Monday, July 13, 2015

Race Report: Boilermaker 15K 2015

Got out of bed at four, wrote three pages (I do that every morning), dressed, spread vaseline in the sensitive places, made peanut butter toast and decaf, and drove. Parked in the empty lot at 5:55 and carried post-race clothes to the bus.

Getting off the bus I went to get my bib and pint glass. Turns out you can get your bib on race day but the pint glass, not so much. Oh well. I pinned on my number and went to the baggage truck which was just being set up. There were three volunteers without a clue and one woman trying to train them up. I threw the clothes in the bag, wrote my name and number, and thanked them. With an hour and forty-five to kill before the start, I hit the porta-potty.

I realized I still had the sandals on. Damn it. I went back to baggage and said to the woman, “I hate to be that guy...” She was lovely about it.

I killed the next hour and a half walking to warm up and staring at women in spandex. There are worse ways to pass time.

It took just shy of eight minutes after the gun to get to cross the starting line. There were a lot of people, a circling helicopter straight out of Apocalypse Now, enough troopers and dogs to secure a beachhead, and a few thoughts of Boston. Seeing 13,000 corralled, I thought, ”two backpacks, a couple pressure cookers, and we are fucked.” Then I distracted myself with spandex.

I did the first mile too slowly, in 10:53. I wasn’t in rhythm and was too far back in the pack.

The second mile began getting warm after the morning chill, but I felt good and did a 10:31.

The third mile through the boulevard up to the golf course, I was in a groove. I was loose and strong. I wasn’t breathing hard. People were psyching themselves up for hill, trying to calm partners about it, or just saying “fuck!” I couldn’t wait to climb. I don’t know why.

On the golf course I had to dance through the crowd, skip onto the grass to get around, and pull up in congestion, but I felt great! I passed a couple and she was gasping for air while he urged her to pick it up. I hope she cut off his nuts. I did a 10:25 on the hill and could have done ten-flat had there been room to move.

Mile five finishes the climb and heads down past the popsicles and the snake guy. I did 9:02 and then 9:39 for mile six. I felt fatigue, but this was downhill and I let gravity work.

By mile seven it was hot. I dialed back to 10:29, but on the hill to the hospital felt good and pushed it in 9:56 but mile nine hit hard. The heat and fatigue got me stuck in my head. I had climbed the hills and was demoralized I still had over a mile to run. I wanted a break, a nap, a shower and massage, but three women wearing red, white, and blue tutus over some frankly fantastic spandex boy shorts carried me through a 10:41 mile.

With three-tenths to go, I dug in. My heart rate red-lined at 155. I finished in 1:35:19 missing ninety by five minutes and change. I could focus there or on the golf course which is one of my best running experiences ever.

I’ll sign up again next year. You should join me.