Saturday, March 2, 2013

Black Cat 10 Miler

3 mile w/u
Target: 10 mile tempo @60-61 mins.
Actual: 60:48; first place female
3 mile c/d
Total: 16 miles

Late last week I discovered that a 10- and 20-mile race would be taking place today in Salem, with the same start/finish and most of the same course as the half-marathon I ran last fall. I wasn't necessarily looking for a true race-level effort, but I knew that lacing 'em up in a competitive environment would result in a much higher quality workout than I was likely to undertake on my own. Not only did Jordan feel the same way, but he apparently decided that he wouldn't truly get his money's worth without tackling the 20-miler. To each his own.

After running from my house to the race start (which is the best setup ever), I met my BAA friend Liz for the remainder of the warmup. As we stripped down our outer layers and tossed them in the back of her friend's car, she mentioned that there was a $150 purse for first place. While not a staggering amount (I won $300 at the half-marathon, which was put on by the same company), it was noteworthy information simply because I hadn't seen anything about cash prizes on the web site or race collateral. If my original game plan was to run a hard tempo, my new objective was to run a hard enough tempo to win the darn thing.

As we stood for a ridiculously long time on the starting line, I had a few minutes to catch up with running friends from the BAA and the Salem Wicked group. Kevin, an Irish BAA transplant and Craft aficionado, is training for Boston and was hoping for an honest but controlled workout today. From the gun, I took off with him and vowed to hang on as long as possible. The first few miles were comfortable and conversational as we ran through downtown Salem toward Marblehead, but even early on I could tell my legs were still tired from Thursday's 800s. The turnaround point came in the Devereux Beach parking lot around 4.5, and by that point I was already eager to be finished. I was pleased to see that Jordan wasn't too far in front of us (never mind the fact that he would be running twice as far), but I was a bit surprised to discover how seemingly close Liz and our friend Caroline were behind me. Liz was running the longest race of her life and Caroline had put in eight miles beforehand, and they were both crushing it! Meanwhile Kevin and I split five miles in 29:45, but I was faltering on the first noticeable uphill section and I could tell he was itching to drop the pace. I waved him onward, disappointed that my legs were so tired but resolving to maintain the same effort or risk getting caught. I was running scared. Fortunately, around mile 8 I found my second wind (possibly coinciding with cresting the final hill) and was able to finish strong, with Caroline and Liz not far behind despite accidentally missing a turn in the final mile. Jordan placed second in the 20-miler, an effort I will let him regale you with whenever he updates his blog. All in all, a solid day.

Oh, and my big prize? A pint glass.  

Just after the start: Jordan up front, Kevin in the yellow singlet next to me, with Caroline (yellow) and Liz (blue) at far right. Photo credit Thomas Cole.