SeekingBostonMarathon is an amateur's journey to race in the ultimate annual marathon--the Boston Athletic Association's Boston Marathon. This is not an olympic runner or professional runner's advice site, but an "average joe" who got hooked on running and finally reached hallowed ground in 2010 and is constantly seeking to get back to Boston.
There's an old saying, "I'm gonna beat you like a red-headed stepchild" that I've always took subtle exception to..."wait a minute, I was a red-headed stepchild," but I was never beat.
Not sure if "green" adds 10 pounds
Redheads make up a mere 2% of the U.S. population, but have been the brunt of many jokes for a long time. Growing up, I heard it all, "red on the head, like a ____on a dog" (un-fit to print.) Glasses, braces, zits and red hair had me on a trajectory to be a 40 year old virgin. Somewhere along the way, I became comfortable with my "gingerness" and out of college, it started to become cool to be red. Nothing affirms this like the annual St. Patrick's week festivities. St. Patrick's Day itself is one day of the year where many wished they were red. While I'm not Irish, (actually a blend of Swedish and American Indian,) I have adopted the day (and week) as part of my heritage...even better than New Year's Eve.
I began my St. Patrick's week with my second running of Denver's "Running of the Green"...an Irish jog...an Irish marathon run in Denver's "LoDo" neighborhood. Something about this race that smells of New Year's Eve, St. Patrick's Day, Mardi Gras and New Orleans...oh...and the smell of a giant beer truck at the end of the race. In terms of fun, this one is at the top or near the top of the list.
Murphy's Law threw a few curves at me that threatened my entry including the month of stomach issues (February) that lead to tests right before the race (any more detail than that would drop readership.) My training plan called for an 18 miler at 30 seconds over goal pace (not trivial) the day before. Since this wasn't my "target race" of the year looking for a PR or qualification, my goals were to;
1) Have fun.
2) Run sub seven minute pace.
3) Run a steady pace..don't run out too fast, suffer in the middle and have to die at the end.
4) Not set back my training plan.
New profile pic?
While the weather forecast looked fantastic, as I arrived Sunday morning in my singlet and 5-7K race shorts, I began to second-guess my clothing choices as runners were trembling a bit in the cold. I hooked up with my local running group (Runner's Edge of the Rockies) for a pre-race jog (I hate that word, but that's what it was) of one mile before the race with some stretching and strides to limber up for the short race.
For the second time in as many times as I've run the ROTG, I mis-timed my piss. With Denver's narrow downtown street start, 6000 racers started packing the starting area as I was still in line for the green phone booth. The previous time I ran it, there were ample kids and strollers packed near the front of the line that contradicted the serious runners that were looking to place or win. This year had waves (that were largely ignored) so I was happy to line up curbside for the second wave and take off with that group. Unlike the last time, I ran it, I didn't spot Denver's young adults sipping Guinness at the start, but there were plenty of kilts and green wigs.
I'd have to say this was the best I've ever felt for a shorter (5Kish) race throughout. I stuck to my goal of running a "steady race" on a fairly hilly course with a fair amount of right angle turns. ROTG draws the best of Denver's elite so I had no visions of trying to place.
It appeared that my FIRST plan may be paying some dividends as my core felt strong as I ascended and descended the hills and had a decent "kick" left for the end. Final tally was a 30:14 finish with a 6:57 per mile average over the 4.4 mile course. My sister (waiting for her husband's first race finish in 10 years) greeted me at the end as did the Killians' beer truck. Ahhh..."baby's milk."
I finished that day back in my home neighborhood with another annual ritual of shaving my head for St. Baldricks benefiting kids' cancer. A great cause and also a way for me to mentally amp up for race season by donning a short cut built for speed. My first race is coming up in a mere seven weeks.This weekend is the "Ginger friendly" St. Patrick's day itself. The plan? Carb load.