I'm also grateful to the coaches. Jeanne administered the program and designed our program t-shirts. (Below. Can't touch this.) Bex and A coached, along with others. Coach Bob was our fast guy.
Bob smoked me at the National Marathon by about 13 minutes. He wears a heart monitor and pays close attention to it in his training. He ran the Triple Crown races along with me on Saturday. He was much faster. He beat me in the Belmont (1.5 miles) while pushing a baby stroller. I think he was showing off. Bob trains Navy guys to meet their physical fitness standards, one of which is running a 10:30 mile and a half (7:00 pace). (Below: BOB. Bob on bike. Coach Bob crosstraining on Railroad Avenue in Falls Church parallel to the W&OD Trail in Northern Virginia.)
On Saturday, as you may recall, I ran the Belmont race so I could meet the Navy standard. I left the race area with Bob.
"So Bob, they wouldn't kick me out of the Navy. I ran a 10:28 for the 1.5 miles."
"Oh, you're old."
"No, I'm not old. You're old." (In the tradition of two kids in a sandbox.)
"No, I mean, they wouldn't kick you out because they age-grade it. What are you, 45?"
"Thanks Bob. I'm 55."
"Oh, you're old."
"We've already had this discussion, Bob."
"No, I mean, they would kick you out for being overage." Oh, man!
On Sunday, I did the Capitol Hill Classic 10K/3K double. I was part of my agency's 3K team in the race, along with A and guest runner Bex. This year we recruited G, who finished 29/670 at the Capital Challenge last month. In that race, the services send their best runners so he was competing against, in effect, several professional runners. G also did the double on Sunday.
I finished the 10K in 48:44 (7:51), 358th in a field of 1122. My splits were 7:35, 7:22, 7:52, 7:39, 7:40, 9:05, 1:40. The hill in the sixth mile, from which the race takes its name, just killed me. I could barely shuffle up it although I have been running it once a week for months now on my weekly noontime Mall runs. For its quarter-mile length I just tried not to slow my movements into an actual walk, although my shuffle was probably slower than a walk. I did not look up at the horizon ever. It was awful. (Above. Slogging through the Capitol Hill Classic 3K last year, passing by the Supreme Court Building.)
Twenty minutes later I lined up for the 3K along with G, A, Bex and P on our team. G had just run a 38:59 (6:17) 10K, finishing 36th. Of course, he had ten more minutes of rest than I did because he finished the 10K that much faster than I did.
There are always a gadzillion kids in the 3K race, perpetually underfoot. You have to go out fast to get away from them.
G and A took off like rockets. I followed Bex who was running steadily at a fast pace. Midway through the race I moved by her. Knowing that at last year's 3K race she smoked A at the end for third place, I looked anxiously behind me at every corner to see where she was. She was gaining on me. G and A were totally out of sight up ahead. (Right: These two finished one-two on the team and in the 3K race, first overall, and second woman.)
Three teenagers summoned their youthful energy and dashed by me the last hundred yards, a race of three within the larger race. That dropped me from 9th to 12th. Bex finished a mere 12 seconds behind me in fourth place. A came in second.
G won the race. He had never won a race before. He later said, "I didn't know the course. I just kept following the lead police car, hoping it knew where to go." (Left: Bex finished right behind me.)
Our team defended its title of a year ago. G ran an 11:09 (6:00). A ran a 12:39 (6:48), fifth overall. She smoked the first mile in a scorching 6:10. Bex ran a 13:52 (7:27). P, new to racing, ran/walked it in in a little over 20 minutes.
Afterwards, good friend that she is, Bex took me aside and read me the riot act. Stop putting all that vitriol about your divorce in your blog, she commanded. So it happened. Nobody wants to hear it. Everyone has bad things happen. Move on.
Point well taken. When Bex talks, you listen. I'll try.
My 3K time was 13:40 (7:21). I was fourth master, first guy over 50.
See, I'm better already. My youngest son graduated from his boarding school in the Northeast on Saturday, I think. I'll call the school today to find out. Congratulations to him and good luck.
Running has a way of curing your blue funks.