Sunday, May 17, 2015

Groton, Merrimack, and MOMs

We have officially entered racing season.  I have now completed three of the seven races that are scheduled over a ten week span.  From here it begins to get a little tougher with a 50K on the 24th and then a track 5K, Mount Washington, the 26 X1, then Loon all on consecutive weekends.

Groton 10K
Location: Groton, MA
Date: 4/26/2015
Distance: 6.2 miles
Goal: 37:08 (Reach sub 37)
Actual Time: 37:05 (1:31 PR)
Place: 9 / 364 OA, 5 / 40 AG

This is the fourth consecutive year that I have run the Groton road race.  
  • Four years ago was the second time I ran a sub 6 minute 5K.  
  • Three years ago I pushed Neil for the 5K and then ran the 10K
  • Last year I ran the 5K with Neil again, setting a stroller PR the day after running a 50k
  • This year I set a new PR in the 10K
Similar to years in the past, we headed out to Groton the night before to stay with our friends John and Sue Ann. This year John was away scuba diving so it was just Sue Ann and the three of us.  

The race started at 11:50 and they changed the timing around a little so now you could no longer run both the 5K and the 10K.  I think the Groton Police didn't want the roads closed for as long a period of time. 

The goal for the race was pretty simple. 
  1. Set a new PR.  The last 10k I had run was three years earlier and after pushing Neil in a 5K. My current PR was an en route recorded time at the New Bedford Half Marathon over a year earlier.  
  2. Run sub 6 min pace.  I had never held sub 6 for over 6 miles before. But all signs pointed to me being capable (a couple of low 5:50 based 5 milers and a 5:44 pace at the Mill Cities 5.4 mile relay leg).  
  3. Run a sub 37 minute race.  Everyone loves round numbers.  

I went out at a hard, but hopefully not to hard pace.  After a slight downhill and a slow climb I finished the first mile in 5:51. I had to work a little more over the second mile with a couple of rollers and was having trouble just getting comfortable.  I hit the three mile mark in 17:54, but new that it was going to be a little bit rough from there on out.

Mile 4 was by far my toughest mile, clocking a 6:08.  At this point I was playing a major game of heart rate management and was just about ready to give up on my sub 6 minute goal (Hey I was still going to have a massive PR either way). 

Mile 5 was a little bit on the flatter side and allowed me to regain some composure, but I new I still had a good climb to go at the beginning of mile 6.  Around mid way through the 5th mile, we met back up with the 5K runners and I had to start scampering all over the road to get around them.  Passing runners always makes one run faster even if it is an subconscious effort.  

After I got through the hill, it took another good tenth of a mile to get my heart rate under control.  I started to push a little harder at this point as my average pace for the run was now 6:01.  I like to call this the "I have come to far" point in a race.  As I came around the final turn and entered the track, I moved into my final gear for the remaining quarter mile.  I hammered around the turn and through the finish line 37:05, 3 seconds to spare.  

Merrimack River Trail Race 10 Miler (9.7 miles)
Location: Andover, MA
Date: 5/9/2015
Distance: 9.7 miles
Goal: 1:07:53 (Sub 7 min pace)
Actual Time: 1:11:36
Place: 32 / 170 OA

The Merrimack River Trail race was the third event in the All Terrain Series.  It was originally scheduled for April 11th, but was pushed back a month due to the excessive snow we got this winter.  This was my second running of the race so I was mostly familiar with the course (3 miles mostly flat, 2 miles of hell, turn and repeat). The course is technical in places, but you can fly in others.  The plan was 6:30 for the flats and whatever I could muster on the hills.  

Lets just say the race didn't quite go as a planned.  I started off really strong knocking out a 6:21, 6:52, and 6:32.  Not quite on pace, but not far off.  I got through the first set of hills ok, but right after I climbed up under the power lines I managed to take a wrong turn.  I was at that place where my heart rate was so high that my vision was being affected.  

About a tenth of a mile later I realized I was no longer on the right trail, but the three poor soles that followed me insisted that we were fine.  After a few seconds of arguing one of them pointed directly up the hills and said "Look." Sure enough the correct trail was just over 100' above us. So we scrambled up to it and continued on. 

At this point between a few 30% grade climbs (one of which I induced on myself) and loosing a couple of minutes due to getting lost, my motivation was now gone.  Just before I got to the turn around, my friend Emma came the other direction confused at how she got in front of me.  I had a faint hope of catching her, but fighting back through the power lines killed me.  

With three to go I was able to get my pace back down near 7 but was having trouble pushing past that.  With one last push I got my my final mile into the 6:30s and was completely spent by the time I hit the finish.  

All and all glad I completed the race and am now through 3 of the 7 ATR races. I am currently standing in 7th OA, but only 12 people have completed all three races.   The series is scored as a the best 5, but my goal is still to do all 7 races.  

MOM's Run
Location: Somerville, MA
Date: 5/10/2015
Distance: 3.1 miles
Goal: 19:59 (Neil in the stroller)
Actual Time: 19:23 
Place: 21 / 575 OA, 5 / 40AG, 1st Stroller

This past weekend I pulled a double; The Merrimack River Trail Race on Saturday and MOM's run on Sunday.  Last year I set my stroller PR of 19:10 at this race and decided that it would be fun to run it again with Neil.  

Pic compliments of Tom Cole

As we lined up before the race, I moved towards the front, but also as far to the right as possible.  When people asked what I was going to run, I said "6:30 pace" and most of them promptly got out of my way.  Funny enough, a bunch of other strollers lined up right behind me, not sure they knew what they were in for.  

This was our 8th race with the stroller and we had one goal, "Stay undefeated." I started off quick, but also saw a women up ahead fly out of the gate with her stroller.  It took me the first half mile to catch her and we were running 6:20 pace on a slight incline.  After I passed her I slowed a little, but I knew Tim and Keagen were behind me and also moving at a good clip.  
We clocked a 6:24 first mile and were holding roughly 6:30 pace on the second mile before we hit a steep decline.  We bombed through it and our mile pace dropped to 6:01 before we hit the "big hill." This hill lasted from 1.9 to 2.4 and it took everything I had to just keep moving forward.  After taking a little time to regain my composure, we started our final descent to the finish, pausing briefly to wave to Tom as he took our picture.  

Next Up
Ever since I started running long (insert your own definition here) distances, it has been my goal to get to a 100 mile week.  When you think of it, it is crazy.  That is 14.29 miles per day.  Even if you were to cut each day into two runs.  That is 7.15 each and if I am lucky, maybe an hour each.  

I have put 100 mile training weeks in my training calendar twice before, but was unable to rationalize completing either of them due to risk of injury, burnout, or being sick to close to it. Well this time around, judgement day has come and I will start my first true assault on a 100 mile week beginning tomorrow, 5/18.  

The plan, incorporate the Pineland Farm's 50K into it.  This may be stupid, but you could say that about a lot of other runs and races I have done. 

Go big or go home.

- Scot

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