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Discussion Starter #1
This morning I did the Merrimack River 10 Mile Trail Race in Andover, MA.<br><br>
On Wednesday I had gone out and run the course (and then some, as I got lost 3 times). The course was a little bit muddy on Wednesday. Then Thursday, we had snow, sleet, and rain. I very much expected the trail to be an absolute mudfest. To make matters worse, on Wednesday, the streams that we have to cross were running a bit high, so I expected a lot of tough stream crossings.<br><br>
Don't get me wrong, the places that were muddy on Wednesday were still muddy, and they were a bit worse, but they were weren't near as bad as I was expecting. Also, the streams weren't running as high as I thought they would.<br><br>
When the race started, there was quite a bit of mud right at the trail head. Everyone around me was trying to avoid it. Eventually I said "Screw it!" and ran through the mud. I had my Storm Socks on so my feet didn't get too wet.<br><br>
For the first 3 miles of the course, the race is fairly flat. About the only challenging parts of the course at that point are the tree roots and there was about a 100 foot stretch just before mile 3 where the mud was pretty thick.<br><br>
During the first two miles there was a guy right in front of me wearing a Big Sur Marathon shirt. I just kept following him. If he passed someone, I passed someone. I stayed with him until about mile 2, when he really seemed to pick up his pace.<br><br>
There is an unmanned water stop at mile 2.5 (and 7.5 on the way back). It was cool enough today that I didn't bother with the unmanned stop.<br><br>
After mile 3 there are some short, steep hills on the course. As many of you know I run hill repeats fairly often, so the climbs weren't too bad for me. The descents were also steep, and I lost a lot of time in those. I've never been a good descender.<br><br>
For miles 3 and 4, I got behind a woman who was running a very nice pace. Even better, she was wearing a bright yellow top, so it was easy to keep her in sight and pace off of her. When we got to mile 4 though I saw that my average heart rate was at near 180. The woman I was pacing off dropped me on a steep descent, and I was not able to catch her with my HR that high.<br><br>
During mile 5, there is one climb that is very short, but makes you question the wisdom of running this race. I had to power-walk up part of it, because it's single track and the people in front of me were power-walking up it. It was also at this point that I started seeing the leaders coming back (this is an out-and-back course). How the heck these guys can descend like they do is beyond me, and it's a thing of beauty to watch.<br><br>
At the top of that hill is a set of power-lines/high-tension-wires. From that vantage point, you have a beautiful view of the river below you. I continued on, and, unlike on Wednesday, once across the power lines I found the <b>RIGHT</b> trail.<br><br>
Mile 5 was slow for me with the power-walk up the hill getting under the power-lines. Add to that, I stopped at the turn around to get a glass of water and take a gel.<br><br>
After I turned around, there was a group of about 3 or 4 of us running together. We ended up swapping positions quite a bit during the climbs and descents and at some of the stream crossings.<br><br>
Back at the power lines again, the descent down the hill that I had to power-walk up was tough. As I said earlier, I am a lousy descender, and this hill showed that. I let the people behind me go at the bottom of that steep hill, as a reward for not shoving me down that hill. That's okay, I got by most of them a few minutes later on a steep climb.<br><br>
After that steep climb I was kind of on my own for a while. The next descent saw me get passed by a couple of other runners, but there was a short hill right after that, and I went back by them.<br><br>
When I got to the mile 7 marker, I was pretty much alone. The hills had done a number on my legs, and they were starting to get sore. A guy caught me from behind, and we ended up running together and chatting for a bit. Turns out he did the same race I did two weeks ago.<br><br>
We stayed together until about mile 9, swapping the positions back and forth. The course was fairly flat in this stretch, with just one minor hill.<br><br>
The last 2 miles I was able to turn it on just a little bit more. During the last mile, I found a little bit left in the tank, so I pressed a bit, realizing I had a shot to beat last year's time. I picked off 3 or 4 runners, and ran my fastest mile of the race, a 7:23.4.<br><br>
My parents were there at the finish line, but unfortunately, they had technical difficulties with the camera, so the pictures didn't come out. <img alt="sad.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/sad.gif"><br><br>
According to my watch I finished in 1:29:21.9. Officially, I believe I saw 1:29:43. I believe it was 114th position (not sure how many starters there were). Last year, I was 1:30:32 officially, and finished 100th out of 196, so I wasn't too far off of what I did last year.<br><br>
Some thoughts about the race in general:<br><br>
1.) It is a great value. Pre-race registration is just $5. Race day entry is just $10. Add $7 if you want a tee-shirt. So, for $12 I got a 10 mile trail race, a tee-shirt, they had food and gatorade at the end, awards for the winners and age group winners, and a huge raffle (I didn't win anything, but oh well).<br>
2.) I'm not 100% convinced that the mile markers are accurate. Mile 2 seemed short, and Mile 5 seemed long.<br>
3.) The race volunteers did a great job marking the course! I was afraid I'd get lost, but I ended up just fine.<br>
4.) Trail running is a whole different beast than pavement pounding. Not better, not worse, just different, and is nice for a change.<br>
5.) If I'm going to continue trail running, I should probably invest in a set of trail shoes. Mizuno Wave Rider 9's are <b>NOT</b> trail running shoes.<br>
6.) It is hard to believe I can be on that trail, be 10 minutes from major towns (Andover, Lawrence, Tewksbury), and yet feel like I'm out in the woods.<br>
7.) I met some nice folks after the race who gave me a heads up about a trail running group on Wednesday nights not far from here. They run from June to September, and do a 4 or 8 mile trail run.<br><br><b>Daily Run Report</b><br><br><b>Date:</b> 04/14/2007<b>Time:</b> 09:00<br><b>Run Type:</b> Race<br><b>Distance:</b> 10.0 miles<br><b>Total time:</b> 01:34:22.7<b>Average Per Mile:</b> 00:08:56.2<br><b>Course:</b> OTHER COURSE - <a href="http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=16028" target="_blank">Merrimack River 10 Mile Trail Race</a><br><b>Max HR (for entire workout):</b> 187<br><b>Average HR:</b> 172<br><b>Shoes:</b> Mizuno Wave Rider 9 - 02/2007<b>Date Entered Service:</b> 02/23/2007<b>Ending Mileage:</b> 252.5<br><b>Weather:</b> Partly cloudy. Wind was noticable.<br><b>Temperature:</b> 42<b>Temperature Type:</b> Ambient Air<b>Time:</b> Start<br><b>Temperature:</b> 46<b>Temperature Type:</b> Ambient Air<b>Time:</b> End<br><b>Dew Point:</b> 31<b>Time:</b> Start<br><b>Dew Point:</b> 30<b>Time:</b> End<br><b>Wind speed:</b> 5<b>Max Gust:</b> 17<b>Direction:</b> NW<br><br><b>Run Segments<br>
NameTimeDistanceAvgMile HRAvgHRTotal Time</b><br>
Mile 100:09:02.21.000:09:02.218016200:09:02.2<br>
Mile 200:07:45.01.000:07:45.017517400:16:47.2<br>
Mile 300:08:42.81.000:08:42.80000:25:30.0<br>
Mile 400:08:37.11.000:08:37.117118000:34:07.1<br>
Mile 500:11:04.21.000:11:04.217317900:45:11.3<br>
Mile 600:10:22.81.000:10:22.816917900:55:34.1<br>
Mile 700:09:05.21.000:09:05.216617501:04:39.3<br>
Mile 800:09:18.21.000:09:18.216916901:13:57.5<br>
Mile 900:08:01.01.000:08:01.017017001:21:58.5<br>
Mile 1000:07:23.41.000:07:23.418017301:29:21.9<br>
Recovery-100:05:00.80.000:00:00.012814201:34:22.7
 

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Sounds like a good day, all the way around! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> I'm just sorry we don't have the pictures from it.<br><br>
That's very cool about a trail running group. Are you thinking of running with them occasionally?
 

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You write the greatest race reports!!! I felt like I was there! That doesn't, however, make up for the lack of pictures <img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif"><img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif"><br><br>
Sounds like a really cool race, and you did well! I'd say that's a winner of a day!!!! Congrats......I was thinking about you this morning.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks. So <b>THAT'S</b> why I beat last year's time...someone was thinking of me! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"><br><br><b>altoids</b> - I am thinking of joining up with them a few times this summer. They run June-September on Wednesday nights, which would be <b>perfect</b> for my Equinox training.
 

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Sounds like a really fun race...I too have recently hit the trails a few times and love them! I wish we had a race on them around here though...<br><br>
Nice job though, great to have the fastest mile at the end too!<br><br>
Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Alex. I wouldn't be surprised if you have trail races near you. Often, they are not the most advertised races. This race I really had to look to find last year and this year. Sometimes that is by choice...to keep the field small.<br><br>
You might have to do some searching, but I bet you could find one.
 

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Another great race report and another great effort. Congratulations Kevin! Between you and Altoids I think you'll have me doing a trail race soon. I love running trails. In fact I'm going to change my run into a trail run tomorrow. Why not?<br><br>
This will be good practice for the EQ, won't it?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you Grizzly, and enjoy your trail run tomorrow. Heading up to Nose Hill? With all the running you do on Nose Hill, I would think you'd love trail racing.<br><br>
It's like I said, trail running is a different beast. Not better, not worse, just different, and it can be nice for a change of pace.<br><br>
As for practice for the Equinox, it is probably a bit early, <b>but</b> now that I know the course, and I feel comfortable with it, it could become a more frequent part of my training plan this summer. So in that respect it is very good for getting ready for the Equinox.
 

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Great race and great report, EQ! <img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"><br><br>
I would have really liked to have seen a muddy picture of you, though.<br><br>
Maybe you would consider covering yourself in mud and taking one for us now. <img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif">
 

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<img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"><img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"><img alt="icon_cheers.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/icon_cheers.gif"><br>
will the race have pictures for us to see of a muddy EQ??? Great race report!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
For those of you looking for muddy pictures, this is the best I can do. This is my right shoe after drying:<br><br><img alt="" src="http://home.gis.net/~ryetman/shoepic1.jpg" style="border:0px solid;"><br><br>
Remember, these were clean when I started.
 

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LOL, my dad would tell you to put them in the was WITH bleach and then throw them in the drier!<br><br>
Grats on your race!
 

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Sounds like you has some good clean fun, EQ. Nice race!<br><br>
I know what you mean about being on trails within a city and forgetting about the city -- that's one of the draws of the trail.<br><br>
That trail running group sounds like fun. Are you going to check it out? I'm always promoting my running club at local races and love it when we get a new recruit or two that way.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks SGH. I probably will try it out this summer. It sounds like a good group, the price is right (free) and the terrain (trail) would be good training for the Equinox.
 

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Great job EQ!
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks aphigirl01, and good luck today (Sunday).<br><br>
Just a quick update folks:<br><br>
The official results are up:<br><br>
Official time was: 1:29:16 (5.9 seconds to the good compared to my watch)<br><br><b>Overall:</b> 114th out of 232<br><b>Men only:</b> 102nd out of 177<br><b>Age group:</b> 35th out of 49 in M30-39 age group.
 

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Can I get a summary, please?<br><br>
Good job, EQ. I grew up in Andover. I'd like to run this sometime.
 
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