There are very few road races that I have any interest in doing year after year, but the Hangover Classic is one of them. It has nothing to do with the course, and in fact the course got worse this year, it's about the beer and the beach.
This was the third time Emma and I have gone down to Salisbury, MA on New Year's day to do this race and the second year we've gone with Jim and Shauna. The weather was so much better than last year when it was 11 degrees with a ferocious wind, this time around it was warm enough to run in shorts.
As long as I've known about this race they've always offered a 5k and 10k and they have been different courses. But this year they had us 10k runners do two laps of the 5k course. What a lame cop out. If I hadn't run the old 10k course I probably wouldn't have cared about this change, but for a short distance race like this it just seems that the race director(s) is(are) trying to make it easier to organize rather than thinking of the enjoyment of the runners. Enough bitching...
One of the reasons I like to do this race is because at the aid station they serve beer. It's Bud Light, which I would normally never touch, but I appreciate the fact that on a day when many people are suffering from hangovers the race director(s) think it would be fun to offer runners beer. And it is fun for those who drink it, although Jim and I were the only ones I saw drinking, I'm sure there were many more.
Emma and I decided to run the race together today, although she didn't stop for beer along the way which meant I had a lot of work to do catching up to her after each of the two times I stopped for beer. Even though she isn't running at her best right now (damn Pineland knee!) she is as competitive as ever and put in a strong kick over the last 1/4 mile that I had a hard time keeping up with. Our finishing times weren't great but we were happy considering that we were both feeling the effects of the previous nights festivities. Emma placed high enough to come away with a beer glass (top 50 women) but I wasn't that high amongst men.
The real reason we do this race is for the ocean plunge at the finish line. Of course jumping in the ocean is optional, but for us it's what makes this race worth doing. Emma and I were just a little bit ahead of Jim and Shauna and we had enough time to run in the bar (at the finish line) to grab our towels and meet them on the beach (other side of the finish line). Unlike last year, with a windchill making it feel like -10 resulting in frostbite, it was actually a lovely day for jumping in the ocean. There were a few hundred people on the sandy beach when we arrived, more than half of them just spectating. We moved close to the waters edge, undressed quickly and ran for the waves. A great way to bring in the new year.
distance: 6.2 miles
weather: low 30's, mostly cloudy, no wind
conditions: wet roads, high tide, big waves
gear: Brooks Cascadia 3 with screws, Smart Wool socks, shorts, long sleeve shirt, singlet, buff