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Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler 2014 Race Report

Posted by Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy
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on Thursday, July 31, 2014
in Road Races

On Tuesday, July 29th I ran one of my favorite road races, The Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler in Newburyport, MA.  It was the 8th time I've run the race and while not my fastest 10 miler, I was happy with my 1:19:09.  Because this event is run in the evening and it's held in the middle of the summer it's often a very warm night.  However, 2014 was a beautiful summer night to race with temps in the mid-70s and a nice cloud cover. 

One reason I love this event is because of the varied terrain over the 10 miles, and the course gives you great views of the Merrimack River and Maudslay State Park. I always start out fast as the first two miles are flat or downhill, and this year was no different with my fastest two miles coming right away.   The course stays pretty flat down Water St. which then turns into Merrimack St.  As you run through downtown Newburyport both sides of the street are lined with cheering spectators.  I love this part of the course because of the crowd support and the beautiful views of the river to the right. 

Shortly after mile 4, the course starts to get interesting.  You head into the woods and the rolling hills start.  At this point I put in my headphones and tried to concentrate on keeping a steady pace.  In longer events I usually run pretty consistent splits, but at Yankee I'm never able to do that. The flats and the hills really mess with my pace.  There were volunteers at each mile marker calling out the time, but I tried not to hear them.  I don't like to know if I've had a slow mile.  I prefer to run based on how I feel and look at my splits later.  For this race my fastest mile was 7:30 (mile 1) and my slowest was 8:14 (mile 5). 

Miles 5-8 are scenic and rolling.  I was happy with how I felt during these miles.  I tried to keep a steady pace going up the hills without red lining.  Running around and through Maudslay State Park is great!  I always try to distract myself by taking in the view.  I probably mystify most runners whose eyes are locked straight ahead as I swivel my head around and notice what I'm running by.  

The last two miles of this race were tough for me.  Getting over the I-95 overpass is challenging.  It felt like the longest hill on the course, but it might be because it falls just before mile 8.  After the overpass the course is mostly flat, but the road is straight and wide and you can see very far ahead.  I tried to increase my pace after passing mile 8 but the open view made me feel like I wasn't making much forward progress.   I ended up tucking in behind another runner and just staring at his back instead of the looking into the distance.  That helped, and I ran 7:53 and 7:45 for the last two miles.

According to my Garmin, I ended up running 10.09 miles.  I'll have to work on cutting the tangents better next time.  But otherwise I'm very happy with my race.  It was a great crowd to run with, good spectator support and lots of water stops (but could we have Gatorade too next year???).  Yankee Homecoming 10 mile is a great summer race, and I hope to be back next year.

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Why can't you be a normal person?

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
VTR Expert
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on Thursday, May 10, 2012
in Training

If you have trained for a big event at some point someone has asked "Why do you do this?" Don't you wish you were a normal person that didn't have to train everyday? Why do you inflict self-induced torture upon your body by swimming in 60 degree water, running in cold/snow/rain, cycling in 90 degree heat...etc. I have asked myself this question many times. Many times I have asked myself this question while I was in the middle of a "self inflicted torture" session.

In 2001 I had completed a little over 100 races in my career (see Race History) and reached a point where I was sick of all the early morning workouts and long training sessions. All I wanted to do was to be a "normal" person. I had been training for something my entire life and just wanted to eliminate the pressure and daily grind of training and racing. I dreamed that "normal" people live pressure free lives and do not have all of the self-induced pressures to continuously train for events. Finally I said, "That's it. I quit. I am now retired." I stopped working out and started living my life as a normal person. Over the course of the next few months my weight climbed from my training weight of 175 to a high of 199. I had a chocolate chip muffin and a regular coffee every morning on the way to work and couldn't care less about what races were going on next weekend.

As the months progressed I would occasionally take in the smell and freshness of a beautiful morning and remember how awesome it was to run in the early spring. A couple of times I drove by a lake or saw a group of cyclists and thought about how fun training and racing for a triathlon can be. As the summer came and went these thoughts started to become more frequent. As the 2001 fall racing season began I really started to miss training and racing. I finally figured out that being a normal person wasn't all that great. I really missed the excitement and challenge of competing in triathlons/road races which was a big part of my "normal" life. I missed the way my body felt when I was in great shape. I missed everything about my old life. I found out that being "normal" is different for everyone.

In November I decided to get back into racing. I was 25 pounds over weight and hadn't worked out in 10 months. After a few weeks of running, on Thanksgiving Day 2001, I entered the Turkey Trot at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport Massachusetts. This is a 5k race on hard pack trails in the park. This race turned into a real eye opener as I really struggled during the race and almost had to walk at the end. I completed the race in 24:06. This was by far the slowest 5k race I have ever run and to this day is the slowest recorded 5k time by your VTR host. I worked hard over the winter and ended up competing in 24 events in 2002. I would like to say my form came back quickly but it didn't. I truly did not regain my form for several years. Now when I am extremely sore after a tough race and someone asks me if I wished I was a normal person and didn't have to put myself through all of the effort and pain to compete my answer is simple....What do you mean?..I am a normal person.

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