Yesterday I ran the Boston Prep 16 miler in Derry, NH. It was a fun casual race and I am so glad I decided to do it. Going into the race I had no set expectations, I wanted to run at a decent pace and finish 16 miles comfortably so I could feel confident that I am on track to be in shape for Boston. Even though, I didn’t have expectation I was still nervous. It took me a while to fall asleep on Saturday and I was wide awake at 6:30 on Sunday. I rolled out of bed and made some coffee and watched the news while I ate oatmeal with peanut butter. I hit the road at 8am and arrived at registration by 9.
I had an hour to kill and was all by my lonesome. Luckily we were in a gymnasium so we could stay before the start. I sat on the bleachers and watched everyone prepare for their race. All the runners seemed so professional and organized. They talked about their marathon pace and speed work. They all seemed to have groups of friends and know so many people. I knew no one and, sat by myself waiting to walk to the start. Everyone was very nice and occasionally chatted with me, but for the most part, I just listened and observed this fascinating running scene that is so new to me.
Good thing this guy showed up at the end of the race to keep me entertained!
About 20 minutes before the start I went outside to jog a little and get my blood flowing. I did a lap around the gym and was freezing. The wind was intense and the temperature was cold. I went back inside and put on another layer. It was around 16 degrees and with windchill it felt around 2 degrees. I dressed warm with a Skida necky on, Saucony hat and apparel, long socks and gloves.
I started the race really strong. I tried not to look at my Garmin because I just wanted to run comfortably. I ran the first 5 miles really pretty quick for me. I felt strong and had to make sure I didn’t push myself too hard. I wanted to run my race and not worry about the other runners passing me. Sometimes I get caught up in that and chase them down… but since I was already running a much faster pace than normal, I tried really hard not to focus on that.
Around mile 8 the course started to go up hill and it continued to go up until mile 13. Luckily, the hills would be really steep and then mellow out a little so I got some relief before the next climb. Regardless, it was hard but I was refused to stop and walk even though the hills were big and the roads were winding. I kept my head down and focused on my stride and breathing. I was so happy when I reached my marker 13 because I knew it was all downhill from there… or so I thought…
The whole race was pretty cold and windy, but it wasn’t until the last 3 miles that I really noticed it. I ran past the clock at the half marathon marker and it read 1:40.That meant if I wanted to run this race in 2 hours or less I needed to run 3 miles FAST. I convinced myself, it was only 3 miles, I should push as hard as I can and leave nothing on the course so I put my head down and picked up the pace. Then, I turned around a corner onto an open road next to a field.
The wind blew so hard in my face I could barely move forward. It felt like trying to run in water. The rest of the course felt like that, but I didn’t give up. I kept running not wanting to feel like I could have done more. With 1.5 left all I wanted was to stop. I think if it wasn’t a race, I definitely would have. I longed for the finish. I was so ready to be done, but I pushed on. The last half mile was really tough. The wind was howling, my legs were burning and my mind was exhausted. It felt like an eternity but I finally crossed the finish line. Phew! I made it… and I made it in 2:00:58!
I felt good. I ran well, I ran hard and that is all I can ask for. I am not sure how I can run 10 more miles like that, but I guess I have 2 more months to figure that out. Last night, my left leg and knee were sore but today my body feels good, my knees don’t ache and my hip doesn’t hurt.
5 mile: 36:24 Pace 7:17
10 mile: 1:13:49 Pace: 7:23
13.1 mile: 1:39:26 Pace: 7:36
Final: 2:00:58 Pace: 7:34
Overall, I am happy with my result and feeling confident going into the next couple months of training, pre-Boston!