At 6:15am storms roll through and the "Riley's Rumble" half-marathon gets a rumbling soundtrack of real thunder. Comrades Ken and Dina retreat to the car and run the engine to power air conditioning. I mock them and soon find myself drenched in a downpour. It's Sunday morning, 29 July 2007, and I've been up since 0330. I was out until 1030 the prior evening, at the final home game of the local amateur baseball team. It's all good though: not being fully awake is a real advantage for me during a race.

People registering for the event crawl under folding tables to fill out their forms; friend Christina risks her nice camera to photograph them. Eight American Black Ducks (or maybe female Mallards, or Mottled Ducks?), their wings decorated with bright blue speculum patches, stand clustered at the bottom of a boat ramp. They splash-bathe in Seneca Creek, shake furiously, and then groom themselves on the convenient slope, fearless as I watch from a few feet away.

At 7am the rain has stopped but there's still enough lightning in the area to impose a delay. By 7:05 all's quiet and the race begins. Dina and I trot at a relatively steady pace for the first half-dozen miles, in spite of some serious hills and near-100% humidity. Thankfully the sun stays hidden behind clouds and it's cooler than in previous years. Ken moves ahead smartly after mile 2. We don't see him again until near the turnaround, and thereafter at the race's end, which he reaches ~4 minutes ahead of us.

I attempt to entertain Dina and passers-by with idiosyncratic commentary on the course and on running in general. A shaggy llama stands at the corner of his fenced field to stare at the passing parade ca. mile 5. When occasional cars approach on the country road runners warn each other by calling out "Car up!". So as a horse ridden by a polo-costumed rider comes toward us near mile 8, I shout "Pony up!"

During the final half hour we catch up with an overheated male runner who has taken off his shirt. Unfortunately his water-bottle belt is sagging and pushes his shorts down to a dangerous level, exposing an unæsthetic anatomical zone. (I'm tempted to offer him some Zim's CrackCreme, but don't have any with me.) We implore him to repair his garment malfunction but he's a bit bonked and doesn't react, so we avert our eyes and pass as soon as possible. Then we play leapfrog with Betty Smith, who blasts by us on the downward grades but whom we catch during some of the steeper climbs. She goes on to finish a bit before us.

We reach the halfway point in 1:10:50 and manage the net-downhill return trip more than a minute faster, yielding slightly negative net splits for a total of 2:20:34 by my watch — sub-2:20 if we subtract the ~40 seconds it took us to reach the starting line after the metaphorical "gun". Christina is at the finish and photographs Dina's strong final kick. Kudos to all the MCRRC officials and volunteers who make the event possible!

(cf. RileysRumble (27 Jul 2003), FreudianHalfMarathon (2 Aug 2004), RemindMeNeverTo (23 Jul 2006), ...)

TopicRunning - TopicPersonalHistory - 2007-07-30

(correlates: CrackCreme, JoggingAdvice, JoyToStuffRatio, ...)