A few months ago I signed up for the Eastern States 20 mile race on March 29th as it is 5 weeks before my marathon and my training schedule called for a 20 mile run that day. I ran the race in 2007 and volunteered at the race for 2 or 3 years before that. It’s a BEAUTIFUL route, mostly along the ocean. It starts in Kittery, Maine and ends in Salisbury, MA so you are able to say that you ran through 3 states during the course of the race!
The weather prediction for the race was not good (rain, rain, and more rain) but I always say it could be like that on marathon day so I might as well get used to it. Well, when my alarm went off early Sunday morning (race day), I came VERY close to bagging it. I figured why drive all the way up to Maine to run in the pouring cold windy rain when I could just run 20 miles here? However, knowing I’d probably not get out of bed until late afternoon if I stayed home, I got myself out of bed.
It’s a point to point race, so they bus you to the start and then from the finish they bus you to the post-race party where your car is. I don’t like dealing with the bus (for a lot of reasons, which I won’t mention since they are boring), so my friend Christina agreed to meet me at the finish area, where I parked my car. She then drove me to the start. The whole way there, I was questioning whether or not I really wanted to run the race. As the raindrops became more and more heavy, I was wondering why I would be so crazy as to do this. When I showed up at the starting area, I discovered that hundreds of other runners were just as crazy as me (though I discovered later about 300 people who had pre-registered did not show up).
I’d say it rained for about 95% of the race; sometimes the rain was heavy and sometimes it was not. But it always seemed to be there. It was also a bit cold. And VERY windy. For the most part, the wind was at my back, but in certain sections the wind drove the rain straight into my face; and since it was cold, I felt like my face was going to fall off or freeze. I just kept moving, knowing that I needed to get to the finish line to get to my dry car. I had to force myself to stop for water or GU or electrolyte pills, as stopping meant I would get cold, and it would prevent me from moving forward to where my car was.
Now keep in mind that I was still sick with a sinus infection, and had been all week. Needless to say, I had snot on my face for most of the race. J Sorry to gross you out, but these are the things that happen on long runs when the weather conditions are as they were and you are sick with a stuffy head! But I didn’t care. I just wanted to get to that finish line. In fact, a friend of mine was directing traffic at mile 18 and he tried to stop me to tell me I had snot on my face and even tried to wipe it off. I repelled him as it would only delay me from the finish.
My goal was to finish the race. And I did. My secret goal was to finish in under 4 hours. And I did. My super-secret goal was to finish in 3:40. But I did not. I was 6 minutes slower. Given the weather and my sickness, I was thrilled just to finish. I headed straight for the car, turned up the heat, and drove to Christina’s house for a shower. My clothes were not just wet; they were saturated! It was as if I had gone swimming in my clothes. No exaggeration! A warm shower never felt so good!
I missed the post-race party as I did not want to drive there. I just wanted to shower and change into warm clothes. I didn’t care, though. I ran a 20 mile race in crazy weather! Enough said.