Central Maine Striders January Thaw Virtual Race – 1/17/21
I got to run today and even did one of those “wonderful” virtual races that I so “love”.
Oh well, it seems that if I want to race the annual Central Maine Striders January Thaw Road Race in 2021, it will have to be virtual. Since I am not injured this year and attempt to run it most years, virtually will do.
Although after yesterday’s rainstorm, overnight freeze, and snow squall that went through, I did delay running until the roads were not quite as slick. I prefer to remain uninjured, and I am not a beast like Julie M. She is tougher than nails and runs through anything, including trails in this stuff. I, for one, am impressed.
I did think about going up and running the regular January Thaw racecourse. It is only 10 minutes from the house, but I wasn’t sure if there would be many others there with the same idea. While it would have been great to see and talk with other Strider club member, I am still very leery of going where I might run into too many people. Especially with COVID-19 still being a problem. It just wasn’t worth taking the chance. There will be opportunities later to run with everyone.
I had initially planned to run out to Davis Drive and finish at the end of Tiffany road. However, with the re-freeze last night, down-back wasn’t an option. It was a skating rink after the lower gate. Also, I wasn’t keen on running laps on Philbrick. There was too much traffic going to contend with the disk golf course lady’s league and whatnot.
It was a January Thaw outside with temps in the mid-30s, overcast with a peek or two of sun, 10-15 mph breeze, and once I waited-only wet roads. I did dress as though I was going to race and even wore my 361 Degree Chaser 2s.
I figured that I would run a bit harder than usual, but not a race day effort, especially since I would have to come back up Philbrick Hill. But I anticipated pushing the pace at least a couple of times.
At the start, I had planned to do a half-mile warm-up lap before actually starting the race – you know, do the same stuff I usually do before racing. But when I got to the turn, I decided to go ahead and get going. It wasn’t like I would break any land-speed records or achieve a new PR for 4.5 miles.
I surprised myself at the mile split, coming in under an 8:00 minute pace. MMMM that felt pretty good. Good enough that I decided to go ahead and see how close I could come to my Shepard Road segment. While I ran comfortably fast, it wasn’t a race pace effort level, and I came within 17 seconds of my CR for that segment.
It shows me I might be in better shape than I thought.
Although coming back up, Shepard was a bit of a wind tunnel. I didn’t realize how much that tailwind was helping along until I ran straight into it. Oh well, I needed to get ready for the next surge.
I figured that since I was supposed to be racing, I might as well chase the Pepin segment. However, I didn’t commit myself to the task. I sort of steadily increased the pace versus getting after it from the start. In other words, I wimped out about going after the segment. I was 25 seconds off the CR, which is about what I figured, but still pretty happy with the pace I maintained.
After that, I just ran smoothly, and no, I do not recommend going up a hill like Philbrick be included in a racecourse if you are looking for a faster time. I didn’t push the pace at all going up the hill and settled for slightly picking up the last quarter-mile pace. Not even close to what I should be doing for the last quarter mile of a race.
The 361 Degree Chaser 2s did everything I asked of them and did it comfortably. No issues with grip on the wet roads. Impressed.
Overall, I must admit that if I hadn’t been racing virtually, I wouldn’t have run as well as I did. It wasn’t racing, but more a time trial to see where I am with my fitness. While it showed me I am not in racing shape, I managed to run a little faster than I have been for a while, and best of all, I didn’t break, strain, or injure anything—all excellent things.
Will I do more virtual races?
Probably not too many, I am not a big fan of them. But at the same time, they do serve a purpose and get me closer to racing than merely going out and doing a time trial.
Hopefully, at some point in 2021, racing will return, and I get to talk and run with others that I haven’t seen in a year now. I miss the camaraderie that we runners have when we are gathered together for a race or even a fun run.