This race might be my favorite race of the year. Unfortunately it's also usually my first race of the year and then I have to wait a whole entire year to run it again! The good thing is that it is a nice thing to look forward to in winter in Maine.
This was the third time I've run the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Miler. You can read my race recaps from 2012 and 2013 if you like. I met up with Stacy in Topsham and headed down to Cape Elizabeth with a couple others and met up with Jen, Jill, Ward, Wade and about every other badass Maine runner I know that thinks racing in February in Maine is a great idea.
One of the best things about this year is that the weather gods smiled upon us and gave us clear roads and temperatures in the upper 30s. This is my ideal racing weather! I've mentioned it before, but I get super hot when I run, so taking into account I'd be running hard for 10 miles I decided to wear a running skirt and tank with my Zensah arm sleeves. You would not believe how many people (including those who know me) said I was crazy. You probably think I am crazy too, but it was absolutely perfect.
After a couple of bathroom breaks and a quick warm up with Jen, we headed to the start and the race began. I really wanted to stick with Jen as much as possible, but she takes off like a rocket and with the first mile being downhill we clocked a 7:41 for the first mile. There is no way that I would be able to hold this pace through the entire race and pulled back to settle into a better pace for my current fitness level between an 8:10-8:15.
|Smiling at mile 1.2! (photo courtesy Maine Running Photos)|
I skipped the water at the first stop around mile three per my norm and kept plugging along knowing that I'd be stopping for fuel at mile five. I ate one Shot Blok before the second stop and that ended up being the only fuel I took other than water again around mile 7-8.
|Attacking the hill at mile 5 (photo courtesy Maine Running Photos)|
|Why do I always make funny faces and Jen always looks fantastic?!? (photo courtesy Maine Running Photos)|
We started slowing down after that stop, maybe since it was the first time we walked (I can not run and drink at the same time) and struggled to get to the same pace. I'd start to get a side cramp, but focused again on breathing and they quickly faded away. My legs were getting tired, but I managed to push through. Jen and I barely talked throughout the entire 10 miles...not really more than she asking how our pace was at the mile markers and grunts here and there. Even though we aren't out there to win anything, I like to focus on running during a race and Jen was listening to music. We were a perfect pair!
|Trying to hang on at mile 8 (photo courtesy Maine Running Photos)|
The last two miles seem to be mostly a gradual uphill that is tough to keep going at this point in the race, but having Jen there to pull me along made all the difference. I mentioned that she could go ahead if she wanted to, but she stuck right by me. Once we hit the entrance to the high school and knowing that the finish was about a quarter mile away, I sped up. Somehow knowing that I'll be done soon brings out the competitor in me. I may also have dreamed about racing Jen to the finish. I just didn't think that I'd actually have the opportunity to...my girl is speedy!
We crossed the finish side-by-side, shared a sweaty hug and just like that my third Mid-Winter Classic was done!
32/78 AG 35-39
It was another great race with plenty of support from volunteers. It's well organized and the field size (increased to 1000 from 800), is perfect in my opinion. I love seeing all my running friends, it's like one big party. If you have the opportunity to run this race, do it! Just make sure to sign up quickly, it sells out within a day! I'm thinking after this year of rebuilding I'll be going for a course PR in 2015!