the boston build-up 20k was a last minute addition to the race calendar. mid-week i decided to head over to southport for the 3rd race in the build up series instead of the bronx half. the bronx half lost it's immediacy for me when i realized i couldn't run all 5 borough half marathons because of the queens half conflicts with the catskill mountain relay. even more remarkable, a day after that decision, the brooklyn half was mysteriously pulled from the nyrr calendar. no explanation, no clue where and when it will resurface!
back to the 20k, i've run this race numerous times, with times between 1:25 and 1:33. my goal, initially, was a sub 1:30 (a 7:30 pace). but with the sudden arrival of the mini heat-wave on friday, i jumped at the chance to increase my weekend mileage. so i readjusted my time goal for southport to reflect training run and looked for a sub-1:33 (< 7:30 pace). that was in line with my slower times for this course.
the drive over took 40 minutes and, just as i got out of the car, kate, sean, ikuko and a few other runners jogged past me as they warmed up. "did start the race start early?" i joked w/them. the race would, in fact, start 15 minutes late. the warm weather increased turn-out dramatically - and also in the field, as in years past, was a large contingent of runners from the west point marathon team. also at the race (in no particular order), michael (a/k/a torpedo), brian, don, rob, and roy. we all waited for the race to start outside the southport train station (still under construction following the fire that burned it down last year).
jim made one interesting pre-race announcement: that his bagel guy let him down so we'd only have juice at the finish. to make up for the missing carbs, he promised two bagels per runner at the 25k in norwak - ha. instead of the train station parking lot, the start was moved out to the street (a minor detour). the weather (so it seemed at the moment) was perfect for running (high 40's and overcast - though the sun did break thru a few times). a good number of runners (me included) were in shorts!
the first half of this course is the toughest stretch. it seems to me the climbs are harder, longer and more grueling for the out bound leg. i missed most of the mile markers (except for 2, 5, and 6) to the crossover at the 10k. that was actually better than the inbound leg, where i missed all the mile markers on the way back. regardless of the mile markers, after the first mile i struggled to maintain a 7:30 pace. my two mile split of 14:23 was not a good sign. granted a chunk of that distance was uphill, i still felt like there was no bounce in my legs.
i reached five miles in just over 38 minutes (38:04/7:36 pace) which included a small walk to crest the hill in mile 4. and i gave in to another small walk to crest the hill in mile 6 - very uncool (but much needed). my 10k split of 47:48 wasn't too bad under the circumstances (a 7:41 pace). more importantly, i was confident i could run a negative split on the way back. that was, however, before the rainstorm arrived. i had no idea rain was even in the forecast! worst yet, i had no hat (i had worn a headband during the first couple of miles).
at first it was only a few drops (which i had mistakenly thought was snow melting off tree branches). but soon enough, in mile 7, it was unmistakeably rain - and it was coming down hard. my glasses were soon useless - and i was repeatedly slowing down to wipe the rain from them (twice stopping to dry them off with my already soaked tech shirt). luckily the rain died down - and stopped - in ten minutes or so. but i was drenched. each step i took during the last two miles was accompanied by a squish sound from my feet!
so much for a negative split. the second half went by in 48:09 (a 7:45 pace). my waterlogged 1:36:00 finish (7:44) was disappointing. but that was quickly a distant memory as i found myself in a nightmarish traffic jam for roughly the last 3 exits of i-95. some bright light decided it was the perfect time to shut down 2 of the 3 lane and do some road surface repairs! amazing! a 40 minute (maybe an hour in "traffic") drive home took almost 2! with nothing but a fruit punch pouch and my coffee thermos, it was a slow and hungry trip home!
perhaps the worst thing of all - completely non-race related - was missing katie's cake sale after church as a consequence of having to camp out on the highway. she and her fellow confirmation classmates spent a good chunk of saturday baking cakes, cupcakes, and assorted sweets to raise money for the poor and needy. i got back to town 15 minutes after the sale has finished - argh!! now that was a major disappointment for me :(
next up: a major drop in distance as emmy and i team up for the stratford ymca sweetheart 4 mile run on saturday. plus, the next day is the trrc freezer 5 miler in fdr state park.
check out julie's (raceslikeagirl) race report.
here are my race photos.
here are kate's (ultrabrit) race photos.