Mid-Winter Classic 10 Miler
This was one of those mornings where I woke up thinking I was nuts. I was actually paying money in order to freeze my butt off.
I signed up for the Mid-Winter Classic last fall, knowing that it would good to have a race as part of my marathon training. I did not imagine then that the race would be held on a bitterly cold day after several major snow storms. There was so much snow in fact that they almost cancelled the race. They were worried about safety on the roads and parking (since the giant snowbanks take up a good portion of the parking lots). In the end though, they decided that the race was on.
I was equally glad and sad. I wasn't particularly looking forward to a slippery, hilly, freezing race, but on the other hand I knew that I needed to get the miles in and that it would be better with safety marshals, the company of other runners, and water-stops.
My training called for a total of 16 miles for the day, so I needed to tack on an extra 6 to the race distance. I decided to knock 3 off early in the morning to get a feel for the conditions. Mostly the conditions were COLD. When I headed to the race I really bundled up.
The race starts at the Cape Elizabeth high school and is organized by the Maine Running Club. It is super close to my house and they had great parking marshals, so I was in the bathroom line less than 15 minutes after I left my house. After the bathroom, I hit up the local chiropractor who was offering pre-race stretching and massage. No line, so why not!
At the last minute I headed to the start. I waited in the huddle, trying to stay warm, and then we were off! The first 1/2 mile or so was really crowded but then it spread out nicely.
I have to say they did an amazing job on the roads! They had salted and plowed a lot, plus being able to run out in the traffic lane made a huge difference.
I had been really worried about the hills before the race. I bike a lot of these roads in the summer, and the hills kill me. But, surprisingly they didn't bother me much running.
In fact the whole race felt so much better than I expected. The roads were clear, the hills were fine, there was great support, and I was HOT. Yes, HOT! The temp had warmed a whopping 15 degrees since my morning run, the sun was bright, and there was very little wind. I took off my mittens, my hat, and unzipped my jacket. Amazing how balmy 18 can feel!
I alternated between listening to my i-pod and chatting with other runners and the miles went really quickly, like more quickly than ever before in a race. I didn't push the pace too much, but I also didn't let myself totally slack. Soon, I was back at the high school and crossing the finish! My time was 1:32:55, or a 9:18 pace. I'm very happy with that.
First stop was the bathroom (there were none on the course because of the snow), and then I decided to just go knock off my last 3 miles. I knew that once I got home and showered and warm I wasn't going to get back out. It was fun actually to circle back on the course and encourage some of the runners behind me.
Once I had my 16 done for the day I headed straight for the food. I hadn't brought any fuel with me for the race, so I was starving. I dug into a yogurt, some orange slices, and some pizza. Then, because there was no line again (!), I got a post-race massage before heading home.
Now I remember why I sign up for races-It makes running in less than ideal conditions way more fun! Plus, free massages never hurt!
Did you run this weekend? How was the weather?