Throwback: Canal Diggers Road Race, 7 September 2013

What: 5K

Where: Worcester, Massachusetts (course map)

Who: Just me, with Drew, Mum, and Jack for moral support

Benefited: I don’t know… it was sponsored, among others, by Fallon Community Health Plan

Time: 35:15

Photos: (click to open larger versions)
Photos with * courtesy of RaceWire; those without courtesy of Drew

"I do not believe in the wall..."

“I do not believe in the wall…”

"...I believe in the Blerch."

“…I believe in the Blerch.”

And I'm off! Please ignore my bad running form. *

And I’m off! Please ignore my bad running form. *

Finally crossing the finish. Again, ignore my form. *

Finally crossing the finish. Again, ignore my form. *

Drew's flattering post-finish shot of me. Ogle at my legs! Look up my nose!

Drew’s flattering post-finish shot of me. Ogle my legs! Look up my nose!

Recap: Earlier in the summer, my dad told me about how Worcester has designs to become the “Running Capital of New England” [Boston Marathon aside, apparently] and how they had established a three-race series called the Tour de Worcester. One of those races was a 6K in honor of the Worcester 6 – the six Worcester firefighters who died in the cold storage fire in 1999. I wanted badly to run that race, but by the time I heard about it it had already happened. So I signed up for the 3rd race in the series – the Canal Diggers – instead.

This was the first 5K I ran by myself, and I found that it was much harder to run without a running buddy. When I run with someone, I can distract myself from the unpleasant aspects of running by chatting, and I stay more motivated to keep going because I don’t want to slow the other person down. During this race I had no one to distract/motivate me, and I seemed to be the only solo runner without an iPod, so I was pretty high-and-dry on the motivation front.

Also, expecting to experience “run like the wind” feelings like I had during my last race, I was disappointed when the day turned out much warmer than expected. I failed to hydrate properly, having anticipated a cooler morning, and as such found myself with side stitches and cramps galore as I dragged myself up some of Worcester’s tamer hills. I didn’t want to faint so I took it easy, only really trying hard the few times I approached my cheering fans (Drew, Mum, and Jack); the course doubled back on itself so they were able to see me stagger past a few times without having to wander too far.

When RaceWire texted me my results a short while after the race, I was gobsmacked to see how close I had come to my PR, given how much I had walked; I was only 7 seconds short. I was disappointed in myself then… if I had known how close I was to matching or even beating my PR, I would have tried a littler harder. Nevertheless, I was pretty proud of myself for managing such a quick-for-me time despite my perceived slowness. Training was definitely paying off!

Bonus highlights of this race included seeing so many people start dancing when “Blurred Lines” started playing pre-race; crossing the starting line to Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream;” running past Turtle Boy; running alongside Worcester’s annual pride parade and getting pumped by a band’s rousing rendition of “When the Saints [Spurs] Go Marching In“; and of course, running through my home city <3. I also got to wear my awesome Blerch shirt for the first time!

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