Race Report: Boston Buildup 25K

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.

Me: Front row, far right. Jonathan: Back row, third from right.

Me: Front row, far right. Jonathan: Back row, third from right.

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.

14 Responses

  1. Great job, woman! And don’t you look cute stuffing your face with a bagel (you’re also wearing the same shirt I have that gives me boob sweat spots). That elevation chart looks sick. Very cool that you beat last years time, placed third and it was just a silly ole training run for you. Congratulations, speedy!

  2. Thanks, Flo! What you can’t see on that shirt is the mauling I received from my HR strap. Blood, sweat, but no tears. Hooray for endorphins.

  3. One of the better “food eating” photos I’ve seen. Nice view of the back of your haircut too.

    Tough looking course. You did well to average 4:45 ks for a long “training run”, AND pick up an age-group third.

  4. “…the mauling I received from my HR strap. Blood, sweat, but no tears.”

    Ouch!! What doesn’t kill us…

  5. Ewen, have you seen photos of people eating things other than food? You’ll find none of those on this blog. Or, rather, I suppose it depends on how hungry I get.

    I like this photo because you get a good look at what I think of as my Russian truck driver thighs.

  6. Yours was rather demure and free of revulsion. I was thinking about photos so-called friends took of myself showing a wide open mouth of half-chewed pizza swirling around.

  7. Thighs look good in the other one. You should know better than to sit next to Jonathan when the paparazzi are about.

  8. I think we’ll start calling ourselves “Jonalie,” and either of us is perfectly capable of slugging the odd friendly runner with a camera.

  9. I agree with Flo on a job well done considering the course and the workout nature of the run.

  10. […] Race Report: Boston Buildup 25K […]

  11. “Jonalie first Masters in Newport Marathon” would go well on the cover of Who.

  12. From Mozzer:

    Quite frankly I was a bit taken back by the scenic hill action at Silvermine. It was really tough. Although the hills were endless, it is good to get back into race mode before the “next” marathon in April. This course was astronimically more difficult than the Fairfield 30K last year and more reminicent of Charlottesville. I have to admit that I didn’t get comfortable until mile 6. Mile 6 and 7 were brutal when the gradual incline seemed infinite. It was like going through a twilight zone or just sinking into a quicksand; at least that’s how my legs felt. After miles 11 and 12 were a series of steep downhills that could wreck havoc on the quads. It really reminded me how much I hated running downhills with painful memories of the San Francisco half marathon in ’07. I noticed how I can pass a lot of runners going uphill but never on a downhill. That is really something I need to work on, or quite possibly more hill practice overall is essential. The net time of 1:55:27 was really the best I could do on that day. Yes I had a brief moment of disappointment (on miles 10-11) as I was shooting for a 1:50, however, judging by the difficulty of this course, it is ok. Time to move onto the next race and I will definitely be back for silvermine next year!</blockquote

    • Nailed it. After running this, a race in Central Park seems pancake flat by comparison. I’m really looking forward to the 30K blowout race in Fairfield, which actually is almost completely flat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: