Friday, July 6, 2012

The Bellport Clipper Classic Challenge

Accepting a challenge is a great way for me to achieve a goal. When first challenged to participate in the Bellport Clipper Classic 5K race, I considered but wanted to watch it first to see what I would be getting myself into. 16 years ago I watched as friends and neighbors in really good shape sprinted and ran past my house. I also watched as friends and neighbors in better shape than me struggled and dragged themselves to the finish line. I have continued to consider that challenge for the past 16 years and never moved forward…until now.

This year I have again been challenged. I have agreed to truly consider participation. Today I took action on the consideration part.

First, I learned (and verified at the website: that walkers are not allowed on the course and the course must be completed in 45 minutes. Exactly what that means is unclear to me, but I have decided to move forward anyway. My doctor advised me to not run and I have embraced that limitation. I do walk, bike, kayak and try other, less jarring activities. However, it is more of a lifestyle recommendation than a medical command so I am considering my options. Today I decided to see if I could walk 5K in 45 minutes. I set a course from my house, around the Village using The easy part.

Next, I pulled out my 2 pedometers to find that neither one works. (Note to Weight Watchers: where is my ActivLink?) I decided to time myself with a less efficient, but reliable watch…thank goodness for old technology.

I discovered that I left my regular walking shoes with the orthotic inserts at work. (Sadly, old feet need better support.) Never fear, thanks to my Nike connection, I have 2 other pairs of newish walking/running shoes and pulled those out to break them in.

Armed with my cell phone, tissues, inhaler and water bottle in my little green bag, I headed out for a 3.29 miles walk-about. The first leg of my course passes the 2 mile marker for the Clipper Classic. I was only starting out and feeling pretty strong, but I could not help but find the irony in the fact that the point marking the 2/3rd point of the race was located at the cemetery.

Crossing Station Road and heading to New Jersey Avenue I realized I was developing a blister on my left heel. It seemed I had a defective sock on my left foot that kept slipping down. Wasting valuable time I stopped to fix it…the first of several fixes…but only the left foot. Hmmm… Pace increase to make up for lost time.

Down across South Country Road I crossed paths with Bobby (…as Bobby, not the Easter Bunny or Uncle Sam today.) No time to talk, I am focused. Stop to fix sock. (Note to self: try out other socks before race day.)

The Village was quietly humming as I rounded the Old Purchase corner and headed to the dock. Blister is growing but I am not ready to waste more time with the stupid sock so I push through the pain and hoop the dock, dodging the vehicles also hooping as their drivers sip their morning coffee, paying no particular attention to pedestrians or seagulls.

Taking a left on to Rogers I again stopped to adjust my left sock when I realized I was wearing 2 different shoes. I thought this was something only old people did. Now I am motivated to quickly complete the course, avoid anyone I might know and check my time.

53 minutes…sock issues and an extra hoop around the Bellport Yacht Club included. 3.29 miles. That is a little more than a 16 minute mile. Not good enough for the Clipper Classic. But, I have 26 days to train, get my time down and work on a good jog/runner’s look to get past the officials. But not until I retrieve my other shoes and some better socks.

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