Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Moderately Challenging 16-Miler

Last Sunday I made the drive up to Derry, NH for the 17th annual Boston Prep 16 miler. Let's go through the mental checklist that preceded this endeavor.
  • Training for Boston? Nope
  • Running double digits? Not really. Well, I had one 10 mile run in the last 4 months.
  • Well rested? Let's simply say that I really should work on that whole 8 hours thing.
  • Healthy? Yes? A person gets a little winter cough now and then. Sure, healthy.
  • Easy Course?
Moderately Challenging
Easily influenced into doing stupid things.

I arrived at around 9:00 and was going through the typical pre-race steps (bag pickup etc). Eventually bumped into Luau. We were waiting on one or two others, and eventually ran into Jeremy just before heading down to the race start.

Me, Jeremy, and Luau before the race
Before the race, I had planned to ditch the outer layer and just go with the long sleeve tech and wind block layers at race start. You can see how well I stuck to that plan.  Consequently, I ran hot for a good portion of this race. However, with temps in the low-to-mid twenties, I was happy to have the layers later in the race when I slowed down to walk.

My plan, if you could call it that, was to run the first half somewhere between 9:30-10:00 and then slow down when necessary on the hills later in the race. Chip timing provided splits at 5, 10, and 13.1 miles. For the first five miles, I was definitely on plan - 47:49 (9:39). I actually remember thinking at around the 10k mark - "this course isn't that bad". Lots of rolling hills and downhill stretches made it pretty easy to maintain a  9, even 8-handle at times. But I knew I'd need to start slowing down as I approached the 10 mile mark.

Just before the 10 mile mark there was a huge hill just after a water-stop. I took one look and started walking. First, 10 miles was the longest I'd previously run, and I knew that I'd need to the breaks if I wanted to even get to 16. Second - this hill was steep. Part of me just automatically reverted to VT50 mode, and began power walking without thinking. This was fine by me. I clocked in at the 10 mile mark at 1:38:33 (9:52).

Over the next few miles, I came to understand why many people consider this race more challenging than it's New England Winter counterpart - Stu's 30k. The hills just don't stop. None of them are particularly brutal, but they just keep coming. I had quite a few walk breaks during this section - playing telephone pole tag and just running how I felt. The half-marathon mark was 2:15:02 (10:19).

The last few miles of this course are actually quite nice. If you have anything left after the hills. I thought I'd try to get a 9-handle back for the last 2 miles, but kept running into some back cramping that slowed me down to a walk several times.

At the beginning of the race, I told Luau & Jeremy to look for me around 2:40, and so I finished in around 2:46:13 (10:24), just about where I thought I'd be.

Happy with this race for several reasons - see the check list above. My achilles and post-tib were a little sore on Monday, but that's to be expected with a big jump up in mileage and all those hills.

Now I'm really looking forward to Stu's 30k in March, so I can really compare the two races.

Until next time - run, run, run.


  1. I just love your posts, here and on DM. Makes me wish I was back in Massachusetts often. Maybe one day...
    Great job on the race! Keep up the excellent work!

  2. Thanks! And if you're ever in the area, let me know. There are miles of trails all around :)

  3. "Easily influenced into doing stupid things." Love that lol! Your posts and pics always make me want to get out and jog when I'm slacking.

    1. Thanks Briana! Hope you got out and enjoyed that jog! :)

  4. Great job Adam! To finish that close to your goal time is quite impressive. You are definitely an inspiration to get out and get moving! Stu's 30K huh...? Sounds enticing.

    1. Thanks Adam. I would have hit it almost exactly had I not cramped up on those later hills. :)

      Yeah - Stu's is great! If you're in the area, you should check it out.