|(Hanging with the Guard Dog, the mascot for The Guardsmen)|
After a short parking debacle (one drawback of the bigger crowds), I hustled up to the start line just in time for the 8am start. Phew! I'm worse than Cinderella at midnight with these things, I swear. It's usually at this point I realize I'm missing something (camera this time, but have shown up without shoes before, so anything that doesn't involve sprinting in Crocs is fine by me), and laugh to myself that Mr. Big Shot Chief Blah-Blah Officer is basically a preparation train wreck any given weekend. Then again, maybe that fly-by-night freedom is part of the release that makes racing so fun. It wasn't so long ago that racing was the only structure my life had.
|(And we're off!)|
|(Through the barracks we go..)|
|(The lead pack takes the downhill fast)|
|(Just follow those cones all the way across the bridge)|
|(Okay, time to put the camera away!)|
|(Heading down from the bridge, photo courtesy of Chris Bragg)|
|(The leaders head into the final stretch)|
It's always the question that hits my head at this point, and for some reason, the voice always sounds like Sean Connery in his 007 heyday. If I've put in the training, my head always finds the same answer. I want it, and I want it all. Unapologetically. I want to catch that guy with the grey hair and pick up my 4th RRCA Masters win. I want to simulate the pain I will feel when I go flat out on Boylston Street at next week's Boston Marathon and take a few precious seconds off my marathon PR. I want to earn my beer, pancakes, and post-race PAX'ing. I want my 4-year-old daughter, Quinn, to sprint around the house for hours with my medal around her neck pretending she is winning. I want what we all want...everything I can get by maxing this moment. Honestly, is that too much to ask?
So I leaned forward, stood tall, and pushed my leg turnover to a road runner blur. The pain felt good, cleansing. My form was holding up despite protest from every orifice, but the self-destruct time clock had also been set. With a mile to go, I reeled in one runner as I went gasping by. With 500 yards to go, I pulled in one more while the tunnel vision poured in. Then the finish line came...1:01:17 for 6th, and the Master's win...not my fastest here, but enough for the day.
|(To the finish!)|
|(Hanging with Chris Bragg and William Smith, who was 9th in 1:02:02)|
|(The band rocks out the 80's tunes)|
|(Selfie city near the bridge)|
|(Some nice bling and a tee)|
|(Quinny gets her medal)|
|(See what she's like with a medal? So worth it. ;-) )|