Sunday, February 19, 2012
Need a Bigger Boat: Martha's Vineyard 20 (2/18/12)
Race: Martha's Vineyard 20 Miler
Location: Vineyard Haven, MA
Goal Time: 2:24:00
Actual Time: 2:20:35 (1st place, Clydesdales)
"This race, swallow you whole"
20 Miles is a long race. While shorter than a marathon, it's still a beast of a race. I targeted Martha's Vineyard as a trial race for my marathon. I wanted to know if I could maintain my goal marathon pace and properly fuel myself. The course is pretty flat except for gentle hills between 13-19.
Of course what makes the race is the Vineyard itself - a gorgeous island of 15,000 year round residents. The island is filled with beautiful beaches, lovely little villages with Victorian era cottages painted like gingerbread houses, and in the middle is a large state forest.
Like Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard had been a whaling hub in the 19th Century. It has been able to remake itself as a vacation destination on the East Coast. It was even the site of Amity Island in Jaws.
"Gonna need a bigger boat."
The race is brilliantly planned to start at the ferry port in Vineyard Haven. With the race due to start at 11, the ferry from Wood's Hole that pulled in right at 10:15 was packed with wicking shirts and talk of Boston Marathon goals.
At the start of the race I ran out a little fast. After a brief unplanned stop, I caught up with Elizabeth, Mariah and Megan around mile four in the old port area of Oak Bluffs and had settle into a nice stride.
Out of Oak Bluffs the course followed a duney stretch of the Nantucket Sound for 5 or so miles before heading inland at the 10 mile mark.
At 12 miles, the course turned into the state forest (and around the airport) and directly into the wind. Mariah and Megan who were near me were in the top 10 among women and we saw two more women who could probably be caught. While I was going to "line up to be a hot lunch," I knew I was in the lead of the Clydesdales. I suggested the two of them slip in behind me while I put 7 minute miles into the wind as long as I could and maybe we could catch the women up ahead. This worked for a few miles.
Around mile 16 there was a small hill. Mariah was ready to pick it up a bit and I was ready to take a little off the pace. She passed me and slowly over the next 4 miles disappeared from my view. I knew all I had to do was fight to the mile 18 marker and then I'd be fine - the last two will complete themselves.
By 18 and a half I was feeling good. I was coming in way under my goal time. I hadn't slowed too much - ran 7:20s for the last 3 miles. AND, it looked like I might actually beat Megan Hyland. At 19 and a half, those hopes were dashed as she dashed by me.
I pulled in at 2:20:35 seconds: 3.5 minutes ahead of my goal time, 2 minutes ahead of 2nd in the Clydesdales and 15 seconds behind Megan. (While she beat me by a good 2 and a half minutes at Derry, in the other three races this year Megan has beat me by a combined less than 30 seconds.)
Shoutouts go to Mariah and Elizabeth for Age Groups Second Places; and Deb and Megan for Age Group wins.
Also a shoutout to Barry for pulling off a 1 second PR in a 20 Mile race.
And an additional shoutout to Korynn for her 20 Mile PR (not that it's apparently "anything to be proud of" ~ Coach Tim)
"I used to hate the water."