08 March, 2013

Burlington's 2013 Chilly Half Marathon - new PB time & Cambodian adventure!

1:33:41 - chip time
22/216 - AG
227/2836 - OA

While staking out a spot in the crowd of runners gathering in the cold (-7C & breezy!) outside of Burlington's City Hall, a few things occurred to me (beyond the usual thoughts that occur to me just before the start of any race, like, What was I thinking when I signed up for this?)

* there's the remarkable rise in humans' insulative properties if they are wedged together tightly enough; it was so cozy waiting for the start I would have been content to just stand there in the middle of the swarm for an hour and a half and then the starter's air horn could signal us all to go home. We really should try that some time; the actual racing part of running is highly overrated as it is. 

* how unfair a race corral can be to shorter, socially-connected runners looking to meet up with their mates. Case in point: my 5' 2" tri club friend, Erin, appeared, bobbing up and down, trying to find her S.O. and various friends seeded throughout the throng. She and countless others of her stature spend their crucial final moments craning their heads up like prairie dogs, looking over the sea of shoulders, searching in vain for some individual somewhere else swallowed up in the Main Street mosh pit, when they could be focussing on more pressing matters, like, What was I thinking when I signed up for this?. Race directors could really endear themselves to participants by rigging up some ladders on nearby lampposts, à la the Victoran gas light era, so folks could more readily find one another in crowds.

* I realized I have a prejudice against runners faster than me who can talk out loud through the entire event. It's not like I feel rageful toward them or anything - on my better days I don't even think I'd be inclined to try to trip them - I think it is really just a type of envy. Here I am, slogging along, practically coughing up blood as I try to keep my form and my rhythmic gasping under control, barely able to wheeze out the words, "ELoad - thanks!" at the aid station, and you and your buddies are actually hauling me in while you discuss a) who you've got doing your taxes this year, and why he's so much better than that last crook; b) why your recent races sucked so badly because you didn't realize you had a celiac response every time you drank more than three pints of beer X whereas now that you're back to downing your old standby beer Y everything seems copacetic; c) how Monica never quite appreciated your notion of "flexible" schedule and all it entails. 

And always, always, it is at a volume better suited to a middle-of-the-lake discussion aboard a power boat at full throttle.

Go ahead and pass me, guys. So you're faster than me - I get that. But do you have to make it look so easy?

As for post-race recovery, I say screw the compression socks - how about pogo pants for descending steep school bus shuttle stairs after sitting for 25 minutes right after a thrashing good run? Here's where I got to experience life as a tourist, but without the airport lineups and Gravol: When it came time to disembark it felt like descending the precarious steps of the Angkor Wat Temple. I nearly fell from the bus - it practically spit me out - but I grabbed the handrail just one step from disaster, hoping it looked as though my cat-like reflexes spared me, but suspicious I just looked like yet another old geezer who got lucky this one time.
I'm getting too old for this... Photo by C.Hong

The race was well run as always, the shuttles (steep stairs notwithstanding!) a brilliant idea to save on crowding, great volunteers, the cowbells made us feel like champs, I went flat out - couldn't squeeze out any more in final kms, still managing to peg it but no more. Improvement: from 1:34:33 to 1:33:41. Note to selfdivvy out the improvements like a miser so you can keep getting faster for longer. 

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