There were and still are so many emotions wrapped around this one race that it took me a few days to process them all … also we finally moved into our new apartment on Monday so I have been busy settling in.
The Falmouth Road Race is an internationally known event. Runners come from ALL over the world to participate. It is crazy to think the race started 40 years ago with just 92 people participating in the first race. 92! Because this year, 2012, the 40th anniversary there were over 12,800 people registered to run. Now THAT is a successful race.
The race is so popular there is a lottery in place to get a bib to race. Well, unless you are one of the 5 guys that have done all 40 Falmouth Road Races or one of those world-famous Olympic types coming to win! If you aren’t chosen in the lottery, you can still get a bib by participating with a charity team.
Either way, it is an EXTREME honor to experience a Falmouth Road Race
I have spectated many a Falmouth Road Race. My dad and uncles were all big runners in the 90s and early 2000s so I was in attendance at a fair number of Falmouth Races, but never participated. Why would I have? We all know I didn’t pick up the running bug until 2005. Before that, running was as gross to be as brussels sprouts.
But this year it was different.
Now that I am back in the Boston area and addicted to running I was ready to take the plunge and enter the lottery for a number to Falmouth.
Call it beginner’s luck or destiny or whatever you want … but I was picked! Woo! Let the tradition continue…
So this past Saturday, the wife and I headed down to the Cape – her first time ever being there – and was quickly met with a downpour. Why thank you mother nature! You shouldn’t have!!
We breezed through packet pick-up and the expo – where I did pick up a nice bib holder!!
Thankfully it lightened up enough so that we could walk around Woods Hole, Falmouth and Yarmouth before calling it an early night. Originally the plan was to stay with a friend of mine, but that fell through so instead we had to rent a last minute hotel room … for $335 for one night … 45 minutes away from the race. Yyyyaaaaaaa – no!
But we made the most of it. I mean the room had a king bed that had me well rested for the race the next morning … didn’t help that it was the perfect spot for my 2-hour afternoon nap as well. One has to take the peace and silence when one can, right?
So Saturday night we grabbed an early dinner near the hotel and planned to get to bed nice and early since the alarm was going off at 5:30am on Sunday for the race … but DAMN those Olympics. I got sucked into the track and diving and ended up finally going to bed around 11. Thanks to my nap I still woke up refreshed at 5:30am on Sunday.
We left the hotel around 6am to take the 45 minute trek to Falmouth, where the buses would jet me off to the Start Line in Woods Hole.
Well then enter a monsoon of a downpour. The wife and I sat in the car for an hour before there was enough of a break in the rain that I could dart for the port-o-potties and buses without drowning.
I made it to the Start area by 8:15 and got to just hang around in the rain until it was time to line up. With over 12,000 runners there was no cutting it close on getting to the right place at the right time. My corral (Corral 4) was supposed to start at 10:10am, but with the rain, which led to flooding, the start of the race was delayed.
We finally got the go ahead to start just as the rain stopped and the sun started to peak through.
Enter Humidity Stage Left.
Kim and I were both in Corral 4 and started the race together. Yay having someone to run with.
The Falmouth Road Race strongly advises runners NOT to use headphones or earbuds during the race so as a good rule listener I didn’t bring my headphones. I was excited not to use them so I could really enjoy the energy from the crowds.
The wheelchair racers, elite runners and wave 2 were off and it was finally our time to step up to the Start Line – go Wave 3!
I had my usual pre-race jitters, but was just so excited to run THE Falmouth Road Race … then we were off!!
It was a truly beautiful course. The entire way was lined with people, families, bands, sprinklers and water stations. Besides the ones the race provided, houses along the course set up their own water and fruit stands. It was amazing.
The Cape coastline is just a beautiful thing – even when still overcast at the start of the run.
Kim warned me that the first three miles were all rolling hills … and she was right. At first I was nervous for the hills, but I have to say my Spin classes have really paid off in the leg strength department. I feel so much stronger now and can more easily attack the hills.
I felt good going into Mile Four. Kim and I cruised through the hills, but then she started feeling a pain in her side. Not good timing. She took Mile Four (which was finally flat) to try to stretch it out, but it started to slow her up.
I ended up continuing the rest of the race by myself. But with the crowds at Falmouth I didn’t feel alone at all. Since your name is on your number, people were cheering for me and really keeping my spirits up as the humidity and temperature rose!
The crowds filled the entire length of the course and really made the experience. Where else, but along a race route are little kids excited that I gave them a high-five? Okay, one kid did diss me and pulled away from the high-five I tried to give him, but I tried to bury the sadness at that.
But just after passing the 10k mark, it was time to get to the final hill of the course. The famous hill leading to the Finish Line. As I hit the 10k on the ground, I looked up and there were the world-famous Hoyts. I think any member of the running community knows the Father-Son team of the Hoyts, but if you don’t you can learn more here.
They are one SERIOUS inspiration.
As I made the final turn towards the last stretch of the hill, I felt such a sense of pride and accomplishment. I had finally been part of a family tradition of running The Falmouth Road Race. I had taken part in one of the most famous races in the world. I had done so without the use of any music or watch. I didn’t pay attention to my pace or time at any point in the run and it felt awesome. I just let my feet hit the pavement and get in a groove. I took in all the sights, sounds and smells. I soaked up the energy and love and am storing it in my brain for whenever I am feeling blue.
I took one look at the crowds and kept going…
(Side note: I am pretty impressed with my ability to take a photo while running)
Then it was time to make the final push up the final hill…
Because once I made it over the hill it was literally all down hill from there … and in front of me was THE image I always conjure up when thinking of The Falmouth Road Race – the GIANT American Flag before the Finish.
I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face at seeing that sight … and then the race was over!
Well that seven miles seemed to really fly.
I officially finished in 58:10 (8:19 min/mile pace) … I was 1,812 overall out of 10,612, 535 out of 5,419 females and 375 out of 1,293 in my division.
To say I was excited is an understatement. I still can’t believe when these times and positions post that it is really my info. But, boy does it make my smile get even bigger!!
For one of the first times - if not the first time ever – I remember the Falmouth Road Race having a medal at the end – it was to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the race. YAY RACE BLING!!
You know I love it!
Unfortunately, we didn’t have a good post-race handle on things so the wife missed me finishing so after asking for help from some locals I was able to figure out a walking route to locate her and the car. We decided to avoid Cape traffic and leave ASAP.
So after changing in the Dunkin Donuts bathroom, it was time to compression, while riding home. Hello multi-tasking!
Thanks Cape for overall showing me a great time – besides that pesky rain!!
Would I do The Falmouth Road Race again? In a heartbeat. Will I do it next year? Only the lottery gods can tell.