2011 Race 2: Westport St. Patrick's Run

This race was three weeks ago, but the beer immediately blunted memories of the experience, so it really doesn't matter that it's taken me so long to write about it.

BT, Tim, Julie, and I met up in Westport. BT loaded my bike in his truck — 10 windy but beautiful Sunday miles with no traffic riding to the race! — and I zipped his car key into my tights pocket. We posted ourselves with the 8 minute milers. No way was I running that fast, but no way did I want to in the broad, frenzied wad of green that constituted the 9 minute and 10 minute running horde. That intersection was like a fishing net tight with green octopi. No, much better to hang with pals and people watch.

Green costumery wall to wall. Green tights. Green socks. Giant green hats. Green curly and metallic wigs. One girl had fetching green bows in her pigtails and a pair of green-trimmed panties pulled over her running tights, her butt saucily festooned with the green words: I [pic of shamrock] Irish boys.

"Hey," I ask my pals at the start. "Are there hills in this thing?" They laugh at me. Yes. Evidently the back side of the 4-mile course has a couple of long hills. Excellent! Let's go! The announcer makes Irish blarney up to start time, the Star Spangled Banner is sung, and off we go! And stop. And go! And stop. And go!

The start gate congests. The course is a fine four-miler, no boring stretch, with old neighborhoods if you get tired of looking at hilariously dressed, giggling, ready-to-party runners. People waved and cheered from the sidewalks (the weather was cool but long sleeves were too much — cold drizzle last year, I hear, so if you were inclined to be made miserable, the day would have cooperated with you).

I wasn't ready to hear the mile time called out or displayed on a big red clock, and it took some wind out of my sails, because I thought I really must be running more slowly than usual, not factoring in the long congested wait at the start. Ah well. There was a moment on the uphill grade where I realized I had dressed too warmly and was a little dehydrated to boot, and said to myself, "Well, this is not pleasant," and thought about shutting it down and just shopping for vintage clothes. But then came mile 3. At 3.5, they give you jello shots. In little plastic cups with plastic lids.

Vodka gives you wings! The sugar hit, I guess. BT carried two shots across the finish line. PR'd, did our friend, running the four miles in 29:44. If he keeps getting faster like this he will be traveling backwards in time by next year.

He and Tim stayed at the finish line to watch me. One theory is that I was blazing through so fast they didn't even recognize me. Another theory is they were half-blind with distraction from being so close to cold beer. Anyway, they never saw me and it was impossible to find each other in the writhing, inebriated flux of green, so N. and I were almost into the second pitcher, hanging out with our runner pals Ryan and Jenny and meeting people around the long table, when word traveled back that BT was waiting by his truck. Locked out, because I still had his key.

After that, people kept pouring glasses and pitchers kept coming and the happy crowd inside Kelly's raised the roof, and I decided I would definitely do this race again next year. But that since I couldn't walk a straight line, I wouldn't bicycle home. And that really was up in the air.

I would've had a tailwind, you know.