A Day at the Races

I had registered well in advance to run the inaugural Pacers Freedom Four, and then we found out that the Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon was to be held the same day (6/29/14). This was surprising, because last year the GPIM was in mid-July when Scot ran it and I volunteered. So, I was going to do another "two in one day" race events, like I did back in March. However, this time I would be running one event and then volunteering at the next.

First up, the Freedom Four was a 4th of July themed race, even though it took place the weekend before the holiday. This race evolved from a 5K that used to be held in Fairfax VA on July 4th. The new race was held in Arlington VA, but I don't think Pacers was able to get a permit to close the roads on the holiday. The course was the same as the St. Patrick's Day themed Four Courts Four Miler, and in fact, the concept was exactly the same. We started outside Irelands Four Courts, ran a mile downhill, a mile of flat with some minor hills, and then turned around to run the reverse. This meant that the entire last mile was uphill, and it was steep!

With Sapna before the Freedom Four

I ran with Sapna and we did 10 minute miles for the first three miles, then a 14+ minute mile up the hill, which we walked part of. I didn't feel bad about walking at all. It was a hot day with full sun. After a cool-down period, Sapna left me at Irelands Four Courts. She was planning to test her new trail shoes at Roosevelt Island. I found Gary and hung out with him and a couple of his running buddies as we drank our post-race brew. Our choices were Samuel Adams Boston Lager or Summer Ale. The Summer Ale was a great option for the hot day.

Enjoying a post race Summer Ale with Gary after the Freedom Four - check out my Betsy Ross Sparkle Skirt

After finishing my beer, I headed next door for a bagel with cream cheese, then drove the short distance to the Thomas Jefferson Community Center where the Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon was already in progress. I offered to be a volunteer lap counter as I had done last year, but they wouldn't need me for over an hour when some of the current lap counters had to leave. I hung out with Jenn, who was there supporting fellow Marathon Maniac Chuck Engle, who ended up winning the marathon and setting a new 40+ indoor marathon record. Congrats, Chuck!


Scot (yellow shirt) paced Chuck (no shirt) off and on during the race

Scot and Letty were not quite halfway through their 211 laps when I arrived. Also running was joggler Barry, whom we had just seen in Minnesota, and several other Maniacs, but I didn't know any of them well. It must be dizzying to run 211 laps (or 250 laps for those doing the 50K) on an indoor track. No change of scenery, no varying terrain, very few spectators... Kudos to those who did it, because I don't think I would want to.

Barry the joggler

Magenta the Road Trip Flamingo checks out the start/finish line and the table of lap counters

Volunteering for GPIM was so much easier this year. Last year, I had to count laps for 8 runners; this year only 4. Also, this year they made each runner wear a color swatch that coordinated with his or her lap counter. This simple device made it so much easier to spot the people I had to count as they crossed the arch every few minutes. The energy level was high as the music didn't stop and the emcee announced the runners' progress...even if he frequently got their names or their number of laps wrong. That must have been another tough job!

Finishers Scot and Letty with their belt buckles

So, the accomplishments of that last racing day of June 2014: I ran the inaugural Freedom Four; Chuck Engle won the Grant-Pierce Indoor Marathon; Letty finished her first barefoot marathon, and her 50th 26.2; Scot finished his second GPIM and had just enough time for a shower and a bite to eat before going to work to stand on his feet all night!

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