Start was going to be a little late. Probably due to the long lines at the port-o-potties. Why don't people leave themselves enough time to pee? Never seems to fail, when it's hot and you want to get going, the start is late. It was announced that this year's course was going to be .3 miles longer then last year's due to construction. Big deal, ya just ran 5 miles. Is .3 more going to kill ya? Besides, it's not the olympic time trials.
On "go" I took off. I got a nice clean and quick push off. My breathing and pushing rhythm seemed to fall into sync almost right off the line. I was feeling really good. The first mile was very flat with a couple of tight turns. I knew this course well. My office is only about 2 miles from here and it is part of the route I take when I get some mileage at lunch time. I know it so well I even know exactly how to go over the old railroad tracks leaving the Marine Industrial Park. As the course leaves the park and takes a left onto Summer Street it starts a slight incline up and over the channel bridge. I hit this just right and had a good pace going. I didn't have a watch on, I had lost it a couple months ago and haven't replaced it yet, so I didn't know what my time was, but I felt great. On the other side of the bridge I got a good decline. Not a hill that will build up high speed, but enough to stop pushing for a second and shake out the arms, adjust the gloves and get a mouthful of water. While adjusting the gloves I realize I really need to order those new gloves soon. There was a split opening along the left thumb. That’s gonna be a blister and hurt later.
The course took left onto 1st street heading toward the beach. First Street has a small up hill climb to it. If you are not aware of it, it's enough to slow you down some. I was ready for it and was able to hold my pace up and over the top. As I passed the water stops I noticed there were 2 tables directly across from each other on very narrow street. This is going to be very hairy on the return trip. A thousand runners will be coming directly at me and filling the street. With that many people trying to get water, they are not going to stay to the right side. Many will start using the one on the left. Once at the beach we took a left onto Day Boulevard and went racing toward Fort Independence. Castle Island to the locals. The course leaves the street and heads around the fort and back into the street. I started to loose my pace here. Although I did have a police motorcycle escort, many, many pedestrians still got between the officer and me. I had to keep steering around them or slowing down to avoid running into them. Once around the fort, we got back onto the roads and the course doubles backs along itself. We were approaching the water stops and just as I feared, the thousand runners were passing through and using both water tables and filling the whole road. There was no place to go. All I could do was get as close as I could to the officer and have him guide me through the crowd. Well, it goes without saying, a few runners thought they were fast enough to jump between the motorcycle and me to grab a quick cup of water. Most made it. Barely. But I'm pretty sure my right wheel grazed the heel of one young woman. I didn't catch a number or face, but I hope she didn't get hurt from her mistake.
Back onto Summer Street and into the last mile for the race. I knew the up hill approach to the bridge was coming. I also knew if I hit it at a good pace I will have not problem getting up and over the top. I knew all this. Did I do it? Of course not! I don't know where my head was as I approached the up hill. I had an ok pace going, but I didn't do anything to speed up any. I was in the middle of the hill before it dawned on me. By that time I was starting to struggle with the hill and the heat wasn't helping. Oh well, that'll learn me. Over the bridge and back onto the flats. Things were easier from now on. I cruised into the finish with a time of 30:58. I'll take it. Not that have much of a choice as the clock doesn't lie. What sucked is it was 2 minutes slower then last year.
Now the fun begins. The folks at the Harpoon Brewery throw one hell of a post race party. First of all, there is freshly brewed Harpoon Ales of different flavors. And what a spread! Pasta and grilled sausages as far as the eye could see. More then even I could eat.
As the festivities were outdoors in the sun I figured it was time to slap on the old sun block. I pulled out the old bottle of SPF30, squeezed the bottle into my palm and waited for the "splurt". I waited and I waited... I squeezed again and again. No "splurt". Well, seems the bottle was empty. That could be a problem. So I started asking around. Seems lots of people were looking for sun block. After about 20 minutes I finally found a friend with the spray on type. Thank the Gods for friends., but I already had a sunburn going.
I was enjoying another round of Harpoon Summer Beer with friends when awards started. I was the only wheeler to show up today, but I figured I'd at least pick up the medal. As usual Harpoon was more then generous.
At the end of awards I rolled away with a nice Harpoon mug with the medal on the front, a brand new Timex Ironman watch, a new gear bag courtesy of Puma and let us not forget the case of Harpoon IPA. Which I was allowed to swap for a case of Summer Beer. Not a bad haul for 30 minutes on a hot race course.