Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thompson Island 4K

This race is sponsored by my office building, Equity Office. I learned about it from the "Captivate" video screen in the elevator, which is a pretty cool gadget, great biz idea, I wonder if they're doing well, I haven't seen it elsewhere yet. It just cycles through weather, news, etc. with sponsored ad boxes, etc. It also helps solve the problem of what to do with your eyes in an elevator. The race is to benefit Outward Bound, a great organization which mostly helps kids by, Idunno, doing crap outdoors. Bill Rodgers helped create this event.

So I'd planned, tentatively, with a couple office mates to run this as a corporate team, but when I got back from Oregon they'd bagged out of it, so I went alone. Runners, 300 or so, were ferried from Rowe's Wharf, Boston to Thompson Island. Beautiful afternoon.

I knew Bill Rodgers would be there, as MC or whatever as he's very involved in this race, but I wasn't sure he was actually running. I spotted him before we got on the ferry, decked out in running gear. He looks exactly like he looks in photos/videos, just hanging out with (I later learned) his brother. To me, Bill is a major celebrity, I clearly remember his incredible string of 4 Boston and 4 NYC marathon wins from 1975 through 1980. I admire his obvious love for the sport, his reputation for being a nice easy going guy, but also being extremly competive on the roads, determined to bury his opponents when necessary, and continuing his running into his late 50's, inevitable falling times and all.

Ten minutes before the start, I'm at the urinal doing my pre-race business, and up steps none other than Bill Rodgers, peeing right next to me. Wow! On the way out, he just starts talking to me — have a good race, it's a great course, etc. — we start jogging together, he's giving me details/pointers about the course. I'm jogging and chatting with Bill Rodgers! Wow! Tells me specifically to be careful about footing as it's a very twisty cross country course with a variety of terrain, dirt, gravel, and uneven grass trails.

I'm hoping for very low 6:00 pace, and if lucky, sub-6:00. With a 5:52 pace 5K PR I figure that's at least a possibility. But this course turns out to be quite tough for me, I haven't run a cross country type course for many years, lots of tight turns, up, downs. Went out pretty fast, so did everyone else, tough getting through the crowds, not a lot of space, settled into low 6:00 pace, back/forth with a few runners in my pack, knew it would be over before I knew it, only 2.5 miles. Nailing the downhills, the uphills really tiring me.

Wish I could enjoy the course/view more, it seems nice but I'm running too hard to appreciate it. I sideswipe a pricker bush which rips across my scalp, bleeding, probably lost some hair on that. Nearing the end, the periodic uphills really tiring me. Then into the final half, flat, uneven grass, taking a turn I'm flying, and then, I'm on the ground. I fell, this can't be happening, I don't know how it happened, running one second, skidding across the ground on my left shoulder the next, rolled my right ankle bearing left. Probably better that I fell though; I think if I hadn't it may have somehow been more pressure/strain on my ankle.

I'm astounded at how quickly I was able to evaluate the situation, very few seconds, the ankle's okay, I'm okay, thank goodness, soft landing, the human body is amazing. No sooner am I down than I spring up and sprint into gear. The volunteer I fell pretty much in front of yells encouragingly "go get him!", referring to the guy I'd been running neck and neck with for the past mile. I can feel the ankle a little, but I think it's okay, very glad just a quarter or so to go, kick into gear, strong finish, but I couldn't catch the guy. Official finish was 15:32, 6:15 pace, 8th place out of 267. I figure I would have been 10+ seconds faster if I hadn't fallen, maybe 7th instead of 8th, I think I might have been able to outkick the number 7. Oh well. Decent race.

A little after, my friend Bill, comes up to me, asks how it went, we chat for 5 minutes or more, about the race, the course, I tell him about Hood to Coast, etc. I'm shooting the shit with Bill Rodgers. Wow! Tell him how I wiped out, feel a little stupid as this is exactly what he'd warned me about. He looks great, btw, I look it up later, he's 59 this year, I didn't realize he was quite that old, doesn't look a day over 49.


At 11:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cool that you got to "hang" with Bill Rodgers! Sounds like an interesting course. Sorry about the wipe out, but, way to recover! Hope the ankle is OK.

At 11:40 AM, Blogger The Running Red Sox Fan said...

Glad to see that you do your own stunts!!!

Peeing next to Bill Rodgers....Does it get any better than that?? Ahhh, life is good!!

Great job on the race and I'm glad you're OK!

At 2:13 AM, Anonymous Running Blog Webring said...

Awesome that you had a chance to speak with Bill Rodgers. :) Amazing. :)

At 8:30 PM, Blogger Running Rabbit said...

Well that's a time to be proud of! Good JOB!! :-)


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