Monday, July 7, 2014

Race Review: Murdick's Run the Chop

On Friday, July 4th, despite the fact that Tropical Storm Arthur was on its way, I headed over to Tisbury, MA so I could tackle the Murdick's Run the Chop Challenge.  When I woke up at 6:30 that morning, the air was so thick that I couldn't see out of my window.  Just to be sure that my mind wasn't playing tricks on me, I checked the forecast and crossed my fingers that it wasn't as bad as it looked.  No dice.  The temp was already up to 72 degrees and the humidity was....wait for it....97%.  The dread set in.  But, as you'd imagine, the weather wasn't going to hold me back from a race.  In fact, hundreds of us decided that we'd still like to test our strength, plow through the heat and gasp for that remaining 3% of air for 5 miles.  We runners are a rare breed, aren't we?  Last year, I won this race.  Not by much, but still.  This year, I came in second to a very cute and spritely 18 year old who made all five miles look ridiculously easy as I followed behind her in pain.  Ahhhh youth.  This was one of the most challenging races I've taken on in quite some time.  I've run marathons that were more pleasant.  Let me break it down for you.  My first two miles were decent.  I held steady at about a 6:40 pace and the heat was somewhat bearable.  Then at mile three, the wheels completely fell off.  I slowed down to a 7:30 pace while I my way up a slight, but steady hill.  The funny thing is, I had absolutely no idea that I had dropped my pace so much.  All I could think about was iced coffee.  I must have just started to space out as trudged along.  It happens.  I was able to get back on track for my last 2 miles and rolled in around 34:20, good for 2nd place among the ladies and 20th overall.

Proudly displaying my prize, which was
 a medal and a gift cert for a pound of Murdick's fudge.
(Is it ironic to win candy at a road race? Just a bit.)

In all the 5 years I've done this race, this was my slowest time on the books.  The heat and humidity took me down.  But, we all suffered together, so it's not like I had it any worse than the rest of my fellow runners.  I do this particular race every year for many reasons: it's for a great cause with all proceeds going to the MV Boys and Girls Club, it's easy for me to get to, it gets me out of the house on an otherwise typically lazy summer day, and it's a beautiful course in a part of town that I rarely visit.  And while many things that I love about this event are the same each year, there happened to be a lot of firsts this time around, too:

~ it was the first time I’ve seen my friend Rachel, who I went to Colgate with, since I got married 13 yrs ago.  Such a treat.
~ it was the first time in all of my 39 years that I’ve run a race in only a sports bra.  It was just that hot.  Everyone was doing it.  And no one cared.
~ it was the first time I've known that the weather was going to take me down BEFORE the race even started and I ran it anyway.  (okay, this may have happened in the past, but, clearly, I've I blocked it out).
~ it was the first time I’ve smelled bacon cooking mid-race and really, REALLY, considered stopping.
~ it was the first time I’ve both seen AND high fived my husband during a race.  That was cool.
~ it was the first time the EMTs handed out cold towels at the finish line.  Bless them.
~ it was the first time I’ve eaten 3 popsicles within 2 minutes of finishing a race.  Ice cold sugar coated bliss.
~ it was the first time I’ve taken water at all 3 stops in a short race, but didn't drink any and poured it over my head instead.
~ it was the first time my music has run out mid-race.  That sucked.
~ it was the first time in a while that I didn’t bring my sunnies because it was overcast when I left home.  Of course the sun was in full swing by race start.  Lesson learned.

It was a crazy hard race, in mad challenging weather conditions and it was still a boatload of fun.  Well, everything but mile three.  The best part of the whole event for me happened while I was savoring my second popsicle.  I looked over at the finish line and watched as a 12ish year old boy was cheering for his buddy, also 12ish, as he ran came across.  As he stumbled through the chute, his friend, who clearly was beyond thrilled for him, said, "See man!!! I KNEW you could do it."  His buddy was too tired to talk but he smiled and they high-fived.  It was such a cool and genuine scene.  Oh, and this was pretty darn cute, too.

Big brother slowed down to finish the kids fun run, 
hand in hand, with his little sister.

Racing is so tough.  But these kinds of things, among so many others like it, will always keep me going back for more.  I'd guess it's the same for a lot runners out there.  We're a crazy bunch, but we support each other and we have a lot of fun.

Listen to this:
Beware the Dog - The Griswolds  


  1. That photo of the little kids is adorable.
    If it helps any even at your worst you are still a better runner than me. I recently started running again. I love your blog i find it helpful and so inspiring! My fastest run time was 9.00. One day i hope to be as honest and optimistic with my runs as you are.

  2. But keep in mind that 9:00 is really fast for so many other runners out there. It's all relative. And more importantly, you found running again! Thanks so much for the nice note. Happy running. Rock on!

  3. Yes, running 9 min miles would be great for me! And I have been running (apparently junk miles) for 6 years! I love the kids stories, I know I really could learn a lesson from those 2 stories!
    Way to get out in the heat and race, I would definately think twice about that one!