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Yankee Homecoming Festivities

Like many towns, Newburyport has an annual festival.  I grew up anticipating the Three Rivers Festival – watching the parade on TV, attending an event here and there, and often enjoying an elephant ear (NOT to be confused with its smaller and less crispy Yankee cousin, Fried Dough) as an annual treat.  In Newburyport, we have Yankee GO HOME Homecoming.  Most years we seek to stay inside or leave town to avoid the crowds and traffic that invade our neighborhood for the week.  This year Brian’s mom and grandma came to visit, a great excuse to take in more of the festivities.  We started with the race.

I’ll point out that this race is the reason we moved to Newburyport, and a contributing factor in our marriage.  I first ran the race in 2000 when we were training to run a marathon.  A friend from church was also training for a marathon, and he suggested the 10 mile race for its unusual length (between a 10k and half marathon), its picturesque setting, and its reasonable distance from Boston.  I ran well and appreciated Newburyport for its bustling downtown, fantastic architecture and proximity to the water and the state park.  Later that year Brian and I drove up to Newburyport on a date, explored town, and eventually decided to buy a place there and get married, to make a long story short.

At any rate, we decided it was high time to run the race as Newburyport residents.  We made sure to hydrate well on Tuesday since it’s notoriously hot on the last Tuesday in July at 6:30pm.  This year was no exception – 85 degrees and humid at race time.  Our initial plan was for me to run hard and to do a real time trial, and for Brian to hang back and run a more relaxed race due to the sweltering conditions.

They didn’t bother with a chip-adjusted start, so our first mile came in at 8:02 even though clock time was about 8:22.  Barb and Grandma Hume cheered for us from the Mall as we ran past.  We kept up the pace for the second mile as well, largely pulled along as part of the 1500 runners for the 10 mile race (another 2500 ran the 5K).  Around Mile 3 we settled into an 8:17 pace, about what I wanted to run on average for the race.  Mile 4 starts a long slow incline; Brian pulled ahead during what turned out to be my first of a series of failed attempts at drinking water.  By halfway through the 4th mile I was getting chills and feeling no sense of competitiveness – not a great sign.  During the 5th mile I focused on getting some water, losing all momentum up the hill in order to hit the water stop and consume the 8 oz, and clocking my slowest mile at 9:11.  I shuffled along during mile 6 at about 9 minutes, by which time Brian was no longer in sight, and finally felt normal at Mile 7 when I was able to resume a reasonable ~8:30 pace.   Either the shade,  the rural setting, or the water finally kicked in, because I managed to finish the race strong and holler a greeting to Joe and Marybeth (new Newburyport residents sitting on their front lawn, friends via Brian and Heather Kennealy).  My last zippy mile was just over 8 minutes, for a total time of 1:25, averaging an 8:30 pace.  Brian kicked my butt, coming in 3 minutes faster at 1:22, a sub-8:15 pace.  No surprise, his rigorous training is working!  After the race we jogged home and ate a quick dinner before falling into a very sound exhausted sleep.

Wednesday those who didn’t have to work enjoyed walking around town and playing cards, while I had a productive day at the office between my early race-inspired departure Tuesday and taking a day off Thursday.  Thursday morning we got up early and drove to the Berkshires for a day of sightseeing.  Although the train was not running, we still had a fun day at the Normal Rockwell Museum, lunch in Stockbridge, a river walk in Great Barrington, then getting stuck in traffic.  Oh wait, the driving was the less fun part because we had torrential rain on the way there, topped by extreme rubbernecking and a car in a tree on the way home.  We still considered it quality family time though – plenty of conversation and reminiscing and joking.

This blog is already long, so I’ll summarize from here.  Friday there were sidewalk sales and more cards and a trip to the CSA (and more working).  Saturday we ventured to the Nubble Light and did a walking tour of Congress Street in Portland. We topped off the weekend with fireworks on Saturday night, and outdoor worship service on Sunday morning, and the big parade on at noon.  Throughout the week we had tasty dinners and enjoyed the dishwashing fairies who kept the sink clear.  Slinky had plenty of attention.  Despite his early concerns with someone moving into “his room” by the end of the week he was well accustomed to having more conversation and petting than any cat could hope to have, and was clearly distressed to learn that the nice ladies were not staying indefinitely.  We all miss our visitors and hope they will return next year, perhaps enticing Ken and Leslie to join us, for another fun week of summer New England activities.

Comments

Pingback from Juddmansee.com » Labor Day Outdoors: Hiking the Tripyramids and Running Cape Ann 25K
Time: September 16, 2009, 9:18 pm

[…] round 2 of my 2000 season repeat, and I was a bit nervous before the race given my struggles at the Yankee Homecoming race.  I fared better this round with a time of 2:15:52, beating my 2000 time by almost 10 […]

Pingback from Juddmansee.com » I am a Lobsterman
Time: September 20, 2009, 7:49 pm

[…] was progressing very well through July and August. I ran the Yankee Homecoming 10 mile race and was learning and loving my new bike and training tools. Unfortunately my whole summer was […]

Pingback from Juddmansee.com » Yankee Homecoming Race 2011
Time: August 5, 2011, 1:55 pm

[…] race, and ended up dumping water into it along the course to make sure I kept hydrated (and avoid what happened in 2009). I had a little calf cramping as I walked home, but I chalk that up to the new shoes more than […]

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