Okay - so we didn't exactly look or perform like the Jamaican Bobsled team - but we did finish and managed to consume a reasonable quantity of food at the post-race "party" - what else matters?? We think we have stumbled onto our racing/running motto: "We run; therefore we eat." Or - phrased another way - "We run so we can eat!" Either way - you get the message. And we continue to be puzzled by Rachel's general lack of interest in eating; she certainly did NOT inherit that from her parents.
Anyway, probably not the norm to have two posts so close together, but that is what happens when we schedule races on consecutive weekends - our last run taking us to the Connecticut coastline (Long Island Sound) at Jennings Beach in Fairfield - probably about 45 minutes to an hour from New York City. The Fairfield Road Race had been billed as a flat and fast course - the site of several US half-marathon championships - and got very good reviews, to include an endorsement from the Race Director we met in New Hampshire in May, who had previously lived there, participated in the race, and ultimately provided us the contact for a friend of hers whose family watched Rachel during the race. I guess the course billing wasn't entirely inaccurate - just not quite the WHOLE truth. It was indeed flat - for the first two miles and the last two - and perhaps even fast - for the first two (because by the end, fast really wasn't an option); however, the rest of the course was quite challenging with several significant hills and a few others. That was coupled with East Coast heat and humidity - a combination which I have not learned to run in very well. Notwithstanding it wasn't a fast course, it was a very scenic course. Several miles of it were along the beach or coast/harbor area, and at least half of it was through some beautiful residential areas - large estates, colonial mansions - and all of it was through Connecticut greenery. We certainly don't regret the race selection - but came home with additional appreciation for our hill training and perhaps a commitment to do a bit more running in the heat.
All in all, the trip to Connecticut was a fun one. We managed to get two tickets to Fenway Park, so spent one day going to Boston and back - with the highlight being the Red Sox game on Friday night - what a storied history and a place we had both wanted to go. One other very impressive sight in Boston was the worldwide Christian Science HQ and "cathedral"; we were too late to go in, but it reminded me of Italy! Also visited the grounds of the Coast Guard Academy in New London; spent some time in the historic and picturesque seaport town of Mystic (early Julia Roberts debut in Mystic Pizza); spent a morning in Hartford exploring downtown and the Capitol; and then after the race did a little "spying" on the rich and famous. Western Connecticut on the edges of NYC is quite renowned as a money haven. We got some tips on drives to take through some particularly well-heeled country areas, and we were not disappointed. (And you can probably imagine where this idea originated - although I didn't put up too much resistance.) Certainly some beautiful estates, chateaus, mansions, etc. Also visited the campus of Yale University that evening in New Haven - quite impressive - esp. considering I had even applied to attend Law School there!
And what thoughts might I share from this race? I think what struck me most is flexibility and the fact that adhering to a relatively rigid training regimen doesn't necessarily prepare you for every eventuality. Based on what I had read - and my training - I actually thought this might be a race candidate for a PR. It turned out to be far from that - and not because I hadn't trained, but because the conditions under which I had trained weren't optimal for this environment. I guess the message there is to know who your "adversary" is - or your challenge - and prepare accordingly. Be flexible - condition yourself appropriately. I think there is a lesson in that the extends far beyond running.
Seventeen down - 33 to go!