New Haven RoadRace Recap

Just realized that Colby and I never wrote a recap of the New Haven RoadRace – a 20K that we ran on Labor Day.

And there’s a reason for that.

It is unofficially known (well, only to us, and now to you) as The 2013 Race We Least Wanted to Run. And we’re glass-half-full people. So who wants to write a crabby recap?

Me, obviously. My compulsive need to recap this race before we run the Diva Half on Sunday apparently trumps my need to relegate this race to the farthest corners of my memory.

As always, I’ll start with the Good before I dive into the Bad and the Ugly. We had a lot of friends running in this race. Someone took a pre-race picture and in our group we had multiple people running the kids’ race, the 5K and the 20K. Boys, girls, men, women. Friends, friend’s kids; friends’ mothers. You name it, we knew someone running it. That part was awesome.

Also good was the organization of the race itself. Lots of events, lots of runners, and yet extremely well run. JB Sports knows how to put on a race. If they could control weather and my moods as well as they organize races, that would be fabulous.

I think that covers it for the Good. Now, onto the Bad and the Ugly.

First, the weather. Yeah. This race took place on the unofficial last day of summer, and had the humidity levels to prove it. Thunderstorms in the area overnight, and the morning was like pea soup. Humidity hovering around 100% (yes, it rained on us). While I’d normally prefer rain to blazing sunshine, with warm temps and the humid mist, it was just oppressive.

Second, I think we both were tired. No, I know we both were tired. Recently back from our post-PMC vacations and busy building mileage for our marathon training. Finding ourselves tired and slow as we re-adjusted to running. Not exactly a recipe for race success.

I started my morning with a text from Colby reading; “I so don’t want to run this race.” Me neither. But unfortunately, not wanting to is not on our list of approved reasons to skip a race, so I got dressed, grabbed a Vitamin Water Energy and headed out.

The first bad sign of the day – after the weather report – was that my beloved Vitamin Water didn’t help perk me up. I don’t usually drink caffeine. But I love the way caffeine makes me feel (which would be ridiculously happy and like I possess superpowers. Who wouldn’t love it?). So when I have a race or a long run or ride, I treat myself to a Vitamin Water Energy beforehand, which has 50 mg of caffeine and 25 mg of Guarana. I don’t know what Guarana is, but it makes me very, very happy and probably should be illegal. Normally, once I pound back a VWE, I am good to go. All my troubles fly out the window and I feel like I can scale tall buildings in a single bound. In fact, my extreme reaction to the caffeine and guarana, AWESOME as it feels, is exactly why I don’t drink it every day. I’m a junkie waiting to happen.

Today, the Vitamin Water merely made me awake and cranky instead of sleepy and cranky. Bad sign indeed.

Got to New Haven Green and checked in. Thanks to the rain, mist and humidity, the grass was soaking wet and, after a few minutes, so were my feet. I hate running in wet socks and shoes. And to start a race that way? Yuck.

Caught up with Colby, exchanged disgusted looks. Took pictures with friends and cheered on the kids’ run (one of the bright spots of the day).

Lined up to wait for the start, exchanged more disgusted looks with Colby. Stared off into the abyss wondering how I got here. We were both too tired even to attempt some pre-race nervous laughter.

And we’re off. “Welcome to the Jungle” kicks in on my mp3. More like “Welcome to the Rainforest” as the mist thickens and a light rain starts to cover everything.

First mile felt ok and was actually pretty fast. Can’t remember the time, but remember feeling ok and thinking that maybe the race wouldn’t be so bad after all.

Miles 2-5. Mile 1 lied. It’s bad. One decent mile cannot make up for 100% humidity and wet feet. I’m miserable. Really miserable. The miles creep by. Very slowly.

Mile 6. “Peace Frog” comes on my mp3. I feel like Jim Morrison is talking to me when he sings about “Blood on the streets in the Town of New Haven.” More like sweat & tears, but whatever. I approach the mid-point of the race, where you pass the New Haven Green – the start and end point of the race. This means that there are many, many spectators at this point. I cannot pass out in front of them. Grit my teeth and keep going. (aside: I looked at my race pictures, and my expression in the ones from this mile make it look like I must be running to my own hanging. Yeesh.)

Mile 7. Huh? I feel better for a minute. A breeze must have passed through on its way down from Canada to somewhere. Oh, there it goes. Back to miserable.

Mile 8: there is a rock in the heel of my shoe. Of course there is. I stop, remove it. My body is so happy to stop that it fights me when I start moving again. I don’t blame it.

Miles 9-10. We pass through a pretty park. I forgot how much I like this stretch of the race. A gentle hill and then a slow, long descent. “Running on Empty,” one of my favorite long run zone-out songs ( no pun intended – really – I just love the song), comes on my mp3. All of a sudden it’s like I’m running a different race. I’m happy. Momentarily.

Miles 11-12.4. I’m tired. I’m hot. I’m wet. I can’t get a satisfying breath in the thick air. But at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel. “American Girl” kicks in on my mp3. American Girl always gets me moving. Somehow, the thought of Jame Gumb preying on the size 14 Senator’s daughter in the car while she sings along with this on the radio always puts a spring in my step. Go figure. I certainly don’t want to end up having to put the lotion in the basket, nor do I want to get the hose, so I shift into high gear.

Finish Line. I see it. I cross it. Done.

Walk around, try to cool off & dry off. Can’t. Find Colby. Commiserate. Confirm that we both were miserable the whole race through. Confirm that we are both proud of being able to push through it and finish with decent times. Regroup with friends. Congratulate everyone on running great races in crummy conditions.

Head off to Colby’s for a shower and a beer. Aaaaah. At least the day ended better than it started.


4 thoughts on “New Haven RoadRace Recap

    • Sorry. You can send any therapy session bills to Colby. She introduced me to the damn race. Last year, the weather was better and it was fine. Given that it is on Labor Day every year, I think that this year’s crappy weather is probably more common.
      While running the race – and again, while writing the recap – I kept thinking, “I paid money to do this?! Something must be wrong with me.”
      Especially since I’ll probably run it again next year.

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