The third and final race in the Wild Rover Series was today: The Hynes Tavern 5-Mile Road Race in Lowell, MA.
Parking was a bit disorganized (at least, if you wanted to find the free parking lots), but we got a spot at the elementary school where I picked up my number and proceeded to spend half the morning in the line for the ladies' room (I'd forgotten what Comet cleanser smelled like!). At least we got there early...
The kids joined me, Michelle, John, and Laura for the pre-race picture:
The weather: sunny and gorgeous! It started off somewhat windy and cool (but nowhere near the snow and sleet we had the previous two weeks). I was wondering if I'd have to keep my jacket on for the run or not. And more good news: we were going to have actual chip time (mat at the starting line), rather than going by gun time. Which was nice, since it took me about a minute to actually cross the starting line.
Yeah, that's me waving... John too. :-)
Once we got going, it seemed like the wind instantly stopped and the sun got warm. That jacket came off after maybe 500 feet! I liked the course: out of Lowell into Chelmsford, around a cemetery and through some cute neighborhoods, then back into the city. Another course with a hill at the turnaround point, but this one wasn't as steep as the last one (thankfully). A good sign that it's all downhill from there is when you run past the town water tower. ;-) I had the iPhone going and mapped the route with Runkeeper. (Plug alert... I love this app!)
After a tough run on Friday, I was pretty psyched with my run today... lots of energy (and a nice little boost at the end getting cheered on by a friend and having my family at the finish line), and a better time than expected (a 10:14 mile), given the on-and-off issues my calf has been giving me over the past few weeks. Woo!
One thing I really liked about this race series was that it was the first group of races where we used the disposable timing chips ("D-chip"). No more chip collection at the end of the race (and fighting your way through the crowd of folks bent over trying to loosen these things from their laces), and no threats of being charged $$ for missing chips. The new chips came as a plastic strip attached to the back of your race number: detach the strip, loop it around your laces, and you're done. No problems attaching the chip, and there didn't seem to be any issues with accuracy... pretty nice.
What next? I dunno... I need to keep running, though, and quit slacking off. More snow for tonight and tomorrow (sigh), but no excuses... I need to find another race to sign up for to keep myself honest. :-)
All three "Wild Rover" medals together... the heart and crown were from this week. It's pretty big!