I haven't had much success trying to run any distance over 5-6 miles on the trails of my usual training grounds. The constant changes of elevation in Breakheart Reservation takes a toll on my ailing ITB. I thought the nearly flat trails in Mine Falls Park in Nashua, NH might be the way to go. I had no plans to race here, just maintain a steady pace and get through 10 miles pain-free, or as close to it as possible. RunninRob came along for the ride but he ended up being much more than an "also ran."
I'm not sure how this race came to be named "Moose on the Loose Trail Race." I'm sure there hasn't been a moose sighting in the city of Nashua in quite some time. I do know, however that this was the best weather I've encountered in the three times I've come to this race, 70 degrees with some humidity. My first run here was in the year of the "Monsoon Moose" with four inches of rain falling during the race. I will say running through all the large puddles and mud created by the rain only added to my enjoyment.
My second run here was not so pleasant as I had the misfortune of running in the year of the "Melting Moose" with 90+ degrees and high humidity. Moose was also a NH grand prix race that year and it was first time I ever heard a runner in a race yell to others, "Slow runners to the right!" so she could pass without weaving her way through traffic. Needless to say, I planned to stay to the right this year.
As the race went off I started out slowly an soon found myself just one runner away from DFL. Not that I cared. I was admiring the scenery and fantasizing about running through the river we just crossed instead of taking the bridge over it. Shortly after, I ended up in a cluster of chatty Cathys who's conversations were a distraction... to put it politely. After running with them for a half mile or so I determined I would either have to pick up the pace and escape or take my own life. I chose the former.
The course, which is a 2.5 mile loop run four times, is great if you're looking to run a fast time but can get boring if your just out there on a training run like me. The boredom factor was compounded since I ran the rest of the race on my own. My only contact with other runners was when I passed the ones that went out too fast, and they weren't in a talking mood. I did get lapped a few times, or passed by the relay runners, it was hard to tell which race people were running. I just know they were moving way faster than me when they went by. They were talkative though and offered encouragement to me. I guess I looked worse than I felt.
I ended up having a decent 10 mile run. Sure I was slow, but not as slow as I thought I would be. I ran progressively faster "slow" 2.5 splits:
I felt a little fatigue setting in about one mile from the finish but I expected that. Most of my runs have been in the 3-5 mile range so this was bit of a push for me. The good news is no knee pain during or after the race. That's all I was hoping for. As for RunninRob, he ran a PR and finished second in his age group! Not a bad day for the north shore boys.