Yesterday I headed down to familiar stomping grounds for the Moose on the Loose 10 Mile 'trail' Race in Mine Falls Park. This was the 5th race of the New Hampshire Grand Prix series and our club really needed a boost to get back into the series lead. It is essentially the home turf of the Gate City Striders and the members did not disappoint with 50+ strong toeing the line. GCS took a 188-128 victory over the Greater Derry Track Club and now leads the series by 50 points!
Listed as a trail race (and relay), and technically it does run on trails, the race more closely resembles a road race. It is fast and flat and not technical at all. Fast guys win. Period. In fact, it was so not a trail race that I wore my racing flats. Not a complaint, just a fact. It was also one of the bigger Mine Falls races I've ever seen, with something like 388 runners (10 milers and relay runners) taking part. The course was a 2.5 mile loop (x4), with just over 1/2 in the shade with the last mile somewhat exposed along the canal.
Weather once again played a big factor in this race, with temps at or near 90 degrees. It was just plain hot. Thankfully there were TWO water stops on the 2.5 mile loop and I took advantage of each one, taking a small sip and dumping the rest on my head. I had no goal for this race and would run on feel alone (and I felt awful most of the time!). For the first time in a very long time I honestly had no idea what pace I was running and just focused on a comfortably hard effort instead. For the first couple of laps I ran with Mike Wright and maybe 30 yds behind Cathy Merra and 50 yds behind Tim Burke. Mike eventually dropped back but Cathy and Tim held their positions for most of the race. On the 3rd lap I finally noticed I was gaining a bit so they became my targets, I mean goal, for the 4th lap. I finally caught Cathy somewhere in the 1st mile of the last lap and now focused on Tim, catching him just after the high school bridge in the last mile of the race. I made sure to go by with as much authority as I could muster since I didn't want a sprint to the finish. I was hoping I could go by fast enough that he wouldn't try to hang on. Thankfully it worked...this time. I definitely worked hard on the last lap, clocking my fastest lap of the day and finishing 15th overall in 1:05:24. Complete results can be found here along with some pics taken by Ethan Platt.
(photo credit - Ethan Platt)
Lap Splits for the day:
lap 1 (2.5 mile) 16:07
lap 2 (2.5 mile) 16:30
lap 3 (2.5 mile) 16:48 ouch!
lap 4 (2.5 mile) 15:59