June 20, 2009
The top of Mount Washington in New Hampshire was beautiful. It was an eight mile race, all uphill, and after about five miles in the fog and mist, we ascended above the clouds and the sun was shining bright. I did not run very well because of a nasty cold/virus that has compromised my voice and lungs, but Saturday morning was great nonetheless. I could have done without the 1800 miles of driving in three days, but at least now I can say I have been to New Hampshire!
I ran 1:23 which was eight minutes slower than I had hoped. Was it the viral bug? Was it the traveling? Who knows, and I don't really care, and I mean that in the good care-free sort of way. I was happy with my performance. Between mile one and two I considered dropping and heading for home, but I had driven 900 miles to be there, and so I toughed it out as best I could. I took a walk break of one minute at each mile marker. It helped me to survive and on this particular day, it was my fastest way up the hill. The winning time was 59 minutes. I ran nearly three minutes per mile slower than the winner, which is a true lesson in humility. I watched the leaders take off up the first hill and wondered if I had ever run even once in my life prior to this moment as I watched amazing hill climbers ascend ahead of me. I finished in the 72nd spot out of 917 finishers. I had hoped to finish in the top 50 and I believe that was a realistic goal as well as the 1:15 time goal.
I don't think I will go back to try again. I was reminded that I do not like to travel far for races. I don't need to run a marathon on the Great Wall of China. I don't need to race in Antarctica. I'm happy for others to do so, but I am a North Carolinian and I belong here, on these trails and roads.