Sunday, November 07, 2010
Grapes Well Stomped
I don't know when or if I'd ever beaten Ron Legg before. Perhaps when he was injured; perhaps never at all. But I had begun to see him ahead of me between miles 10 and 11, and eventually overtook him a bit before the 12-mile mark. There were some big hills remaining, and I wasn't sure I'd be able to maintain my advantage, but I had been coming on strong since mile 10, and Ron looked to be slowing. We grunted good luck to each other as I went by, and I did manage to stay ahead, as I also passed a couple others.
Yes, I was having a good run at the 2010 Stomp the Grapes Half-Marathon. I had also been entertaining thoughts of breaking the 55-59 age group record of 1:27:4x. When I hit mile 12 in 1:21 flat, I thought there was still a very slight, itsy-bitsy possibility. Although I'd been running faster and faster, the last mile would need to be my fastest of all - a low 6 minutes, considering that the final point-1 would need to be factored in as well.
But then I hit the hills. They weren't that much worse in the last mile than anywhere else in the second half of the course, but they were enough to ensure that there would be no record in the geezer age group today. I finished in 1:28:25. Best in years, and good enough for First Grand Geez... I mean Grand Master. Not too shabby.
The race was high on the hassle factor scale: 12 noon start, being bussed to the start after the finish (and waiting a long time), having to arrive very early, etc., etc. But, the rewards were good: wine, good shirts, socks and a hat, and then a $25 gift certificate for my win. That would only buy me one bottle of wine and a bit of cheese, but that was better than nothing.
As always, the best part was the fun being with the MCRR folks. As usual, we had a good contingent, and you just can't beat the camaraderie. The icing on the cake? I beat my arch-rival Jan!
Okay, one more thing. I have to tell the story of the shoes. Connie came into work shortly after me on Friday. She tried on a pair of shoes that she had special ordered for herself, some Mizuno Ronin racing flats. They were much to big for her, and we realized that she'd ordered and received a men's and not a women's shoe - they are unisex sized. So of course I tried them on, and they fit perfectly.
I tried to pay Connie, and she wouldn't take the money. She said that if I could run a minute faster than my best 1/2 marathon of the year using the new shoes, she would allow me to pay her for them. What if I can't? "Then I'll just take them back," she said. Never mind that returns weren't allowed, I just wouldn't have deserved them. Also never mind that my incentive was kind've backward. Wouldn't I have tried harder to run fast if it would *save*, and not *cost me* money? Never mind. This was Connie logic at work.
With my 1:28, I did indeed earn the honor of paying for the shoes.
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