Boston Prep 16 Miler (aka “Derry”)
Derry, New Hampshire
January 25, 2009
1:59:12 – 7:28 pace
104th place overall of 700
January in New England for hopeful spring marathoners means one thing: The Boston Prep 16 Miler. The course is so challenging and always accompanied by weather so brutally cold or snowy or both that it is known affectionately, but always with a pause, simply as “Derry!”
Derry is such a tough course – it really will chew you up and spit you out by the road side – that many runners do not race it, for the recovery is too long. Instead, for most, Derry is a training run, a course that will show you exactly where your fitness lies with regard to that farther out marathon.
And that’s what Derry was for me this year: a fun training run. And what fun it was!
Before the race I hooked up with many running friends, my good pal John, and even members of Team LIT. We swapped stories, offered good luck wishes, joked about the stupid crazy hills, and before long made our way to the start.
Team LIT – Top Row: Adam, Julie, John, Thor (me), Bottom: Monica, Cheryl.
I’ve been battling a calf/foot issue that has hampered more quality in my runs, and the severity of the injury often isn’t known until I start running, so I was ready to bail on the entire race if I had to, but now, on the starting line with John and a bunch of other of our friends, the calf seem good to go. And go I did.
Although I coached myself to hold back, I hooked up with my faster friends right away. It was me, Frank Row, Brian Reeves, and Chris Russell. We chatted away the miles at just under 8 minute per mile pace. With the course at Derry, the effort was more like 7:30’s. Still, it was comfortable for us all.
By mile 4, still running with my pals, I knew my calf would hold out. And that’s when I decided that I would pick up pace at mile 10, just as we entered the “real” hills on the course.
Mile 10 came with a sharp left hand turn into a wall of a hill, one so steep you could reach out and touch pavement, and I shortened stride and worked away from the guys. They were much more disciplined and waited until after the hills, at about mile 12.5 to punch on. I like hills, so I picked up the effort with the intention of a steady increase through the hills and to the end.
Boston Prep 16 Miler – Thor pushing pace at Mile 12.5.
And that’s what I did, finishing with two 6:10 or under miles in 1:59:12 for a quality run.
Afterwards I gathered back in a gymnasium for post-race soup and pizza and cookies and much merriment with Team LIT and other friends. It was great, as always, to hang with my pal John, and it was awesome to see again Julie and Monica and Adam, and meet for the first time Cheryl, all of whom made Derry a memorable fun time.