It was at least 150 degrees by 8am. Port Angeles, WA? 58 degrees. That’s a whole 92 degrees cooler. If you like the heat, please consider buying our house.
Oh, did I neglect to mention? The sale didn’t happen due to loan stuff on the buyer’s part. Cackalacky isn’t rid of us yet!
So, back to the race. Scanning the crowd at the start, I stopped counting the number of runners I knew were faster than me at eight fasties. There were also a bunch of unfamiliar faces with that gaunt look of giddyup. My real goal was to finish in under eighteen minutes. My aspirational goal was to PR. My “I’ll be bummed if I don’t achieve this” goal was a course PR, meaning I had to beat 18:26. The goal I should have had was to put two bits of information together:
1. It’s hot!
2. Wow, that PocketFuel with coffee beans stuff has a lot of caffeine!
I also decided to run sans hat, figuring I would be dousing my head with water at the aid station.
Squeezing small amounts of the PocketFuel into my gullet while warming up, I was already dripping with sweat. Everyone was. Halfway through the caffeinerific packet, I started feeling a little weird. “Hm, that’s probably enough,” I said to myself as I threw out the remainder.
The sun beat down on my head making it feel like a frying pan. “Or maybe a solar panel, harnessing energy!” I told myself, trying to stay positive.
The first mile of a 5k should feel awesome. I try to force myself to slow down a bit, but the too-fast pace usually feels effortless. Not today – I was huffing and puffing from the get-go. The pace I was running felt like the pace I was running. Bad news in a 5k.
The queasiness abated by the end of the first mile, leaving me with the only slightly more tolerable sensation of overheated exertion. Without the brim of my hat, everything was so bright. My face started pinching up, the effort of which added five seconds at least to my time. I’m certain of it. Seeing the water station up ahead, I looked forward to dousing my head in cold water.
But that didn’t happen, because I couldn’t reach any water. The volunteers were putting the ice-cold cups out on the table, blocking access to the refreshments in the process. I managed to grab an ice cube, which I rubbed on my head. It melted in about five seconds.
No big deal, though; it’s an out’n'back course. I’ll just grab a cup on the way back. Turning around at the halfway point, I looked up at the top of the hill where the table was. Apparently that side now needed the attention of the volunteers. I got nothing. I whimpered.
The street was lined with spectators, watching the race while waiting for the parade that was to follow. This was the fourth time I’ve run this race, and my footly spectacle seems to have grown old. I only heard one “he’s barefoot!” coming from the crowd. Although I did hear a few “Go Josh!” which was not only nice, but preferable. The cheers and onlookers propelled me forward, with a mask of grim determination when I remembered to stop whimpering.
With a half mile to go, I looked back. I was relieved to see a sizable distance to the racer behind me. I was looking for an excuse to relent. I then decided that I was racing for field placement, and that time didn’t matter. So I relented.
I crossed the line at 18:10 and woozily kept jogging to our car parked nearby. I brought an icepack, which I put on my head as I guzzled water and chocolate milk (separately). As my body cooled off and heartrate slowed down, I felt like… like college, for some reason. Why would I feel like I’m in college? Then I realized: the caffeine! When I was in college, I drank a lot of coffee because it made me feel like a grown-up to compensate for the fact that I still slept with a teddy bear. I was a jittery, bouncy, awkward musical theater nerd. Oddly, I didn’t have a lot of friends at the time. Go figure.
By the way, I made up the part about the teddy bear. No, seriously.
Back to the event. 18:10 was fast enough for 15th out of 567, 2nd AG. Until the results were posted, I was telling people my watch time, which was 18:12. The commended me for my patriotism on such a patriotic day. I was confused; what does the date of the waltz’s introduction to the British have to do with patriotism?
Anyway, that’s irrelevant. My time in date-form was 1810, when the first US opera was staged. It was titled, “Converse.” Apparently it was about a shoe.
So there you have it. On a hot, humid, sunny day, with a caffeine-induced drum-roll of a heartrate, and no hat, I was still able to muster a PR for the course. Here’s a graph for your enjoyment:
And I’m serious about the teddy bear thing. Seriously. I put that thing away when I was five, right after learning the truth about Santa. I don’t want to hear another word Mr. Tubsy unless you have photographic evidence.