Saturday, November 5, 2011

Race Report: Great Island 5k

For our anniversary weekend, Alan and I took a little road trip.  Well, first we delivered the kids to Nana Mary's house up in Milo [Thanks-have fun-see ya!], then we turned around and drove south.  It was a perfect fall day and we enjoyed the drive.  We found our hotel in Kittery pretty easily and scooted right on over to Portsmouth, NH, where we managed to navigate to Runner's Alley to window shop a bit before remembering-the-hard-way how to get onto the little island that is home to Newcastle,NH.  Once we found the right causeway, though, it all came back to us and we wandered around the lovely park a bit and took some pictures before hitting packet pickup.

After that, we checked in to our hotel and wandered around Kittery a little while trying to figure out where to eat.  We didn't do more than set foot inside the Kittery Trading Post long enough to observe that a wooden statue inside looks a lot like one of Alan's former grad school professors at UMaine, the late, great Welch Everman.  If you knew him, I think you'll agree, although the outfit is a bit off (he was a writer, not a mountain man):

Ultimately, we hit a drugstore for a few snacks and a leg sleeve for Alan (because his ankle was bothering him) and then got take-out 'cause we were almost to the point of shaky, we were so hungry.  We ate in our hotel room, did the night-before-a-race ritual of laying out our running clothes, and turned in.

The weather for the race--and our anniversary--could not have been any nicer.  We arrived in plenty of time to use the restrooms, finish our breakfast, drink some water, stretch, etc.  We embedded ourselves about halfway back in the pack--well in front of the strollers, but not really approaching the "real" competitors, waited for the horn and off we went.  This course is really pretty, the volunteers are abundant and amazing, the race organizer is a total pro and seems like a genuinely nice guy.  Alan started out at a pretty good clip and I stuck with him for almost the whole way.  We were wearing these signs on our backs, see, and people kept commenting on them:

"Hey! Happy Anniversary!" "Congratulations!"  "Awwww... that's sweet!"  "Good for you!"
I loved it!  I wasn't sure how much of it Alan could hear (he had his headphones in) so I felt obligated to respond on both our behalves, which meant uttering a lot of breathless "thank you!"s, but it was great.

When I finally gave in and walked a little I felt bad about splitting up.  I imagined that people behind us were running a little faster just to catch up enough to read the signs.  Of course, it was pretty amazing that they all passed us easily and disappeared into the distance....(!)  Anyway, I took a couple short walking breaks but managed to use the few little downhill stretches to make up some time and eventually caught back up.  I was pushing it the whole time--breathing hard--but my legs felt good.  Alan, however, was dealing with a lingering shin thing [technical term] leftover from his marathon the previous weekend, and said later that he should not have run Great Island at all.

Once again, we finished together and once again our names were not called by the announcer.  I think we have a family destiny to be the unmentioned finishers at every race.  We weren't announced at Big Lake--even though we crossed hand-in-hand.  Alan's name was not called at the Maine Marathon--even though he crossed the line alone.  My survivor mom didn't even get announced at the Komen for the Cure!  This was not the announcer's fault, however--I'm embarrassed to admit that a child of mine who shall not be named tripped over the microphone cord and unplugged it just as Mom was finishing.  It didn't happen at the Tufts 10k, either (and there was a picture snafu, but that's the next blogpost).  We're cursed, I tell you, cursed!

We also had hopes of actually winning one of the gazillion door prizes or maybe even getting some sort of mention on account of our anniversary (and our clever signs), but unfortunately we could not stay long enough to find out.  We did, however, enjoy the awesome post-race spread.  For a little race in a small town, they have a LOT of food.  And good food, at that.  There was plenty of water and bagels, cream cheese, donuts, homemade blueberry-banana bread, pretzels, bananas, pita chips & hummus....I can't even remember it all.  We visited, and ate, and I took a sort of baby-wipes-sponge-bath in the restroom, and then we were off to catch a train for the second half of our Anniversary Adventure.