I am please to report that I have completed my fifth half-marathon, running through the mean streets of New Bedford during yesterday's beautiful sunny weather. I had a great day, riding down with a good friend who ran with me and her boyfriend who drove us, and seeing a bunch of the current teachers at the school where I used to teach.
Here's the problem with the NBHM: Not enough slow people run it. Those of you who have seen me know that barring losing 50 pounds or growing 6 inches, I am never going to be a fast runner (have you ever seen a Sicilian track star? Me neither). But I train and I make progress, and I work hard within the limits of what my short little body will do. I always remind myself that if I ran with a random sampling of the population, I would not be so demoralizingly close to the end.
My first half marathon was this same race three years ago, and it was miserable. Most of you have heard my joke about finishing 10th to last (by 'joke' I mean talk about it like it's funny, because it's not a joke, it's totally true). I was looking forward to redeeming myself at least a bit this year, and I cut 21 minutes off my time from three years ago. Still, I came in 30th to last. Where are all the other slow people? They're running races that don't require training through the dead of winter and races that have 5Ks and full marathons to go with them, I suppose.
I was a little disappointed because my time yesterday was about 5 minutes slower than my time last October in Hartford, which had been my best time yet by far. I couldn't figure out why - I felt just as good yesterday as I did last October, I really pushed myself on the handful of hills near the beginning, and the weather was about the same. My best guess is because they cleaned up all the cones off the course and re-opened all the roads while I was running. I GET IT, NEW BEDFORD, I'M SLOW. Usually around mile 9 on any run I start to get angry, and that was the case more than usual yesterday as the trucks came by shouting "runners get up on the sidewalk!" At that point my hips hurt so much there was no chance I was jumping up and down off of curbs at each intersection, plus I was pretty well delirious so I knew I would have trouble remembering where the turn were on the course. I know that I'm not a world-class runner, but I was finishing well within the realm of reasonable times and I deserved to have a good end to the race just like anybody else.
That's my rant on the race. All in all, a triumphant day (my medal is green for St Patrick's Day!) Who wants to run the next one with me?