Last Sunday I took the red line to Davis Square in Somerville for the Ras na hEireann U. S. A. race. I did not do it last year (and did the An Ras Mor race which starts at the pub nearby and the course is down to Harvard Square and back). Although the An Ras Mor is a lovely race, it is also a "no frills" kind of race, and I was feeling in the mood for some bling. Hence the sign up for the Ras na hEireann race.
I was so busy at work that I forgot to pick up my race packet during the week. Typically I like to go to the pick up in Boylston Street, because then I can also go around the shops in the Prudential Centre. We ended up driving up to the Olde Magoun Saloon on Saturday afternoon for the pickup. Come Sunday, I started catching up on emails and before I knew it, it has 10:15am and the race start was at 11. I hadn't even had any breakfast! I rushed out the door, and ran all the way to the T. Of course I had to weave through all the runners from the An Ras Mor race who were racing back from Harvard Square. Anyway, pinned on my number at the station and finally got to the starting line with 10 minutes to spare.
There were 6000 runners. Somerville has narrow streets and it was already hectic when there were 3000 of us. I actually stood much nearer to the front than I usually do, because it is quite difficult to get past the walkers and other runners who do not start in their allocated time spots.
Notwithstanding all of this, the Ras na hEireann is a great race. It's funny, but when I run in Somerville, I always think about deep and important stuff! I think Somerville has some kind of cathartic effect on me. I could feel that I was keeping a 10 minute mile pace, and I thought that I might finish at 30 minutes. I have not done any work to hope for better. But these kinds of races are inspiring. The energy and joy that you feel emanating from the other runners stays with you long after, and creates a memory that you can reference when you are having issues running.
Mile one came up quickly, mile two seemed the longest, and mile three flew by. I felt the strongest in mile three, and even though I did not think to go under 30 minutes, I was running quite strongly - until we came to the bike path.
It had been raining and the sides of the path were either muddy or covered in water. This meant that you had to stick to the narrow bike path, and that was already so crowded that everyone had to slow down. We also had to stop and walk twice because the bike path was flooded in parts. The last minute and a half or so, everyone stopped dead, and had to walk towards the finish line! There were just so many people. Still, my result for the 5K was 32:02 and I was relatively satisfied. Of course one always hopes for a good time, but I have nothing to complain about, as I have not been running regularly. I picked up my medal, and took the T back home.
Sunday afternoon's treat was "For a few dollars more", having watched "For a fistful of dollars" last week, and next Sunday is "The good, the bad and the ugly". Now I have only seen these films in Italian, so it was quite good to experience them in original language. Mind you, "the good, the bad and the ugly" translates into "Il bello, il brutto e il cattivo". This I think is a very good idea, as Il bello is more fitting to the young Clint than "the good one"....