Race Report: Bridgton Four on the Fourth. Happy INDEPE-NDENCE Day!
After staying up late to watch bootleg fireworks on the lake last night, I was a bit shocked at 5:30 on this blazing American morning to find that my cousins and friends were all awake and ready to run in the four mile road race they’d promised not to be up on time for.
We drove over to the course and registered. 2000 runners turned out for this little ol’ New England road race? Dang. Upon receiving my race bib, out of habit I immediately crumpled it up pretty violently, flattened it out, and saw that the chronotrack B-tag timing chip was glued to the back of it with angry bold letters that said “DO NOT REMOVE!” and “DO NOT FOLD!”
I grudgingly took a bite of banana and ate about three pinches of dry cheerios. Along with pandas, eating before racing is on the list of things I’m not a fan of.
I met up with my cousins and family and we goofed around for a little bit, then I warmed up for 32 minutes and trotted over to the starting area to see if there would be anybody to key off of.
Ripped chick in a lime green sports bra and racing flats? Nope.
Ripped chick in a blue tech shirt and racing flats? Nope.
Skinny high school girls in racing flats? No way.
Guy wearing the chicken costume? Mayyyybe.
I noted all those nearby females with racing flats and decided they were too serious for me. Like usual, I was wearing my lacrosse shorts from 7th grade, a tank top from high school, and my college crew cap. I like to wear clothes that remind me I’m good at other sports, even if I’m having a sub-par race. I can look around at all the fast skinny minnies and console myself with the assumption that they are most likely weak, wildly uncoordinated, and only good at running because they got cut from any other team they ever tried out for. I know, I know, awful camaraderie for my fellow runner crazies, right? But when you’re the big muscley rhinoceros thundering along after a herd of svelte impala, it helps to be a little angry.
At any rate, in an astonishing turn of events, I came through the first mile in 6:32. Hm. Not as slow as it could have been. Okay, okay, maybe I can do this thing.
The course had other ideas. The second mile was ¾ straight uphill. I kept looking at my watch, telling myself the hill would definitely be over in two minutes, but then several batches of two minutes went by and I was still hoofing it up this endless hill. The weird part was, I was passing everyone. I was working hard. I expected maybe a 6:25 for my effort, but when I looked down at the second mile split, I saw 7:06. Shameful. I’ve run twelve miles at that pace. Nine miles at 20 seconds faster than that pace. In other words, the hill wasn’t a joke.
Mile three, I started getting into a better rhythm, but those dirty cranky hills just wouldn’t quit. By this time, I’d settled into stride with a shirtless dude about my age who had
Written on his back with black magic marker, and a little boy who I expect was about eight years old. A few other guys were calling him “Moose”. Two ponytails were within striking distance up ahead, and I asked Moose and INDEPE-NDENCE to help me reel them in.
We chewed up some pavement and caught up to the girls. One was the ripped girl in the blue tech shirt and racing flats, who I’d dismissed at the starting line as too fast to stay with. The other was a skinny speedy little high schooler with perfect hair and perfect legs. I decided it would not be too difficult to out-muscle her across the line. But then we hit mile three in 6:34, and I resigned myself to the fact that I’m either slow over short distances or this just wasn’t really my day.
Moose, INDEPE-NDENCE and I traded places several times over the last mile, but I was too preoccupied with the skinny high schooler to really notice. I think I ended up beating them. I know I ended up beating the high schooler and the fancy tech shirt girl. Mile 4 was 6:16.
Still slightly annoyed by that 7:06, I pounded fists with Moose and INDEPE-NDENCE and then trotted off to cool down and cheer on my cousins.
I guess if you chop out the slow second mile, I’m probably right in the range of 20:00 for a 5K. Breaking 19:30 someday would be cool, though. If I ever scrape up the gumption to sign up for a 5K.
The stats and splits, if you’re into that.
26:30 (6:38 min/mile…. uh, correct. This is only a hair faster than my 10K pace.)
7th overall female. 1st in age group.
Oh yeah — Happy 4th of July! Easily my favorite holiday. It’s low-key, it’s summer, there are fireworks, and all you really have to do is hang out with people you like and maybe eat a cheeseburger. Anybody doing anything cool today?