I was very excited when GCS sent out the call for runners for the 30th Mill City relays. I’d run the relay eight times since 1984. Usually the race date conflicts with the USATF national convention, with my stepping down from the Mountain council my weekend was now free. Well, sort of free…I got back late Saturday night from a Texas high point trip.
My goal was to run the 2nd leg (4.75 miles) in 6:30-6:45 pace. I based this on my 6:43 pace at the Chelmsford Alumni XC race a week ago. My glute/hamstring was feeling a bit better every day so I was hopeful I could comfortably manage 6:30’s without any set-backs.
Race morning was cold and cloudy when I arrived in Nashua to pick up the relay number and meet my teammates. I headed down to the Nashua/Tyngsboro town line and then drove my route just to be sure I’d have an idea of where I was going. It was also helpful to see what the terrain would be like. It looked to be a good leg with mostly straight clear roads and a few little up/downs for a change of pace.
I headed out for a 3 mile warm-up and got back just as the first few runners flew through. After a quick change into racing flats I did another ½ mile to stay loose/warm. A few moments later I was off. Early on I tried to find a good rhythm and decided it’d be fun to count people as I caught them. My team at Reach the Beach had a friendly competition seeing how many they’d pass (calling them “bogies”) and also counting how many they were caught by. I was hoping I wouldn’t get caught by anyone but you never know who is tracking you down.
I passed the mile in 6:17 feeling pretty good then upped the tempo a bit on a small hill. It was fun catching people and trying to keep the effort constant. Two miles was passed in 12:19 (6:02) and 3 miles in 18:17 (5:58). It was getting harder to catch people as my pace was now more closely matching those in front of me. The fourth mile had to be misplaced as my split was 6:45 and 3:54 for the final ¾ mile. Added together the total is right (6:00 pace) so I think it was just a matter of the marker being in the wrong spot.
I was very happy with my time (28:58) which worked out to 6:06 pace. Well under what I’d hope for. The warm-down run back up the course was a bit of a slog until I was caught by a couple of guys. That made the last 3 miles not as bat at all. The following days my hamstring/glute was no worse for wear so hopefully I’ll be able to up the effort in the next race, wherever that may be.
|Picture from John Mulroy|