Sunday, June 16 – Bunker Hill 8K
This morning the cruise was over. My wife and friends and I had our bags packed and we waited anxiously to get off the cruise ship. We were in a hurry. At 7:20 or so they finally announced that certain passengers could begin to disembark. We were poised. We pounced and were fairly quickly out the door. We hired a cab to take all four of us and our considerable baggage to the Sheraton in back bay Boston. The plan was to check in the luggage, but they had rooms available. They checked us in. This took us a little longer than planned.
We headed back out and headed to the subway. We figured out how to by our passes and headed down the stairs just in time to see a train leave. Being 8:20 on Sunday morning the station was empty. It took 15 minutes or so before the next train came. We took the green line into Boston and had a 12 minute wait to transfer to the Orange line. We walked about a half mile from there to the Boys and Girls club of Charleston, Massachusetts. It was now around 9:20.
We were heading there to participate in a 2k and an 8k. The 2k began at 9:15 so we had missed it. Dan and Connie were not too upset about it. The 8k was not till 10, however, so I still had time to make it. The only problem was that there was no one anywhere around. I asked a passerby and she said she saw race bibs up the hill and around the corner to the right. We walked that way and found ourselves on top of Bunker Hill. There were still no crowds of runners, though. I spotted one young lady with a bib and she pointed me around the corner to the left and take the first right. Dan and Connie were falling behind as my walk pace got quicker and quicker. After the left and the right I spotted one more bib and this guy said to go all the way to the bottom of the hill and then under the bridge. I gave Cheryl by bag pack and started jogging, promising not to lose her. I got to the bridge, jogged back a bit and showed Cheryl. I jogged under the bridge and tripped on a low imperceptible curb. I got up and inspected myself. My right hand was dirty. My left had had a small gash. My right knee, a small abrasion. Cheryl caught me as I continued another block and finally found it.
I had to ask 2 more people to actually find the registration table. I got registered for the 10 o’clock 8k race at about 9:40 a.m. I was runner 644. I was too late to get a t-shirt. I went back and found my wife and friends and we waited for the race. Then they announced that the start of the race was somewhere else! Well, at least this time I was able to follow the crowd.
I am NOT in top race condition. Last year I did a whole marathon (granted it was downhill) at under 7:30 pace. Today, I was just hoping I could do 8k at that pace. Of course I was also hoping I could place in my division and earn some more points for the High Desert Runners’ Grand Prix Points contest!
Without much of a warm up, (other than the long walk, the little jog and the embarrassing tumble) I got myself to the start line and waded 5 or 6 rows back into the crowd.
I was careful to go out too fast.
The race started with a little up then a little down- 7:24. Mile two included a hill. It was not that big, about the equivalent of a freeway overpass, but a little less steep and a little longer- 7:31. Going up this hill I first noted one particular guy who passed me. He had a touch of gray so I thought he may be in my division. I caught him going down the other side. In mile 3 he passed me again, but I once again worked my way ahead of him- 7:28. On mile 4 there seemed to be a steady draining headwind. At one point I noticed my chosen nemesis veer off for water and I passed him again. As mile four was closing we turned away from the wind…. not it felt hot – 7:36. As I began the last mile, I told myself, I was feeling pretty good! I concentrated on increasing the turnover rate and on keeping a good forward lean. I noted that the guy calling splits at mile four did not call any split for 5 seconds after me, so I figured I had put on at least a little distance on the nemesis. Coming into the last 200meters I could hear someone gaining. I was already giving it all I could, but found a little more.
My last split (not quite a full mile – though my Garmin said it was) was 7:03!
I finished with an official time of 37:12, 4 seconds ahead of that other guy. We congratulated each other on a good race. I have found it pretty cool how runners will realize that they are in a battle with someone, and reach out to congratulate each other after they are done! I placed 78th out of 544 posted finishers. I did manage 4th in my age group. They only gave division awards to 1st place, but 4th WILL earn my 3 points in that “other” race division of the points contest!
I love going to races in far away locations! Although, the competition always seems tougher,and I don’t typically place as well as I would at home. It is just cool to be part of the larger running community, to feel free to talk with strangers, to meet people, to hear the surprise when you tell them where you came from……
Oh, I was talking to one of the race directors after the finish….. She promised to mail me a t-shirt