23 March 2014

Merge 25k: "That's a downhill in the opposite direction."

Superchunk has been one of my favourite bands since high school. When I heard that Merge was having a 25k race in honour of their 25th anniversary, I knew of course that I should go. I really hoped I would see Laura and Mac in sweaty running clothes, and we'd talk about gus and pacing and that twinge in my hamstring. Oh, and my sister was having her second baby right before, so the timing was perfect.

I headed down to NC on Friday to spend some time with my sister and her adorable babes. Saturday found me shivering at the starting line of the Merge 25k with 10 other NBR peeps - yep, 10 of us flew down from NYC. People were baffled by us and our North Brooklyn Runner shirts, "Wait, where are you from? Brooklyn, NY? Really? And you flew down here?"

Yes, Merge Records is awesome and why not fly to run someplace different?

My hamstring was feeling kinda crappy, so I vowed to take it pretty easy. I wanted to keep my pace between 8 and 9 minute miles, and I spent many of the early miles chatting with fellow runners, cursing at the hills, smiling. I was wearing my pink tutu, so I got a lot of cheers for that.

Around mile 8 or 9, my hamstring cursed me out and began to really hurt me. I stopped and stretched but yep, it still hurt. I slowed the pace, tried to smile when inside I hurt. Why is my hamstring not getting better? I have Umstead 100 in two weeks. Eeek!

Oh, and there were approximately a million hills. Steep up, steep down, and some gentle ups and downs too. Fun times. They had signs everyone kilometer, and some of the signs had fun facts about beloved Merge bands like Superchunk and Arcade Fire. The course was full of pretty quiet roads, lots of hills and pretty houses and cheering people here and there.

I finished and felt crappy and went straight to the PT tent. I used the foam roller and felt nothing; then one of the friendly PTs gave me a mini-massage and more info.

I hung out in the sun with everyone from NBR. I watched an amazing performance - a combo of jump-roping and gymnastics. And no one messed up once! I cheered for them.

Mac also was djing at the finish line, and played Pavement. I was walking around, looking for NBR, and I couldn't help by sing along with "Shoot the Singer." I saw some random runner indie-rocker-type singing along too. Awwww. I felt at home.

The bands started. First up was Cosmic Punk and they were INCREDIBLE. I was dancing and so happy to be bopping around. Post-race, awesome music - YES! Bomina and I both wanted to buy their CD only to find out they don't have a CD and they are just in high school. And they're THAT awesome? Yes!

The rest of the day, we hung out, drank, had food, danced, listened to music, spent too long in the sun. It was fun to see a combination of music fans and runners and beer drinkers (sometimes all three were the same!). Also, I stood behind Laura from Superchunk and gawked.

Post race, local ultrarunner Mark Manz showed up and he came with the NBR crew + Ray to get brunch.

Merge, I love you for putting on this super fun race.

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