Boston Prep 16 Miler Race Recap
The Derry Boston Prep 16 miler was held on Sunday, January 27th, 2013 at 10AM. Race fee was $45 and went up to $55 one week before the race. I picked up my number at 9:30AM and by then two out of the three parking lots were full. The first think you will notice upon walking into the gym full of runners is that this is the real deal. This isn’t the I just want to get in shape and try out running type of crowd. These are lean fit machines. These are runners and they are ready to race and race hard. When they call this the Boston Prep, it really is. Most people I noticed have ran Boston in the past (or at least own a 2009-2012 Boston Marathon Windbreaker jacket) and from short conversations are training for just another Boston Marathon.
It was cold and a little windy. Weather was at 16 degrees with wind at 14 mph, windchill around 2 degrees. I wore everything I mentioned in the winter layers post since I knew what to expect from Saturday’s similar weather.
The course is known to be one of the hilliest and most challenging courses in New England for the distance. I’m not completely sure I would agree. Maybe I’m in much better shape now but I found the Gloucester Half Marathon I did in May 2012 much hillier and more difficult for me. The hills weren’t as steep as Derry but they were constantly rolling. The difficult part about Derry is that there’s a large number of steep downhills and those do a number on your knees. There are two major steep uphill. One smacks you around mile 5 while the other keeps punching you between mile 10.5 to mile 13. The great news? After your finish your half marathon distance of 13.1, it’s easy cruising from there!
Why this is a perfect Boston training running – Boston is a mostly downhill course with a mean hill at mile 21, Derry is mostly a downhill course with a nasty hill at mile 11. Derry is perfect practice for training how to take a beating to your knees on a downhill before running against a steep hill.
The video below is a drive view of the race course. Add some snow to the side and single digit temperature and you’re almost there.
Personal Race Experience
Miles 1 – The bathroom line was long and by the time I made it to the starting line the race has started and I had to struggle to get through the mass group of people to a better pace for myself. My stupid Garmin refused to find a signal as well. I was running strong but I wasn’t getting anywhere due to all the people and kept hoping from side to side trying to get through.
Miles 2,3,4 – 7:41, 7:23, 7:40 A mile later my Garmin woke up, and I have come to the middle of the pack, a faster more open group of runners. It was downhill and I was trying to run as slow and comfortable as possible. I didn’t have a lot of trust of how far or fast my legs could carry me on what should have been a recovery run. However, with the downhill miles I was at an average 7:30 Pace. Amazing how you find energy to run so much faster when you’re in a group vs. alone.
Miles 5, 6, 7 – 8:19, 7:44, 7:40 There was a hill around mile 5, I also remember it suddenly getting really cold as we ran in a shaded part of the course. I saw the clock say something like 40 minutes and since I started the race late I think I was still at a 7:43 average pace. Official results say I was at 39:21 or 7:53 pace at 5 miles.
Miles 8, 9, 10 – 7:44, 7:52, 8:29 I remember these miles just feeling comfortable until I needed to pee. I knew there was a porta potty at mile 10. I saw a sign in regards to it in mile 10 and yet I somehow missed it and ran past it. You can also tell where the hill started… yup. Mile 10 was crossed at 1:18:29, 7:51 pace.
Miles 11, 12, 13 – 8:32, 8:51, 7:47 Starting at 10.5 Miles, it was hills, up and a little down, to more up up, to down. Surprisingly I was able to keep running through most of the hills I didn’t say it was fast running, but there was some running. I walked a little when my quads were burning but for the most part I tried to shuffle up the hill. Also hills, and a desire to pee is not too comfortable. I think I debated the merits of peeing at the side of the road in front of my fellow runners, however, after the great show of community support and race volunteers, I couldn’t bring myself to be that disrespectful regardless of how desperate my need was growing. At this point with the hills, my average pace was 8:00 according to the Garmin. Official results say I crossed the 13.1 barrier at 1:44:27, 7:59 pace.
Miles 14, 15, 16 – 7:46, 7:20, 7:02 These were a blast. I knew the hills were over and I gunned it down the road. I ran the last 3 miles in about 20 minutes. I was surprised that with all the miles this weekend, and the hills, I still had so much kick left. I guess that’s what happens when you pace your race instead of gunning down until you slowly burn out. The only frustrating part was that the last 2 miles were on a main road that wasn’t fully closed. It was a mash of runners and cars and it was a little hard to run my heart out while watching my back for a heart. After crossing the finish line I kept running because peeing my pants was not how I wanted to remember this race.
Total Time 2:05:36
Total Pace 7:52
Total Place 141/556
Post Race Fuel – This was probably the most food I have seen available after a race. There was no finishing medal but the availability of food to refuel on more than made up for the lack of bling.
To recap everything that was available for consumption because every runner is a secret fatty – pizza, nachos, salsa, cheese spinach dip, chilli, chicken soup, tomato soup, yogurt, yogurt drinking sticks (gogurt), pretzels with yogurt sauce, hot chocolate and probably more things I missed. This is one race that you will have to work really hard to leave hungry. When one of the volunteers asked me if I needed a tray, I was a little confused but as you can see from above, I made full use of that “Tray.”
Overall great race, great crowd, great course, and great food!