Let’s start with the night before…
I taught at the Museum of Science- 19 Cubs from Braintree- they were great! We made kaleidoscopes and did a bunch of experiments with refraction. During the day I delayed my workout because my father and sister-in-law came up to our house from CT with a SNOWBLOWER. WOOOO. I made a paleo sausage/spinach/egg drop soup and some acorn squash/almond flour muffins (which I need to make again and photograph- they were amazing).
We assembled them while sitting on the couch, chatting, and watching SNL. perfect! (except… 11:30 PM!) … and that was my pre-race dinner. Healthy, but late. We shared a sirloin steak that had been marinated in lime and soy, garlic and chilies, rice wine vinegar, and cilantro. Carrot salad, cilantro. nomnomnom. Based off of this recipe from martha stewart: http://www.marthastewart.com/868017/banh-mi-sandwich
Up at 6:45 (10AM start)- had coffee, and one pancake with a smidge of peanut butter. My stomach is not excited about my pre-race dinner choice. Also, I start to get anxious about a race that I am NOT RACING. what?!? I spend the morning debating how to dress for 10 degree weather with 20 mph winds. Gah. Regret my choice to run? Nah.
7:45- decide on my CW-X compression tights, a lululemon bra/top, j.crew tissue turtleneck, Nike half-zip long sleeve, and my 2013 Boston jacket. Also- Boston Red Sox hat, under armour fleece headband, lululemon running gloves, AND EMS gloves. (double gloving my fingers was key). Also- in a moment of genius, I grabbed a pair of running sunglasses my mom put in my Easter basket last year- these proved crucial in the wind.
We arrived at the Middle School that the race had taken over as headquarters about an hour from the start of the race- no lines, everything totally perfect. I started chatting with a chick that looked about my age- we decided to start the race together.
Race began slightly uphill- and the roads had a good amount of blown snow on them- a very slow first mile for me- Tracy (my new friend!), however, wove around people and kicked it into gear- she ran a great race and nearly got a sub 2 hour race!
I reminded myself to run light and easy and see what happens. The course is known for being really hilly and quite challenging- and since I had no idea what that meant, I wanted to make sure I had the chutzpah just to get to the end.
The “rolling Hills” begin around mile 5- steeeeeeep uphills (about .1 miles in length, nothing terrible), followed by steeeeeep downhills. Any speed lost going up was made up coming down. The race proceeded in this manner for a bit. The course is gorgeous- at each bend, the top of each hill was a classic New Hampshire vista- if I wasn’t double gloved and couldn’t operate my phone, I would have taken 1000000 pictures.
Oh- I ran without music. A first. I consciously did this to concentrate on how I felt and so that I really enjoyed being present in the moment. When the wind literally blew me backwards and my lips were numb I regretted it a little bit. I ended up singing Katy Perry’s Roar to myself the whole way. Yuuuup.
Mile 6- 7:50 – took the GU they had on-course- Espresso! my fav! It was frozen-ish, though- so I had maybe 1/2 of it. They had water every 4 miles- my only criticism of fuel on the course for this race is that there should have been water about 1/2 a mile following the gu, not with it. Oh well!
Mile 7- 7:58 – all rolling hills, until Mile 10.
Mile 8- 7:51
Mile 9- 7:57
Tracy had mentioned to me that the hardest part of the race really started at mile 10. Yes, yes it did. There was a well-placed water stop at the 10 mile mark- we rounded a sharp corner, and proceeded straight uphill- like vertical stairs steep. People were walking. I trotted up (slower, for sure)- but I still felt good.
Mile 10- 8:52
Mile 11- 9:02
Mile 12- 9:02
ooofff. This was a “they’re not kidding” kind of hill situation. Up, Up, Up, and Up. There was some down and some “flat” but mostly up. I don’t train on this amount of up (or on the terrain of the previous 3 miles of short but very steep rollers). I walked a couple of times for 10-15 seconds or so during mile 11. I didn’t know what was coming and I had not reached the “radio tower”- the visual signal that I had crested the “hill”. I think I could have run it and maintained pace- but I just was feeling like making sure I felt great until the end was more important.
I crossed the matt for the 13.1 split at 1:47 or so- I remember feeling disappointed that I didn’t book it a little more in the last 2 miles so that I could have at least gotten over the hump in 1:44 or so- but I just kept trucking.
Mile 13- 8:34
Mile 14- 8:12
Mile 15- 8:11
Mile 16- 7:31
The phrase “It’s all down hill from here” rang true. It was not actually all down hill (HA)- but since I knew I had done the hardest part, I focused on getting back on track. I literally practiced focusing in on staying “on pace” on tired legs. I wanted each mile to be faster than the previous.
In the end, I ran a 2:10:47 and an 8:11 average pace. I’m fine with it. I finished 14/29 for my age group- and there were plenty of really fast chickies out there today. This race is attended by many running clubs and people from out of state- so it is no surprise to me that I didn’t place higher! I felt so free to set my own goal and just go by feel. Also, I did not feel trashed after the race and that felt good. Don’t get me wrong, I am going to be sore (since my legs have not run hills like that in…. ever)- but I felt like I had more in me. The first thing I said to Mike was “I could have run a marathon today”- I think if I needed to, I would and could have kept my pace right around 8 mins and done the 26.2.
Would I race this again? YES. I loved the course. It was SUPER hard- but I feel like I could set a goal- for example- sub 2 hours- and achieve it realistically. I need to be a lot stronger to approach this distance with 1/2 marathon pace on the brain- even though it is only 3 miles longer, the course itself wears on you by the halfway point. I paced it like a marathon- and I had juice left in the tank at the end. Next time, no need to be so conservative- however- I think this means that I can narrow in on something in the 7:40’s or less for Boston as doable.
Next up? The Super 5k next weekend in Lowell! Not sure if I am going to ease up on training to feel fresh yet- but I am excited to see what happens when I just let it all out