Mill Cities Relay
27.1 mile relay
Nashua, NH to Lawrence, MA
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Officially Legs 1 & 2:
Leg 1: 34:05 – 5.6 miles – 6:05 pace.
Leg 2: 31:00 – 4.75 miles – 6:25 pace.
Unofficially Legs 3-5:
Cruised rest of way at easy pace for Marathon #53!
Mill Cities Relay has become a race I look forward to each year almost as much as the Boston Marathon. Consisting of 5 legs of varying distances, Mill Cities is staged as year end road race for area running clubs. It starts in Nashua, New Hampshire and, some 28 miles later, finishes conveniently in front of a popular Irish pub in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Perfect, you say? Exactly!
But that’s not the only reason I look forward to this race.
For the 4th year in a row I have used this race as a year end challenge of a different sort. I race the first leg as part of my team and then cruise rest of the way in for over marathon distance. With a starting line, a ticking clock, and people to run with, and even a Leg or two to race, I mark this as a marathon in which to not race but to celebrate another race season.
And that’s what I did.
This year I was, again, on a team stocked with people from my triathlon club Trifury. With a team name of Trifury Hurricane, we talked up a good storm among other Trifury teams before the event and then took to the roads to back it up with a second place finish.
With a team member backing out last minute, I had Legs 1 & 2 and then handed off the wrist band to Joe for Leg 3, who handed off to Lisa for 4, who handed off to Earl for 5 and the final stretch. Earl was caught saying: “When Lisa handed off to me, Dave Tyler [trash talker on another Trifury team] was just starting to warm up, so I knew I had a shot… but I was listening for his footsteps behind me the whole way. Never saw him.” And so yes, we, Trifury Hurricane, came in ahead of Team Tyler. It was a good day.
As for me, I had Legs 1 & 2. The morning was cold and the roads snow-filled and icy with poor traction. It wasn’t as bad as previous years, but it was tough going, and caution was required.
I raced Leg 1 hard in 6:05 pace coming in, maybe, 15th place of 500. Continuing through transition area 1 without stopping, I took Leg 2 a touch easier but still brisk in 6:25 pace. After handing off the wristband to Joe, I then dialed it back for a fun cruise on in. Unfortunately the 11 miles of hard running in Legs 1 & 2 took their toll so that by the last leg, Leg 5, going grew far more difficult.
Still I forged on to finish in front of the pub with the clock reading 3:20:05.