39th Annual Central Maine Striders January Thaw Race Report

What a freaking gorgeous day to have a January Thaw road race!!!

Hells bells, I even wore shorts – in January – in Maine. The part where I didn’t need a hat or gloves was pretty good too

Temps in the 40’s, not too bad of breeze, clear roads and lots of sunshine, besides the great company of runners to compete with.

What more could you ask for after all the crap/cold weather we have had this winter – a true January Thaw.

Well another 37 seconds, but then I would just be greedy.

Getting back to the race, the organizers have it down to a pretty good routine, but unfortunately one of the co-race directors was in the hospital today, so get well soon Gene.

Photo courtesy of David Colby-Young

I renewed my Central Maine Striders membership (gotta get one of those shirts like Ron’s) and paid the registration (which at $10 is a bargain), less than most single registration fees are nowadays. I tend to like local no-frills races more than the big event ones, you get to talk with other runners more and it is more about the running than the hoopla or the cause they are attempting to raise money for.

I really was not all that sure about how I would do today, I haven’t raced a lot over the past year (twice) and am just starting to get back into some semblance of shape after a bad September/October.

At the starting line, I was talking with Ron and he asked if he could run with me??? MMMMM Ron is one of the better runners in the club, and is a helluva lot better runner than I ever was, but has been battling injury for a bit. So without coming right out and saying so he really just wanted to run with an old slow fart to hold him back and not let him reinjure himself by getting too competitive and going with the leaders. I wasn’t complaining though, because I had a feeling that because of him running with me it would cause me to run better than I would otherwise.

That prediction came true!

This course has its challenges for me, if you look at the elevation graph, it starts out uphill, does a quick downhill and then another extended uphill, a bit of downhill and then a long gradual uphill that just takes you by surprise by the time you get 3/4 of the way up it, you realize just how much uphill you are actually running. Then little longer downhill section to another quick uphill and a couple of bumps to the finish.

The one thing that I really notice as I get older is that my ability to run faster uphill gets harder every year – just nature taking back some of the vitality from the old body, but it sure does suck wind. So this course with its multiple slightly longer climbs gets me more each year.

However, with Ron motivating me to run better (just by him being there) and every so often trying to get my attention off how bad I was hurting, by gabbing a little (when I could breath) made the run a lot more “enjoyable”. Well I guess I wouldn’t say enjoyable too loudly, but more passable. In other words I got past the hard spots with his help a lot easier than I would have if he hadn’t been there.

Just before we turned onto the longish downhill section I could hear footsteps behind us. Someone was catching up, well that kind of got to my competitive side and I might have turned-up the pace a little extra going down that hill.

I found out afterwards that it was a young lady behind us, during a race I purposely try not to look back to see where the competitors are, something I learned a long time ago. After the race we were talking about her getting close at that point and how I thought she was going to catch me. She commented that she noticed that we picked the pace up going down the hill and that my stride was more like I was gliding down the hill and that she couldn’t maintain that pace.

Hell, I ain’t had anyone tell me my stride looked I was gliding instead of running for years. So maybe there is hope for all the work I have been doing with my stride?

I finished 10th out of 26 and was the first 60 year-old, but where it is a small race they only have 1st overall male/female for divisions. Kind of old-school, but I tend to like it.

Afterwards it was nice to talk and catch up with people I haven’t seen in a while.

Overall it was a great day for a race and I beat my time from last year by almost two and half minutes, so I have to say a big thank you to Ron for pacing me to a better time than I expected.

And I bet he has another almost the same at home 😉

Speaking of running shoes, the Gravity 3’s worked great as race day shoes, they got their first run outside and did great.


  1. It was a pleasure running with you today. Honestly, I was thinking about not even coming to the race but I’m glad I did. I have to remind myself that getting myself out to races is always worth it just from the social aspect. It’s easy to get down when I haven’t been running as much as I want to. I really enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ron I have to do the same thing sometimes. In our competitiveness, we often overlook the good we do for others and sometimes just being there to help someone else, like you did for me today can be as rewarding as running a good race ourselves. I know that I enjoyed your company and had the most fun at a race than I have in a long, long time 🙂 Thanks again.


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