I registered for the CHaD HERO HM back in September. Persuaded by the cooler fall like temps, I got sucked in and signed up for another race. Thankfully, I had already built up my mileage for the Zooma Cape Cod HM on September 27th, so it was a matter of maintaining fitness more than anything for the CHaD race. Or so I thought.
The great thing about the CHaD HERO is it’s a fundraising event to benefit the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD). The only children’s hospital in NH. It’s always fun to run a race. It’s even better when you’re raising money for a worthy cause.
I’m not much for caping up for a race. I like to be the hero (before they put on the superhero suit). Like Clark Kent. I also don’t have a costume and can’t persuade my cheap skate self to spend money on a costume to wear only to end up chafing in places I don’t want to feel while running. If it was a shorter race, say a 5K, I would consider it.
After several days of ongoing rain in our area, the let down added to the glum of the weather and I slid into a “meh” kind of mood. Paired with a taper, it felt like a ridiculous depression. Carbo-loading, hydrating, and no running made me feel like a fatty boombaladi couch potato. (Mind you it had only been a few days!). I needed this race and felt like Sunday (race day) was going to take an eternity.
Race morning, I ate oatmeal and half a bagel. Dressed and grabbed the items I had packed the night before. I drove over an hour to an acquaintances house and carpooled with a lady I met a week earlier.
The race start/finish is located at the Dartmouth College greens. A beautiful park. The weather forecast for race day was spastic. One minute it would be a sunny 51 degree forecast, the next in the high 40’s with rain. And wind. That’s pretty much how the weather ended up being. Started overcast and rainy. Cleared for the actual race start and the wind picked up. Looked good most of the race. Then a shower hit a ton of runners ahead (around mile 11-12). I could tell because the ground was SOAKED. ^evil laugh. I guess it does pay to be slow…
Miles 1-4 were pretty downhill/flat. I planned on a 10:00 pace. Oops, looked down at my Garmin and I was hauling at a 9:34. No way in hell would I be able to maintain this throught the entire race. But knowing the course had hills I decided to go with it and plan on losing time on the hills. The hills of the course definitely made you work. Mile 4 was a steady incline, but long. Mile 9 was insane
simply because it was at MILE 9! Wanted. To. Die. Toughest hill of the course. This is where my pace tanked. The hills just ate my time. Also where my body started to feel the faster pace I’d been putting out. My knees and hips were screaming. SCREAMING.
At mile 10 the course loops runners back near the start/finish. Literally you run through the college greens (through the start corral) and the road where the finish line is runs parallel (with the crowds cheering). It’s a real tortorous tease. It’s so close to the end, but not quite. The crowds cheering was really great and I think I did well hiding my pain and disdain that it wasn’t the real finish. Mind games.
By mile 11-12 I stopped listening to the pain. Let’s face it, it was going away. I focused on how close to the finish I was and how freaking great the END would be. I wanted to finish strong and even though in my head I felt strong I doubt I looked that great going over the finish. I did still have enough energy in the tank (or adrenaline) to pick up the pace that last mile and shoot through the finish.
The volunteers at this race are so gracious. Whether they were on the course or at the start/finish, they were always thanking runners for raising money and running. Calling us heros. I kept thanking them back, after all, without the volunteers a race would be a whole different beast! The crowds were just as awesome. Cheering, clapping, cow-belling, shouting encouragement. Loved it.
Post race I indulged in food (vegetable soup, mac ‘n cheese, bread, cookies). And HEAT. One of the buildings of the college was open to runners and had couches and housed multiple theatres for the students and public to go to. Comfy, free wi-fi and warm. Heaven.