is a Maine (and, ok, Mass) term. But mostly Maine. If you’ve not heard the term before, just translate “wicked” as “very, truly, alot.” Grammatically, wicked is mostly an adjective (wicked good, wicked hot, wicked cold, a wicked hot mess, etc.) but sometimes is an exclamation (OMG, wicked!).
In a nutshell, my weekend was wicked good. It was great fun, but also I came to a bunch of revelations, in a Things That Make You Go Hmmm sorta way.
First up, I needed to get up to Portland Thursday night so I could take care of my niece on Friday. The oldest of my brother’s 3 girls, my niece is 8 and has Down Syndrome. Unfortunately, as she gets older, my brother and SIL are having more and more difficulty finding programs willing to mainstream her, and when my Thing 2 got her pool job, that left my niece without care on Friday, so I jumped into help. (BTW, I am not counting this as one of my 47 things because it was my Thing 2’s fault that my brother and SIL were stuck).
Sal and I had a great Friday. A picnic at the playground:
Then some acrobatics on the monkey bars:
This day with Sal was wicked good. And it also made me realize how easy I have it–when I want my Things to participate in a summer program, I just sign them up. The hoops my SIL has to jump through for Sal are mind-boggling. And hearing more “nos” than “yeses” is heart-breaking. Revelation 1: I’ve got it good.
Saturday my friends (yes, I traveled to Maine with 3 friends) started our day at Becky’s (wicked good blueberry pancakes)
and we picked up our packets (wicked good number here):
and then made our way to the Allegash brewery for a tasting and tour. Impossible to leave without buying souvenir (for the Mister):
(wicked tasty House Ale–a bit hoppy, which I like, and crafty at the same time, with the wood crate!)
Lobstah for dinner (and yes, we did protect our food from the gulls)
And then a visit to a beer garden where there were over 200 varieties of beer. Wicked tough decisions!
After all this fun, I was exhausted (wicked). These friends are a good deal younger than I (15 years) so it was hard to keep up. Also, we’re at different stages of our lives. While we all enjoy running, have good senses of humor and see eye to eye politically, the fact of the matter is that they’re still single and I’ve got four other people I’m responsible for. And having a complete day to myself–well, I felt a little (not wicked, just a little) guilty. Revelation 2: I’ve got it good.
After all this, it was almost hard to get psyched up for the race on Sunday. But Sunday came, and with it the race and all the excitement, and…anxiety. Yes, I said it–anxiety. I was really nervous about this race–it had been such a disaster for me in 2012. (ok, so that’s somewhat of a hyperbole)
A year ago I ran the Old Port Half in a so-so time of 2:20:37. Although it was a PB (at the time), I was not happy with my performance. Without corals to rein me in (it was only my 2nd HM), I started out too fast, faded and as a result, injured my hip, an injury that still niggles me a year later. I did not enjoy myself. I was miserable. The race was miserable. The back cover (a 3.5 miles enormous loop) was morally debilitating and I just wanted to walk off the course. But I didn’t. And I’ve spent the past year beating myself up about it. (again, hyperbole, but it does come back to haunt me every now and then)
Flash forward to 2013. The weather? While it had been beautiful Friday and Saturday (mid to high 70s, no humidity), Sunday morning was wicked HOT. And HUMID. Not as much of a pea soup bath that Jersey has been, but humid enough. Temps at the starting line were 82F. I approached this race without any time goals, aiming this time around for a solid run and a strong finish.
The route was in full sun (with a short shady bit between mile 1 and 2), with some killer hills–notably the Western Promenade trail and Munjoy Hill. I started out slowly (lots of bottlenecks helped), and then by mile 2, the first of the hills appeared. And I completely surprised myself by making it up without walking! Short steps, strong arms, eyes 20 ft. ahead and 10 steps at the top. It works! At that point, I decided my goal would be to run up each of the hills. No matter what else I did.
Well, what goes up must come down, and these steep uphills and wicked steep downhills, too. These were hard! When I did my hill repeats, I would either walk or slowly jog back down the hill–I’ve never practiced running down such steep hills. Lemme tell you–running downhill (in a controlled, strategic way) is wicked hard.
(it’s wicked hard shooting a hill). This was another toughie, but the view at the top? Breathtaking:
The downhill from Munjoy Hill led to the dreaded Back Cove. I was hoping for some shade here, but no luck. As I had a 3.5 slow miles to think about it, I realized that as a tidal basin, the soil probably wasn’t really tree-friendly (to be filed under “bizarre things you think about while running”). I walked a fair amount of the Back Cove. The water stops along the route had run out of cups, but there were public fountains, and accordingly, lines. Again, given the heat (over 85F by this point), I was more concerned with
not collapsing staying hydrated.
Once finished with the Back Cove, it was a short 2 miles back to the finish line. I ran most of this, but when my app beeped that I had run the 13 miles (in sync with the mile markers) and the finish line was still far, far away, I nearly cried! (for some reason, i got another .3 miles in before the finish line.)
My friend snapped this “near by” the finish line photo. Wicked nice grimace, but at least I’m not shuffling.
So, a year later, coming off an injury, I finished this same race (albeit a different, hillier course) with an official time of 2:34:31. It is my slowest finish time ever. But I am so much happier with my run. Yeah, I wish I had been faster, but with hot temps, absolutely no shade on the course, and a much, much hillier route, I’m ok with my time. Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. Given the heat, humidity and lack of shade, I spent a lot of time walking, and in retrospect, I think I could have (should have, would have?) powered through some of the walking stretches, but I didn’t. I’m ok with that because I finished in one piece (lots of folks were carted off to the ER) and this morning I woke up thinking I could actually go out and run. Not bad after a wicked long HM and 7 hour drive home.
Now a day later I’m left wondering why, with such a mediocre time, I’m not more upset. And all I can come up with is that I’m where I’m supposed to be. I didn’t race this race for time. I ran it to enjoy it and to redeem myself (a little). I’m competitive enough that I wanted to do well, and given the circumstances, I think I did. I definitely came away with some things I’d like to work on, but at the same time, I’m wicked pleased with how I started off at an easy pace, killed the early HUGE hills, and didn’t let the Back Cove get the best of me. Revelation #3: I’ve got it good.