Tuesday, May 02, 2006

James Joyce Ramble 10K Race Report

(Dedham, MA)

Drove to the race early to pick up my timing chip and number.

Note #1 to self: keep extra safety pins in my bag (they only provided 2)

The start and finish of this race are at the Endicott Estate with its lovely expanse of lawn. The weather was spectacular -- sunny and in the 50's, though by the end of the race, I suspect it was in the 60's as I was starting to feel quite warm (as a product of the Arizona desert, I just can't bring myself to say that anything in the 60's is hot!). I spent about an hour laying in the warm sun and then stretching a bit. With an hour to go before the race, I did a 2-mile warmup -- very easy, finishing with a few strideouts. After some more stretching, I made my way to the start.

With 10 minutes to go, most of the 1900+ runners were in place and we were being serenaded with Irish tunes sung by the Dedham Choral Society. At 11:00 a.m. the race began with a gong!

As you may have guessed by now, this was not your typical road race. This was the James Joyce Ramble. Apart from a lone piper at the start of the race, there was no music along the course. Instead, there were actors (and several local high school students) dressed in period costumes reading selections from James Joyce. Although we were moving past the readers quite quickly, it was very interesting and some of the quotes were quite appropriate (though I can only recall one specifically).

Before we get into the mile by mile analysis, let me just lay the excuses out first.

First of all, the course was much more hilly than I expected. From the start line it didn't look too bad, but the third, fourth and fifth miles had some serious hills. After the third steep hill in mile 4, I was losing steam.

Second, though the race was preceded by two very easy days, on Thursday I had done my long run of 17 miles (and that was after two consecutive not-so-easy 8 mile days). I wasn't at my freshest.

OK, here's the blow by blow account (each mile has an associated Joyce work).

Mile 1 (Finnegan's Wake) -- 7:37

"I hear an army charging upon the land, And the thunder of horses plunging; foam about their knees"

The start is crowded. I feel boxed in, but I apparently make pretty good time. There are a couple of gentle hills which pose no problem. Sorry, but that was the only quote I remember now from the race.

Mile 2 (Ulysess) -- 7:53

The course winds its way through the Dedham town center. I'm still feeling good. The hills are not bad, gently rolling. Running comfortably under 8:00.

That's me behind the guy in the foreground...

Mile 3 (Portrait of an Artist) -- 8:15

I pick up a water cup and take a few sips on the run and right after that -- Whoa! Where did this hill come from? I'm still feeling good, but the hill slows me down quite a bit.

Mile 4 (Exiles) -- 8:13

OK, enough with these hills. Two more significant ones. I'm passing people who are walking up these hills. My legs are taking a beating with all the climbing and descending.

Mile 5 (Dubliners) -- 8:13

The last of the big hills is done, and so am I. I just don't have the energy to speed up again. Besides that, I'm feeling hot. I slow briefly at a water table to take in a few sips of water on the run.

Mile 6 (The Dead) -- 8:01

That story (actually from Dubliners) about sums it up. My legs feel dead. There are no significant hills to speak of and I can't run under 8:00.

Mile 6.2 -- 1:33 (7:45 pace)

I feel like I'm sprinting the last 2 tenths of a mile and it takes me 1:33??? That's a 7:45 pace! Where did my kick go?

Watch time -- 49:45
Gun time -- 49:57 (531 out of 1924 total, 137 out of 334 in my division)

My time was not what I was hoping for, but I didn't realize the course had such hills. Next time I'll know better and adjust my expectations accordingly. I did about a 1 mile cool-down before heading over to the post-race fun.

Why would I return to this hilly course next year? (Pay attention, turnip.)

How about...

The post-race festivities were quite good. The Harpoon Beer people were giving it away all afternoon (Unfiltered Wheat, India Pale Ale and Irish Red Ale -- all quite refreshing).

Note #2 to self: when planning a second run in the evening after a race, don't sample all the beers.

Yes, after slugging around the house for a few hours I actually got up and went out for an easy 4-mile recovery run. This accomplished two things. It cleared my head, and it loosened up my left hamstring which had gotten quite tight. It also resulted in this haiku...

sunlight reflecting
dusk at the pond
Spring leaves translucent

Ended the week with 50 miles.



Anonymous Audrey said...

good recap and pics!! i have heard of this race. it sounds so great. next year!!!

i CANNOT BELIEVE you went out for a 4 mile run that night!!!!

5/02/2006 8:54 PM  
Blogger Anne said...

I loved this race when I lived in New England, and I'm not even a James Joyce fan. The post-beer run just goes to show not all carbs are the same, huh?

5/03/2006 8:26 AM  
Blogger runninturnip said...

WOOHOO!!! I LOVE HARPOON BEER!! If I ever make it back up north I will definitely put this 10K on my calender. mmm...beer...(Homer Simpson style drool....)

5/04/2006 9:36 AM  
Blogger E-Speed said...

Dang Kurt! 50 Miles! That's great! and I would take those splits on a hilly course any day!

5/09/2006 8:39 PM  

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