Welcome to a special mid-week update, courtesy of my foolish decision to run the Gobble Cobble 7K this morning in Fells Point. Because I've never actually run a "turkey trot" on Thanksgiving Day, now seemed like the best time to start. That, and the race was only a couple of miles from my house, so it made for an easy warmup/warmdown en route.
I almost didn't go out to the race, and I got partway down the block in front of my house, feeling terrible, and thought about not running it. But since it was cold outside, and I had gone through the trouble to put clothes and shoes on, it seemed stupid to turn back. So I ran the rest of the way out to the race, stood in line at the MAC to register, and then walked down to the start line.
As I stood near the front, I looked around to see that apparently, nobody that could clearly beat me was standing there. I briefly contemplated that this would be a chance to win a race, NBP-style, but before I had too much time to think about that, Jim was mumbling some stuff into the bullhorn that we could barely hear, and then we were off.
For about the first half-mile, I was within 10 meters of the leader, and not feeling so bad, and it seemed as though I might actually be able to do this. Then things turned south very quickly. As we hit the cobbles, I suddenly had this overwhelming "dead" feeling in my legs, and, as Meg D would later tell me, a look on my face that was something to the effect of "what on earth am I doing here?" It wasn't long before people started passing me, and as okay as I felt in the lungs, I had nothing in my legs.
We passed the Polish war memorial and headed out to the Inner Harbor promenade, and I gradually started to make a comeback. That, or people in front of me were fading. At least this was something I knew how to do - hang tough when a race goes bad. I started picking up ground on the pack of four or five runners in front of me, and eventually passed them all. Then it was just hang on for dear life to the finish, down the chute to the right that came up all too quickly, which meant I hadn't really had time to kick in the finishing sprint.
This ordeal took a little over 25 minutes, which, considering how I felt, suggests that the course was probably a little bit short. Who knows what my exact place or time was, but I do know that I accomplished one thing, which was to find out what I had today. Not to wax overly poetic about a silly little Thanksgiving morning run, where nearly every winner left before the awards were handed out, but with all of the long races that I do, sometimes I wonder how fast I might be at a shorter distance. Today, I found out. And I also suspect that, on a better day, I could go substantially faster, and, with some more specific training behind me, I could go even faster than that. I'd like to do that.
But for now, I'm going to be thankful for everywhere I've been, everything I've done, and all the good people in my life over this past year.
That, and this sweet youth extra-large t-shirt from the race:
(EDIT: Reportedly, the race was 3.8 miles long, which, at about 25 minutes, means that I was running about 2:52 marathon pace, which is probably about as fast as I can run for any distance longer than 100 meters now. So, from that perspective, maybe I should feel a little less disappointed.)