This thing started out like a Caucus Race from the starting gun. Firstly, Becca decided that 6AM on Saturday Morning was just not early enough and put in her first leg after dinner on Friday. At about the same time, but before I opened my Uinta Crooked Line Tilted Smile Imperial Pilsner, D’Wife informed me that we MIGHT be going Downnashore to meet up with our friend Warren and his daughter. I was filled with options:
- Do all four 5Ks on Sunday, using the same formula. Of course, that would mean a Sunday Midnight 5K, then going straight to bed for work the next day
- Do the First Leg Saturday Midnight, then 6-12-6 on Sunday, giving myself the night off
- Start at 6AM Saturday just the same, and get the runs in whenever possible during the next two days
I said to myself: “Hey!!! Self!!! We’re the Race Director and Commissioner, we can change the rules for ourself or anyone who needs them changed, right??? Do it!!”
While she was checking on the plan for the Beach, “Harry Potter” was thrown into the mix … a Mid-afternoon show, followed by dinner at her friend / Warren’s sister, Holly’s house. That pretty much reduced my Options to #3 alone, since there’d be no way to get myself out the door after any kind of Summertime Family Feast.
Bottom Line: Four 5Ks in Two days ... where and when was TBD [the 6 hour part, for ME anyway, was out the window]
I woke up at my usual time of 5:25. I brushed & dressed, but naaa’d the bib idea, for now anyway.
“Let’s do this”
I had a bunch of 5K routes/courses to choose from, but went with the one I’ve been running most often lately, the one I’d run to set my highly non-official v2.0 5K PR of 23:36. I didn’t necessarily plan of going for a PR at anytime during the event, but if I was going to, it would surely be on this first leg
The moon was still up, hanging just above the trees in the back yard. She was taking on a pinkish cast as she settled into bed on this cool and clear morning. The cicadas weren’t buzzing yet; it was only a matter of time, though. Oddly, there were a lot of crows up and cackling. I hoped my little adventure wouldn’t lead me to becoming their morning snack by the side of the road at any point in the next 36 hours or so.
I left house behind and shuffled away towards the beautifully rosy and golden sunrise.
After crossing the Pike and reaching the First Mile mark in a few ticks short of 8 minutes, it took some work to hold back at the first turn, to force myself to adhere to the plan and not to wander off. The temptation to go longer to explore some routes that I haven't done at this time of day in many weeks was strong in this one. Seeing I was moving at a good pace, that made the decision easier, and I found a good pace to groove on as I passed Chocolate Pretzel Heaven, hugging the overgrowth by the side of the NJ Transit tracks chasing my own shadow up the street with the sun behind my right shoulder.
I had to sort of stutter-step around a fairly big puddle at the Halfway turnaround. Sure, I’d usually splash through here, but I’d need my shoes completely dried out in a few hours for the Second Leg, and I couldn’t necessarily count on that.
Cruising back towards Mariel’s school, there were a couple of sprinklers on; I took advantage, getting a nice schpritzing to the singlet. As is my tradition / superstition, I stopped at the Blessed Mother for a quick Hail Mary, then on my way for the Final Mile of the First Leg.
I was doubly fortunate to have the sprinklers running at Domino’s as well. I treated myself to a quick head-dip, before having to wait for the light [AND the obligatory “look pissed”]
The six-tenths of a mile from the light to home, is always so desolate and depressing, due to the trash and assorted roadkill that litter my running way. This morning though, I spied a flattened out snake in the shoulder. I have mixed feelings about snakes; I don’t mind them when I KNOW they’re there, like if someone offers me one to handle in a very rock n’ roll way, but when they appear out of nowhere … I’m not fond of that kind of surprise. Just the same, I had to feel sad to see any of God’s creatures plowed over like that.
I tucked into the development and chugged up over the final rise as the 24th minute came to an end; stopping the clock at 25-and-a-half [“stopping the clock” being a misnomer: I don’t actually use the buttons anymore, but just take mental note of the approximate time when I leave the driveway]
Not a bad pace for first thing in the morning and something I could probably match pretty closely for the remaining Three Legs, earning myself the coveted “Tick Tock” Award for Most Consistent Splits [or Most Accurate Pace-Setting … I’m not sure how I wanna phrase that]