Sunday, January 27, 2013

Boston Prep 16 Miler

Time: ~111:15
Distance: ~30 km

W/u: roughly 20 minutes and 4 km
Race: 16 miles of cold, windy and hilly terrain in 1:31:15 for 2nd Overall

This morning I was dragged up to Derry, NH for the Boston Prep 16 Miler by the Craft and Karhu GM who grew up in the town. I shouldn't say that I was "dragged" because I was perfectly willing to partake in what is billed as a "moderately challenging" course. Our GM rowed in college and has completed several races and triathlons, but I wouldn't bill him as your typical runner. Sure, he runs but doesn't get the same thrill that most readers of this blog get when they lace up the shoes. So, I could only try to join in his enthusiasm when weeks ago he started to suggest that we go and run this race. If he was going to suffer through 16 miles of hills, I could too.

We arrived in Derry and the GM immediately started telling me about the town. I learned that the Burger King used to be the biggest in the country only to have that title taken away from presumably some newer location in Texas. The Hood Dairy company also had many of its farms in town and Robert Frost was fired from Derry High School. The rumor is that Frost would walk from his house through the woods to get to school. Perhaps there might have been something other than tobacco in his cigarettes and he would get lost in his thoughts during his walk and never show up to teach. At least that's what I was told.

I could tell the GM was excited and nervous about being back home. The course would run just blocks from the house he grew up in. We even parked at the elementary school where he matriculated. I was only trying to gain an ounce of his energy because I was focused on the fact that it roughly 15 degrees with a 15 MPH breeze.

Of all the days to forget Mr. Garmin, today would be it. I warmed up with my phone out and back on the course for a little over 20 minutes. I was able to get a little loose out on the course and decided that my racing costume would indeed include a jacket. I changed shoes, lost a midlayer fleece and geared up for a good hard effort.

Toeing the line I wasn't sure who would be in contention for the win. I wasn't even sure if I had a shot at breaking tape but just decided to go out at a steady, hard pace and find out where my fitness is at. Off the line, I was joined by a runner who I now know is Scott McGrath and later learned he won the race in 2012. We ran together for about 1.5 miles before I was able to gain a slight advantage on one of the uphills.

It wasn't until the 5 mile mark until I learned the pace I was running. I crossed the mat in 27:39 and calculated that it was just over 5:30/mile pace. I felt decent but was becoming aware that I hadn't completely shaken Scott. I could still hear footsteps and took a peek back on a couple 90 degree turns. Somewhere around the 7 or 8 mile mark I realized that I was in trouble. Aerobically I was completely fine to hold the pace, but my legs were completely lacking any power to climb the hills. I knew at this point if the second half was hillier than the first, then I would be doomed.

I was.

There was a sharp left hand turn and steep hill around the 9 mile mark where I must have given up 40 meters. Scott quickly closed the gap and took the lead with the 10 mile mat just in sight. I crossed in 55:46 just two seconds back and that gap would only grow until the 13.1 mile mat. The wind in the face, uphill sections completely rocked my world. I reached back and grabbed the back of my mullet a couple of times to remove the sweat icicles that had formed. I was not in a happy place.

I gave up 33 seconds from 10 miles to 13.1 miles, but then regained my composure as the course somewhat flattened out the final section. The darkest stretch of the race was perhaps around mile 14 when we were greeted with a brisk headwind that caused my face to cease functioning. I couldn't move my mouth and became a little fuzzy at times. I don't think it was from the effort because I still felt comfortable aerobically, but just wasn't handling the conditions well.

I limped home 37 seconds back from Scott and immediately headed for the gym to get warm. I snapped this photo of myself less than 2 minutes after finishing and posted it to Facebook. The pic pretty much sums up my race.

Here is Scott's recap of the race. Great race by him on a tough day.

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