Ran the L.L. Bean 4th of July 10k this past weekend and had a great time. This race was fun for a few reasons: 1) it was no the 4th of July and fun way to kick off the day, 2) my wife ran it with me, and it was her first 10k ever (she did awesome), 4) it was our wedding anniversary and a fun, different way to celebrate it, 4) it was a great way to burn off the calories I planned on taking in the rest of the day (and there was plenty taken in!), 5) I managed to eek out a 10k PR for myself :-)
Let me start off by saying that it was way too frickin hot to run a race, despite the fact that it started at 7:30AM. Temps at the starting line were already in the high 70s/low 80s with crazy humidity. By the finish they had risen to mid-high 80s with the humidity level cranked way up. Gotta love New England...it'll probably be in the 50s and raining tomorrow :-)
Heat aside this was a great race and a great course. The course starts and finishes in downtown Freeport, amongst L.L. Bean and all the other outlets in town, and it follows typical Maine roads along the seacoast. Farmland, wooded terrain and coastal views were all in store for us. This was a downhill start, and the first downhill start I've ever done. The first mile was straight downhill dropping about 150 feet to the shores of a nice river that empties to Casco bay. Tried to play it cool going down hill, keeping my pace in the 7:30-7:45 range. In retrospect I should have turned on the gas here to make up for the slower uphill times I'd experience later on. Note for next year!
The next 4 miles were filled with rolling hills and a very steep grade climb and immediate descent. By this time the heat was certainly playing a factor. Legs and breathing felt fine on the hills, good even, but my splits showed another story. I was surprised to see as many people walking at this point as there were. My wife said the same thing. Lots of people walking this course by the 3rd and 4th mile...even very fit looking types. I can only guess it was the heat kicking in.
After the hills were over we hit the main stretch back home. We had about 1.5 miles to go, so I opened the tank and started to ramp the speed up. Bad idea! It just happened that the home stretch was completely sans shade, and the heat was a killer here. The next mile+ were like being in an oven, making it very hard to kick it into the next gear. The strech was pretty flat with a couple smallish hills, but even the small hills were challenging at this point. Eventually we made it back into town and the streets were happily filled with cheering crowds. That provided a much needed boost going into the finish line.
I finished up, good some food and water, and then ran back up the course to find the wife. When I found here she looked in good spirits and was a couple minutes ahead of her planned pace...happy day for her! I tried to jog with her a bit towards the finish but I didn't have it in me to keep up with her pace. I met up with her at the finish and we headed off to cool down in a nearby park. Two successful races on a beautiful Maine morning!
We then proceeded to lounge on the grass and take in the experience. What a way to celebrate your wedding anniversary, eh?!?! We finished the day out proper though...tasty Maine micro brews, burgers, dogs, lobstah, sparklers and lounging by the pool. Awesome day to cap off an awesome weekend away.
Garmin log here: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/39416551
Coolrunning results here: http://www.coolrunning.com/results/10/me/Jul4_LLBean_set1.shtml