Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 norfolk pub 10 miler: race report

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:

9:04  16:41
7:56  24:37
7:58  32:36
7:24  40:00

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:

7:39  47:40
7:51  55:32
9:41  1:05:13
6:55  1:12:08
7:38  1:19:47

7:59 pace

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.

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