Friday, May 28, 2010

Lightning Crashes

Today is travel day for this old bag of bones. As if I do not usually have enough "awake" hours in my day, today I am adding a couple of more. Making the great migration West to Colorado to spend Memorial Day with Rob.

Perhaps having an additional couple of hours on the docket today is a good thing. I can use them to try to finish drying off from last night's 5K in Somerville. Suzanne, Gidg and I participated in The Legal Runaround, which is a race that has apparently taken place for the past several years. It had a lot of appeal to me including its proximity to our home (about a 10 minute drive), its starting time (a night race! For me, an anomaly of the highest order. I felt like a long-time Chicago Cub taking part in the first night game at Wrigley Field) and the fact that it marked the first time since we both ran in the Race for the Cure in October that Suzanne and I were taking part in one of these events together. Add into the mix that a friend of mine from high school - who prior to last night I had seen exactly one time in 25 years - was running and you had the ingredients for a pretty cool little event. (In the interests of full disclosure I was going to identify Beth as an "old friend" of mine but she was tougher than me all those years ago and I am quite confident she could still kick my ass if sufficiently motivated to do so. Thus I went with a word choice that did not even rhyme with "old'.)

My concern two days ago was that it was going to be brutally hot/thick last night - given the recent spate of "feels like July" weather we have been having. Luckily the mini heat wave broke yesterday afternoon. The temperature by race time was actually very comfortable. The weather forecast was not entirely accurate however. Calling for nothing more than a 60% chance of an isolated thunderstorm for Somerville, the gods of meteorology pulled a Maxwell Smart and missed it by "that much". I had just passed by the 1 mile marker when it got really, really dark, which I knew either meant that the movie was about to start or it was about to rain. Since I had no ticket stub in the pocket of my shorts, while I hoped for the former I expected the latter. And as expected, it started to rain.

Apparently Somerville is a Native American word meaning, "little town of drenching rain and really scary thunderstorms". At least, if last night's weather was any indication. It started to rain just after I passed the 1 mile marker. By the time I reached the 2nd mile - less than 10 minutes later - I was running in what is known in the biz as a torrential downpour. Just for shits and giggles - as if sensing that the drenching rain had sucked most of the ambient light out of the evening's sky - Mother Nature ordered up a light show for us to see the road by as we ran. Thunder clapped and lightning crackled all around.

My pre-race advice to Suzanne, Gidg and Beth - in the event of any lightning - was to find someone taller to run next to/stand by. Just past the two mile marker Beth and her running partner Melanie eased past me. As they did, I told Beth that I never meant for her to use me as her "someone taller". She just laughed and kept going. Me? I spent the final mile and change being repeatedly impressed by just how much water my t-shirt was able to absorb. I think it weighed about 10 pounds by the time I made it across the finish line.

All of us made it through the event unscathed. The only downside to the weather was that it put a quite enormous kibosh on the post-race activities. Margaret (the ultimate Race Mom), Suzanne, Gidg and I headed back to the car almost immediately after we had all finished - unable to resist the allure of hot showers and dry clothing. I exchanged text messages with Beth about an hour after we had gotten home and learned from her that she and her crew had done likewise. Here's to hoping that next year, we get weather that is slightly more boring than we experienced last night.

A memorable start to a weekend devoted to memories - both personal and otherwise, both old and new.


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