Wednesday night I ran the Hollis Fast 5K. It is a straight fast run down Depot Road in Hollis. It is also an evening race which makes it fun. I wasn't in the shape I would like to be to "really" race a downhill 5K like this, but despite losing a week of running the week before the race, I was happy to be healthy enough to run.
I have run this race the first three years they had it, only missing last year, but something eventful happened each run. The first year I slipped and fell right before the finish line, because there was a right hand turn off the road into a parking lot and I cut the corner too close and slipped on the sand. The second year, I developed a massive blister on the bottom of my foot halfway down the hill. About a half-dollar size of skin came off and folded over. I couldn't run for many days after that. The third year two horses got loose during the race. Last year I skipped the race because of a calf injury. This year it was good to get back.
Not many Striders were running, so it wasn't as fun to have people to race against that I knew. Before the race I talked with Kevin McCusker, who I have met before here and at the Millennium Mile. I knew he was fast and would easily finish ahead of me in the Senior division.
I tried to start the race slowly, but I guess everyone else did too. After a couple of minutes about 10 people went by me during the first mile, included the three lead females all running together. Between miles one and two I kept pace with two other runners, trying to stay ahead of them. By mile two I wasn't feeling too energetic and competitive. I knew I onlly had to run a bit faster or just keep my pace if I wanted to break 18 minutes, but I haven't raced enough yet this year to put in a push. I got sort of lackadaisical and a few runners went by. I finished in 18:16, my slowest time on the course, but not as bad as I thought I might do. I know once I get my legs under me and a few more races that I will be capable of a much better efforts.
The race was won by fellow Strider, Ethan Crain in a very fast 14:57. I was 3rd in my age group. I finished in 18:16. Kevin did win in 17:07 and second place went to Donald Chapelle in 17:21. I think I started the race next to him and I met him after the race. Those are some fast seniors! I will say this however: Kevin told me how fast he was in college and I am running a whole lot closer to my college times then Kevin is, because he was a very fast collegiate runner. So as old as my legs feel, I haven't lost as much speed as other runners (but you can attribute that to the fact that even though I trained hard- I just was not a speed demon in either high school or college).
I enjoyed reading this cover story article in the latest issue of ESPN magazine. It is about 17 year old trying to be the youngest person to ever sail around the world. I have been fascinated by stories like this for years. In junior high school I read every library book I could find about adventurers who sailed or rowed boats across the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean, particularly those who did it solo in small boats. I got a paper route and saved my money for a couple of years to buy a sailboat as I thought that some day I would like an adventure like that. My paper route took me by Falmouth Harbor, right on the Falmouth Road Race course, and I would go and look at all the boats each day dreaming of which boat I would like to own. I bought a small boat and started sailing. In ninth grade I became fascinated by two things: I read the book "Dove" about 16 year old Robin Graham circling the globe in a sailboat and I started running cross-country. The book was interesting, but running soon replaced sailing as my interest. I eventually sold my boat. I still love reading adventure stories, but don't fancy going on sailing adventures any more. After that, I used to think I would rlike to run across the USA, and actually started planning such a trip during college, but I think I found it is better to read about other adventures than figure out how to accomplish one of my own. This story in ESPN reminded me of all the schemes and dreams I used to think about when I was younger. Now am I just happy if I can get a decent run in for an hour or so each day!
The biggest adventure I had in this boat, an O'Day Sprite, was at this lake. My brother had left my boat untied on the dock and somehow the wind started blowing it across the lake. I was on shore eating lunch and saw my boat sailing away with no one aboard. I dived in and started swimming after it. I swam and swam ignoring every one's orders to return to shore. I could get as close as 10 feet away from the boat but could never catch it. It sailed clear across the lake with me right behind it. I kept thinking I would get those dreaded and often warned about stomach cramps for swimming so soon after eating and had thoughts that I might die out there, but kept on swimming. Finally after over half an hour I made it to the other side of the lake where the boat had landed and sailed it back triumphantly. However, I got in big trouble as there was no other boat around to rescue me if I had floundered out there. My parents had been in absolute panic mode. That swim made it easy for me to pursue the sport of triathlon when it first came to New England in the early 1980s. I knew I could swim long distances.