2009-12-13 - Bread Run

6.2 miles @ 11 min/mi

It's Diane Pham's first race, and she has picked a fine day for it: temps in the mid-30's, rain that chills to the bone, slippery leaves, and monster puddles. "You're lucky," I tell her, "since now all your later races will seem easy!"

The "Bread Run" is a traditional DC Road Runners Club event with a friendly theme: bring a loaf of homemade bread, and get in free! Donated breads are given out as door prizes at the end, and almost everybody who runs and waits around gets something. Christina Caravoulias and I ran the 2007 Bread Run, so when I learn that Diane had signed up for it I decide to run it with her, to help make sure her experience is a good one.

Diane gets lost on the way to the race's start/finish in Glen Echo, but I talk her in and she arrives with 5 minutes to spare. I tear a plastic trash bag with my teeth to make an impromptu rain shield; Diane dons a Mickey Mouse poncho. We lurk in the back of the pack and cross the starting line 8 seconds after the "Go!" Steady trotting ensues, with splits of 10:36 + 10:45 + 11:33 + 11:04 + 10:47 + 11:38 and a final fraction of 1:52 for a total of 1:08:24. The slower miles correspond to hillier course segments. The official record shows us at 1:08:25, 77th and 78th place of 105 finishers.

Cheerful Clare Storck of Cheverly runs with us most of the race; she's doing it to raise funds for a friend in need, and hasn't run much for a few years. Diane claims to have only been training for a few weeks, mainly on treadmill, but she's clearly fit and confesses to have cycled some years ago along the C&O Canal towpath part of the race route. Near mile 4 we have a pleasant surprise when Diane's husband Matt and her two sons materialize to take photos and cheer her along. I entertain Clare and Diane with anecdotes and advice as we trot along.

After we finish we go into a Glen Echo park building, drink hot apple cider and hot chocolate, eat cheese and bread and jam, applaud the winners as they are announced, and—as I predicted—all get to take home a loaf of bread. Brava to Diane on her initial outing!

^z - 2009-12-17