Triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number thirteen, is a thing. People don’t like thirteen for many reasons and none of them make much sense but superstitions aren’t supposed to be logical. Vermont City Marathon (VCM) was my thirteenth marathon which I ran in 2013 so I suppose I should have been more prepared for it to be not so lucky.
Some of my runner friends really enjoy running in the rain. It keeps the air cool and … I actually don’t know how to finish this sentence because I can’t come up with any other reasons why someone might enjoy running in the rain. In my humble opinion, it’s miserable. So when the weekend forecast changed overnight from a pleasant low 60’s and sunny to a crappy 40’s and showers, I started to crumble. Any confidence I had built up in the past few months preparing for the race was being overshadowed by disappointment in what the day was going to be like. I turned my focus to all of the other things I had to look forward to that weekend and tried to adjust my attitude.
Early Saturday morning I packed the last of my rain gear and headed up to Burlington Vermont. The drive is over three hours so I loaded my ipod with some of my favorite sing-a-long/ guilty pleasures to help make the drive go by faster. The rain was steady but the traffic was light and I arrived at the Sheraton for the expo a little after 10 am. I stepped out of the car eager to stretch my legs and the cold wind and rain almost knocked me over. I thought I was going to cry. Usually, I love a marathon expo. The fun t-shirts, cool running gadgets, lots and lots of socks – it’s everything I love all in one place, but I just wasn’t feeling it. After getting my bib number and race shirt I wandered around looking at all the booths and remained uninspired. I asked someone to take a photo of me with some VCM signage and started to head toward the exit. Then, I got some exciting news; my friends Katie and Dan were on their way to the expo – finally a reminder about why I was excited for the weekend.
Katie and I became friends about 15 years ago when I answered an ad looking for a roommate. This was before most people had internet in their homes and before I even had an email address so I found Katie and our third roommate Lauren on a list printed off a dot matrix printer (accordion folded paper with holes on the sides) and we hit it off right away. Katie and I lived in three different Brighton apartments together over about five years. A full decade has come and gone since then but the few times we get together it’s like no time has passed at all. If anything could pull me out of this ‘its raining on my marathon’ grumpiness, it would be time with Katie and her family. My mood took a complete 180 as soon as I saw her.
One of the reasons I was so excited to run this marathon was time in Vermont on Coates Island. I have been somewhat obsessed with Coates Island since I met Katie (whose maiden name is Coates) and heard the great stories of her summers there when they stayed ‘at camp’. Her parents live in one of the few year-round homes on the island now and we were scheduled to stay at the camp for the weekend. It would have been very unpleasant with the weather so we stayed at Katie and Dan’s house instead but I still got to visit the island Saturday night for a pre-race pasta party at Katie’s parents house.
The wonderful thing about VCM is that there is truly something for everyone. The Yam Scram is a kid’s race on Saturday morning with ½ mile, 1 mile and 2 mile options. On Sunday there is the full marathon as well as a 2-person relay (each running 13.1) and 5-person relay with legs ranging from 3.3 to 6.1 miles. The pasta party guests were running either the marathon or a relay leg on Sunday. Dan and I were running the marathon, Katie was running the 6.1 mile of the relay and her Dad was running a 5.5 mile leg for his team. The teams were made up of friends, family, friends of friends, someone’s brother who happened to be free that day and the hair stylist that cuts Katie’s Dad’s hair and recently gave her Mom a great cut. It was great fun to meet everyone and talk about our goals for the next morning’s race…all while watching the storm beat down on the lake.
We came home and I went upstairs to organize my gear for the morning. I had planned to wear shorts, a short sleeve shirt and light jacket that I would hopefully get to throw to one of our supporters on the course. I would pin my number to my shorts just in case. Each runner was given a Boston Strong ribbon to wear as well – a reminder of the tragic events at the Boston Marathon finish line just six weeks before. A reminder to me as well that I had promised to do Boston proud when it was my turn to race and that time had finally come. There was no option but to put the weather and any stress out of my head and focus on the race I had trained for.
My first blog cliff hanger. Read Part Two Here.