Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K

Wednesday was the usual 24 hour shift. It started off busy, but then got quiet. The other crew was pretty busy with basic transfers and just happened to be in Center Conway at the exact same time as Chill was found. My coworker, Eric, called me saying he thought he saw Chill on a bank by the Saco River, and just as he was telling me this, he saw Bryan and John pulling over at the same place. A guy on the river had found him and called Bryan. I thought it was kind of weird that our other crew just happened to be there at the same time, so I got to find out about it right away. I guess Chill had just been wandering around for almost 48 hours, but he was good. I called John, who was so excited.
Big relief there.

The rest of the shift had us going out on two transfers from around 8pm until 7am, but I did manage 3 hours of sleep in between. So by the time Thursday morning rolled around, I had gotten a total of 7 hours of sleep over the last 60 hours. I was feeling it and not so sure how the Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K was going to go. The smart thing to do would have been to get some sleep, but I can rarely sleep during the day, so I just carried on with my day. I went over to the chiropractor for a much-needed adjustment, then took Spot on a short walk on the East Bear Paw trails in Center Conway.

It was a beautiful day, so I also wanted to get some kayaking in. I took a little paddle trip on Silver Lake. It was actually a little rough out there with the wind making some decent (for a lake) waves. I loved that since most of my kayaking experience is on the ocean. I miss those waves (except the one time I went through The Gut at the tip of Hull, MA. That was one of the scariest experiences, as I was hoping not to get killed by boaters while riding HUGE waves across). It was quite a tough paddle out against the wind, but it made the way back pretty quick. I didn't have time to paddle all the way across, but I did paddle near the end of East Shore Drive.
Silver Lake kayak

View of Chocorua on the way back

As soon as I got back, I jumped in the shower to wash the sunscreen off, and then hopped in the car to head down to Rye, NH for the Saunders at Rye Harbor 10K. This would be my 4th race (5th in the Series) in the Seacoast Series, which I'm leading for the women. At this point, I was really feeling the lack of sleep. The drive was a struggle. I was so beat and had no idea how this might affect me in the race. Plus, it was hot and humid.

As I neared the coastline, the sun disappeared into a really thick fog blanketing the coast. The temperature dropped into the 70s. This felt great when I stepped out of the car, but I would soon learn this was very deceptive, as that fog blanket would create air so thick, you felt like you were breathing in water. I would rather have had hotter temps and drier air, but it's August, so it's expected. The combination of the lack of sleep, humidity from hell and it being a night race, I wasn't feeling too optimistic about the race. I really wanted to break 39 minutes or at least beat my Market Square 10K time, but I didn't know if I would do either.

I did a really short 3/4 mile run from my car to pick up my bib# since the long drive had my legs feeling stiff. I didn't spend too much time down there and then took the trolley ride back to my car. From the car, I did a 2.7 mile solo warm up loop backwards on the course for what would be mile 2, then veered off onto Locke Rd and back to the parking lot. I got all set for the race then took the trolley back to the start. I was about 20 minutes early and spotted this trail right next to the start line. I figured there would a lot of people back there, but there was no one. I followed it out to the end where there was a deck overlooking the marsh. I was all alone. I couldn't believe no one else was enjoying this quiet place away from the huge crowd just 200 yards away. A couple did finally show up but then left quickly. I must have thwarted their plans for some alone time. Ha ha. So once again, I had this beautiful spot all to myself. It was perfect. I stayed there for about 15 minutes then moved to the start. I saw some Six03 people and talked to them for a bit before Heather Mahoney joined me. She was wanting to break 38 minutes tonight, so I thought that I would line up with her and try to keep her in my sights for the race, so I thought I could go sub-39. We spotted Katie Misuraca at the start so I talked to her for a bit. She was worried about Laura Paulsen, who had also shown up. Katie has been running so well this year that I had a feeling she would pull off the win, which she did. Besides the few Six03 guys I talked to, Heather and Katie, I didn't see anyone else that I knew in the crowd. I've only just started racing down here on the coast this year, so it's a whole new scene for me. I did recognize a couple of women from the Seacoast Series, so I knew I needed to beat them to keep my lead in the Series.

I lined up with Heather and behind Katie. Then it was only a short minute before we were off and racing. I tried to stay next to Heather as long as possible, but she pulled about away by the 1/2 mile. The air was so thick that I could feel it right away, so I had a feeling I was going to struggle the entire race. I hit the first mile right around 6:00 which is what I was shooting for. That would be the only mile I'd hit at what I was looking for. Even though this is a coastal race, it was actually pretty hilly, with a decent climb on the 2nd mile. It was still an ok split at 6:17. I had thought it would be my slowest, but the rest of the miles would all end up being slower, even the one with the long downhill. I was able to stay the same distance back from Heather all the way through mile 4, but she lost me on the last two. My splits were 6:24, 6:22 and 6:18 for miles 3, 4 and 5. Awful. I felt like I was giving everything I had, but I was just struggling. The humidity had to be at 100%, and I was enduring the sufferfest. My worst mile was the 6th one. So flat, and I felt like I was trapped in between 2 walls with the thickest air. I ran this segment SLOWER than I ran it at Eastern States back in March, and Eastern States was 20 miles! I lost sight of Heather completely in the fog on this last mile. I felt horrible. I took a quick peek back to see if there were any women close by; I didn't see any, but the fog was so thick that someone could have been close without me knowing it. We finally turned the corner for the finish line. I looked at my watch and realized I would be nowhere near my goal of a sub-39 and crossed the line in 39:17. 4th woman, 27th overall. Full Results. Not a bad finish, but I definitely wasn't pleased with my time. It was barely better than Market Square and another race slower than my fastest half marathon!! I don't like to make excuses, but I really do believe the weather is a huge factor. I just don't do well in the heat and humidity. I'm hoping I can prove this point by running a sub-39 at the Lone Gull 10K, if the weather is cooler and drier.
On my way into the finish. Photo by Lisa Rohr.
Post-race, I only did a mile cool down and ended up with just over 10 miles for the day. I changed clothes then walked back to the finish line for the free beer. At first I only saw the Mich Ultra they were serving, but breathed a sigh of relief when I saw they were also serving Red Hook Ale.
Best part of the race
They were giving out as many beers as you wanted, but I only had one since there was pretty much no food other than peanut butter crackers at the finish. I ended up talking to a few of the Six03 guys for awhile after our group photo.

Six03 Team. I'm on the end in my goofy hat.
It was getting late, and I needed food badly at this point, so I walked the 3/4 mile back to my car in the pitch black darkness. It was weird how dark it was on that road, and I only saw maybe 3 cars. It was a nice walk, though, and I got back to my car, one of 3 left in the lot. I stopped in Portsmouth for some food and then drove home. It was one of the toughest drives I've ever done. I could barely stay awake. A huge struggle; I don't even know how I made it, but I did.

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