Tuesday, March 6, 2012
the boston build-up 25k in norwalk caps off the 4 race boston build-up series. it's probably the toughest (read seemingly unending hills) of the progressively longer courses. that said, it's definitely a fair course - there are some decent runnable stretches - and even a few downhills. i've run it many times over the last dozen years - and, somewhat inexplicably, it's easily my favorite of the series.
except for my 2:09 last year (i ran the 2011 edition the day after the colchester half), i've usually managed to get in under 2 hours. so i set my target at a sub-2 hour finish (basically a 7:43 pace). that may have been a stretch: plan b was to just maintain a sub-8 minute pace. i wasn't too sure about the 7:43 pace because i had only managed a 7:45 the colchester half last weekend. but i was game to try.
despite missing the marker for miles 5, i reached 6 miles in 46:26 - a 7:44 pace. that wasn't an auspicious start because there was a decent climb through miles 7 & 8 (which took me 16:23, an 8:12 pace). even with the slow last two miles, i bounced back in with a 7:43 mile 9 and a 7:33 mile 10. with a 1:18:07 for 10 miles, the 7:48 pace was way too slow to squeeze in under 2 hours.
i ran a 7:51 for mile 11 and i could feel myself starting to fade. the next two miles crept above 8 minutes, with an 8:04 and 8:05, respectively. at this point i was still confident of keeping my overall pace under 8 minutes for the 25k distance. but just when you think you've got it under control, the gods may have other plans for you! in what can best be described as hitting the wall, the last last 2.5 miles seemed endless!
not only did i slow down (any semblance of leg speed suddenly escaped me), but i was easily passed by at least a dozen runners during that final stretch. the splits for my last 2.5 miles were 8:14, 8:25, and 4:09, respectively. that 20:48 for the final 2.5 miles worked out to an 8:19 pace. on the bright side, even with the slowdown over the final 4.5 miles, my overall average pace, 7:55, was below 8 minutes for the 2:02:56 finish.
finish time aside, i still enjoyed the race, together with all the pre- and post-race socializing that went with it :D