In need of one last fast workout before Stone Cat, I made my way to Wachusetts Reservoir for the 16th running of the Wachusetts Dear Run [Results]. The race is hosted by the Central Mass Striders and they were certainly the most represented with about 20 of the 75 total runners being from CMS. There was a 5K and 10K option, one loop for the 5 and two for the 10. I decided on the longer version but the RD also told us we could drop down to the 5K during the race if we had enough racing by then.
Kevin and I got to the race early to do a long warm-up and were later met by Michelle (her race report) who joined us on our pre-race jog. We weren’t exactly sure about the direction so we just ran on what we thought was the race course. Most of the run was on wide dirt and grass roads and some narrower trails with some rocks and roots. Not too many hills either. This course is made for speedsters. I am in no way considered one.
The start was flat and fast with the 5K and 10K runners not distinguishable. I vowed to run the first loop easy and then run the second one hard. It didn’t take long for me to stray from my race plan and I got sucked up in the fast start. I hit the first mile in 7:56 which is way too fast for me in a 10K trail race. Even though I knew I should slow down now, or crash and burn later, I was feeling good so I just went with it.
I kept motoring along,picking up speed on a long gradual downhill section. I went through the second mile in 15:27 for a 7:31 split for mile two. Now there was no denying I was running was over my head and had no chance of maintaining this pace for another 4 miles. I had to back off this pace if I wanted to finish the 10K without medical assistance. I was about to reel it in when I remembered the RD said we could drop to the 5K if we wanted to. I was having “fun” running this pace so I decided to keep pushing it and just do the 5K.
The last mile was the hardest on the race course with the most climbing and rougher terrain, more rocks and roots. I was battling back and forth with a couple of runners over the last mile. One was a little stronger than me on the climbs but I was quicker on the descents. I finally made it past both of them before reaching mile 3 in 23:19 for a 7:52 mile split. Amazing, three sub-eight split in a row! By now I was dying a painful death and just wanted to get to the finish line. When I crossed the line I was handed a ticket with the number 6, meaning I finished in sixth place overall. I was also second out of nine in my age group.
I guess all the fast runners were running the 10K. Lucky me!