Topsham Go in the Snow 5K January 30 2011


“I would like to have a faster running year in 2011 than I did in 2010. The more I race, the more chances I will have of getting faster.”

That is the first line from my first 2011 race report: January 1 Set the Pace 5K.  The plan to meet that goal is to race once a month.  In previous years I raced from April to October. Adding races to January, February, March, November, and December is my 2011 experiment.

Soon after I finished the January 2011 race, I looked for a February race.  The one that interested me was the Luv ME 5K in Rockport on Valentine’s Day, February 13. Doreen had no ‘luv’ for a Valentine’s Day race though, so I had to find another.  This Topsham January 30 race was the closest February race I could find. So I’m going to be a little flexible with my 2011 goal.

The race’s name, “Go in the Snow,” is descriptive. A lot of it is snow packed. Maybe 1/2″ thick, bumpy, lumpy, slippery stuff.  Not good for fast running.

I started the day with my normal one mile warmup, taking longer than the last race:  9:18 compared to 8:00. I didn’t know the course, but unknowingly ran part it. I hoped I wasn’t on the course.  There wasn’t much room due to snow, slush, or cars.

Once again, a big thank you to Doreen for taking photos. Here is the before warmup photo:

The good old Red Sox shirt will be helping again. It was colder than the January 1 Camden race. Temps were in the 20’s. I decided not wear a hat, and was happy with that decision. Troy suggested I had too much hair in my first race, slowing me down. I had a little more taken off the top.

The photo Doreen took of me at the starting line of the last race tickled my funny bone. Everyone was looking in a different direction. It made me think people didn’t know the course. This time just about everyone was looking straight ahead:

However, things really didn’t go well.  We weren’t far when a lot of racers started yelling, “NO, NO, TURN, TURN!!!” Here is a picture that tries to explain:

You can watch the course error on YouTube. I wasn’t fast enough to be with the runners who went straight (the red arrow.) I followed people around the corner (the blue line), as the leaders made it back, and zipped by. I went by 51 seconds into the clip.

I was too far back at the start. I had to swerve around many people. I was running about 7:40 pace at the beginning. I wanted to be around 7:15.  I either start too fast or too slow. By the time the leaders went past the turn, I was running at a better pace, getting down to about 7:30 on my Garmin.

Eventually we came to another turn. Two ladies had set up lawn chairs at the turn. We started to run up hill, but noticed at the top the leaders were stopping!!?? Was there a vicious dog up there? That was my first thought.

The leaders turned around and started booking back down the hill towards us. What is it? A bear??? The lead runners yelled at us, “NO, NO, TURN, TURN!!!” Here is another picture that tries to explain:

The two ladies set their lawn chairs up at the second trail head, not the first. See red arrow above. I don’t know how the leaders figured it out. Maybe they came to a dead end.  I eventually turned around and made it back to the correct turn.

I made it to mile one at 7:21. I was happy with the time. I lost a few seconds due to the confusion of the wrong turn.

Mile two and the start of mile three was no fun. Both trails, the wrong one  and the correct one, were a mess. Some of it was sloppy. Most of it icy. Here is the packed, bumpy, icy, snowy section of the course:

The bad section was from the turn off Elm Street to the turn onto the Androscoggin River Bicycle & Pedestrian Path. Mile two ended up taking 8:03. That ended my 21:59 or better goal. It was hard to get past people. I could have run harder/faster but felt I would have to physically move the person in front of me out of the way. A couple times the course almost did that as there was a lot of slipping and sliding going around.

Mile three eventually made it back to smooth pavement. I increased my pace/effort and felt good to get past mile three in 7:45. I was holding back, and had a lot in the bank. I knew I had more than .1 miles left due to the “bonus” section added by the wrong turn.  I have been running 1K’s in four minutes during my long runs. I knew I could run four minutes around 6:26 pace.  I ran hard over the last .21 miles, and covered that in 1:26, a 6:49 pace.

Total time ended up being 24:35. That was 3.21 miles, average pace of 7:40 per mile. That pace would have produced a 23:46 5K.  Going in the snow isn’t going to produce fast times.  Another challenging part of this race is the parking. The end of the race blocks the exit to the parking. The race benefited a family whose mother is dealing with cancer. Most races benefit charities that help many. It is nice to help an individual family.

I like this photo Doreen took of me at the end of the race:

Here is the entire out and back course:

Here are the useful, to me, heart rate, elevation, and pace graphs:

I was able to get my heart rate up quickly. Once above 160, I was not able to keep it flat/smooth. The snow, ice, and uneven course made it difficult to run hard.

No surprises in the pace/elevation chart. I was going along well until the wrong turn before mile one.  The pace line from before the two mile mark to the end looks good to me.

The results were posted very quickly. My time was 24:24. Ha! Great time. The January  time was 22:23. Numbers are working for me this year.

Next race – something close to March. Thanks for reading.

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About mainrun

I like to read, run, and watch tv.
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