This was a swirly, twirly, goopy Memorial weekend.
Three hour drive north to Traverse City. The beginnings of a sinus infection had left my throat sore and my normally angelic voice croaking like Harvey Fierstein. I had just bought the new Green Day album so I was singing/croaking out loud all the way up while green glops of sinewy fluid slung onto the dashboard and my family as they covered their ears and eyes in horror. Their steady pleadings to Stop Singing Like That and Stop Snotting Up The Family only goaded me to crank up the volume and sing-phlegm louder.
I did sign up for the Bayshore 10k. I felt like crap the night before but figured I could muster 40-45 minutes worth of work in the morning and then lapse into a childlike needy state for the rest of the day. My demands would be hot soup, foot rubs, and a soothing tassel-filled belly dance by Mrs. Nitmos.
The Bayshore is a fairly flat, fast course and features a 10k, half and full marathon. I’ve done the marathon but not the 10k. In fact, I’d never done a 10k before. The marathoners depart from the start area first followed a few minutes later by the 10k’ers. Since the 10k’ers are moving at a quicker pace, we get to run up the back of the marathoners between miles 2 and 3 before turning around and heading back.
I had targeted a first mile at 7 minutes followed by a second mile at 6:45 and then the remaining miles below 6:40. The hope was to come in around 41:30 or so. My SOS2 goal is 40:00 for this distance. With the lack of speed training this spring combined with the swirling mucus in my frontal lobe, I was just a curious as you, the reader, are about how this would turn out.
I took off too fast. Again. (In fact, from now on, I’m just copying and pasting those same preceding 6 words into every race report to save time.)
First mile: 6:39 (featuring a first ½ mile of 3:03 before wising up a bit)
Second mile: 6:33
Third mile: 6:37 (turn around and head back)
Fourth mile: 6:33
During the fourth mile, I happened to recognize a passing runner going in the opposite direction. Normally, I don’t recognize anything but the shoes of the runners in front of me. I happened to look left and see Sun Runner passing by and we both managed a Hey-You-Look Familiar finger point (though only mine was with the index finger.) I don’t think I could have croaked out a hello if I tried.
Shortly after that, I heard someone shout “Feet meet street” from the crowd in the opposite lane. I waved, again, as my voice was incapable of mustering a shout. But then I thought, maybe that was just a person who likes to vocally express their physical actions. Maybe after shouting feet meet street, she said now I’m breathing in and out and moving legs or something like that. It was pretty presumptuous of me to assume that it was directed at me.
Fifth mile: 6:34
Sixth mile: 6:09
Final lap on the high school track: 1:19 (5:22 mile pace!)
Judging by the final 1.22 miles, I probably should have paced a bit faster early on and not run such a defensive, conservative race. Call it 10k Beginner’s Nerves. But behold the steady splits between miles 1-5! You could have set your watch by my metronomic pace (as long as you don’t mind your watch being off by a few seconds every 6 ½ minutes.)
Mrs. Nitmos and I sat up in the stands and watched some friends finish. I never did see Sun Runner come in so I thought maybe I had just vaguely taunted some random, unknown runner. I picked up an age group award. Thankfully, the 35-39 AG was considerably slower compared to the 30-34 and 40-44.
2nd of 82 in age group
36th of 1419 overall
Then, Mrs. Nitmos and I hoped in the car and headed back south 3 ½ hours to attend a wedding, eat prime rib, make fun of the bride and grooms relatives and friends, and drink the free booze.
Back in the car, heading north to Traverse City again for a Memorial weekend cook out. By now, both Mrs. Nitmos and I are spewing green nose mucus and our heads are spinning.
Back in the car, driving 3 hours home. Each stop along the way empties a handful of sickeningly moist Kleenex into a roadside garbage. If the raccoons get in there, you’ll see a lot of ‘em around northern Michigan with green Kool-Aid rings around their mouth. But that ain’t Kool Aid.
Our Memorial weekend was a blur of spinning, dizzy heads, nose expellants and the physical back and forth between northern and southern Michigan. It’s about as close as I want to come to being a Yo-Yo. I’ve been called a Yo-Yo many times but I’ve never actually resembled one before.
In fact, looking back, the only thing that held steady was my 10k pace.
And Congratulations to all the Memorial racers! You know who you are…