October 12th, 2008
Loni said to me on the way to the race “You have addicting passions.” She was right. 5 years ago at Harpoon it had been just Loni, Dustin, Heather, Adrian and I. 4 of us had run. Since then many faces had joined and then bridges were burned, but they still were there. This year we had a party of 10, 8 of who were running. Sometimes I wonder if this is what I do to contribute to my little click of friends. I keep them all running at least one 5k a year, of course, as long as there is promise of beer at the end.
The start is a tad apprehensive as we get to walk past two sets of ex-acquaintances that refuse to recognize my existence, but still show up to an event that obviously I’m going to be at. I was there before them, and I’ll be there afterwards. Oh well, their loss. Loni and I are pleased to be joined by Grant at the start. He’s a mutual friend with some of the burned bridges so it’s a great gesture for him to give us the time of day. We catch up on training regimens and how much/little we’ve been training. Last year we said we were going to break 22:00 here. Today, I’m running with loni and told him I don’t care about time. I just want to enjoy the ride.
At the first mild climb one of the Ex’s and her new boy come up and say hello. Well rather, HE says hello and she hardly recognizes my existence as expected. Oh well, I laugh as when they pass neither of them are talking; they both actually had to take out ear buds to say hello. I shake my head and think, what a shitty way to run “together.” I mean, you can’t hear one another, you aren’t talking to one another, and that fucking sucks. When I ran with her we never ran with headphones. You’d talk to one another, it was more intimate. Eh, I guess it’s just a core difference. To each is their own I suppose.
The long hill looms ahead and the pack is spreading out. Grant and I are chatting and moving along at a nice comfortable pace, Loni’s starting to feel pain in her heel. One mile down, 12 minutes in, feeling fine. Grant and I continue to chat about how much the race has grown as we pass the first water stop. We look back and check in on loni, who’s 5 feet behind us throughout the race. I’m enjoying his company as Loni’s a silent runner. She needs to focus on her breathing to keep her moving forward and I have a real hard time realizing that.
The 3 of us push on through the development. I wonder were the rest of the crew is. If anyone has finished already? Then the ball buster hill, the hill that Dustin dreads every year looms ahead. I jog up it nonchalantly, much too many of the people around me shagrin. A short hill like this is nothing compared to what you find at the ultras in the area. I kind of feel like a dick to be going up the hill with a smile, but the Jolly Koppershmitts are at the top of the hill and are playing a familiar tune.
Grant and I talk about how we went through our ups and downs at Pisgah last year when he lost his ultra-virginity. Good times and great memories. Loni’s hurting after that last hill, her knee is really starting to bother her. I worry that it was too soon after the VT50 for her to be out here. Grant can smell the bratwurst and takes off up the last little hill.
I try to push loni on faster down this last hill, she’s hurting so I do the best to encourage her to turn up the speed. The group of 4 dressed up as beer girls pass us, mind you 2 of these 4 are guys. Well the story there is one of the girls, yeah her skirt is quite loose, and if you have ever run in a skirt you will know that anyone behind you gets quite the show. Luckily for me, today was no exception, if you read this, you have one fine hieny young lady!
Loni and I turn the last corner and she digs deep and speeds up, she knows the finish is soon and picks up the pace again on the last stretch. I match her pace and we’re able to cross the now-packed finish line together. As an added bonus we get finishers race mugs and join the rest of the group in the festival.
All 8 of us finished and we all shared many of delicious Harpoon beers following. What a great way to finish up my race season.