Not even a blizzard could stop what was going to happen this past Sunday.
In the wake of a blizzard I, and many like me, showed that classic “yankee can-do attitude” and dug ourselves out so we could go run a race. I in particular am VERY glad I did.
The human body, mine in particular, continues to amaze me. At every turn I think I’ve reached the mountain top, and at every turn I am surprised once again. This time, it was on Old Sandwich Road in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
This race was very cool, very different, and taught me a lot. Someone upstairs also saw fit to bestow upon me a HUGE achievement/milestone. Read on and share in it with me!
Winter Warlock was a different race indeed. There was a 5K and a 10K – I ran the 5K. I almost upgraded last-minute to the 10K, and BOY am I glad I didn’t. For starters, I hadn’t prepared for a 10K and wasn’t in the right mindset…but for another…I might not have achieved what I did. I suppose I should start by thanking my friends at Cape Cod Nutrition Corner for sponsoring me for this race (and four more this year!). Check them out in Plymouth and Easton if you’re around – they’re a great supplement / nutrition / health store with a very knowledgeable staff – worth the trip for sure. I drive all the way from Falmouth to go there! If it weren’t for CCNC sponsoring me I wouldn’t have chosen, registered for or run this race…and I wouldn’t have had the achievement I did.
More on that later.
Why is Winter Warlock So Special?
Plymouth Rock Racing, for one. Craig, the Race Director / President CLEARLY has a passion for running, runners, and putting on great local races. Plymouth Rock Racing has a TON of races in the Plymouth area and he sounded excited about ALL of them as he was speaking via megaphone at the starting line (and when I talked to him individually before/after the race!). He was even dressed in running gear – seemed like he wanted to run his own race instead of…running it! Hah.
One thing Craig likes to do at Winter Warlock, since it’s a relatively small race, is test out new technology. I think that’s pretty cool! The new tech Plymouth Rock Racing tried out at this year’s Winter Warlock was a new timing system called “Race Splitter” – it used iPads / iPhones and, shockingly enough, did NOT involve a giant mat you have to run over to start/finish the race! I have to admit…that part threw me off a little bit. Not like I’ve been running for a long time, but I got very used to the mats and the guy on a computer next to it and all the beeping as people finish. Instead, the RD’s two sons were manually punching peoples’ bib numbers into the iPad as they finished. Not sure how this tech would work on a much larger scale (or if it would even be feasible), and not sure how accurate and consistent it is (in terms of people crossing the finish), but it was definitely cool to be part of a trial run. Hah…I got jokes today…
“Stop blabbing and tell me about the race!”
The race itself was very cool. Just look at that scenery! That’s what I got to stare at as I ran my 5K – it’s enough to make me wish I ran the 10K, and to make me want to run the Old Sandwich Road Race Half-Marathon in June (too bad I’m already running the Newburyport River Run 5K). As you might gather from what I just said – this race took place in Plymouth, MA on Old Sandwich Road. Old Sandwich Road is the oldest dirt road in the country in one of the oldest towns in America. The road is actually pretty well-maintained, not too many ruts and potholes. I wore my trail shoes that day expecting a snowy mess, and I was infinitely glad I did – whatever parts of the road weren’t covered by snow were dirt. I firmly believe if I were in my regular running shoes I would’ve had far less traction and wouldn’t have performed as well.
Speaking of my performance…
I HAD MY FIRST PODIUM FINISH!
I came in 2nd place overall! Are you freaking KIDDING ME?!?!
This was SUCH a different experience for me! I am NOT that fast, and I’ve kind of accepted that until I drastically improve my form, my stride and my pace I will not be coming in top of a race…maybe placing in my age group if I’m lucky but certainly not overall podium! I made sure to thoroughly enjoy this rarity as it was happening.
There was a “lead car” – a police cruiser leading the race. For the first half of the race, I was in front…in first place…so it was me and the cop car out in front of me leading the way.
That. Was. Cool.
I think I like being out in front. No crowds, no competition, no “I have to go faster than that guy”…no urge to keep up and get worn out…
Once we got to the turnaround I was no longer in first place.
There was a guy trailing me for the better part of that first leg of the race, and as we got to the turnaround and I took a nice wide turn, he practically stopped on a dime, spun in place and took off. He then steadily crept further away from me towards the finish. Since it was an “out and back” course, we were running by everyone behind us on the way back to the start/finish…I knew then that unless I screwed up big I had clinched second place. There was a solid group close behind us, but many of them were running the 10K, and would be continuing past our 5K turnaround – the next person running the 5K was far enough behind that if I kept my pace I could do it. So I did. I didn’t stop, I tried not to look back, and I just kept on chugging along.
Funny thing happened – when I got to the end of Old Sandwich Road there was a couple of cops set up to keep an eye on traffic so we could get onto the main (paved) road and get back to the start/finish at the country club…I got there and I literally looked at the cop, pointed left and right, and put my hands up like “which way do I go?”. I have never been in front before, I’m usually following everyone else to the finish! What a weird experience.
At the finish I heard my name over the megaphone and I went under the big goofy inflatable finish – I then had a trophy and a $10 Marathon Sports gift card stuck in my hand as my prizes. Prizes?! Cool.
I had to go find the guy who got me at the turnaround. Wasn’t hard…there were only three people at the finish…the Race Director, my fiancee, and him! His name is Chris Housley. Nice guy, too…aside from that whole “passing me” thing. hah. Maybe I’ll run into him (or by him) at another race this year!
I then went and found the guy who came in 3rd. His name is Sean Sullivan, and Winter Warlock was special for him too…it was his first race! Congrats to him on coming in 3rd place in his first ever race…that must be HUGE encouragement. My first race I was shocked to see my time and to place in my age group…placing overall must’ve been nice. I DEFINITELY hope to see Sean at some more races this year! Hey Sean! Check out my Blizzard Blast recap article for a list of races I’m running…let me know if you’re running any of those!
I feel like this recap is appropriate for Hump Day. Take the lessons of my most recent race to heart and use them to help you get over the hump…whatever hump it is you’re trying to get over. Motivation, encouragement, progress…whatever. There are little victories and big achievements everywhere, and you only reach them if you can get over the hump, whether its mental or physical, and get to the finish.