And then fall happened. . . .
I took September off, then ran the Tufts 10K in early October.
I ran pretty much exactly the same time I ran on a much hillier course in March, but I felt great and had fun. After seeing this picture I felt like the woman behind me, who judging by hair color has a few years on me, is way more ripped than I am and makes me look sort of pathetic.
I didn't race at all again until November, when a super-fast friend of mine put together a masters womens' team for the USATF New England cross country championships, which took place about 30 minutes away. Here is our team looking all spiffy and cross countryish in our singlets:
It was a gorgeous day, a fun course, and we took 2nd overall masters team so won a whopping $100 for our club. After some deliberation, we decided not to quit our day jobs. But we're doing this again next year, even if the race isn't in our backyard. It was sobering to run a cross country race against many of the fastest 20-somethings in New England (they ran masters and open women together); I came in 70-something out of 90-something total racers, and I had a pretty decent race for me. But there is nothing like cross country in the fall. We even did a team cheer at the starting line. (Which we sort of mis-timed, so that we were still cheering when the gun went off.)
Charlotte also did her first 5K this fall, a local English-style cross country race with hay bale barriers that she flew over like the gymnastic nymph she is. She asked me to run with her, but I was diligent about staying behind her and letting her dictate the pace, which was remarkably steady for a 9-year-old. I can't lie: my proudest moment was when, after we had just passed a couple girls she knows with a friendly "hi," they came back on us, and I watched Charlotte subtly put the hammer down and drop them for good.
Here we are after the race, when she has just had that first-time racer's experience of realizing that, as good as it looked on the table, the last thing you want right after a hard 5K is a cinnamon bun:
At the end of the fall I did the Hot Chocolate Run again. Although I sort of suspected this would happen going in, it was still a little disappointing not to dip under that 21-minute barrier again, but as always it was a terrific race. There were 5,500 runners, we raised over $225,000 for a wonderful local organization that helps victims of domestic violence, and I still ran OK for me. Here I am with Lisa post-race, both of us trying to smile despite being about 10 seconds away from hypothermia:
Lisa pulled away from me before the first mile, and I never caught her speedy self. I did manage to beat the two students from my class who ran, which was lucky for them, because as I told them at the start line, beating your professor is worth a sure 5% off on your final grade. I was also pretty happy with my outfit for this year, which I pulled together the day before with a last-minute trip to Target for socks:
What this picture doesn't show is that, by the 1.5-mile mark, my right sock had fallen down to my ankle, which was super-annoying and I'm sure cost me at least 10 seconds in the form of distraction. OK, maybe not.
And now it is winter (though it's 40's and raining as I write this, yuck!), and I am back in the pool and on the trainer. After 5 years with my super-awesome coach Martha, I decided she deserved a break from me and I should shake things up and try something new, so I'm working with a new coach. It is exciting to try some new things, but at the same time I was looking for consistency of philosophy and general approach. If you're reading this and looking for a triathlon coach, I highly recommend Martha; she'll make you faster and a happier/better person at the same time.