I didn’t really want to expose myself, but honesty is the best policy after all. Thanks to gorgeous views and the low-key nature of the race, I hope to be back at the start – and finishing five – again next August.