This was technically a training run, but considering how useful this race series is for anyone in the tri-state area who’s training for Boston or another spring race, I’ll treat it as a race report.
I ran this race last year, also as a training run. It was my big 15 mile Mpace training run at the time, so I ran harder last year than I did this. I’m earlier in my training cycle than I was at this time last year, so I’ve not quite worked my way up to such lengthy Mpace efforts yet. The event takes place in Norwalk, CT and typically attracts around 150-200 runners. Whereas last year was quite cold, we had great (if a little warm) weather this year: low 50s at the start and overcast, although the clouds burned off for the second half.
For better or worse, I tend to have a selective memory about extreme changes in course elevations and physical pain. This race offers both in abundance! In fact, last year when I ran this race, I distinctly remember feeling something give in my calf on the worst of the early hills (Bald Hill Rd). That turned out to be the only time I’ve had anything resembling a real injury. Considering how bomb-proof my legs are, that’s saying something about this course.
Anyway, the race goes a little something like this:
First, you start on a nice downhill. This gives you plenty of opportunity to remain blissfully ignorant of the horrors to come, or obsess about said horrors, depending on your personality type.
Less than a half mile later, you have the first of the hills, a climb of around 120 feet over a third of a mile. Miles 2 to a little past the 5 mile mark are rolling. Then you hit the first of several big climbs that will take you up (or, rather, up and down) another 300 odd feet in elevation over the next 4 miles. I stupidly thought the worst of it was over just past the 7.5 mile mark, and proceeded to fly along on the extreme downhill, only to be met with an additional 70 foot climb for the first three quarters of mile 9. Then, at last (or so I thought), the climbing was over.
For the most part, it was. For the most part. There was ample opportunity to motor the downhills using what was left of my legs. But there are two nasty uphills later in the race: The first is a 85 ft climb over .25 miles at mile 12; the second a 100 ft climb, also very short and steep, at 12.5. Only then are you more or less home free.
Since this was a training run I didn’t race it all out. It was windy on the way out, which also forced me to take a conservative approach. On a course like this, trying to lay out a mile-by-mile pacing plan is pretty silly. I had no specific time goal, although I did want to maintain around a 7:20 average pace if possible, and beat last year’s time of 2:01. I managed a 7:22 pace, which was close enough. I wish I’d had more oomph in my legs for the last 5-8K, but I worked with what I had and did manage to pass about eight people (including three women) for that stretch. So I guess this course beats everyone up.
My watch read 16.2 miles, evidence of the piss poor job I did of hitting the tangents. The roads were not closed to traffic, so I figured since it wasn’t a real race for me, it wasn’t worth risking my life to shave some time off by veering back and forth across the roadway. Normally, I’m willing to risk maiming or death for a good time (and I do mean that in both senses of the phrase).
I made a token attempt at some cooldown running, giving up after a mile. Then scarfed down a high-quality bagel, which was documented by blogger Frank of rundangerously. It was a big photo opp day, as Jonathan and I posed with some of the other age group winners in the series in our free (bling) shirts before the race.
No official results yet, although my watch time was 1:58:48. Since the official results haven’t yet been posted I don’t know how I placed, but I think it was probably decent.
Update: Official time was 1:58:47, netting me 3rd in the 40-49F group and 13th Girl overall.