Wednesday, December 21, 2011
saturday was my 4th consecutive time running the norfolk pub 10 miler - billed as new england's toughest ten mile road race. with two grueling climbs, somewhat inconveniently located in miles two and eight, it is a challenging course. toss in the usually frigid weather conditions, norfolk's nickname is the "icebox of connecticut," and it can seen like a very long ten miles. this time around the weather was fantastic - decidedly above freezing with 34 degrees at the start, and dry conditions.
at last year's race i had made a note to consider trail shoes because of the sloppy ground conditions - mainly packed snow. so this year i wore my trail shoes - and should have stuck too regular road shoes. while there were traces of snow littered around the parking lot, the roads themselves were free of it. while i was fine wearing shorts, i did wear a vest over my two tech shirts. i probably could have done without it after the first couple of miles, but given the occasional gusts of wind, i never felt overheated.
my time goal was a straightforward 1:20 - an eight minute pace. my times have been all over place, with a 1:20, 1:15, and 1:25, respectively, for the prior 3 races. as it turned out, i barely squeaked in under 1:20 - but managed to run a negative split for the second half. given that i walked a decent portion of mile 8, i was amazed at that outcome. here are the first half splits:
when i looked at my watch and saw 40 minutes for the half way split i wasn't too optimistic about the 1:20 finish. mile 8 would easily be another 9 minute mile - but i'd get most of it back on the downhill in mile 9 (which is retracing mile 2). here are the second half splits:
i was so annoyed with myself for the walk breaks in mile 8 - and getting passed by a few runners to boot - that i really let it rip for the downhill in mile 9. i only got away with it this year because the road was dry! in prior years, this stretch would often be packed snow - or melting, slushy snow. but my happiness at the sub 1:20 was short-lived. when the results were posted i was 10th in my 5 year age group! that so many 45-49 year old men finished ahead of me was sobering stuff :(
but, thankfully, the high point of this great event is turning in your bib tag for a beer (berkshire ipa) while waiting for the awards ceremony at the local pub! that took the sting off pretty quickly :D all in all, this was another great time in norfolk - and count me in for the 2012 edition (although that one will probably revert back to the typical frigid race conditions).
here are my race photos.