April 10, 2010

Perfect Conditions Along The Rivah!

The Merrimack River Trail Race begins about 6 miles from home so after a leisurely morning, I arrived at 8:15 am to a parking lot buzzing with runner energy. After picking up my number and most excellent 2010 race t-shirt, I paid homage to the clothesline display of Rivah race shirts commemorating the past 18 years! This year marked its 19th running!
With time to spare, I caught up with friends and fellow running gumbas (you know who you are) in the parking lot and was happy to see my colleague Mika and his family make it to the race after an early morning of swimming lessons with their kids. Several GAC runners were already out on the course and got back in time to run another 10 miles for the race. Impressive!

The course conditions cannot be judged by what one experiences at the trail head.  Despite chilled hands for the first 2 miles, I warmed up for the rest and had layered wisely. This year there was a head wind heading out AND heading back. There was enough mud to get good and dirty, enough water to get the feet wet and enough breeze to cool off and sun to warm up. This was the best I've seen the course; it was also very well marked. Many thanks to those who posted the flags and set mile markers. Also, no ticks! Yet, I still feel the creepy crawlies when I think about them.

The power lines are stomping, chewing and biting grounds for deer ticks so before the start  I slathered some herbal and non-herbal Deet concoctions over my most tasty-to-ticks spots and hoped for the best. 
I thought that by the time all the other runners had gone through the power line area, the ticks would have been well-fed by the other runners,  I would then pass by just in time for their dessert.  YUM.

This was the longest I'd run in over three weeks so I was committed to treat at least the first 2/3 of the 10+ mile race as a training run.  The last 1/3 would be tempo. I took walk breaks about every five minutes for one minute, even on the flats, and power-hiked the inclines. This is not the 10-mile race strategy for many, I know.  I am nursing a pinched nerve, and am approaching my 2010 running with a more balanced outlook than past years, namely with the addition of a lot more cross training.  No apologies. No excuses. My approach at a happy-go-trail-pixie pace
Photo Credit: Steve Wolfe
Today's goal was to begin to ramp up the miles, run (not race) comfortably at conversational pace while maintaining an average of 10:30 minute miles. Despite finishing 6 minutes slower than last year, I felt so much better throughout the run this year. Only in the last mile did I begin to feel the effects of picking up to tempo pace. Goals Met.

Photo Credit:  Krissy Kozlosky
The runners & volunteers, Dave Dunham and his crew, & the Chamberas family, all make this race flow smoothly. AND, of course, Steve Peterson, the RD. He is full of positive energy and adds a positive spark to the pre- and post-race festivities. Petey puts the FUN in Fundraising.  

 Not for Yahoos
In the raffle, I scored a brick of Yoohoo chocolate drink and an IllumiNite reflective crossing-guard smock and can sew this mini bolt of fluorescent yellow fabric into something more runner/rider useful. But then again, I am an art teacher so the smock angle still has studio/street cred.


Unknown said...

Sorry I missed you and Dan..I really need to get my training on tough hilly courses up to speed...Blue Hills took 4 hours for 16 i think I got my daily dose of hills that day....

Trail Pixie Trespas said...

M-sounds like the BH was just the place to get that tougherthanteflontraining. 4 hours, 16 miles. that's nice simple math.

Unknown said...

Nicely done Em! The Illuminite gear is GREAT stuff, I have had my reflective jacket for quite a while now, and it is well worn, but still effective. In fact, I have got every penny out of it, and then some, as the zipper tag broke off on my last run! I need to make a new tag out of something. String or what not! Regarding the creepy crawlies, I am also trying to be vigilant about that, and would enjoy a Lyme-free spring, summer and fall.