February races in New England are always a crap shoot. Last night, there was a predicted 3-6″ of snowfall expected in Foxborough, Massachusetts but temperatures by race time were expected to be in the 40’s. Crap shoot.
Come race time, it was as predicted. Snowfall had been pretty on point, temps had been on point, and therefore the expected snow melt and patchy streets were pretty much on point. To be perfectly honest, I was actually really impressed with the work the Foxborough Highway Department had clearly put in to street clearing.
The OFTM is but one race today. I wouldn’t call it a “running festival” (like anyone really likes running or considers it a festival), but it is a combination event: a 5k, a 10-miler and a combination event. So you have a choice between the “Flat 5k,” “The Old Fashioned Ten Miler,” or doing them both for a combination half marathon dubbed the “Badass Combo.” I do wonder how the residents feel about having “Badass Combo” signs plastered about, but that’s not my circus (or festival as the case may be).
I did the “Badass Combo” last year: Crushed the 5k for what was then a personal record, but bonked hard on the ten miler. I hadn’t eaten properly so my nutrition was off, I was cramping up and it felt like I walked far more than I actually ran. I don’t know if it was the 20-25 minutes or so between races or, more than likely, a combination of a bunch of deleterious circumstances. The end result was a 1:36:00 (or so) finish for the OFTM and just over 2:00:00 for the combo. I was trying to decide what to do this year, but in the end decided that I wasn’t going to spend $40 on a 5k entry just to get a swanky medal, so I went strictly with the 10-Miler.
I ran at a pretty quick pace for the first 2 miles or so, settled into my pace for the next five miles or so, but at mile 8 I just hit a mental block and decided I had to walk for a bit. No real explanation: I was running at about an 8:48 pace for the previous 2-miles, the first of which was generally flat, the second was a gain of all of 26′, mile 8 had a gain of 26′ as well, but I just couldn’t carry myself over that hump. By mile 9 I had pulled myself together back to an 8:40 (downhill again!) and mile 10 was my fastest of the day at 8:05. It was a struggle at the end though, because I knew I was burning fuel pretty good, but I really wanted to smash the finish.
At days end, it wound up being my third fastest 10-mile effort (according to Strava), so not a complete bomb. Not as fast as I had hoped to be, but even my half-assed effort at mile 8 didn’t keep me from hitting that. I really needed to be at about 8:20 pace and that wasn’t happening today. I feel good about it though, I haven’t been running nearly as many long runs as I know I should, so this was a personal victory. My muscles felt good, and I still had some juice after 9 miles to hit that 8:05 pace – no small victory for me. In the greater scheme of things, I finished pretty much in the middle of the pack. I’ll take it.
Weather: Averaged about 40-degrees, clear, breezy, but sunny. Some melting snow.