I got up at 5, fumbled for my gear in the dark and trying not to wake my household. Tripped over everything. Feeding the cats, dog, fish, walking said dog, showering, getting dressed and all the other damn stuff took way too much time, but I was able to leave on time at 6 for a 7:30 race start.
Getting into Misquamicut, I scrapped my original parking plan and parked at Westerly Town Beach. Perfect move! Saw Mike B. coming in, and Jeff and Matthew running by on a warmup. When a Westerly Town Public Works guy pulled in, I was double-thinking my decision, but it ended up being all good. Nobody got towed.
Ran a chilly 2-ish mile warmup (temp: 48 breezy degrees) with Jeff, Matthew and Shara, and had a cool time chatting, getting pumped, and taking in everything. It's really a spectacle there, especially amid the backdrop of the beach, and the Fall Festival rides, midway, and tons of people getting excited for the race. The start? A jumble of every runner of every ability, and a total bottleneck across the start line. They might want to start utilizing corrals next year. Gun goes off, and after a shuffle, walk, amble, we're running.
I felt good, right off the bat. I was wearing a long sleeved tech shirt over my singlet, and it felt like the right move. Saw Jana at the start and gave her a wave. Saw Steve and FiveK at mile 2/4, they said I looked strong. I had my handheld filled, and had packed one GU, and the plan was to skip the aid stations from miles 1-6, drain the fluid in the handheld up to there and eat the GU at mile 6 (my truck), then ditch it and rely on aid stations for the remainder. Worked awesome! At mile 7, taking pictures and cheering us on, was Beth! I slowed down, gave her a quick hug and moved along.
So maybe I lost a few seconds high-fiving all the kids with their hands out, but it's fun! It was great to see so many friends out on the course cheering on the runners, and I loved the enthusiasm of the HMF crew. Saw John H. and Buddy G. at mile 11, and Buddy yelled something like "Get moving!"
Headed toward the finish line. Photo by Beth!
I was able to get across the line in 1:46:05, good for 254th place out of 1655 runners. Not a PR, but at a 16th consecutive day of running, it was still my 3rd best HM, and I felt really comfortable out on the course, very relaxed, and I never struggled. My splits were really consistent, and I might have been able to push the pace more, but it was a really enjoyable day. I was able to catch up to fellow WTAC'er Lynne in the last quarter mile and cross the line with her, and just a few seconds behind Don Weller. Got caught up with the crew, including a lightning fast Gazelle, who came across the line in 1:20 for 3rd overall at the tender young age of 50 (which is really the new 30)! PR's for Faith, Joe, Matthew, Jeff, and several others. Did a "cooldown" run back to the truck a mile away, with the intention of changing up and heading back to grab a beer and some chowder, but I was chilled to the bone and the nice warm truck was too much to resist...
WTAC riff-raff - photo by Jana!
Picked up some fresh bling, too!
Surftown finisher medal #4, shiny!
Next stop? Road trip to the Pisgah Mountain Trail Race this weekend. Should be awesome!