Monday, March 1, 2010

What's My Age Again?

Two or three decades ago I read a story about Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray. What interested me the most about the story was how McGillivray commemorated his birthday every year by running the number of miles that corresponded to his age. He began this tradition at age 12 and to the best of my knowledge continues to follow it. At the time I thought, “How cool is this? I should do that.” Well, the years passed and I never did get out for that Birthday run. The idea faded from my memory bank.

I’m not sure why after all these years the thought of doing a birthday run returned. But it did. I knew there was no way I could run 55 miles on the training (or lack of) I had been doing the past three months. I thought a 55K run would be a big enough challenge. I asked a few friends who I knew were crazy enough, I mean brave enough, to join me in this foolish endeavor. They thought it was a great idea! I’m beginning to wonder about the people I associate with ;-).

Ten enthusiastic ultra-runners....and then there were none.

On Sunday morning it was cold and damp as a group of hearty runners assembled at the entrance to Lynn Woods reservation. Michelle and Kevin were two of the last to arrive. Michelle was driving about 90 miles per hour and I thought she was going to do some donuts in the ice-covered parking lot. Too bad she didn’t. When she got out of the car she said she wasn’t going to run and just was here to drop off Kevin. It seems she partook in an excessive amount of a clear alcoholic beverage derived from potatoes, corn or cereal grains the night before. She was a bit under the weather and not in the mood for a 34 mile run. What’s up with that? She eventually caved to peer pressure and decided to join us. I will now affectionately refer to her as “The Vodka Vegan.”

The trails were a bit messy from the rain and wind storms that lingered in the area all week. We encountered a little snow, a little ice and several areas of mud and standing water. There were also many blow downs on the trails and fire roads. We had to crawl under, climb over, or bushwhack around many large trees taken down by the strong winds on Thursday. This just added to the adventure and difficulty of the run.

Bill, Emily and Steve climbing Cornel Path.

Running along Breeds Pond. (Photo by Steve Latour)

Single file on the boardwalk (Photo by Steve Latour)

Not everyone was planning to go the entire distance and one by one people started to drop out. After 35K, only Christine, Chris, Steve and I remained. After some refueling in the parking lot we headed back out to tackle a hilly (Oh, now I remember them!) 10K loop. The afternoon temperature had dropped and the air felt raw. My pace was slowing and I had a hard time staying warm. I also had a painful, tight groin muscle that was affecting my stride. When Christine mentioned Chris was also a certified CMT I asked if he would massage the affected area. We all had a good chuckle over that but I’m still waiting for my rub down.

Avoiding a wet muddy section of trail. No one likes wet feet when it's this cold.

Back to the cars with 45K in the books and the two “Cs” were still looking strong. I’m sure they could have easily gone out for another loop. I, on the other hand was feeling the cumulative effects of 28 miles of mud, hills and technical terrain. I knew if I went out for the final 10K it would involve a lot of walking breaks. On a warmer day that would have been fine but on this cold day I didn’t see it happening. I was already cold while running and if I starting walking I would only get colder. This was the end for me. Steve asked me if I would regret it later if I bagged it only 10K from the finish. Without hesitation I said “No.” 

Although I came up a bit short I have no regrets. (UPDATE: I sort of regret it now.) I had a great time with many old and new friends. We enjoyed several hours of running, joking and sharing stories in the natural beauty of Lynn Woods. Thanks to everyone for coming out and helping me finish my longest run of 2010. I’m sure there will be more ahead.

More photos from Steve

"I never want to act my age. What's my age again?" - Blink 182


  1. I think we would have gone for another loop if it wasn't so cold, dark, wet, snowy, icy, nasty and tiresome, or if we did not have to get back to our families, or if we didn't have nagging injuries. Other than that, we were raring to go!

  2. Serious kudos to the remaining four... you are far better men then I...well I am actually not a man...and Christine is not a man..but well you know what I vegan...I like it...add that to Steve's Oreos and we have the perfect pre race fuel option hehe


What's on your mind?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...