A fifth anniversary race

by david on August 4, 2013

Amby Burfoot, editor at large for Runner’s World, was the most famous runner in the 51st annual John and Jesse Kelley Ocean Beach 11.6-miler in New London on August 3. My personal celebrity runner was Dianna Hyland, who has been my race pal for five of the last six years on the first Saturday in August. But for a surprise visit from son 1LT Thomas and his fiancé in 2011, we’d have made it six in a row yesterday.

Nevertheless, I presented anniversary daisies to Dianna in the early morning drizzle at Ocean Beach. The conditions for running were better than any year before. Overcast, a “cool” 71F, on-and-off drizzle, slight breeze and a smaller crowd than last year. For the 50th anniversary run, there were throngs. This year, about 400.

My race. I started too fast, as usual, though it didn’t feel like it at all. After a mile I backed off to find my right pace. After two miles the runners had found their packs and I was following one from a distance and leading one behind. In mile 3, two ladies passed me but over time I caught them and put them away. From then on I buried about 15 other runners who went out too fast or didn’t have the go-go that I had.

I was happy to never slow down, never walk through a water stop, and to have plenty of energy throughout. My fueling went very well, which contributed to my steadiness. I had Shot Bloks at miles 2, 6 and 9. The course has become quite familiar, with its cool winding roads through Waterford, the steady incline of Great Neck Road, the grueling hills of Mile 8 and the straight-to-the-ocean run at the end.

Once finished, I enjoyed the usual clam chowder and bottled water reward. I found Dianna and, instead of an hour of sunshine and swimming on the beach, as is custom, we walked down to the jetty and back, visiting on the usual top-level factors in our lives. She’s a wonderful person and I was happy to hear she’s getting along well.

From here on, it’s marathon training, with a December date to run the Space Coast with Runner Susan and 4,998 other runners.

P.S. Mrs. Thomas asked me later in the day if I knew what celebrates 38 years. I had to look it up. Beryl or Tourmaline are modern day gifts for 38 years. There’s nothing traditional until the 40-year ruby, in case any of you are needing to know (besides me!).

Jon (was) in Michigan August 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

You get all the best race buddies. 🙂

Comments on this entry are closed.