I drove up with a few of my runner girlfriends from GNRC. It was a pleasant ride full of chit chat and a Dunkin Donuts stop. We arrived in plenty of time to snag a good parking spot and to hang out and discuss the best racing attire for the day's predicted cold temps.
The weather was supposed to be VERY cold, but, in fact, it was not so bad for running. It was about 2 degrees when we left Westwood, but it was definitely up to 6 or 7 by the time the race started. I think we may have even actually raced in the low teens. It certainly did not seem that cold, and the predicted winds were relatively mild. I've raced and trained in colder weather, that's for sure.
Per order of Senor Coach Perham I was supposed to warm up a couple miles and do a few strides. Unfortunately, I am morally opposed to warming up for road races that take place in the icy landscape of NH in January. It was too cold to go outside until I absolutely positively had to. This is a 16 mile race...so I figured the first few miles would serve very well to warm me up, thank you very much! I did manage to run to the starting line...
I started out with my friends Rose and Maria. I moved ahead of them slightly for a few minutes, and then they passed me back and I fell behind. I spent the next five miles trying to catch them while simultaneously trying to keep my effort in check. I am very proud of my performance last year. The problem with it was that working that hard in an early season race left me so trashed I was unable to work hard again for a week. So this year my plan was to somehow race well without totally trashing myself. I finally did catch Rose and Maria and we ran for most of the race together. Here we are at the mile 6 mark. I must say winter racing photos are never very hawt... Had I known there was a person behind a camera I certainly would have at least smiled...
You can see from our pictures that we were quite bundled up. Maria (who grew up in Guatemala and is ALWAYS cold) is really really bundled up! (She is in the orange and Rose is in the black...)
So we ran... and ran and ran and ran.
The first half off the course has a few very good hills, but a lot of it is downhill so you can get a pretty good pace going. The problem is that your pace is totally wrecked from miles 9-13. Here is an elevation profile of the race, slightly doctored for fun by the race directors:
So we hit mile 9... you can see it is the little blip just beyond the skiers bum. That part is like straight up. You basically slow to like a little hop/walk movement to try to get up it. Then it goes down a bit, and then.... your pace is officially trashed. It goes up... and then up... and then up.... for like 2+ miles. During those uphill miles I got a tiny bit ahead of Rose and Maria. Not by much (I was told by them later I was always in sight) but just enough to make me run scared. Where were they? Were they going to pass me and leave me in the dust? Unfortunately, I couldn't quite muster the energy to be too scared... and my pace after the hills remained rather paltry...
until Rose passed me.
As she passed I said, "You got this, Rose!"
but inside me I thought, "Oh no you don't!"
So Rose moved on... and she ran fast... and faster... and I ran fast... and faster... and we were passing girls and were passing boys and we were pumping our arms and she was just just just out of reach! So I pressed harder! And she pressed harder! and we sprinted that last mile... we dropped our pace to 6:40 and held it! Maria raced just barely barely behind us and we all plowed into the finish bam bam bam.
It was fun. But Rose still beat me... :) and I barely beat Maria.
It was a great race and so awesome to be running and racing really hard with my friends.
After the race we changed and a whole bunch of us went out to lunch for burgers and beers (ahem... except a few people who shall remain nameless who had salads ! Lame!) but many of us had burgers.... (Mel! Send me the pics ! :)
It was a great time.
2:02:43, 7:41 pace
5th AG 40-49 (not sure how many in our AG, but I think it was about 135)
21st woman out of about 300
134 overall out of about 700.