When is a race not really a race? In the time of quarantine.
It might be a long time before we get back to live-action road races but last Sunday, I had the unique opportunity to race a 5k. Through a weird hiccup of circumstance, I actually won the HMEA 5k last year and when COVID forced this year’s fundraising event to go virtual, they invited the men’s (me) and women’s winner to run and be live streamed on Facebook as part of their fundraising day.
So how did it go?
If I was appointed to a position where I could promote and influence running throughout the country (heck, the world!), the Angel Run 5k is the type of race I’d wish for every local community. It’s a family-oriented day built around a great cause and celebrates being active as a family. Yes, there is a competitive portion to the run (more on that in a second) but the vast majority of the race is kids, and moms, and dads, and dogs, and strollers, and costumes getting out running or walking the course. It’s a small, local race but it’s one of my favorite days of the year.
When you tell people you are going to do an overnight 200-mile relay race that involves traveling in a van with 6 other people for 36 hours, getting little sleep, running at 2 am, all while paying for the privilege, you are going to get one of two reactions: some will get a recognizable gleam in their eye and ask if there are still any open spots in the van. The others will openly question your sanity. One of the many joys of belonging to a local running club is that I saw much more of the former than the latter.
I wouldn’t have the weather to blame for any poor performance this year. This past Saturday was very mild (for August in New England) with low humidity. Past Brew Runs have been unholy slogs through a thick paste of water vapor and scorching sun. Not this year! This might have been the best weather The Brew Run has had in years.
Like Falmouth, The Brew Run is one of those funky throwback races before standard measurements like 5 and 10k’s where people just ran point-to-point or in some arbitrary circle. For the record it’s 5.2 miles with plenty of water stops and lots of crowds both running and cheering. You won’t be running alone in this race.
When we lived in Boston, there was a strong running culture and a lot of places to run, but you almost always had to pause at some point to cross a road or dodge some cars. In the ‘burbs, you don’t usually has that problem. You have space and if you’re lucky you might have trails.
As a master runner with an arthritic knee, I’ve been very happy to watch the growth of trail races in recent years. There is now a thriving barn-to-trail race series that partners with local farms, plus a number of other races taking advantage of the preserved land and trails in the area. That includes the New Life Furniture 5k trail race on the Medfield State Hospital land.
I thought I had managed to dodge the cough and cold that has been stalking our house the past month. The girls all had it and had recovered. I thought I was good. With the Addison’s, I’m already very conscious of sleep and hydration. I thought my chronic disease actually helped in this case. I’ll admit, I was feeling pretty good about myself. And then I got sick.
Wednesday morning, I found myself a snotty, coughing mess. The perfect condition to compete in Hunter’s Run, a local 5k, for a great cause, that weekend. My plan had been to use the race as a tune up for the duathlon in a few weeks. Yeah….
One of the most frustrating things about being an athlete with Addison’s Disease is that sometimes you can do everything right leading up to a race, taper, stay hydrated, take your meds, and yet somehow your body chemistry still drifts off and you end up with a performance that is less than your best.
This is exactly what happened to me this past Sunday during the Old Fashioned 10 miler in Foxboro. I went out a little fast but not completely crazy, yet by mile 3 I was fighting an intense internal battle not to pull up and stop completely.