Only the 2nd year for this GMAA race and first as a USATF New England Championship. Link to course description (thanks Level Renner). I was up at 4:00 a.m. and drove north with GSRT treammate Rob Knight, leaving Hopkinton, NH at 5:30. We took Rob’s Acura 6 speed, shared the driving and Rob even ate sushi with chopsticks during the ride.
My training has been very light, so expectations were pretty loose. I expected to run approximately the same pace as Amherst 10 mile race earlier this year and to calm pre-race nerves, I reminded myself to just get through the 9.3 miles.
The start was about .75 from registration, so that was a good warm-up. I lined up near other Whirly girls… women on the left, men on the right and was glad to see CSU’s Lisa Doucett in the early miles. With the wind, I tried to strategically place myself behind a larger male runner and a pack of several others. A monster hill during the 4th mile did not seem to end, so I just imagined the hills I’d been biking all summer. I’m not sure how I was able to keep my body cruising so consistently and felt grateful that I wasn’t falling apart. I was surprised to catch GSRT trackmate Rob Knight and hoped he’d come along, but he’d toasted himself with a super aggressive start. The latter parts of the course felt like a gift with some gentle downhills and tailwind. I skipped the 3 water stops, just keeping to the flow of the run. I encouraged SISU runner John Klechinsky and ticking off the last few tenths of a mile, I looked around for any other women who might be in my age group, rounded the corner and spotted the finish line. Whirlaway coach Dave Kazanjian yelled to me and I kicked to beat a younger female runner to the line for a 1:13:30 finish (watch), 1:13:36 gun time. Tom Derderian wasn’t far behind me and a few of us congratulated each other. Figuring I ran 30-40 seconds per mile faster than I expected was such a positive feeling and every time I think about it I still feel so incredibly fortunate, wow!!
I must have been thirsty & had low blood sugar because I grabbed a cup of cold cider and it tasted out of this world… like the best thing I’ve ever had. I wasn’t very hungry but tasted a Stonyfield yogurt tube for protein and a bagel for later. The awards ceremony had a podium and Rob Knight plus 3-4 Whirly girls all received awards and applause. There was a raffle with expensive prizes like a couple Keurig coffemakers, ski goggles, Vermont teddy bear, etc and I won a $25 gift card to SkiRack store. Yay!! We walked through the farmer’s market right near the race and Whirlaway and GSRT teammates Eric Williams and his wife Becky kindly invited us to use the shower at their B&B, but we were anxious to hit the road. Quick stop for Starbucks iced black coffee and back on Rte 89.
I finally found the online results and it looks like I might potentially get 6 points in the USATF GP!!! Woo!
Whirlaway had an excellent day with Ruben winning overall. Men’s Open – 1st, Men’s Masters – 3rd, Men’s Seniors – 2nd, Women’s Open – 2nd, Women’s Masters – 1st, Women’s Seniors – 1st