Labor Day Weekend

I do love me a long weekend!  Especially because I have needed a break recently.  But this weekend was packed with activities – so there wasn’t a lot of down time.  I have to admit,  I wish there had been more.

The ice is going in at our curling club, and Derek and I volunteered for two shifts this weekend – Saturday afternoon (1-6p) and Sunday morning (8a-1p).  The first shift – we were “sealing” after they had painted the surface white.  The key here is – you have to lay enough thin layers of ice, that when you “flood” and lay down a thicker layer – the warm water doesn’t melt all the way to the paint layer and mess up the white paint.  So – you spray a thin layer, then wait for that to freeze, and repeat.  Here’s a picture of the process:

For us – it’s brainless – as we’re just the dumb lugs holding and managing the long hose (you can see Derek and I on the sideboards).  The hockey rinks next door were in full use with a hockey tournament, so the compressors weren’t bringing the ice temp down as fast as we’d like – thus, Saturday ended with us just continuing to seal.  The routing of the rings and painting of the ice would have to wait until Sunday.

Lucky us – we had signed up for back-to-back shifts, so we would be there anyway for the painting.  Yes – we actually paint the ice.  Seems like a strange concept, I know.  But we lay yarn down for the lines on the ice (that mark the field of play, etc.) and we paint the houses (the targets in curling) and the hog line.  Mark Malkin and I made up a powerhouse painting team:

There always seems to be some picture of me crouching and painting the ice during this time of year!  This work can be hard on the legs, knees, and back – so it’s great that Derek, Mark, and I were all signed up to run a 20K on Labor Day Monday!  I’m sure that did wonders for our legs!

A finished house:

Sunday evening we enjoyed a wonderful BBQ at our friends’ Astrid and Florian’s house.  It ended up being a perfectly sized gathering and the conversation flowed.  We both really enjoyed the company and the evening.  We also told Astrid and Florian to be on the lookout for us the next day as the race course went right by their house!

Monday morning we headed to the New Haven green for the race start.  The race draws lots of great runners – it is the 20K national championship, so they bring in some elite runners – I think they are mostly the up-and-comers in American distance running, although last year’s winner Abdi Abdirahman qualified for the Olympic marathon – so that’s pretty big!  It also seems to draw a lot of runners from clubs in the general area.  There is a 5K as well as a 20K and also some kids races.  Both the 5K and 20K start at 8:40 from different sides of the green.  This year, they changed the 20K course somewhat – now it runs through more neighborhoods and doesn’t head to the waterfront like the old course.  Overall – a nice change.

Given last week’s race blow-up for me, I’ll admit, I was anxious and nervous.  The weather was much better, 7-10 degrees cooler, although the humidity was still high.  I decided I would pay much more attention to my heart rate and back off of the pace if I saw it creeping up too high.  I decided to head out around 8:15s and see how it went from there. I wanted to finish with 8:05s or so.  The race went pretty well and I managed my pace well – I felt reasonably strong throughout, although my legs started feeling pretty dead around mile 10 – perhaps because this is just a mid-training program run, so I didn’t have a taper, and I had that hard race last week.  My last two miles were at 7:50 – so I know I finished strong.  Derek finished just behind me – he had more heart and lung capacity to go faster, but was making sure that he didn’t hurt his feet again.

After the race, we enjoyed the post-race refreshments – Red Hook beer (all Derek, I even took some to give to him), Kayem hot dogs, Turkey Hill ice cream – yum!  We caught up with Mark who ended up having a good race also.  Still difficult to tell whether I’m on track for my big goals – but I PR’d the distance and it was a much better run.  So I guess I need to do as Derek says and count my blessings.

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