Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Team Rosie Rides Again

September starts tomorrow. For me that can mean only one thing: Reach the Beach is just two weeks away!

Five years ago a friend and colleague of my wife sent her a link to a 200-mile relay race run through the mountains and hills of New Hampshire and ending at the Atlantic Ocean in Hampton Beach. He sent it to say, “Boy, wouldn’t THIS be crazy to do one day!” Erica being Erica, she signed up for the race that day and assembled a team, which included Matt—the friend who had sent the link to start with. I did not run that first year on the team that became known as The Rosie Ruiz Fan Club. But I was at the finish line with my daughter and saw just how much fun the runners had.

It was the sort of experience that is right up my alley: short, intense, and then over. I have some real issues with long-term commitments to slogging through something when it gets hard. But give me a finite, challenging group task that demands my all and then lets me leave with no expectation of further emotional connection or commitment, and I am all over it. So I have been a proud member of the Rosie Ruiz Fan Club the past three years and this race has become the central event of my year. It has taken the place in my mental calendar that Christmas used to hold when I was a child.

If you are curious, here are some posts about past Reach the Beaches:




Now that I have run the race three times I have a fairly good idea of what to expect. The course changes just a little year to year and the make-up of the team varies, too. But the basics are the same: start at Cannon Mountain and run until you get to the ocean. There will be one big difference for me this year. Due to a big toe issue, I switched over to Vibram’s Barefoot Running shoes back in May. I had watched other runners make the transition too quickly, so I was methodical and careful about it. But just last weekend I did a 14-mile training run in my five-fingers and it went great. I am ready and can’t wait.

When it is over I will post a report to tell how it went.

(Warning—if you scroll down past these words there is an objectively gross picture of my big toe showing the stubby, warped nail that is growing in to replace the one that popped off back in May. You have been warned.)

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