As I mentioned last night, the Cape Cod marathon race weekend was an amazing experience. Heading to Massachusetts always makes me feel like I’m going home and the Cape is a special place for me because our family spent many a summer there as I was growing up. We arrived on Friday night in the dark and cold and barely had time for anything before getting to bed. Saturday morning was overcast, cold and rainy but that didn’t matter because we weren’t running until Sunday. My wife and kids explored the hotel while I organized my gear. When I opened the shades to our room I was happy to see the ocean view and it reinforced that we were actually here on the Cape for the relay.
We met up with Adventure Girl at the Expo where we got some guidance from the race organizers on where things would be happening and where my family could situate to watch the race. The Expo was fun and I tried on a few pairs of ASICS and Mizuno running shoes that were temptingly priced but I didn’t bite. I still have a some miles left in my Brooks. AG went off to drive the course while we went into town and had lunch at Liam Maguires pub. We met up with AG for a little time before we headed back to our hotel. We all met up again later for dinner at the British Beer Company where we had a great meal and AG and I had a pints of stout and porter respectively in the name of pre-race carb loading. Later that evening the kids quizzed AG for one of her mid term exams and during that time we got a call that one of our teammates was diagnosed with Swine Flu and he would not be able to make the race. AG reassigned our routes, swapping my second leg to the 3rd segment instead of the 4th. This way it ensured that AG, me and MM (our third teammate) were all able to run by the ocean at some point. In so doing AG took on legs 4 & 5 so she ended up running close to a half marathon.
We met as a team on Sunday morning at 7:00 AM and tried to stay warm. Despite the 57 degree temps it felt chilly. Soon AG and MM went off to locate exchange #1 where I would hand off to MM. My wife and kids stayed with me and situated themselves in front of the Black Dog on Main Street. I got into position on the starting line and at 8:30 they fired the cannon to start the race and I was happy to high-five my family on our way up Main Street as I headed through my first leg. I came into exchange #1 after running about an 8:30 pace. The end of the leg has a big hill but that effort was mitigated by the most beautiful view of the ocean. The road split to allow relay-ers to do their hand-offs without interfering with the full marathon runners. I handed off to MM and AG then drove us over to exchange #3 where I picked up the baton for my second leg of 5.7 miles. That route was very rolling with a number of hills but I felt great and after passing under Route 28 I knew most of the big hills were over. Around that time I started talking to another runner, MG, who was not registered for the race but was running it as a practice for a marathon she’s running in a couple of weeks. She was a strong runner and she helped me keep a good pace through the end of the leg. MG continued to run after I handed off to Adventure Girl and the two even ran together for a bit. MM and I made our way back to the start/finish area and waited for AG to come in and finish. My wife and kids joined us just in time to see AG coming through mile 26 and my kids took off with AG all the way to the finish while MM and I followed behind.
We ended up with an overall time of 4:03 but for some reason our team wasn’t posted in the results. It was probably related to a problem reading the tracking chip on AG’s shoe. It didn’t matter, we know what we did and we had an incredible experience along the way. We headed back to the Lawrence School that served as HQ for the race and Expo. They served a great lunch featuring New England clam chowder (an Emerging Runner favorite). Pretty soon it was time to say our goodbye’s and we went our separate ways. I can’t wait to run again, this was so energizing and fun. We need to find another big event to run next year and I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about this one for a long time.