Together with Michelle Wolff, Debbie Scheel and Donovan Lee, I drove up to Fairport Harbor, where we then caught the bus up (and I do mean up) to Chardon. We would be running down (and I do mean down) from there to the lake in downtown Fairport. Along the way - in the bus and in Chardon, we talked with Larry Orwin, Tim McGinty and other running friends. Some I hadn't seen in quite some time. I didn't realize how much I missed racing.
We ran around Chardon, then onto an all-purpose trail that took us well past half-way. It was pretty running through the parks and greenways on this picture-perfect day. Temperatures were mostly in the forties, but got up past fifty by the time we were finishing. Running weather doesn't get any better.
Not knowing how I would do for a race this long and this far removed from the types of running I'd been doing, I had started very slowly. I came alongside Tim at mile two, and we chatted a while. Noting that he's in my age group, I picked it up to about 8:30 pace, and started to try to catch Michelle.
I could see her for several miles, but only caught her at about mile seven or so. We stuck together for several more, holding on to that 8:15 to 8:30 pace. Michelle was telling me about a 50-mile race she had registered for, and in my delirious state, I started thinking about joining her for it.
At about mile 13, they were handing out energy gels. I had expected them earlier, but this would work. I then picked the pace up just a bit, even though there were a few uphills to contend with. The course wasn't all down - the biggest uphill was back at about mile 2. I didn't realize how much I'd picked it up until I reached mile 15, and my watch told me I'd done a 7:48. My first sub-eight mile came as a surprise.
We were running on the road through Concord, Painesville and finally into Fairport Harbor. I felt sorry for all the traffic we held up along the way.
Now that I had done one, I wanted to do sub-eight miles the rest of way. Of course wanting to and doing so are two different things. I managed only a low eight-minute pace. Still better than most of the previous fifteen miles, but not as fast as the one.
The finish was fun and exciting. Debbie, Donovan and Larry had all run well, and they were cheering us all on. Michelle came in a minute or two in after me. My time was 2:46. I found out that I won my age group. Woohoo!
|At the Finnish Area|
As we ate pancakes and awaited the awards we bumped into more friends, including a big surprise: Patti Tomasello, who had been injured. Just about all of us wound up with some prize, and we posed for a photo by the 'Finnish' monument afterwards.
And how could we drive home before jumping into the lake? Well, I went in up to my knees anyway. It felt good on my Achilles. Of course said Achilles is making me pay today.
|On the beach|
|Soaking that Achilles|