Here’s a free tip. The night before a half marathon don’t stick your face in a bucket of tabbouleh salad and eat till you’re stomach swells with bulgur and parsley. It won’t end well. There were some nervous moments in the hours leading up to the race and a few frantic twinges in the middle miles, but (spoiler) everything ended up ok and I actually had a pretty solid race in a unique twist to the annual Old Fashioned Ten Miler in Foxborough.
Finished off the year with my hometown 5k yesterday. I’ve written about this race in the past, so I’ll keep it short, which actually turned out to be sort of the theme of the day.
Two things of note this year. One, they smartly added a competitive corral at the front of the race. The Angel Run is heavily promoted through the schools (it was started to honor a third grader that passed away) and always brings out a lot of young kids. Which greatly adds to the energy of the event, but also can add to the challenge of the start as you weave and dodge around pre-teens that sprinted out the first 200 yards before abruptly stopping. An expected time of sub-23 got you entry into the corral.
My goals for 2016 are to have no goals. Cliched as it is, after the last few months, just taking it a day at a time, staying healthy, staying rested and figuring out how to live with this disease is my primary goal. Turns out being rushed to the hospital and spending a week in a really uncomfortable bed while being put through a ringer of tests will put a lot of things in perspective. Initially, sitting in that drab room, it gives you a vivid awareness of that ledge out there. Of death. But now, more removed, I’ve found my perspective has shifted. The entire experience has shown me less about death and given me more an acute awareness of life.
I’ve run this race in the past quite a few times and there isn’t too much new to say in terms of the course or the experience. It remains a nice, well-organized hometown 5k where all the race proceeds help local initiatives. It’s also a nice way to cap off the year and see friends and acquaintances before everyone begins to get busy for the holidays or hibernate through the winter.
The big difference this year was that it was Cecilia’s first 5k! And she did great. Better than great, really. She ran the whole way, pushed through the tough times in mile 3 and finished strong. Her time would have been even better if she didn’t slow to run and chat with her friends at the start. But what fun is running if you can’t hang out and chat with friends? She’ll have plenty of more years to really race.
All I wanted was a fast training day. Putting in all the zone 2 work and bike drills had left me feeling slow on my runs. I was a can of soda left out in the sun and turned flat. With a few weeks before the Jamestown Half Marathon, I was looking for a local race that wouldn’t disrupt our weekend schedule and where I could go fast, or at least try to. Some athletes can self-motivate and find that speed in daily workouts, for me, I just need the racing environment and the competitiveness to really hit that top gear.
With a day job in financial services that often has me working on retirement tools and services, I consider myself a quasi-expert in the area and while the best advice is save early and often, the second most common piece of advice is often overlooked: Have something concrete to do in retirement. Not just vague notions of travel or relaxing more or reading. With fuzzy plans like that, you’ll often yearn to be commuting again within a year. Have a goal. A definitive goal. A big, sit up and take notice goal. Like running your first 5k in 30 years or getting in shape enough to run a race with three generations of your family. In other words pick a goal like my Dad.