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April 09, 2011

20th Merrimack River Trail Race

 RD, Petey raffles more Fluorescent Shwag and Sour Patch Kids
Today marked the 20th birthday of the Merrimack River Trail Race! The conditions were absolutely incredible—little wind, sun, cool (t-shirt weather), and nearly dry trails. Some great folks spent time laying lots of new boardwalk material to help with erosion, as well.
This morning I was going to go and pick up my t-shirt, which is awesome this year, and then go for a few miles as not part of the race (even though I pre-registered). Then I saw Richard who encouraged me to run and walk it! Okay, Okay twist my arm.  I don’t like signing up for things and not doing them and I was afraid I wasn’t ready for the distance. I’ve run a total of 7.2 miles in the last two weeks…and before that, a snowshoe half in early March. I needed to take it slowly… it’s a no-brainer.

Starting out in the rear, I took it out with walking often and averaging about 12 minutes per mile. I felt great. It was wonderful to be outside along the water. With lots of alone time along the trail, I thought about how tree bands reveal information about a given year’s weather and the effects of environment on its health.  I pictured my last year (of limited running and more health cruddiness) as separate but connected bands —a thin dark band of blight cushioned with a porous and strengthened ring of positive spirit and an expanding circle of hope.
Not winded (really, I was taking it perhaps, too, comfortably) I made it out to the turn around in 1:04. Feeling fine, decided I would try to break 2 hours total. I wasn’t sure how I’d hold up with no mileage in the logbook but mind over matter. I got slopping a bit foggy footed and one near fall really shook me up a few moments as I thought I might’ve hurt my calf catching myself (Jury is out.)  I had one good down- to-earth fall around the large bridge at the Deer Jump. Miraculously, I sort of rolled out of it unscathed. Go Pixie Powers.

So with many walk breaks on the way out, I took the return more seriously with power-hiking the inclines and lots of steady running on the descents and flats. I only wore a watch (no GPS) so the mile markers allowed me to calculate my pace in the last four miles. With four miles remaining I hoped to hang on and run as evenly as possible. Miles 6 through 9 were dead on even and then the last mile I whittled the pace down to finish in 1:57:33. 
The stats are in: Out for five miles in 64 minutes (12:48 pace/mile) and back five miles to finish line in 53:33 (10:42 pace/mile). Cool!

Trail Runners can be a surprisingly
orderly and well-behaved group. ;)
Not too shabby for no training. It was a delight to see so many trail-running friends. I am reminded of what a great community trail runners create.

TARC, here I come. 

3 comments:

RawBodyGoddess said...

Pixie, you are a ROCKSTAR!!! I don't think I could have run that in 1:58! Pixie Powers, indeed!

rahul (राहुल) raina (रैना) said...

congrats on beating 2 hours and a good report.

ultrastevep said...

Good job, Emily...I'll bet that all that did was invigorate you into running some more! ;-) Have fun at DRB, I will miss that one this year having run it 11 times!