The race results and the police reports may indicate otherwise, but let me tell you it was a great weekend in West Chester, Ohio and its surrounding areas.
It all started on Friday morning when I was picked up by an identically-dressed sharp looking teammate with an equally awesome Italian last name and shiny silver Saabaru for the quick trip west on I-90 out to Chicopee, where we would meet up with Ned and Shauneen, the charter members of a select faction known as New Balance Boston-West.
Since a 45-minute wait for dinner and an 11 o'clock bed time don't exactly make for entertaining commentary I'll skip ahead to Saturday, which for me started at 7:30 AM when I rolled out of bed and right into my 767's for a 10-minute shakeout and some easy strides. I followed that up with a quick stretch and my standard pre-race breakfast of a couple mini bagels with peanut butter, strawberry yogurt, banana and well-timed trip to Starbucks with Jess and Kevin for the oh-so-important pre-race cup of coffee. It's a tried-and-true recipe for success, in theory anyway.
The rest of the morning was relatively low key and consisted of me watching Sports Center about eight more times before meeting up with Ryan, Ned and Justin for the short ride over to Voice of America Park. Short might be a gross under exaggeration, but we made it to the race with 45 minutes to spare and had no trouble finding a good parking spot next door to the course at - you guessed it - a strip mall.
As for the race itself, it was a cross between mud wrestling and distance running that had me feeling more like I was an Excitebike rider without his wheels than a cross country runner with 1/2" spikes on his feet. This was not a course for a rhythm runner who couldn't find his rhythm and as a result I was left stuck in the mud, literally.
All things considered, I didn't have that bad of a race. 34:59 for 156th overall certainly doesn't qualify as a good one but it was far from a total disaster and I did have some fun out there while managing to escape in one piece. I can live with that. Fact of the matter is I'm not a mudder - never have been, probably never will be, and while I claimed to more than one person at the post-race party that this was probably my last cross country race ever, in reality it probably wasn't. That was the free Bud Lite talking.
For NB Boston on the whole, it turned out to be a pretty successful afternoon. We finished 13th out of 50 teams on the men's side and the women went home with some silver hardware for their outstanding second-place efforts. Jeff, Justin, Ned, Ryan, Jess and Erin all turned in solid individual performances to round out a good day for the guys and gals in green.
The post-race festivities apparently couldn't wait and 5 minutes into the cooldown the first beer of the day was cracked as a Heineken keg can from who knows where made its way amongst the mud-laden boys of NB Boston. Probably not the most conventional means of refueling after a hard effort, but cross country is anything but a conventional sport so nobody questioned it.
The rest of the evening was full of food, beer, awards, more food and more beer, socializing, dancing, chicken wings, more beer, more socializing, tasering, walking, finding a ride back to the hotel, icing, texting, talking and finally bed. I didn't extend my evening at the Brazenwood like most of my other teammates did and elected to turn in early instead. Getting back to the hotel was an interesting adventure but luckily I was in good company. Besides, the roof rack was the only available seat left in the team van and it was starting to get pretty cold out.
And right now it's starting to get pretty late so I'm going to chop this long entry short and finish it up tomorrow. Like any of you are still reading anyway.
Quote of the Day
"I am not going to bring up who was looking mighty ridiculous dancing with a skinny red head from Michigan who looks like he lost his razor to a funk band in an Irish pub."
- Ryan Carrara touching upon the weekend antics of one of this blog's most frequent commentators.