On August 15th I ventured back to the scene of my most painful race of 2008, the Falmouth Road Race. As I outlined earlier, this race is certainly not a friend, it is an evil enemy just lurking and teasing me to come back for more. My brother is a huge advocate of this race, so he usually breaks me down and gets me to sign up for the lottery every year. Since I got in this year, I decided, what the heck, I’ll give it a go.
Sunday Morning Pre Race
So the morning of the race I woke up around 6am and started gathering my things. Since Falmouth is on the way back to Boston, my boyfriend and I figured it would be smart to avoid additional traffic headaches and head back home directly from the race. So as I prepped everything, I was also packing up my excessive amount of bags for the weekend! My brother and sister in law were also awake and we all chatted over coffee and breakfast on our race strategy. My brother, who was in better shape than past years, wanted to break an hour and finish the race feeling strong. My sister in law and I both mentioned that we wanted to take it slow and enjoy the amazing scenery, whatever happened, would happen. My overly generous boyfriend and caravan driver, woke up and we quickly piled into his car and left for the race.
The drive to Falmouth from my mom’s house in Yarmouth is a long and tedious one, we had to take a road that is littered with stop signs and traffic lights–ick! As we approached the center of town, the traffic changed from steady movement to a complete standstill. After sitting in stop and go traffic for 20 minutes, my brother, sister in law and I all hopped out and decided to go the rest of the way on foot. Everywhere we looked there were runners sporting their numbers scrambling to make one of the shuttle buses to Woods Hole, which is the scenic start of the race. Luckily there were thousands of other people waiting behind us for buses so we were in great shape.
Fast forward to the runners village, and I quickly broke off from my brother and sister in law in order run to the bathroom. If you know me at all, you know this is a huge source of anxiety for me, and even if I don’t need to, I end up popping into a porto-potty multiple times before a race, just in case. Luckily, my impulsive idiosyncratic ways paid off, because from the moment I got in line to when I entered the porto, was over 40 minutes–Yikes! I was in and out in a flash, and then proceeded to the start line, with roughly 7 minutes to spare.
On my way to my wave, I ran into a coworker and her husband, which was a fun treat and lightened my anxious mood. Once I made it to my area, I spread out and stretched quickly, then did my ritual jump up and down (residual habit ingrained in me from year and years of swim meets) as I was beginning to settle in, I looked to my left, and who was there but @petfxr! She didn’t even notice it was me at first, but just wanted to comment on my colorful race day shorts 🙂 We chatted briefly and it definitely helped lighten my mood even more since I had a running buddy in my wave. The weather was cloudy and a nice 70 degree temperature, absolutely perfect road race weather. I was hopeful that this was going to be the year that turned my animosity towards the Falmouth Road Race around.
Before too long we were off, and as usual, the start was a complete disaster. Picture extremely narrow roads and over 10,000 people trying to squeeze through all at the same time, not fun. Luckily I felt good and just settled into a groove and tried to run at my own pace and avoid zig zagging around people. Things finally started to break up a bit around the first mile marker, which is at the picturesque sweeping view that Falmouth is most commonly known for. As soon as I came around the bend and saw the lighthouse I said to myself, now this is beautiful, enjoy this. As I said these words I realized that in 2008, I was already hating my life at this point, so the race was already going exponentially better in that regard.
I took the next few miles at my own pace, but holding roughly 9 minute mile pace, which is exactly where I wanted to be, not too fast, but not too slow. I made sure not to use up all the gas, as I knew the coming hills would potentially pose some problems for my knees. I continued to take in the scenery and just enjoy the fact that I was actually able to run. After not being able to run for nearly 5 weeks, I was so elated that I was back that it really helped bouy my mood throughout the race.
I felt good until about mile 5, when the hills ended and I hit the straight aways near the beach, owww, I thought, this hurts. I continued to focus and my pace slowed a bit, but I made a promise to myself “just make it through without walking!” I soldiered on, and the next mile was difficult, but I was treated to seeing my boyfriend just before the 10k mark, so that helped give me a little boost for the end of the race.
Then, I conquered the final hill, and what a battle it was. I dug deep and just kept telling myself, DON’T WALK, DON’T WALK, DON’T WALK, and that shortly after the hill ended, was the finish line.
When I reached the top I saw the gigantic American flag waving in all it’s glory over the finish line, hallelujah!!! I made it! When I crossed the finish line I put my hands up in joy and thought to myself, now that wasn’t so bad! I made my way to the finish festival, found some ice for my knee and enjoyed some post race snacks and water. I was just so happy that I didn’t hate my life that I didn’t even care about my time, I was done!
Post Race Thoughts
Overall I thought I had a really solid race. I accomplished all of my goals
- Slow and Steady– In order to make sure that I don’t reinjure myself, I’m going to take things very slow and steady, particularly the brutal hills near the end of this course-CHECK!
- Take in the Scenery– The last time I ran this race I went out so fast that I wasn’t able to take in the true beauty of the race. This time I’m planning on hanging out and enjoying the scenery and actually enjoying myself – One BIG Check, this race is BEAUTIFUL!
- Use the spectators to fuel me through the race– One of my memories from FRR ’08 was the sheer number of spectators that come out to cheer on runners. It was similar in volume to the amount of people that come out to watch a marathon, which is very impressive!- Check! I loved the spectators!
- JUST FINISH– ‘Nuff said!- CHECK! And, I didn’t walk!
And my time: 1:02:47, which is actually 30 seconds slower than my time in 2008, but considering my approach and overall outcome, I thought that 2010 was a great race and a good time, especially considering my come back.
I will certainly be entering into the lottery next year, and trying to better not only my time, but my overall experience. Thank you to all of the dedicated race organizers and volunteers for making this a fabulous event.
Oh, and afterwards my boyfriend and I were able to relax at my friend Sarah & Mike’s wonderful beachside house in Falmouth, cheers!