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Graduation Road Race Ends Up Being A Great Place To Start

Run Features Music, Sprinklers and a Tasty Sandwich at the End

Well I’m here to report that I survived last Sunday’s 5-mile Branford Road Race along with teammates Cheryl, Lorine, Barb, Val and Nikki and trainer Melissa. There were scads of runners, close to 2,000 people in every shape and size, and age.

As you recall, I took up running (again) just 15 weeks ago with the Run Start program from the Sound Runner store in downtown Madison.  It’s a gradual program that takes you from almost couch potato to a five-day-a-week training schedule of walking and running, culminating in the graduation road race.

The race is part of the annual Branford Festival and the people of Branford turned out in droves to cheer, offer a spritz of cooling water from their sprinklers and to hand us cups of water to drink. No one seemed to mind the thousands of paper cups we dropped along the route.

Some residents even played music for us, whether it was a Jimi Hendrix cover band playing “Foxy Lady” or a guy blasting the theme from the “Rocky” movies from speakers. The music really kept me going.

Though I started out with Melissa and near Val, we quickly got separated. There were tons of people jostling for position, including some people pushing their kids in jogging strollers. Most were single strollers, a few doubles, and Belinda, another fabulous runner who trains out of Sound Runner, spotted a triple.

I am all for giving children every possible experience, but I don’t see a need to bring babies and toddlers into the chaotic midst of a road race. Get a baby sitter, people!

I felt as if I was being carried along on a tide of humanity for the first two miles or so. It was just easy and fun, even if I did miss my team.

Then we came around a bend and there was what felt like a huge hill, up First Avenue, smack in the middle of the race. I’m not embarrassed to say I walked it. I did however, save enough steam to sprint across the finish line. Especially when I saw the time clock ticking away.

A lot of people called me afterwards, amazed that I undertook a 5-mile road race. Some were too polite to ask, others blurted out, “so what was your time?” To give you a little perspective, the guy who won did it in 24:22. That’s running a mile in under five minutes, for five miles.

What was my time? Oh yes, ONE HOUR, 42 SECONDS. It’s the place from which I will  start, because, these crazy ladies, my teammates, want to continue to train and race.

And that was it. Run a little, walk a little, enjoy the scenery, the cheering people, the music and the feeling of accomplishment that comes from having done it. When you never thought you could.

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