winter in norfolk is "icebox" cold!
"From a distance it looks harmless enough. The hills of Norfolk surround Doolittle Lake and the Norfolk Pub 10-Mile Road Race conquers each and every last hill."
i've always wanted to run the norfolk pub 10 miler, but was never able to either fit it on the schedule, or make the drive up to norfolk. i wouldn't have run it this year either, had it not been for the first snowstorm of the season that resulted in its postponement. to keep the wintry spirit of the original december date fresh in mind, on saturday, the rescheduled date, a snow squall suddenly materialized on the drive up route 8 to norfolk!
this is a tough, hilly course in dry conditions. i had hoped to run it in 1:10, averaging a 7 minute pace - and would have been quite pleased with that outcome. but even without the benefit of the snow squall, it seemed as if there was plenty of snow and ice on parts of course. the squall just seemed to add a fresh coat on most the first two (and final two) miles. toss in the nasty wind gusts and the winter conditions were perfect - for a training run. shivering at the start line as a truck plowed the fresh snow on directly in front of us, i readjusted my target to 1:20!
except for a brief dip just into the first mile, the first two miles are basically straight uphill. my first mile was a 7:42, and the second was 9:12! i was amazed to have run 2 miles, on packed snow and ice, in 16:54 - an 8:27 pace! at that point all that went through my practically frozen mind was, "what am i doing here?" things brightened (warmed) up a bit for the next few miles: 7:33, 7:29, and 7:26 got me to the five mile mark at 39:22, a 7:53 pace. i'm not sure if i walked any of the hills in those last 3 miles.
for the second half of the race i did walk up to the crest of a few big hills - at least 3 times! here are my second half splits:
mile 7 was across open fields, with winds so strong that it felt like a wind tunnel. i walked a good chunk of the mountain that suddenly appeared in mile 8 (which accounted for the 9:41). mile 9 was mostly downhill, on packed snow and ice - the most treacherous stretch of the course (imo). interestingly, i walked the last (short, steep) hill in the last mile and still managed to run it in 7:41! that wasn't so much a testament to speed (before and after the walking) as it was a burning desire to finish up and get out of icebox like conditions :D
we were handed candy canes after crossing the finish line. emmy finished right behind me and was the third woman overall! at the start, the race director announced that our bib tags were good for a draft beer at the pub after the race - woo hoo to that! after a stop the town hall to collect our stuff, we head over to the speckled hen pub, where the awards ceremony would take place. the coolest thing was seeing the place completely packed with the runners who had just finished the 10 miler :D
the pub had an incredible selection of beer. in fact, it devoted an entire menu to their collection of bottled beer. i opted for a draft dogfish head 90 minute i.p.a. and emmy had a draft old speckled hen ale. as it turned out, we couldn't stay for the awards ceremony. but emmy did win $20 for her 3rd place finish! a friend of hers was kind enough to bring the loot (together with the pez dispenser(!) prize) down to the boston build-up 10k the next day (which he was also running).
here are some race/post-race photos.
photos from the "2009" edition!