this past sunday i ran the mid winter classic 10 miler in cape elizabeth. i pretty much love to hate this race (or hate to love it)- its in my hometown, a pretty good (rare) race distance, and its on the superbowl which gives me a fabulous excuse to eat and drink all the food and beer! however, its a pretty tough/hilly course, and the weather usually sucks. i also havent run this race since 2010. that was a long time ago.
2010- 1:26:08 (ugh. how do you run the very exact same time? stupid. or consistent i suppose)
in 2011 they rescheduled the race due to weather, and ultimately cancelled the rescheduled date again due to weather (which both days were actually really nice... it was a weird situation. whatever). then in 2012 my grandma died and i was in illinois on race day. after a minor mishap with the race that year, sara and i agreed to boycott the race and never run again! of course we ultimately changed our minds, and we both have now run it again. and then last year my belly was a little too round to run 10 miles, so sarah and i cheered on the runners in epic cheering style.
ive certainly come a long way in my running over the years, and as of recent i am running faster and stronger/more consistent than ever before. im pretty sure henry has given me wings to fly... i really have no explanation. but im ok with it, and am always anxious to see how things play out in races (now if only someone would sponsor me so i could do all the races i wanted for free... that would be sweet!). so when it came time to register for this years race, i knew i wanted in. the problem with this race is always the weather. february in maine is cold! i remember one year it not being that bad. but there are places where the wind can be brutal, so you never know what youre gonna get.
i went into this race pretty much knowing i could do well/better than my current 10 mile PR (8:35 pace). im into week 5 of marathon training- my mileage per week is up to 45 miles, so the distance wasnt going to be a problem. the speedwork i have been doing prepared me to think i could do somewhere between 7:30s and 7:50s. the hills are pretty big, and plentiful, but ive been running a few hills here and there (minus all the miles on the treadmill) and thought i should be ok. the weather was really the only thing i was worried about, and the forecast looked great leading up to (40s, no wind). lets do this!
i had 15 miles on the schedule for the day, so i decided to do 2 as a warm up and 3 as a cool down (the scheduled run was actually just a long run, but the 16 miler for next week had 10 at half marathon pace, so i was able to easily switch the two). i had a pre run bagel with peanut butter and some coffee, brought hen over to my moms, and ran up to the high school where i met up with andy and michelle. in an unusual turn of events, sara and eric were on time/early! i also saw jen, stacy, carrie, jill, jamie, melissa, and audrey. and as usual, we couldnt find kristal. i got in a little bit more of my warm up run with my friend jim, and took in an "espresso love" gu (which i felt like throwing up... im still not used to eating them before races), and then we all headed to the start line.
yay we found kristal just in time!
before we knew it we were off. for one of the first times i really had no pre race jitters or anything. i knew i was just going to go out and do my thing. i knew the course, and i felt good. as we headed out onto the course, the first mile flew by (flat/downhill). before i knew it i was headed onto the first 3 hills. i felt like i slowed down a little bit to go up, but was able to run fast down and recover. when i got to mile 3 i checked my heart rate and slowed down a bit, thinking it was a little high. i definitely felt really good though, which i was slightly surprised at.
(photo courtesy of maine running photos)
mile 1- 7:37
mile 2- 7:40
mile 3- 7:36
during miles 4 and 5 i played leap frog with audrey, who is always so super speedy! (im sure she was not racing this if i was able to keep up with her!) we talked a bit on one of the uphills, and joked as a guy ran past us with ease, asking if we could tie a string to him and put on roller skates! it was also around this time that someone came up from behind me and slapped me on the ass! luckily it was my friend betsy and not some creeper haha. of course then she took off leaving me in the dust (how do you people run this pace and not feel like dying! totally jealous).
at mile 6 i started checking my watch, and sure enough i PRd my 10k time at 6.2 miles (47:28). note to self: find a 10k to run soon! i wasnt sure what my splits had been up to this point but i knew i was running well, and was hoping that i didnt run out of gas with 4 miles left to go. i took my "salted caramel" gu around this time (delicious!) and tried to keep kicking. there was one uphill left (during the last mile, ugh!) so i tried to keep something in me to be able to push it.
mile 4- 7:47
mile 5- 7:37
mile 6- 7:47
mile 7 is just plain flat, and i felt like my running form was falling apart (actually, im not entirely sure i have good form to begin with...). the last half of mile 8 is downhill (weeeeeee!) and then the first half of mile 9 is a slow gradual uphill to a downhill finish. a girl i had been running with for a little ways asked if there was another hill after the one we were going up at mile 9, and i told her no- this was it. then she took off (i should have lied!) i tried to keep up but she was just a bit too fast. i was surprised how good i was still feeling at this point and pushed it as hard as i could.
mile 7- 7:42
mile 8- 7:40
mile 9- 7:33
coming into the high school i knew i needed to give it all i had, and hope that last downhill was going to feel great. as i got closer to the finish, all of a sudden i looked to my right and there was speedy mcfast pants, prancing along like she just jumped into the race to finish with me. i yelled something along the lines of "cant i just beat you one time?!" and she laughed, saying she had been chasing me for the past 2 miles. with just a small bit left to go, i took off sprinting thinking she would race me. well, she didnt join me, and instead i just looked like a jerk who wanted to beat her (which i did want to... and which i didnt, since she started the race after me and caught up. whos the jerk now! jk, xo).
crossing the line i almost couldnt believe the time i was seeing on the clock. in my mind i had kinda expected just under 1:20 for my time.
mile 10- 7:15
im so pleased with every aspect of how i ran this race. i didnt go out too fast. i kept things consistent on the hills. i ran my own race, for me, not worrying about who was in front of me or coming behind me (well other than sara haha). my music, as always, helped me get out of my head and think only of this race. one foot in front of the other... i took risks, i pushed myself, and it paid off.
it seems that everyone had great races, and we were all smiles and laughs when gathered again in the cafeteria of the high school. i also got to meet up with clint, and met his wife and new daughter! the last thing i really wanted to do was go run another 3 miles (they had free pizza! who passes up free pizza?!) but even those miles felt good. overall a really awesome day. and then i went and got a delicious donut (as well as the day after... and the day after that. sadly today is a snow day and i was unable to continue the donut streak, but i made brownies. dark chocolate is good for you, thats common knowledge!)
michelle, kristal, me, sara
andy showing off his photo bomb skilz. its like wheres waldo!
hen loves mamas hat
id say this is by far the most consistent race ive ever run