6 mile beach run (August 30th)

Publish date to match the day I ran (8/30/2018), but posted on 10/7/2018

Wrightsville Beach is my ur-beach since we used to visit my grandparents here every summer. I got up early enough to park at the southern tip and run 3 miles up, past Johnny Mercer’s pier, and back down again, while the sun rose. I might have been motivated to get out to the beach that early anyway, but not to run so far.

At dawn the clouds look like solid dark objects; it’s only after the sun comes up that they resolve into their normal aspects.

The coolest thing I noticed is that the dawn light appears to evaporate off the sand as the waves retreat, because the reflection in the thinnest edge of moisture vanishes.

The sand was covered in hieroglyphic crab clawmarks centered on their holes. Lots of plovers, sandpipers, and gulls, but I was disappointed that in the swash—the edge of the waves—there were none of the “sand fiddlers” (mole crabs, Emerita talpoida) or “periwinkles” (coquina clams, Donax variabilis) I loved to observe as a kid.

I ran back around the southern tip of the beach to the sound side, walking back to the car through the sea oats.

Bridge of Flowers Classic 5 mile race report

I’m very behind on my blogging. I used to joke that every post should end “This could be the last post ever!” (in contrast to the usual impulse to insist that now one is going to post faithfully etc…) I made notes soon after the race but may have forgotten some details. (publish date to match the race date of 8/11, but actually posted on 8/31/2018)

The Bridge of Flowers Road Race is one of my regular favorites, but this year, the 40th, they switched from a 10K to a 5 mile distance in order to eliminate the stretch of Route 112 that couldn’t be closed to traffic. That worked out perfectly for me since this fell in my 3/5/3/10 week, so I did the two short runs in a row and skipped speedwork as a bit of a taper. As the announcer pointed out, everyone set a course record this year!

Results: Time: 54:50, 11:00 pace, 20th in age division (women 50-54), average HR 160. That’s a better pace than last year (11:12) and my age-graded results moved from 50.64% to 51.83%, whoo-hoo—from almost perfectly average to just a hair above average, go me I guess.

I really need to get there earlier, and I wish they gave more guidance on that in the informational email. I aimed for getting there between 8 and 8:15 for a 9am start, but the 3K starts at 8:15 and I missed the chance to turn onto Mechanic Street, where parking/registration is, before the runners came through. Once they start flowing drivers have to wait, which makes sense, so last year I parked further away, but this year I was stuck. Get there by 8! By the time I got to the school to get my bib, the shirts had already been moved to the finish line, but there were no crowds at least. I was a little rushed but was able to use a proper indoor restroom and stroll across the Bridge of Flowers to the start on the Iron Bridge.

I knew my friend Carol would be there and described what I’d be wearing so she’d be able to spot me—right at the start I heard her yell to me and went over for a high-five. From previous years there were little things I’d been looking forward to or had forgotten and recognized when they happened, and others that I missed. I now run with my phone in my hand to hear the Runkeeper signals, and that allows me to stop and take pictures—and now I know that I have to stop, because the ones I tried on the fly didn’t come out. I will definitely want to take pictures at the marathon, and it’s totally worth sacrificing the little bit of time. So I have the bagpipe player who stands at the turn onto Water Street, but not the other shots I tried to get: the beautiful colored slate roofs in downtown Shelburne Falls and the sign at the top of Crittenden Hill. Missing this year: the Professor World one-man band, the vuvuzela players, the guy on a drumkit. Still there: the amazing volunteer who shouts “This is your hill! Own it!,” the house where “Chariots of Fire” plays on an endless loop (I’m glad I don’t live next door).

I was very proud of running Crittenden Hill last year¬†and planned on doing it again. Thinking about it had the Kate Bush song “Running Up That Hill” playing in my head:

but the lyrics “You’re running up that road/running up that hill/running up that building” were prophetic. I had gone out a little fast, and by the time we got to where the hill keeps rising and rising and rising, my breath went from 2-2 to 1-1 to audible gasping (HR18, near my max). Since there were still miles to run, I slowed to a walk, which didn’t hurt my time—on the contrary!—just my pride.

I saw Carol again at the finish and chatted afterwards. Disappointingly there were no Lightlife veggie dogs at the afterparty, but the pizza was OK and I enjoyed the ritual Our Family Farms chocolate milk and especially beer at the Blue Rock—a delicious hefeweizen which I sipped looking over the river.

Third training week

Miles for the week: ~17 (~3/~4/3/7.25)
Average resting heart rate per Fitbit: 57
Weight: 116
CityStrides coverage of Northampton: 38%
Long run: 7.25 miles; avg HR 135; time 1:31:48; average pace 12:39; splits 13:15, 14:14, 12:08, 12:47, 13:26, 12:07, 11:39

I got out before 7 because it was going to get hot, and it was clearer than I expected since it was foggy when I got up. On the humid side but under 70 degrees and beautiful blue skies. To get some new streets for CityStrides, now that I’ve replaced my phone, I explored the area around Baker Hill in the Bay State Village neighborhood. Two very steep streets; I get some elevation on my normal long run but it’s good to get real hills and remind myself I can do it. I felt very good physically, like I could run forever, but my legs were plenty tired when I got home. The annuals in Capen Garden are getting huge, which means summer is well along, and it seems like the catalpa pods are already turning brown and opening—I didn’t realize they ripened so fast.

I desultorily “collect” weather vane sightings (there’s an amazing stork-with-baby at Cooley Dickinson hospital which I’m looking forward to seeing again on a future run) and found this horse which presumably used to be one but is missing its directions:

Since I didn’t have my phone for the 4-miler on Thursday, I ran my old regular route from the 2015 marathon training, through the Meadows on the other side of 91. It’s great to have farmland so close; the potato plants were blooming and I noticed the beautiful ruby color of the ripening corn silk. it was very hot and I swear I could feel the corn breathing—an emanation of cooler, moister air from the forest of green stalks.

Thirteen more weeks, but there have been day-of decisions to make: I chose my baggage pickup option—none, because I want the cool poncho and won’t need much with me—and my transportation—the ferry, of course, because it’s a more special experience than just a boring old bus, and besides I can sleep later: I didn’t see my start time but I was able to pick a ferry time of 8:30am (not the last one), which is luxuriously late especially since we’ll have an extra hour for daylight savings time. It’s really happening!!!