Thursday, November 4, 2010

"New HAMPshire?!"

In mid-September, Noah and I finally checked 13.1 off the list. We’ve been meaning to run a ½ marathon since the uber-popular Ogden marathon dashed our hopes on its waiting list a few years ago. And ever since then, schedules just didn’t sync. There would be one in NYC the day we were flying to Utah, or one in Utah the week after we left, or timing was fine but our running shape was debatable. Or timing was perfect, shape was adequate, but the course was a twice loop that double-backed on itself around Queens. Now that just sounds like torture.

But that all changed when someone put a bug in my ear about a half marathon along a lovely New England course in the fall, whereupon finishing, participants pack those calories right back on with freshly-baked apple crisp. You read right. Apple crisp.

We prepared as well as schedules would allow and pounded out a great 10 mile run up the length of Manhattan one Friday night (oh… to be young and married in NYC on a Friday night. We’re such a party.) and I figured that was good enough. I managed to convince myself our race-day adrenaline would make up the difference.

As we stood in the pack that morning, the only word that seemed to float up from the murmur of voices was “mumble, mumble, HILLS, mumble, HILLS, HILLS, mumble.” We’d been warned that the course had its share of ups and downs and ups. After training on the completely wussy terrain that is the Hudson River Park, I suddenly found myself allotting that race-day adrenaline to making up the hills difference.

The race wasn't scheduled to begin until 10:00am, relatively late in the running world, but because of the typically cool New England autumn temperatures, the party gets started a little later. As the temperatures steadily climbed and the humidity became increasingly oppressive, the topic among the murmur of voices started to shift, “mumble, mumble, HOT, mumble, HUMID, mumble, mumble, FEELS LIKE I’M TRYING TO BREATHE IN A SAUNA.” Not to be deterred, I assigned one more task to that race-day adrenaline of mine.

This is also about the time I started to believe the announcement that had been made no less than 67 times, “no iPods.” They probably don’t me. Because if they did, they would know that 13.1 miles without Gaga, Ke$ha or Kanye (I didn't say I was proud of my running mix...) was going to take more of that race-day adrenaline and I was fresh out.

So I did what any rational runner would do. Shoved the earbuds in my sports bra in case I needed to resort to tunes.

I needed.

I was bummed to hit a wall so much sooner than expected. I made the fatal mistake of slipping those earbuds in just a quarter mile out from the hand off point for the relay. Race officials were swarming, my bib number radioed in and I was disqualified.

It turns out DQ'd is more of a mental punishment than anything else, because I still ran, still crossed the finish line, still received my medal that doubles as a bottle opener, still got that apple crisp (and really, this was the point...) and still had my name included in the posted results. But you better believe I did not enjoy my music for even one minute. You are sly, race officials. You, with your stopwatches and mind games.

As I neared the finish line, I came up on a girl I'd talked to earlier in the race. A little companionship was exactly what the two of us needed to get through the final stretch. As we got chatting, she mentioned she was from AZ and I said I was from UT and that's how we discovered we were both a couple of Mormons running in NH. A game of "do you know...?" and before you know it, we had crossed the finish line.

As discouraging as the run felt, there was something reassuring about finishing the race and talking to others who had a tough run, too. Ha! What does that say about me? Misery loves company? In this case, misery = Allison and company = when, as long as I had to endure a grueling run, everyone else had to, too.

This seemed to apply to everyone except for Noah, who had a great run in spite of it all. He ended up catching up and finishing with relay runners. Also, he is ridiculously good looking when he runs with his serious face.

In truth, there was a really supportive and empathetic vibe among runners during the race. None of us ran the race we'd hoped to run and it may not have been the race we were expecting, but there was such camaraderie and encouragement, that it became the overriding emotion of the experience.

Of course, we loved spending race day with the Ures. Kemper and I go way back. We're talkin' learning about the Netherlands and Wrap-Ups in Mrs. Callantine's and Mrs. Rothey's 4th grade classes way back. This cute gal also made the smarty-pants decision to attend USU, so we happily kept in touch throughout college. Noah and I also got to know her husband, Joseph, in classes and committees. The sweet pair live in New Hampshire with their adorable daughter, and as luck would have it - they were running the Applefest together, too.

Noah just looks like he's giving himself a thumbs-up. In reality, he's talking to Kemper - who is not in the red sports bra and little black shorts, but behind the guy in bright yellow.

I did a double take when I thought the same girl was also in this picture. But no - Joseph and I are pictured here chasing a different girl in a red sports bra and little black shorts.
The series of photos where I pretend running is the most hilarious thing ever...

Crossing the finish line with pep in his step.

After an afternoon of recouping on their wraparound porch and a beautiful evening at Lake Winnipesaukee, we were ready to send for our things, never leave New Hampshire and spend the rest of our lives quoting "What About Bob?"


Angie said...

Congratulations! I cannot believe they would "disqualify" anyone during a half-marathon (think of the months of training that go into this, and now you're going to disqualify the runners that have come to your race?!) and that they actually have a rule against iPods!! Why?!?! I cannot think of a solid reason. That's dumb.

Marci Joy said...

"I'm crazy about you! Especially you Betty."

Best movie ever.

Congrats you two!

Ashley said...

Disqualified? Daaaang. I keep hearing this no ipod it for safety?

Well, you rock my no-energy world and you two do look adorable when you run. Not all people do! And tell Noah that if you're going to look like Michael Cera, you best be sporting the headband whenever you run.

Corey, Alisa, Elsie, and Spencer said...

Wow! What a run--a beautiful run and apple crisp...delish. How in the world did you run with out tunes in the end?! Don't think I could have. I wish I looked that happy when I run. Congrats you guys! Fun you could run together.

Merrell Family said...

13.1 miles is 13.1 miles DQed or not. Don't worry, you're winners in our eyes (cue Jordan "awwwww.")

"Faye, this corn is delicious! Is it hand shucked?!"

Claire said...

Hooray!!! COngrats! That's awesome,., and sounds like an ideal ending to a run :)

B said...

Even before I read your post, I knew by the title that "what about bob" was going to be included. It was the influction in the "hamp" that tipped me off. Love the movie! Congrats on the run!

Nicole said...

Baby steps to finishing a half marathon... I really love a good race story, and that was a good race story. I can't believe you were disqualified! (And from what, I wonder? Winning?)