Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Miler - finally, a decent race on the Davis Square course!

This race report is somewhat belated, but I felt like any PR should probably be documented somewhere! So, on Thanksgiving I ran the local turkey trot, the Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 miler. I actually went back and forth on signing up for various reasons, ranging from "I'm not really in shape" to "I hate the Somerville race course" to "am I REALLY going to want to get up and race on Thanksgiving with my family in town?" But in the end, the allure of a race that started less than a mile from my house was too much to ignore. I invited all family members in attendance to come and participate, but they all said no! Sigh.

My sister and brother in law flew in on Wednesday night, and what was intended to be dinner and drinks quickly escalated into staying out past midnight (I know, I know, SO LATE) and enjoying the luck-based "wheel of beers" at the local BBQ restaurant. Add to that that by the time we got home close to 1 am we still had to churn ice cream for the next day and were generally in a jovial mood, I went to bed far too late for my taste. Thankfully, due to the wonderful fact that the starting line of the race is literally half a mile from my house, I was able to wake up at 8 am, just an hour before the start. That being said, my interest in racing 4 miles upon waking up was....erm...reduced to say the least. But, I drank some coffee, ate some pumpkin bread, drank some water, and forced myself into my racing clothes. I left the house at 8:45 and added on a little bit to do a mile warmup and reach the start about 5 minutes before the gun went off.

It was actually an absolutely beautiful day for running, in the low 30s but brilliantly sunny and not a breeze to be found. I lined up further back than was probably in my best interest, but hey, we're a little hungover and just here to have fun, right? I told myself that my job for this race was to spend the entire time being grateful for the fact that I was out here running, doing the sport that I love, and that I've been able to stay healthy throughout this year to continue to do this thing I do. Without much ado, we were off!

I have had such trashy races on this course before because of the sneaky, long, and frequent uphills over the first 3 miles of the course, but at least this time I knew what to expect. The race starts off uphill, and that combined with the fact that I had indeed situated myself way too far back in the crowd resulted in kind of feeling like I was crawling for the first few minutes. Also, my stomach had a few complaints to make about the previous evening's libations. Oh well, no matter, I was running! The sky was blue, there was an adorable family dressed as pilgrims waving and cheering at the side of the road, and what's this, some girls who look like they'll be good to pace off of? Life is good. I came through the mile mark in 6:40, and felt like that was fine. The effort level I was putting in seemed just right for the circumstances, and while I figured I'd slow down over the next 2 miles which contained yet more hills, I was just fine with that start.  As we headed up another long, steady incline, I got this hilarious thought in my head - I was trying so hard to roll with the whole "gratitude" angle that I found myself thinking: Hills are great, because you GET to run up them! I don't know, maybe I need to have this positive attitude more often, because the hill up Powder House didn't bother me nearly as much as it had in the past, and I found myself passing people. Whee! I was also pleasantly surprised to pass the 2 mile mark in 6:42, barely slowing down despite the steady incline. Yeah!

I continued to feel pretty good about myself as we crested the long hill, setting my sights on a couple of women ahead and actually getting past them. I unfortunately knew that we were coming up on the bitchy spike of a hill that decides to sit at mile 3 on this course, but also knew that once we were past that I was golden, since the last mile is just about all downhill. I was getting surprisingly warm by this point and actually feeling the effort a bit! Somewhere around the steep hill, I noticed a girl who I thought was an acquaintance of mine, who runs for a rival club and who ALWAYS seems to be just in my sights but ahead of me every time we race. I somehow managed to pass her going up the incline (and in my peripheral vision, decided it was not, in fact, the person I was thinking of), and while the steep grade took quite a bit out of my legs I knew the hard part was just about over. I leapfrogged with two more Heartbreakers, a girl and a guy, for a bit before finally getting a surge past them over what I thought had to be the final uphill of the race. Mile 3, with the steep parts, was a 6:49. By this point I knew I was in good shape, considering when I ran this race in 2015 I think I went out in a similar pace for the first 2 miles, and then ran a 7:20 or some disaster for mile 3. Now all that was left to do was bomb down the downhill to the finish! Bombing down the hill actually turned out to be a little harder than expected (I was rather disappointed that I only managed a 6:29 for the last mile, which is half downhill and half flat), but I passed several people including a girl in a BAA singlet - a lifetime first for me! Soon enough we were back on the flat heading into Davis Square, and I crossed the line feeing great in 26:50, a 45 second PR! Nice! I honestly was pretty pumped - true I've only run a 4 miler three times in my life, but to run so much better on the same course in a similar phase of training felt great - especially on this damn course that I always seem to bomb on! I guess the attitude of gratitude worked regarding the hills!

I was extra excited to discover upon returning home and looking at the results that I was 13th woman overall, and actually placed 3rd in my age group. There aren't even age group awards for this race (or any awards, for that matter), but to crack the awards at any big race in Boston feels like an accomplishment to me. Perhaps even more exciting was when I discovered that girl-who-I thought-wasn't-the-girl-I-knew WAS ACTUALLY the girl that I knew! So I actually managed to beat her! This is the great thing about running- no matter what level you're at, you can find people to be competitive with if you want to look at it as a competition.

One final thing that I think needs to be mentioned is that my grandmother passed away at the ripe old age of 95 the day before Thanksgiving. She was an amazing person, and while I don't think she fully understood my hobby of running specifically she was always proud to hear about my latest races and I think her general passion for life and the things and people she loved have inspired me in a lot of ways throughout my life. I wrote her initials on my bib on Thursday because it just felt right to have here there with me - so thanks Grammy, for the extra little push up those hills and the beautiful, sunny day.

Overall, it was a great day! I'm not exactly sure what my plan is from here - I'm kind of enjoying the laziness of just running, not training for anything in particular, and am still sort of basking in the glory of October's marathon PR. But it's just about time to figure out what the heck I'm actually doing/training for this winter...I'm sure I'll figure it out as I go.

Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Miler
26:50 (6:40 pace, PR)
96/2779 OA, 13/1500 F, 3/478 F30-39