Sunday, August 21, 2011

A family (running) vacation

My love/hate relationship with the Falmouth Road Race continues. Last Sunday was my first elite level race since March — that's right, I'm not counting the train wreck that was the Boston Marathon. It was nice to get back out there after five months. The weather in Cape Cod was just as I suspected, hot and humid. But there was also plenty of energy and excitement at the starting line. Eleven thousand runners lined up in the tiny town of Woods Hole, a quintessential New England harbor town with shingled buildings, lobster signs, and colorful boats in the harbor.

I was the No. 6 American finisher and eighth overall. It was disappointing because I don't feel I ran up to my fitness level. After digesting the race for a while, I realize I might have been a little too optimistic going in. I have run it several times and for some reason I just never have a great race. Also, it might not have been the best strategy to run a race at the end of a family vacation. Let’s face it; when you have young ones and lots of family around, do you ever get the chance to really relax, even on vacation?

Since my husband Jon’s parents live in Plymouth just before the Cape. It was a perfect opportunity to see them and get in a high-caliber race. Unfortunately, whenever we visit, it feels like we are going all day long trying to fit in as much family and fun as possible since we don’t make it back that often. According to my coach, Bob Sevene, it was a good week to flee Monterey because of the summer fog and cold. It was great to let Quin play in the tidal pools and ocean waves without having to worry about putting him in a wetsuit or having him turn blue.

Jon and I ran each morning while his parents got their quality time with Quin. It worked out great for us because we love running on the trails near their house. Jon’s parents even bought Quin a bike to ride at their house. They didn't know what they were in for. Many mornings Quin had his helmet on and was heading out the door at 8 a.m.

As race day approached, it felt like old times because Jon was running too. When Jon was an elite athlete — he was an outstanding steeplechase runner in college — I loved having him around race morning, keeping me company and yet understanding at the same time my pre-race jitters. Though Jon was not racing, per say, he was pleasantly surprised with his time. Guess that running streak is paying off. For me, I find it hard to not compare myself to when I was at my peak and to be satisfied with steps in the right direction. I will keep chipping away until I break through.

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