Monday, January 26, 2015

The Hills are Alive (with Runners) At The Derry 16 Miler.

My biggest observation while running yesterday, was that the hills of Derry have certainly not become any flatter over the past 2 years.Someone should really look into that...

This particular race, The Boston Prep 16 miler, is a course that I have raced upon twice at this point. I was feeling hopeful that since I was targeting it as a training run that perhaps it would feel nice and easy. It did not.

For a January day I could not have asked for better weather! Despite the 5 or so inches of snow that Derry had received the previous day the roads were fairly decent. But the big story? IT WAS 30 degrees. A veritable heat wave. While it didn't impact my feelings of appreciation towards the overall solid weather, it merits mention that the conditions were variable. Sunny and warm. Windy and snowing. Just plain windy. Cold-ish. And back to warm. Needless to say, I never got used to one particular weather condition!

I changed my layering system but decided on this outfit which was PERFECT.
 I had a plan for the race, and the plan was to chill out and not be a jerk.

I wrote myself a helpful pre race note.

When the gun went off I literally stood still and watched everyone run by and then I hopped in and off I went. This added 90 seconds to my finishing time but it also meant that I did not get in the way of anyone aiming for a PR. See, my goal was to NOT be a jerk! #winning

Just waiting.... Waiting for the end of the line.....
The hills of Derry immediately punch you in the face and basically never give up. Once I was thru the first mile, and sea of runners my pace evened out to about 8:45's. Knowing that the course from mile 10-13 is absolutely monstrous I felt this was acceptable, as my goal pace was 9:15's or just over, and needed to include 2 (pre-planned) water break walks and 2 (pre-planned) walks up the monster effing hills.

Until mile 10 things were just fine. Not too fast, not too slow. All was well. There was some dude driving around in his car bumpin' tunes which was awesomeeeeeee.

Then came the hills.... I have mentioned in the past that the hills in Boston are just not as horrible as the hills in Derry. However, I think I learned something valuable this weekend. While the hills are huge the course is also shorter- so the feeling you have after summiting the mountain and reaching the 13.1 mark is, in fact, very similar to how you might feel after getting face punched by Heartbreak Hill. (kinda bad. not that talented.)

To be completely honest, even though I was running according to plan and doing everything well, at the 13.1 mile mark I hated everything and got really bummed out. I felt icky (I had the added challenge of some lady issues: as in, my reproductive organs were vigorously trying to claw their way out of me. very uncomfortable.) I felt like the hills had been awful. I questioned my choices in life. I got really sad that I had only run 13.1 miles at a training pace and had gotten to the "life questioning" point. How dreadful!!! Overall, it was a sad moment full of sadness. It was really windy and my eyes were watering which made me feel like I was crying and even in my state of obnoxious wallowing this seemed extreme. So I had some water and shuffled along. Told myself to get a grip.

I shuffled for a little while, still in the deep throes of self pity and suddenly, the mile 15 sign popped up out of nowhere.
At that point I immediately snapped out of my funk and was totally fine. I realized that my legs still felt good, and that it wasn't even windy anymore and I only had ONE more mile to go!!! I remembered that I AM AWESOME!!!! Overcome with joy (like the weather, ones emotions can change pretty quickly) I bounded along, passing people happily, delighted by the wonderful turn of events. I ran that last damn mile in like, 7:54 hahahaha....

Oh great! A hill to the finish!
Per the norm I was glad to be done. I had to curl up into the fetal position for a while due to the aforementioned female issues but otherwise felt fine.

About one minute from dropping to the ground and curling into a ball of pain.
The plus of a hard training run this early in the season is that I can see where my weakness are. Other than the clear need for both endurance and speed work I was happy that all systems (except the ovaries) felt great. No shouts from the legs or twinges from the knees. Good stuff!!

My final results were 2:26:08 with a pace of 9:08 which is great, and included the water stop walks and two (or 10. maybe 10) additional walk-uphill moments. (and the 90 seconds of procrastinating at the start.)

Overall, despite having *all* the feelings for a few miles this was executed exactly according to plan which is remarkable considering that I felt like I was spiraling down the drain for a few minutes.
It was great to be able to pick it back up, pull my head out of my ass and get it back in gear. That is a moment that I will remember for the next time I feel like a terrible runner!



  1. Aaah! Great when a plan comes together! Congrats!

    1. Thank you! Next time the plan will include fewer female issues..... :-)

  2. Fantastic training run, executed perfectly.

    1. Thank you very much! Perfect execution is almost as good as winning races. Right....? Right! :-)