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Downtown Temple,NH

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2012 RTB - Mine Falls Milers Edition

203 miles from Cannan Mt to Hampton Beach NH (it must be downhill, right?). 12 fairly competitive, injury-free (at the moment) 40+ year old guys (most with years of experience running this relay). Defending Super Masters champ (with the runner up team returning with hopes of knocking us off the podium). Near perfect weather. Zero confidence.

I blame the lack of snow last winter. Please explain, you say? Here goes - snow means snowshoe racing. Snowshoe racing means strength and speed work in the winter. Winter strength and speed work means great fitness early in the running season. Great fitness means decent racing results early in the season. Decent racing results leads to more racing. More racing leads to better run fitness. Better run fitness lets me coast through the summer (because I HATE running in the heat), even with less weekly miles (while maintaining decent run fitness). Finally, a late summer ramp up to get in RTB shape is generally quite doable.

Until this year. No snow = no snowshoe racing = no early fitness = awful early results = no racing in spring and summer. Add in what seemed like weeks of 90 degree days and you get a person with zero confidence signed up for a 24hr 200+ mile relay and expected (according to Capt Mike) to avg 6:30 min/mile pace.

2012 Mine Falls Milers at the Finish
Sometimes all you need is a goal (and a van full of nagging masters) to run to your potential. Really, I had no business running anywhere near 6:30 pace. June - 90 miles, July - 55 miles, August 60 miles. These are totals for the month. So 2 weeks before RTB I hung up my mountain bike and got serious about running, hammering out 25 and 30 mile weeks.

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the beach. My magic spreadsheet had predicted me to run my 3 legs (15.4 miles total) in 1:40:13, for an average pace of 6:31. In the end, I finished in 1:39:55 with an average pace of 6:30. Well how about that, maybe Capt Mike wasn't so dumb after all!

Overall, we had a great team this year (our 7th, my 6th with MFM) with everyone right around the 6:30 pace +/- 10 seconds. No injuries, no mishaps, nothing. After 7 years this team really does run pretty smoothly and is all business once the race starts. Ok, maybe not all business but we at least take our running serious (not much else though). As the team gets faster, the less time we have to eat, sleep and screw up. 2012 was our fastest year to date as we finished 6th overall (out of 425 teams) and 1st in the Super Masters division (results) with a time of 21:45:48 (avg team pace of 6:26). I guess technically I slowed the team down but I'm still happy with my effort. Next year I really need to train a bit more.

 I thought the tables below were interesting (in a trivial sort of way). Kind of a different way to look at the relay (by van and by leg). Pretty even legs and pretty even vans. Of course, one of the penalties of being a "fast team" is the total lack of downtime between legs. The average downtime we had between legs was about 3hrs and 50min. During this time we had to drive to the next VTA (35+ miles), eat, sleep and get ready for our next run. Needless to say, most of us didn't sleep at all during this relay.
Mine Falls Milers Magic Data

I want to personally thank Mike Wade for being the yearly whipping boy (I mean Captain) for 6 of the 7 years. Sure he had some copilots helping along the way but we generally gave him the crap jobs nobody else wanted. Thanks for picking up the slack. According to Mike, he is retiring from RTB. The Mine Falls Milers will continue without him...unless we're all too lazy to step up.

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