Holyoke St. Patrick’s 10K Road Race 2016

First thank you for sending positive thoughts my husband’s way. He is feeling great considering what happened. He was incredibly lucky to not have sustained any injuries. We were all humbled by what happened this week.

The day after I ran the Holyoke St. Patrick’s 10K Road Race, I wrote a lengthy post about it. I walked away for a bit and when I returned it was completely gone. My computer is driving me nuts lately. I just had to reboot because iTunes kept starting spontaneously for no apparent reason. My little MacBook is either getting old or it’s possessed!

On March 19, 2016 I ran my 5th Holyoke Road Race. I lined up in the back of the pack with a few friends. We all had different goals so we parted ways once we got to the start about 15 minutes after the gun went off. This year the race drew over 7,000 runner to the small city of Holyoke, MA.

The city is alight with energy during the week celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, but the excitement on race day is frenzied. I don’t know who has more enthusiasm, the runners or the spectators. It’s a challenging course. It’s congested for at least 2 miles and then there are the hills. Just when you think your legs can’t take it anymore you begin flying down Cherry Street. If you’re smart or even remotely worried about your knees you have to reign in the speed and run the downhill safely.

The downhill is deserved, but it’s over quickly and then back up you go…not a huge hill around mile 5, but a hill nonetheless. It flattens out for the rest of the last mile and then the last turn is in sight. You turn that corner and can’t help but smile as you pass the raucous crowd wildly cheering outside of Griffin’s Pub. The finish line is less than a quarter mile away, but between you and the end is the infamous “Bitch Hill.” Doing that finish line sprint is tough when you have to run uphill even the slightest bit, but there are throngs of supporters waving beer, jello shots, and a variety of other beverages. You have to give it your all, but your legs are screaming at this point. Despite my best efforts and a solid push at the end I did not accomplish my sub-one hour A goal. I finished this year in 1:01:16.

Not my best year, but many enjoyed a great race. The men’s winner, Mourad Marofit, from Morocco set the course record with a time of 28:37. The female winner, Ethiopian runner Etalemahu Habtewold, also set a course record finishing in 32:50.

My friends did great. We all met after the race. They were full of excitement. I was really proud of them. And then there was my husband. He hasn’t run more than a few times since his last race, the Bridge of Flowers 10K in August. He finished in 51:59! Amazing!! He kills me. I would give anything to just jmp into a race and run that kind of a time.

This brings me to a recent conflict in my feelings. I have a friend who runs casually and has never run a race longer than a 10K. She is speedy. I see her 7 minute miles on Map My Run and she usually finishes Holyoke in about 50 minutes. So two days before a local half she texted me to announce she was running it, her longest run was a 10 mile run just the day before. I wished her well, but of course the green monster began stirring deep down. On the afternoon of the race I texted to find out how the race went. She killed it of course and ran her first half, untrained in under 1:56 during incredibly challenging weather conditions. It was cold and very windy that day. I sent her a sincere congratulations.

She texted back to say that she was seriously considering running an upcoming local marathon on May 1st. She figures if she can get in a few long runs before the event she will be fine. I had to pause before replying as the green monster of envy began rearing it’s extremely ugly head. At first I wanted to offer some words of wisdom about marathon training from a 5 time marathoner, but while that may be true I may never be able to run a half in under 1:56. I require extensive training for half and full marathons, but there are obviously people who are natural runners like my friend and my husband. In the end I replied by saying I was certain she would run an amazing race and I wished her luck. Shame on me for feeling jealous of her success. It makes me a little crazy to work so damn hard training for races only to watch some people jump right in there as though it’s nothing more than a walk in the park.

Any thoughts?




3 thoughts on “Holyoke St. Patrick’s 10K Road Race 2016

  1. First of all Aimee…congratulations on running your FIFTH Holyoke Road Race. You did great…and that is a challenging race just because of the spectators I think!
    In regards to the “green monster” — I can COMPLETELY relate. It just doesn’t seem fair! I am SO not a runner…I want to be but I have not as of yet put in any time/effort to become one…but I want to. I’m getting back to the gym and starting with a Couch to 5K for Treadmill plan which I know will be challenging for me….extremely challenging. Even if I can ever call myself a runner, I know that I will never be that natural runner like your friend. It reminds me a lot of people who start talking about eating healthy at work. I have done a TON of reading about eating healthy and have been on so many diets and this and that and yet I feel like I can’t give my opinion/advice because people would take one look at me and say…she’s fat, how can she know how to eat healthy! FRUSTRATING. I know what got me to my spot now and I’m working to slowly take it off again but it’s hard when some people just do one thing and lose the weight…so easily. I think I’m just rambling here but I think you have every right to feel a little envious. BUT…it doesn’t take away from the fact that you are an EXCELLENT runner…one that I look up to and think “I’ll NEVER be at that point!” We all have our strengths and weaknesses. It’s just hard not to feel envious. I struggle with that a lot personally. Okay I’ll stop talking now! But know that you do great and we are only competing with ourselves!

  2. Did you ever read Katherine Switzer’s book about being the first woman to run Boston? Totally not her point, but my biggest takeaway from it was about her boyfriend, an athlete but not a runner, who just jumped in and ran the marathon with her. No training, just did it. Some people are just lucky!
    I think all runners have envy, probably even the fastest — because maybe the next year, they don’t win the race again, or they win but with a slower time. I think it’s a natural part of running (races or not), just seeing how others seem so effortless. I once read a quote that running a 3:58 mile feels exactly the same as running a 5:22 mile feels to someone with that PR. 100% effort is 100% effort, and that’s all you can focus on.
    Congrats on a solid race!

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