Monday, January 19, 2009

One for the Books

Twelve committed runners faced the challenging winter weather yesterday and ran the Mid-Winter Classic 10-Mile course in Cape Elizabeth in a fairly aggressive snow storm. One runner called it "a character-building run," while others thought it was plain old frustrating. It was definitely "one for the books."
We set out at around 9:00 with about 3-4 inches of snow already accumulated. It continued to snow steadily and the onshore wind was fairly strong. This meant the beginning part of the run down Scott Dyer to Spurwink and Eastman Roads was fairly pleasant, as we went away from the ocean. The toughest part was finding traction going up the Spurwink hills. That slipping and sliding back really does make the effort feel a bit silly. And was it slow going. Often, the best traction was off to the far left of the road where there were a couple inches of fresh snow.
One runner met up with an oncoming snow plow and had to jump off the road. Otherwise, it seemed like traffic was fairly forgiving and gave way.
We finally hit the half-way point at the marsh on Sawyer Road. Here, the wind came whipping across the marsh from the ocean, blowing the snow sideways and making for very challenging running. We saw a couple other runners out on the course, forging their way across the marsh as well. Spirits seemed high despite the conditions.
Then of course came the tough miles on Route 77. The wind was in our face, the traction was bad, and it felt like we were getting nowhere. I actually found relief by taking some walking steps while I drank water.
"As soon as we get to Rudy's the wind will be behind us," Paul said. Sure enough, we felt the tail wind with about two miles to go. The last mile of this race is a good one: It begins with a gradual descent, only to head back up as you approach the high school. It's a very strategic part of the race, because the finish line is all the way behind the high school, a good quarter mile or more from the entrance. Remember that...
The group enjoyed bagels and bananas while standing and stretching in the snowfall. We all agreed we would likely feel aches and pains on account of the unevenness of the run. I felt more tired than usual for the effort. One thing remained true: We were very pleased and satisfied we got out and did it. Let it snow.

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