Let me tell ya, this race was less about covered bridges (there were only 2) and more about running miles and miles on hot asphalt that felt like running on the surface of the sun (there were probably 10 of those).
For anyone who is not in the Northeastern United States, we had a heatwave over the weekend that extended into Vermont. Yes, that same green, leafy, normally-cool Vermont where we had a half-marathon on Sunday. Given that it SNOWED in Vermont over Memorial Day weekend, running in a heatwave was the last thing on our minds until a few days before the race, when we finally had to accept the forecast as accurate. Now, some of you Southerners might love a good heatwave, but Colby and I are New Englanders – cold weather people. Throw us a deep freeze – we love it! Give us a blizzard – we’ll grab our Yak Trax! Hurl an icy wind at us – that’s what balaclavas are for! But heat? Haze? Humidity? That’s what makes these grown women cry.
Nonetheless, that’s what we had on our hands on Sunday. A “situation.” A hot, hazy, humid situation. It was 76 degrees at the start (at 8:15 AM) and somewhere in the mid- 80’s at the finish. Aside from a 2 mile stretch on a trail alongside a shady stream (which felt like a different race altogether), it was hot, sticky and uncomfortable for every single step of that damn race. But we did it. And I must say, Colby and I are pretty freaking proud of ourselves. We worked hard for this one and we did it. We are especially proud of Colby’s sister Andie, who has been sick and unable to train properly and nonetheless finished the race, raising $500 for a local homeless shelter in the process. That is determination. Go, Andie!!
If I may digress from race recap for a minute, I have to share what an AWESOME weekend it was, hot and miserable race aside. We stayed at Andie’s adorable weekend house in Vermont and she was a hostess extraordinaire. We essentially had a private chef in the form of her friend Terri, who came to cheer us on and made us an amazing dinner on Saturday. And we had our wonderful friend Michelle, who also came to cheer us on, provided lots of laughs and fun girl talk and stocked us up with every magazine currently in print. It was a great girls’ weekend and I don’t think I have been that relaxed in ages.
When I arrived at Andie’s house, the first thing I realized was that I didn’t get cell service there. What a gift! For a mother of 3, to have a weekend getaway while the kids are home with the husband is a treat. To arrive and find that no one can reach you easily is like checking into a hotel and finding that they have upgraded you to the Presidential Suite. We spent Saturday doing nothing – the most important kind of nothing, where you sit around and talk about everything from Kim Kardashian’s Met Ball gown (Oh, my) to ideas for new business launches. Heaven.
OK, back to the $%^%$#*!# race.
The course was beautiful and it would have been a really fun race had it not been so miserably hot. The course started at Suicide Six, a small ski area in Pomfret, Vermont, then wound its way to and through the town of Woodstock. If you have not been to Woodstock, think of what a Hollywood set for “quintessential quaint New England town” would look like. That’s Woodstock. (Also, if you have not been to Woodstock, you should go. Seriously. Put it on your list. Beautiful town.) The course continued along sizzling country roads and that heavenly shaded trail, through two covered bridges and ended at the Polo Fields in Queechee, Vermont. The scenery was beautiful and wonderful people lined the course to cheer us on. Even the bands that played along the course were like something from central casting for a Vermont town – high school bands, fife & drum corps, senior citizen music groups in straw boaters playing Glen Miller songs and even a drum circle of bongos to represent Vermont’s crunchier side. Oh, how I wish I could have taken it all in and enjoyed it more. But the heat!
This was absolutely a put one foot in front of the other type race. Self talk was the only thing that pushed me through the discomfort. That, and wearing a visor (I don’t know what I would have done if the sun had actually been able to beat down on my face) and stopping at every water station for a cup of water or two. Definitely the type of race where you need to focus on running smart, not fast. Now that I’m home and fully cooled off – 2 days later- I can say that I am glad I ran this race because I am proud of how I ran it. If I ever start to doubt the power of mind over matter, I will think of this race. I talked myself through every uncomfortable mile. And did it.
I am, however, still thirsty.