July starts with summer classes in full swing - MS 100 College Algebra, MS 150 Statistics, and UB PreJunior Practical Mathematics. The fourth of July is celebrated by Shanalin and I by a visit to the ambassador's evening gala featuring fine wine, a spread of food, and Wetter Than Seattle performing hits of Jethro Tull among other songs of an aging generation.
Packed into full days are hour long base building runs along with long runs on the weekends. The ramp up began with an hour twenty run on the 22nd of June, followed on the 30th of June by a hour and half run into U, returning for breakfast at The Village. The 7th of July was a two hour dress rehearsal out-and-back into U at race time of 3:45 in the afternoon.
On the first of the month creche repair work was begun in preparation for, maybe, Christmas?
Sunday the eighth was a lazy day at home followed by a lazy drive in the country. The Frizzle-mobile and a fascinating lecture on the useful plants of Kitti had the ride-along crew absolutely enthralled.
A fascinating lecture-tour was capped off by a ladies night-in dinner.
Mid-July saw summer computer class graduation at Pohnpei campus for the kids. Debra Perman taught the beginning class attended by Shanalin and Marlin. Dakuma Lucios taught the intermediate class attended by Sharisey.
The tropics can be very picturesque at sunset.
Marosong (local spelling of marathon) day was the worst possible conditions - sunny, hot, few clouds. Ideal would have been cloudy, light misty rain.
The sunny heat and humidity of the roads of Kosrae were of benefit to my colleague Dan Meyer who finished somewhere well ahead of me. Dan has been teaching over in Kosrae this summer, and came back on Saturday's flight just in time to join the race. He is the music teacher who gave Sharisey and Marlin their first "big break" on stage in the musical he wrote.
Catholic school teacher and Jesuit volunteer Tim Smith took first place, I was in thirteenth place. I finished fifteen minutes ahead of my own projections at 2 hours 15 minutes and 29 seconds, in part because I went out faster than I intended for the first four kilometers, in part because the route was about 708 meters short by my GPS unit at 20.3 km. That's 12.6 miles for the metrically challenged. I ran a 6' 40" per kilometer pace or about 9 kph.
Short routes are typically the result of measuring a route with a car, cars tend to measure short. Still, I did not run an extra 708 meters. This is Pohnpei, not some IAAU official course event. Tropical distance runs are usually held in the earliest hours of the morning, not in the heat of the day. Yes, there is a Badwater Ultramarathon in Death Valley where temperatures an hit 140º, but that is a DRY heat 140º. In those conditions one's sweat cools one off.
In our 4:00 P.M. conditions of high humidity most "heat stress" charts forbid running because at above 90% humidity one's body can no longer cool properly. By the finish line I was plenty happy to skip the missing 708 meters.
Support along the route was great - especially throughout the village of U - kids cheered and people clapped. Former students shouted out my name. Makes one feel like a star!
The water stop crews were very supportive and helpful, bringing water out to the runners. I was excited to the see the support by our college students and staff including Bollie, Nikita, Herlinda, and Jay. Having my students up at the U turn-around, when my reserves were flagging the most, was a real pick-me-up. That lifted my spirits and kept me plugging away. I do not suppose that in races elsewhere one would know everyone at the water stops.
Oddly enough the adverse conditions worked well for me. I run the same slow pace no matter the temperature or distance. I have only one single gear. I would likely have been father back in the pack under better weather conditions, but the ferocious sun and humidity did in local runners who do not normally run in the heat of our late afternoons.
The threesome Sunday ready
Shanalin self-protrait. That last single tooth up front came out on Nahlap a few days later.
Shanalin jumps in