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Wolf Hollow Half Marathon Race Report

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Monday, November 26, 2012
in Road Races



Yesterday I ran in the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon in Nashua, New Hampshire. The race was held primarily in Mine Falls Park near the Nashua YMCA. I got the idea to enter the race after I completed my longest run since September (11 miles) last weekend. I said it was good idea to keep me motivated and ensure I continued to increase my long run. My plan was to run it at my "long run" pace and enjoy the trails of Mine Falls Park. I figured if I ran between 8-830 pace I would handle the increase to 13.1 miles easily. Sounds good on paper, right?

Regardless of what I say....I find it almost impossible not to run hard in a road race. Yesterday was no different. Looking back at my recent run history there is nothing that would make anyone think I was in shape to race a half marathon. Not to mention my body was tired and lethargic from the Thanksgiving day parties and the fact I had just ran in my first race since September three days before (Thanks 4 Giving 5k). Oh, and did I mention the weather? Freezing with a strong wind. Add all of this together and you would think I would run nice and easy like I had planned. Nope....

The Race

The race started right behind the Nashua YMCA. The first 2.15 miles were on roads and then we entered Mine Falls Park for two loops before exiting the park and a short run to the finish line. I started running what I thought was nice and easy and ended up running a 6:40 first mile. I won't bore you with the details but I ran the first 5k in 21 minutes. I didn't follow my plan and I paid the price. By mile 5 my legs had seized up and my pace dramatically slowed for the next several miles. Mine Falls Park has several short but tough climbs and each one really hurt. This was not the nice and easy long run I had planned and it was my fault. I continued to suffer for the remainder of the race. Just to give you an idea as I mentioned above I ran the first 5k in 21 minutes. I ran the last 5k in 28 minutes. It took everything in my power not to walk the last tough uphill around mile 12.75. I finished the race in 1:46:42 (809 pace). On paper it looks like I followed the plan....if only.

Lessons Learned = 0

Racing a half marathon the Sunday after the Thanksgiving Day festivities will always be tough. Add to that a lack of training and some cold, windy weather and you have yourself a recipe for failure. In hindsight I should have started at 8-8:30 pace as planned and ran a nice and smooth 13.1. I probably would have ended up with the same overall pace of 8:09 and would not have suffered for most of the race. Next time I am sure I will follow the plan....yeah right!

 


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Thanks 4 Giving 5k Race Report

Posted by David Hardy
David Hardy
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on Friday, November 23, 2012
in Road Races



What a great morning to race! The weather conditions for yesterday's Thanks 4 Giving 5k Road Race in Lowell, Massachusetts were absolutely perfect. Temp's in the 40's, sunny, and no wind. This is my hometown race, and I completed this race for the 9th time yesterday. I love racing on Thanksgiving Day!

This was my first race since completing the Ironman in early September. I have been training consistently since the race but have reduced volumes considerably. I have been running around 18-23 miles a week and biking on the trainer once a week. Swimming is out until next year. The last time I raced in a 5k was the last week of the Spring Good Times 5k series in June. Since that time basically I have been doing long, slow distance training. I had no idea what kind of shape I was in or how my body would react to 5k race pace.

Warm-up

My day started with sharp pain in my lower back due to an intense leaf raking session the day before. I took 2 Advil and ran to the start of the race from my house. A little bit longer than I would usually run for a warm-up prior to a 5k but I felt like I needed it to work out the pain in my back. Total warmup: 2.1 miles


Registration

This is a well organized race so registration is a breeze. Registration is inside the Lowell Elks and I was in and out with my number in 5 minutes. Bathroom was wide open too (the women's line was crazy) and I was quickly ready to head to the start. No issues.


Race

I timed my arrival to the race perfectly and after just a few minutes of waiting the race was ready to start. I always start in the front and decided to place myself in the second row of people just behind the start mat. The race started and for some reason I was quickly swamped on all sides. Maybe I didn't react quickly enough to the start but for the first few hundred yards I was pinned behind slower runners. As a racing veteran I knew I just had to be patient and wait until the road cleared a bit. This is always a little stressful because you feel like you are losing time every second you are pinned in a crowd. I finally broke free shortly after the right turn on Varnum Avenue and I immediately moved to the center of the road. At this point I had the road to myself and started running hard. I probably passed 20-30 people in the next quarter mile and felt good. The only hill on the course is at the .75 mile mark (check out the video) and I felt like I was running a strong tempo pace and felt in control. I ran the first mile in 6:23. Now I usually run the first mile closer to 6 minutes but with the only hill on the course out of the way and that slow start I was happy with my time. The second mile starts slightly rolling and I just continued to run a strong tempo pace. Normally in a 5k I would have a couple of more gears but my high end speed is gone. Strong tempo is all I have right now until I get my speed back. I started to feel it a bit as I rounded the turn on Pawtucket Boulevard and quickly looked over my shoulder and saw a friend of mine only about 20 yards back.


**** Side note. Every year several of my friends run this race. One of my friends, Henry, always tries to beat me. Now we are not overly competitive with each other but for some reason every Thanksgiving there is an unwritten competition between us. This year was no different. I completed the Ironman in September and ended my season. He ran his PR at the Chicago Marathon and ended his season so we were pretty similar. We both are a little fat and happy and really don't care about our Thanksgiving 5k time. But guess what...that unwritten competition remains and I want to make sure he doesn't beat me.****

Returning to my story I look over my shoulder at the turn on Pawtucket Boulevard and sure enough 20 yards back is Henry. I knew I was starting to lose it but I threw in a "surge" and tried to increase my pace. I was hoping he was hurting too and hoped if I accelerated he would be discouraged and shut it down. I refused to turn around and check if it worked and kept pressing. I passed through mile 2 in 12:46 (another 6:23 mile) and kept pressing. Unfortunately, the wheels were starting to come off. My breath was fine. The problem was I just couldn't increase my leg turnover and I was starting to fade. Several people passed me over the next half mile. I still refused to turn around and ran as hard as my dead legs would carry me. I rounded the turn on Old Ferry and sprinted to the finish in 20:18. I really died toward the end but all things considered I think I did OK. Henry finished in 20:33. Come to find out he thought he would get me after the turn on Pawtucket Boulevard but just couldn't close the gap. Fun race on a great day.


Time: 20:18   Overall Place: 20th   Age Group: 6th

What's next?

If you have followed my blog posts or seen my race history you will know I love to race. Due to all of my Ironman training in the last 18 months I have really had to cut back on racing due to all of the training. Now that I have completed my first race I feel like I am back in the game. It may be premature but my next race is going to be Sunday. Yes... this Sunday. I have entered a new half marathon in Mine's Falls Park in Nashua, New Hampshire called the Wolf Hollow Half Marathon. Look for my race report next week.

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My First Ten Mile Race

Posted by Meg Tang
Meg Tang
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on Saturday, August 25, 2012
in Road Races

Cross-training

I recently ran the Moose on the Loose 10 Mile Trail Run in Nashua, New Hampshire.  This was the longest race I've run to date, and I chose to run it in preparation for a 1/2 marathon I've been training for in September. Going into the race, I set a goal of stopping at every water station and taking a drink while walking a couple of steps. In the past I have only run 5k races and never saw the need to stop at the water stations.  When I first started running longer distances for a workout, I was feeling really tired during and after.  I couldn't figure out why I was so tired the day after a long run. I finally realized I wasn't properly hydrating.  For my short runs I never had to worry about staying hydrated.  What I drank over the course of a normal day was enough, plus a little extra when I got back from a run. 

When running longer distances, I found out, you have to take care to hydrate before, during, and after.  So I set the goal to stop and drink during the 10 mile race to make sure hydration wouldn't be an issue. The day after the race I was a little sore, but not at all tired from the long distance.  I think taking the extra steps to stop and drink during the race has helped me in my recovery time. When running longer distances, I found out, you have to take care to hydrate before, during, and after. I would recommend this course to anyone looking for a good Sunday long run. It takes place on trails in Mine Falls Park in Nashua, New Hampshire.  There are no major hills and some down hills to build up speed.  The course is four two and 1/2 mile loops.  You come out of the woods at the end of each loop and run on a short paved circle with a water stop, then back onto the trail. As each loop passes you become more familiar with the path and can get a feel for what is coming. My only complaint with the race is that since it's a small event you will spend some time on the path without anyone in the race close to you. Also, this is a busy location for people working out and taking their families out for a hike in the woods.  At some points it got busy on the trail and non-runners got in the way of the racers.  Besides that, I think it is a great course, and I am planning on running it again next year.

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