As I am aboard the plane en route from Bermuda back to chilly Minneapolis, I am torn as to how I can delicately respond to the question I know I will get from everyone:
“How was the weather? I bet it was gorgeous!!”
Comparatively speaking to what we’re experiencing at home, yes, it was fantastic. I ran in shorts and a t-shirt, and I didn’t get frostbite... #Triumph
Comparing the potential for perfect weather in Bermuda vs. the percentage of time I actually experienced said perfection during my stay on the island... #Bummer
Here’s a short recap of the weekend’s events:
I arrived around 4pm, just in time to watch young Bermudians in school uniforms scattering home for the day while we winded along on the left side of the road in our taxi to the hotel. Weather-wise, the temperature was comfortable, just a touch of humidity in the air to negate some stronger winds at sunset when I went out for my pre-race run.
It was lightly raining in the morning when my roommate, Sarah Brown, and I did our morning shakeout run, but it cleared up later in the day, and actually turned into ideal racing conditions by the time we headed over the course around 7:15pm.
Like last year, the race schedule was appropriately on ‘island time’, and our tentative 8:40pm gun time was delayed until closer to 9:45pm, but the wait was hardly a burden given the energy of the entire event. They had waves and waves of milers, starting with the Bermuda Triangle Challenge runners (who competed in the mile on Friday night, the 10K Saturday morning, and then either a half or full marathon on Sunday morning!), then moving through kids from primary school, high school, local elites and masters, and finally on to us. The din of the crowd was electric.
As many a ‘rust-buster’ race goes, I would describe the race as a transition from pace-shock to ready-to-rock. First, there’s the momentary panic when the race goes off and you think, ‘man, I thought I was in shape, but this feels fast...’, but then somewhere along the way the pace starts to feel more comfortable, and then (if you actually are in shape like you thought), the discomfort of not going fast enough sets in. I got that feeling around 500m to go, so rather than passively waiting to see how the race would unfold, I decided to make the race unfold how I’d like it to. I was confident that if I broke away then and gave it my all, I wouldn’t hit ‘empty’ until at least the finish line. I did exactly that, keeping my peripherals open just in case I had to reach for the ‘after-burners’ and broke the tape for a repeat victory in Bermuda.:)
Saturday morning came way too soon after a late night of racing and drug testing, and with it, came heavy rain. Like, raining cats and dogs rain. The kind that comes down, and blows like sheets in the wind. The streets were puddling and cars were reminding me of one of my favorite theme park rides as a kid (The Wave)...splashing puddles at the racers in the opposite lane of traffic. Long story short, my first-ever 10K was a wet and memorable one, and I ended up placing second!
The rest of the day was pretty gloomy as the rain continued down, but it gave me some nice relaxation time to work on a fun new project (I’m making my own website!!), and enjoy the official pasta dinner that night.
Naturally, on the day I’m departing, the weather is gorgeous! I got to enjoy a nice morning recovery run on an awesome trail before I caught my ride back to the airport to head home. I went into total tourist mode, and tried to take a bunch of pictures on my run, particularly of several gates that I found to be beautiful and metaphorically significant at the beginning of the season- having so many possibilities through various 'gateways' ahead!!
All-in-all, I am not blind to the fact that a couple less-than-desirable days of weather in Bermuda is still legions ahead of sub-zero wind chills and 5 inches of snow, and I am grateful I had the opportunity to race in such a beautiful place filled with some of the kindest people I’ve ever met.
Beyond that, I am excited about Bermuda serving as the kickoff to my 2014 racing schedule, which will be QUITE busy in the coming month or two.
Here’s what else I’ve got coming up:
January 25th: New Balance Games at the Armory in NYC- Indoor Mile
February 1st: Camel City 800m in Winston-Salem, NC- Indoor 800m
February 8th: New Balance Grand Prix in Boston, MA- Indoor 1000m
February 15th: Millrose Games in NYC- I will be pacing the Wanamaker Mile
Feb 22-23: Indoor USA’s in Albuquerque, NM- this is where I will be competing to make a World Championship team to Poland!
Stay tuned for more updates!!