Moose Relay – I kind of like this relay, I’ve done it seven times. The race is held in the woods of Mine Falls (Nashua NH) where the trail is pretty firmly packed with excellent footing. The DRC typically puts together a few teams and if I’m healthy enough I run a leg or two. This year I was reasonably healthy so I signed on for two legs and opted to do two in a row rather than worry about tightening up in-between efforts. The race offers a 10 mile, a two person relay, and a 4 person relay over the 2.5 mile loop (actually 2.4 miles, but hey it is a trail race!). Based on the heat, humidity, and rolling nature of the course, I set my goal at 30 minutes or a bit over 6 minute pace.
I ran a warm-up loop, and man was it “warm”. At 830am it was already into the 80s and humid. I watched the race start, and then headed over to switch into racing flats. My brother-in-law John was running leg 1 & 4 and predicted he’d run about 20 minutes, so I headed out for another ½ mile to stay loose. John came flying in right at 20 minutes and off I went.
It was hot and humid but the course was mostly shaded, I headed out pretty hard and tried for find a good pace. The first half-mile is mostly flat and has some downhill and I rolled through in 2:58, then next mostly uphill half-mile was a bit tougher and I hit the mile in 5:59 (3:01). There was still a little more climb before getting onto the canal path and that part (along the canal) was the sunniest. I was feeling it already and a bit worried about how hard the pace felt but tried to keep steady. A 3:08 and 3:09 split for the next two halves got me to 2 miles in 12:16, and I was feeling a little better and more ‘in a groove’. I came through my first loop in 14:45 and grabbed a couple of cups of water as I headed back out.
Since it was short of 2.5 (2.4 on the Garmin) the ½ mile splits would not be the same as the ones for the first loop but it would give me a good idea of if I was maintaining. Splits of 3:04 and 3:05 got me to 3 miles in 18:25. The next ½ was mostly uphill but I covered it in 3:05. I may have pushed it a bit too hard and I then paid the price with a 3:11. That brought me through 4 miles in 24:41. I felt like I upped the pace but the watch doesn’t lie. The next ½ mile on the flat canal path was my slowest split of the day (3:14). I kicked it in as hard as I could for the final .3 and handed off to John for the final leg. My time for 4.8 miles was 29:36 (6:10 pace) and my lap splits were 14:45 and 14:51. I was happy with both the overall time and the splits. Slowing only 6 seconds in the second lap was better than I’d hoped for. John also had a good day running just a few seconds slower for his second lap and bringing us home in 70:03. We took the victory in the 2-person relay and were only beaten by two 4-person teams.
All in all it was a good way to get in a hard effort and get in the miles.