[Running related write ups in blue]
Since I last wrote I have been to Rhode Island and back. That involved a couple of windy days on the beach with mostly cloudy skies, an 8-mile run, two days of Ernesto churning up worse weather than in Florida, some great surf, parties and friends when the sun came out and a 20K run in New Haven.
I salvaged my Labor Day weekend plans by changing flight reservations last Monday from Wednesday night to Thursday morning. The forecast for Ernesto proved true when all Wednesday flights were cancelled. Those who waited too long to re-book couldn't get to Providence until Saturday.
By noon Thursday we were on the beach eating a grinder and soaking up a little sun. Friday was more of the same but with more clouds and the beginnings of Ernesto's northern audition. I managed to orchestrate a dinner for 12 that evening at the local Italian-Mexican restaurant (interesting blend).
Friday morning I turned out at 630 to run a warm up for the 20K race on Monday morning. I left the house and headed to the beach along A1A/Shore Road. I saw seven wild turkeys about 15 feet away from me as I approached the Langworthy Farms light where I turned left and ran down to the Weekapaug breachway, then along the coast to Spray Road and all the cottage/mansions. I took a Gu around then, in small doses that I let my saliva break down to reduce the clumpy feeling in my stomach. Back up Noyes Neck Road I saw a rabbit fly out of a bush faster than hop-hop and, moments later, understood why. I saw a red fox zip out of the same bush - the first one I've ever seen.
I kept going, then east back to Shelter Harbor, down Gounod, through Kiss Corner and home for almost eight miles. I wore my new Asics Kayano XIIs which I gambled on to be broken in by race day. They passed the test.
Saturday and Sunday were a loss as far as the beach scene. My son T from West Point came down and we drove around sightseeing some neighboring towns. Saturday night I executed the Plan B dinner party. I had originally scheduled it as the culmination of a fun beach day at the cabana. Instead we went to the largest house among us (Tobin's) and had a party for 24 folks.
Sunday night another neighbor had us to their house for a beef stroganoff dinner. The noodles served as my carbo loading food source. I exited early so I could prepare for the next day's race and get some sleep.
Monday morning I was on Billy J's front curb by 6:40 a.m. He was ready with a mug of coffee for me but I'd already stoked up on the 30 minute drive down. I continued as the driver and we made it to New Haven in 45 minutes on a relatively empty I-95.
We found a nice parking spot three blocks from the race and headed over to start area. We hit the port-a-potties first thing then found Dianna at the pre-arranged church location. By the time we had gone off to get our race packets and come back Jon from Michigan had arrived; then April Anne and Michelle (with Maggie and hop-a-long John) right behind. Dan and his friends from the Bronx showed up as did Beth from Connecticut.
Holy RBF Meet-Up! There were eight of us. Needless to say I took lots of pictures much to April Anne's dismay. And much to her delight, I'm sure, she will be glad to know I managed to erase ALL the pictures before saving them to the hard drive. Doh! I especially lament losing the Michelle family shot.
The New Haven 20K is a great race. The date is good. The support is first class. The neighbors embrace it and turn out to cheer you on. The course is more scenic than you would expect of a port town like New Haven, CT. It is well run except for the inevitable food shortages. But they do have beer and it does not run out; whoa - I am getting ahead of myself.
The weather was outstanding again. About 58F and partly cloudy skies. Light breeze. Good crowd but maybe not as many 20Kers as last year.
Dianna did what Dianna does. She was wired and wound up for the usual assault on PR times following sage advice from coach jeff. April Anne was favoring a knee so she ran with Billy J. the entire route. They practically crossed the finish line holding hands. It was cute.
Michelle, Beth and I ran the first mile together in a heavy traffic 9:45. Michelle and I are on the same training plan for the Marine Corps Marathon so it was good to be running together, aiming to run the same pace. We wanted 8:30 mile averages. That first split set us back.
We picked it up right away on mile 2 and lost Beth. Michelle and I stuck together through the 10K mark at 53:40 or so. In the next mile I felt a need to let her go so told her as much and met up with her at the beer stand.
I tried Gu before the race and twice during. The third pack, with 3 miles to go, was well worth it. I felt very good coming in the last 1.4 miles compared to last year. There was a marked difference in running a familiar course vs. one I've never seen before.
My splits were all over the board. I think the first mile jam up cost me a PR but I really wasn't expecting one. I had lower expectations so the end result was surprisingly good.
After the race we grabbed beers, cameras and food snacks. I took a picture of Jon's truffles but, of course, they didn't last nor did my picture survive. Before April Anne and Michelle came around I placed a call to Susie to giver her the race report. Answering machine :( So Jon, Dianna, Bill and I all left a message. Next year she better be there. You only get one year excused pass between races. That goes for Lara too.
When the crowd and beer line died down we bid good byes with hugs and best wishes. Bill and I jumped back on I-95 and by lunch time I had dropped him off back in Mystic and made it to the beach for one last grinder and mingle with the Shelter Harbor gang.
Now I am home in Florida and it is 20 degrees hotter here than it was the whole time in RI. 75F vs. 95F. There you have it. Up and Back.