One thing I did today that I’ve never done before, is to wear my grandmother’s wedding ring.  I believe it’s white gold rather than platinum, and I found out the hard way, I may be allergic to white gold because  it usually makes my hand break out a bit after a few days.  However, it’s really beautiful – it has diamond chips all the way around.  It’s all the more special to me because it was hers, and because it’s from the 1930s.  She never remarried, although she outlived my grandfather for 47 years, so it has a lot of meaning for me.  I wore it today to honor her for Mother’s Day, and also to draw strength from it.  Toward the end of the race when I felt myself lagging, I rubbed it and said to myself  “Strength, Grandma, give me strength,” and then I looked up and saw the tent at the finish line.  And then I started sprinting.

I think from now on, I’ll be wearing it on every race day for good luck. And for strength, which she always had in abundance.

 You have to love a race where they hold back the start for almost 15 minutes because there are so many women in line waiting for the porta-potties.  They only had 7. They had 960 women registered. I really think they need more, don’t you?

That is my only complaint about this race, other than it appears they don’t actually have official water stops. They have one marked on the course  map but when you are out there, it really looks like just some very generous families who set up shop on what would otherwise be their 3-year old’s lemonade stand out front.  I love families like that.

The weather was great for running. As you can see from the pics, I had my arm warmers on before the race. I must have only run about 100 yards before I saw Bill and pretty much threw them at him.  If you were standing still like he was, it was on the cold side – high 50s, but really, really windy. If you were running like me, it felt awesome. I had seen a lot of women before the race dressed in long sleeves and long pants, and some even with two shirts on. Just thinking about running in all that gear in this kind of weather made me hot!

Anyway, this is a very informal race. Women with strollers and walkers are allowed, as are very young boys running with their moms. Men are not. Not even one of them. A true women-only race.  (Bill says it’s sexist and would like to see if he could organize a men-only race, just to start a ruckus.  … Sigh, my husband, the troublemaker …)

There are no timing chips for this race, and I started my watch a bit early. Ah well.  I had lined up where it said “8 min. pace” and have realized I will have to line up next year near where it says “7 min. pace” just so I can actually start with runners of my pace. I can definitely say, a lot of people in front of me were not doing 8 minute miles. I felt like I was doing the giant slalom for at least the first half mile.  By the time we got to the 1 mile mark, though, things had settled out pretty well.

The race course has lots of inclines and declines, so I am glad that where the race folks are concerned, I ran faster than last year.  The race starts with an uphill, but the good news is that you finish going down that same hill.  I remembered that last year I made a concerted effort to run the tangents, and this year, I did it again. Enough so that when I got to the 1 mile mark, my watch said .93 miles.  When I finished, my watch said 3.38 miles, even though officially the race is 3.5 miles, which, as many of you remarked, is an odd distance.  I agree!

The first mile was my fastest as usual, and the second was one where I felt myself hurting a bit.  I felt like I had some stomach cramps and was luckily able to get rid of them. I did stop and walk for water at one bit – I’ve never been able to master getting it in me, rather than on me, when running.

Oh, and another thing – this is one of those races where it’s not very scientifically taken care of at the end – at least one woman got in front of me in the chute, who had actually finished behind me. Also, they had two chutes going, so who knows what person actually finished before another. Do you see where the confusion could settle in?

With all this being said, I guess you could take a grain of salt with my stats:


  • Official time on Cool Running: 30:23 (I believe they give you the time they have when you get to the very end of the chute, not the time that shows on the clock when you’re actually done. Big difference of about 11 seconds.)
  • Time on the clock when I passed it: 30:12
  • Time on my Garmin, which I started too early: 30:08
  • Overall placement: 158/874 (although they said there were 960 registered)
  • Division, 30-39:  61/262.
  • Paces ranged from (per Garmin): 8:38, 9:23 (drinking water), 9:05 and 8:15 (last one less than a mile, of course)

Last year, I came in 155 overall, but my time was almost a minute slower. I guess we all got a bit faster this year!

Now, in these pictures, you’ll notice in the ones without a hat, I  have my hair pulled up in an elastic on the top of my head – it can sometimes stick up pretty high! That accounts for the pointy head I get with my hat on – Bill took the close-up of my head so you could see just how much I look like an egghead as a result. (Such a wiseass.) And I’m not sure why he likes to take pics of me stretching but, oh well.

I am wearing a Road ID bracelet even though we were wearing bibs that correspond to our name, age, etc.  Bill insisted I wear it because (1) he bought it for me and (2) you never know when a jaguar or panther might break out within Melrose, MA, run you down, and maul your face off, rendering you unable to speak or call for help.  Have I ever commented before on my husband’s wild imagination?  If not, well, I have now.

Oh, and this news just in. I signed up last night to run the Utica Boilermaker, which is a 15K, held on July 12th.  I have to start ramping up the long runs, as you can imagine.  I’m going out to visit my sister next week in Michigan, and it stays light out there, until about 9 p.m., so I’m looking forward to a longer slow run around the lake in the middle of her town.  My little niece, Katie, is getting baptized and I’m the godmother, or “christian witness” as the church is officially calling me.  Should be a lot of fun.

To give  you an idea of how big this race is, look at the results and records – does the phrase, Catherine the Great sound familiar to you?

Here is the elevation chart for the Boilermaker – can we say “freaking scary?!”  Cross training on the “stairway to nowhere” begins tomorrow! 🙂