Seeing as it is National Condiment Day, I’ll try to catch up (get it, catsup, or ketchup as you wish) with recent events over the next few evenings. It’s been a busy stretch with two races in five days and lots more to come in the very near future, so prepare yourself for an blog-o-rific onslaught. And no, it’s not really National Condiment Day; I just invented that for literary fun, though I relish the thought of such an event. (Groan.)
Let’s start this evening with Chapter One, Return of the Jedi, in which our intrepid Greater Boston squad once again travelled west to Westfield, Massachusetts (which would seem odd if we lived further west and had to travel east to Westfield, but I digress…) for another round on the Stanley Park course. We’ll move on to Chapter Two in a couple of nights.
Having had less than a stellar outing there four weeks earlier, this was a Douglas MacArthur moment (“I will return!”), returning to Westfield seeking vindication after an enjoyable but mediocre race a month prior. This time the old-fashioned butt-kicking I’d tasted four weeks earlier by running in an open-age race (there being no masters event that day) would be replaced by an old-fashioned butt-kicking of racing in a masters race, but one comprised of New England’s best, this round being the USA Track & Field New England Cross Country Championships. And indeed, place-wise, it was a pretty good butt-kicking, but place aside, I make no complaints about the day, it was essentially all good.
This time, calculated exuberance put me at the mile in an identical five-forty-two, but feeling entirely in control. I voiced some good-natured exasperation about the quick start (at least for me) to the runner next to me in a purely psychological play, and then proceeded to leave him behind. From that point on it was only positive gain, picking off another few places with calculated bursts, losing none, and feeling solid.
original edition), in which he describes many years’ races from the perspective of the second-place chaser, gaining on a fading leader late in the race, knowing he could catch and win, but simply running out of race. Now, with Tom himself (coach of our GBTC squad) somewhere behind me in the field, his words came to life, except that rather than conceding to the rapidly vanishing remainder of the course, they lit a spark. With perhaps a hundred yards left to go (pardon me, meters, this was a metric-measured 8K, not a five-miler), and perhaps twenty meters of gap remaining, rationality departed. Why not?
I can’t recall an all-out sprint like the one that erupted from some unknown place within since, well, I just can’t, and that’s not forgetting some of the more memorable all-out sprints. Maybe it was because Darling Spouse and Dearest Daughter the Younger had made the trip, and the alpha-male in me decided to show off. I can’t say why, or how, but ten meters from the line, I picked up one more place, much to the surprise and chagrin of my target.
It’s satisfying to return. Just ask Douglas.
No time to bask, though, because Chapter Two lingered a mere five days later. We’ll save that one for the next episode.