Friday, May 27, 2016

Battle Road Twilight Track Meet #2 10,000m

I was so looking forward to the announcement of this year's USATF-NE All Terrain Series (ATR) to be announced...until I saw the outdoor track event. The 10,000m!!! On a track!! Oh my god!!! Evilness! I couldn't even imagine running that far on the track. Last year's 5000m was AWFUL. Now, I had to do double that?!! I considered skipping this one since we only had to do 5 out of 7 races, but then the snowshoe race was cancelled. My best event!! Ugh! And then I realized that I can't do the X-C race because it's the same day as the Manchester Marathon, so I thought I had to do the 10,000m. Ugh. The horror of it all!! So I perused the available races and found that the only one I could fit into my schedule was the Twilight Meet #2 at UMass Lowell on May 21st. I had to think about this one for awhile because it was a week before the Vermont City Marathon, but finally decided to bite the bullet and signed up for it. At this point I had no idea that the ATR Series had been changed to best 4 out of 6. So for a month and a half, I have been dreading this meet. I had no idea how to run a 10K on a track. I didn't even know what the splits should be per lap.

May 21st finally rolled around. The meet was in the evening, so I had deal with the nerves all day. John stayed at his friend's house until 1:30pm, so I got up and took the dogs to the Albany Town Forest for a 4 mile walk.
Chill in the Swift River

I came home, did some core work and then sunbathed for awhile. I couldn't sit still any longer so I got on a house cleaning kick for 3 hours. John came home and played his video games for about an hour while I showered and got ready. It was 80 degrees here! I was so worried about the heat during the meet at this point. I was SO happy that I had had a Central Mass Striders sports bra made for racing in the heat. I find the singlet way too warm and tend to wear sports bras to race in the summer, so I asked Steve Laska if he would mind me having a sports bra made. He was game, so had this one made.

John and I finally hit the road. It really isn't too bad of a ride down. Just over 2 hours. We stopped at Five Guys and Starbucks in Dover. Five Guys for John's dinner and Starbucks for a coffee for me. I was going to be tired by the time this race started at 8:10pm! Another quick stop at Trader Joe's in Newington to get a few things and something for me to eat for dinner after the meet. We still made it to Lowell with plenty of time to spare. When we got out of the car, it felt cold out! It went from 80 degrees at my house to around 60 and cloudy and breezy. What a difference. I didn't even bring a jacket. I had my long sleeve CMS shirt, fortunately. John had a sweatshirt and parked himself on the last row of the bleachers.
John in the bleachers

I didn't feel so out of place and clueless this time around like I did at last year's Twilight Meet. I saw familiar faces. Talked to Scott Mindel and Scott Mason, then Heather Mahoney spotted me and came up to the top of the bleachers with her stuff. My friend, Terry Ballou, was running the 1500m, so I went down to the track with Scott Mason to watch. Terry is the one who smokes me in the Millen Mile every year. I was only 1 second off last year, so I'm hoping to give her another run for her money in September, but we'll see. She ran the 1500m in 5:01. I don't think I could come close to that right now.
Picture of Scott and Terry. 
After Terry's race was over, I went down to get my shoulder and hip numbers. I was seeded 14th, 3rd from last for the women. Haha. That's exactly where I would finish, too. I chatted with Terry and some of her masters track friends, then Heather Mahoney and I headed out for a warm up. It had seemed so cool out, but I was immediately hot and noticed how humid it was. I knew I'd still opt for the sports bra and no shirt for the race. Heather and I ran 2 miles at a pretty slow pace. I wasn't looking to do anything crazy before this torture session.

When we got back, the elite men for the 10,000m were already underway to completing their 25 laps. I cheered on both Scotts (Leslie and Mindel) as they went around and around and around and... After what seemed like forever already, the announcer said, "....and with 17 laps to go...". Oh.My.God. What an awful thing to say!! Haha. This made me more nervous! And then I saw the look on their faces. They were suffering! Oh man. What was I about to do?! At least the weather was cool, and they turned on the track lights. That was going to be kind of cool. I was ready to get this show on the road to just get it over with.

It was finally time. We lined up on the line and off we went. I decided to hang behind Heather as best I could. She's more experienced at track than me, and I needed someone to follow. Halfway through the first lap, we passed Amanda Wright and her friends who called out our split and cheered. They would end up doing this for us for all 25 laps. It was awesome because they really helped me get through this race, and if it weren't for them, I would have had no idea what my splits were. After the first 3 or 4 laps, I started to realized that this race wasn't so bad after all. I think the cooler temps and the slower pace (compared to the 5000m) made it a little bit easier. Not saying I wasn't suffering out there, but it just wasn't as bad as the previous year's 5000m. On lap 6, Heather started to majorly slow, and I realized I was catching up to her fast. This worried me since she should have been pulling away, but when I caught her, she said she was rigging up. Ugh. I was sorry to hear this, but I hoped she would be able to get it back for a good finish.
Me catching up to Heather on lap 6
The first half of the race, I was pretty consistent running mostly 92 sec splits. I was also consistent at catching bugs in my eyes and mouth. Not something I expected, but the track lights attracted bugs galore, and I found myself having to keep my eyes down to avoid them getting into my eyes. I ended up spitting out 2. I even said, "Fucking bugs!" out loud at one point. Haha. I just kept plugging away, lap after lap. I cheered on Diane Levesque the best I could every time I passed her, but I was losing it. My second half slowed but also stayed pretty consistent with mostly 96 sec splits. Whatever. I didn't care. With 8 laps to go, I wanted to die. That was 2 more miles. Ugh. Chris Mahoney was cheering Heather and me on, and with each lap, I could hear him cheering on Heather closer and closer to me. I knew Heather hadn't lost it after all, and with 5 laps to go, she blew past me. I was happy to see her back in the game. She would end up over 30 seconds on me by the finish.
Somewhere in the middle laps
When we got down to the final 2 laps, I felt so much relief. It was almost over. I couldn't wait. I knew already that my time was going to suck but that it would at least be under 40. Finally, I came through the finish line. 25 laps!!! 39:20. A pretty sucky time for me for a 10K, but I really didn't care. I had just finished a 10,000m run on a track. That was a feat in and of itself. I was happy to have done it and to never have to do it again!

I gathered John, said goodbye to Heather and Scott. From the parking lot, I cheered Diane on through her last laps and then we hit the road. I was starving at this point and scarfed down a turkey club wrap. John slept the rest of the way home. It was after midnight by the time we got home, but I needed a beer after the suffering on the track.
Probably the best blueberry beer I've ever had. No joke. Look on Untappd. I'm not the only one who thinks so. 
As far as the ATR goes after 3 events, I'm now in 3rd place. I don't think I'll hold that, though. Loon and Bobby Doyle will push me back for sure. I'm hoping they change out Merrimack and Loon for different races next year. More technical races for both. These two are too easy for the roadies-only crowd to jump into and do well. Haha.

So next up, a week of easy running and then back to Burlington for the Vermont City Marathon. What a difference a year makes. I am so not in the shape I was last year for it, but oh well. At this point, my goal is just to finish. The predicted highs are in the 80s. I can see Boston 2012 all over again. Oh well. There's always the next one!

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