I was able to get out of work on time so I made a decision to run the North Medford Running Club’s Boxford State Forest 10K. This is race number six in the Eastern New England Trail Race Series. I am currently ranked 3rd overall male in the series and 1st in the 50-59 age group. My quads were still toast from running Northfield Mountain on Saturday so I wanted to use this race as a ENE points bagging opportunity more than an all out race.
Traffic leaving the city was brutal as usual and made worse with the Red Sox having a home game. I kept checking my watch during the drive to Boxford and it wasn’t looking good for an on-time arrival. I still needed time to change from my work clothes into my running stuff and every minute counted. I had visions of the racers running off into the woods as I pulled into the parking lot and me leaping out of my truck, chasing after them in pants and dress shoes. Fortunately, I made it with 8 minutes to spare. Just enough time to change and register. Whew!
Pixie, Trailgrrl and RunninRob were there. I guess I wouldn’t be gaining any ground on Rob who is 1st in the ENE rankings through Trav’s Trail Run. It’s funny, we all had excuses why we may not be there, yet we all made it. Were we all playing mind games with one another? Nah! We got the mandatory instructions from the RD before the start of the race. I was talking to Emily and Michelle and missed every word of it. DOH!
The race was off and I fell to the rear like I almost always do. Rob took off like an Indy race car and quickly vanished from sight. Michelle was more like a train, starting out slowly and building up a head of steam, then moving at breakneck speed for the rest of the run. Emily is another story. She was behind me, most likely chatting it up with whoever was near her. Emily knows a lot of people at these trail races, and the ones she doesn’t, she quickly introduces herself to them. She still managed to pull off a race PR. Nice race Em!
The course was constantly rolling with wide and single-track trails and many wet and muddy sections. The trail had its fair share of rocks and roots but nothing like the trails I train on in Breakheart. Thankfully, there weren’t any prolonged climbs. I had enough uphill running at Northfield. The forest canopy was thick and several times the trail got very dark even though the sun was still out. Scary stuff but I didn’t see any trail monsters out there. Yikes!
I passed several runners in the first mile even though I was running easily. One guy was breathing like he needed a respirator when I went by him about a ½ mile into the race. I really never understood why someone sprints the first ½ mile of a 10K and then dies shortly thereafter. It has to be a painful death. About 1.5 miles into the race I went by Rob who slowed a bit but still finished close behind me. There’s no way he’s relinquishing his “Top Gun” standing any time soon.
By mile two I had passed a few more runners and got within 20 yards of Michelle. I hung on in that position for another ½ mile but then she was out of sight. I caught another glimpse of her and a male runner between mile 3 and 4 when we had to run a short section of road. Once the two of them tucked back into the woods I never saw them again. I ran the final three miles of the race alone so the miles passed VERY slowly. The bugs started to bother me so with a mile to go I picked up the pace just to get away from them.
The results aren’t posted yet but I ran an 8:48 pace and finished 17th overall. Not sure how many runners were there. I think the faster running at Lynn Woods on Wednesday nights and the shorter races like Trav’s and Northfield have started to improve my leg turnover. The effort extended at Boxford was much less than it was to run the same pace just 3 week ago.
I’ll probably be taking the next three weeks off from racing. I can sense the withdrawal pains already. It will be a good chance for me to work on my ultra training with long runs where I will continue to experiment with the Galloway training method.
Get a move on….