Taking a break from the Big Easy for this blog post to visit our annual ordeal, otherwise known as the Eastern States 20 in which we run down the New Hampshire coast, usually contending with some type of wind that makes the run unforgettable and sometimes unbearable.
That means crazy ass winds that blew in off the ocean, rain that hit us sideways for the start of the race and the first five miles, washed out roads that added brook-jumping detours, and chilly temps that never climbed out of the 30s.
Luckily, at some point, Boreas, the god of the North Wind, looked down on us with favor and shifted the wind to our backs to get us into Hampton Beach.
But first? A warning from race organizers about the dangers of this year's weather, conditions that caused them to abbreviate the half-marathon course and to drill home the very real danger of hypothermia over and over and over. Quite the sobering speech. In fact, it scared the $#!+ out of these guys. Can't you tell by the telling glances?
The Wild Pack, in happier times
Spider-Man joined us for the pillar of excellence
Mary-Jo and Donna had the boo-boo lips out in full force because of the storm
We're known for our trash talking. This race, we took it to a new level with garbage time. Don't mock us. The trash bags were life-savers.
Andrew: Seriously? I'm running with these clowns?
Picture of the year.
Tommy's either letting us know who's number one, or he's getting ready for a new career in proctology. All I know is that when he ran behind us, we ran faster.
The Garbagemen of the Apocalypse, Running Against the Wind, a Seger song I just couldn't get out of my head for the first hour
Donna's got thumbs us for on the streets of Portsmouth
Mary-Jo has no idea about the spectacle creeping up behind her
One of many windswept bridges in New Castle that tried to blow us out to sea
Nick Laganas, showing the sporty Glad look, 2014
The two front men, honoring the time-worn tradition of always knowing where your cameras are
Team Holy Cross rocking the backstreets! No hills like Mount St. James to be found here, though
If Tommy hadn't shed the latex glove, this guy would have something to be worried about. Tommy chased this shirt for miles. Alas, none were to be found at the finish line.
It's not easy running green.
Afterwards at the finish line. One is beaming. The other, well I was just proud of Andrew's finish
Yeah, we were frozen by this point, but who cares? We were done
Sadly, the elements sent us scurrying back to hot showers, so I wasn't there for Mary-Jo and Donna's later miles, but they were rock stars, nonetheless! Shoutout as always too, to Ann, who leapfrogged the whole course and was a welcome oasis whenever we passed her, with a welcome wardrobe change, drink, Gu, or Advil.
And yes, in case you were worrying, there was food at the end. Chicken soup and pasta all around.
Someday, I don't know when, can we get warm and sunny conditions for this 20 mile expedition?