The NH 10 Miler was the first race that I ever thought I was going to get a DNS (did not start). I woke up Saturday morning feeling like a Mac truck ran me over. My head was congested, I had a scratchy throat and I slept horribly all night. On top of that, my digestive system wasn’t happy with me (a continuation from the day before). Running 10 miles was the last thing that sounded appealing.
I took a shower in an effort to wake up and open up my nasal passages. It helped but I still felt like I was in a fog. It was then and there that I knew if I was going to run, it was going to be a “wait and see” type of day. No PRs. No competitiveness. Just running at whatever pace my body could handle.
We arrived at Lake Massabesic around 8:20 with time to park, pick up my bib and stand in line for the porta potties before the 9 a.m. start. Of course, the rain didn’t hold off. It came down hard for about 10 minutes. Poor Ron just looked at me like, “Not this again” as flashbacks from Vermont City crossed both our minds. Thankfully it stopped before the race began.
The race started and I was off. I thought I would need a little extra motivation for the race so I had brought my ear buds along. I very, very rarely listen to music when I run but I thought it would be a good way to pass the time and to just run for fun. At one point the view opened up to the lake and the Incubus’ song, Wish You Were Here, was playing. The lyric, “And in this moment I am happy. Happy.” stuck out to me. I was happy. Gone were the pre-race negative feelings. Not to sound too cheesy or anything but running is definitely my happy place. I may have even gotten a little teary eyed at this point.
That’s me. Total.Sap.
Mile 1: 8:17
Mile 2: 8:05
Mile 3: 7:53 – Whoa Nelly! Rein it in girl!
Mile 4: 8:24
And then the first of many big ass hills arrived. Here’s when looking at the course description before registering would have been beneficial. Or not. I’m sure I would not have done it if I knew that it was listed as “challenging.” So many people started to drop off to walk at this point. I joined for a minute to catch my breath and to give my burning calves a rest before starting up again.
Mile 5: 9:01
Mile 6: 8:30
Mile 7: 8:56
Mile 8: 8:08
Miles 5-8 were nothing but hills. Up, down, up, down. I took another walk break up the hill at mile 7. Along this stretch is when I started to notice the humidity. It. was. soupy. Everyone looked like they had stopped for a dip in the lake. Shorts, shirts, hair – soaked. I started grabbing 2 cups of water at each water stop. One to drink and one to dump on my head. As I was running down, what in my mind HAD to be the last hill, I started to chat with a girl who I had been leap frogging for the past 3 miles. She said only 2 miles to go! No big deal! I’m assuming she didn’t know the course either because the last monster hill was waiting for us at mile 9.
Mile 9: 9:19
Mile 10: 7:44
My legs were shuffling up that dang hill. In the process, I could tell my feet were getting beat up big time. Oh joy! More foot blister drama. I took another short walk break before pushing up the final few yards to see the most glorious downhill and flat section before the finish line.
I spotted my cheering section alongside the road before the park entrance. It’s always so exciting to see them even if it’s for a few seconds. I saw them again right at the beginning of the finishing chute. I spontaneously asked L and A if they wanted to run to the finish line with me. It was a fun run after all. A wasn’t too sure but L was ready to go with a stick in hand of course!
Seeing my time, it makes me wish I would have put a little bit more effort into the race. I could’ve placed higher! But it was smart of me to just run for fun. My foot felt great the whole race. I’m quite happily surprised with my overall pace. It never felt like an effort to keep up those speeds. However, my quads were trashed from all the downhills. Going down stairs has been awesome.
I’ve only done one other 10 miler, The Mid-Winter Classic back in February. My time was 1:23:10. Ironically, I had to laugh as I was re-reading that recap. I said it was the “hilliest race I’ve ever run.” Scratch that! The NH 10 Miler now holds that prestigious title.