Stu’s 30K Recap

Hey there! Nora’s mom and the other half of 2 Generations Running here posting today!

Since running the Augusta half nearly 3 weeks ago, Nora’s schedule has kept her super busy, so I thought I would do a quick guest post, and let her catch her breath.

The very next Sunday after Augusta, we tackled Stu’s 30K in Clinton, MA. Nora and I had done this as a relay, but neither of us had ever run the entire 18.9 miles! It was a lovely day, sunny and about 40 degrees, so nice for running. We decided we wouldn’t run this one together, because we were going to try to maintain our marathon paces, and Nora’s is a good bit faster than mine. (I was hoping to have an average pace of something between 9:30 and 9:15) The start of this race was pretty informal: no mat, just an air horn, and we were off!

Stu's 30K Relay Course Map.

So let me say that we knew this was a hilly course, but “rolling hills” does not begin to describe it. From the very first, it’s a constant up and down, and I for one really struggled to find, and maintain a comfortable rhythm.

Stu's 30k RecapI tried to concentrate on the views. There are some pretty views of the reservoir in the first nine miles, but the second half seemed to be a lot of highway with trees on one side and a brief view of the dam, until, at just before mile 18, you are back in Clinton and going up that last hill to the finish.

At this point the sidewalk was pitted and crumbling and I was tired and cranky and began to walk. Then I looked up and saw Nora running towards me and I thought, “She’s come to rescue me!!” Well, it wasn’t Nora, but another young blond runner, running back along the course to shout encouragement at all us tired runners. It helped me tremendously and I started running again and managed that last mile at 9:15, crossing the finish with a 2:56:35 at a 9:25 pace. Initially, I was a bit disappointed. I had met my goal, technically, but felt completely drained and felt that this did not bode well since I would need to do another eight miles for the marathon. But as I thought about it, I realized the course had been super challenging, and that I had run pretty well and kept it together “mentally” . Mostly. (Thank God for that young mystery runner!) So in the end, I decided, it was not a bad result, and that I had learned plenty!

Stu's 30K Relay

And Nora did equally well, with a finish of 2:41 and an average pace of 8:35.

2016 Stu's 30K

Afterwards, we had some delicious clam chowder and bagels in the school cafeteria as we listened to the distribution of the awards (we didn’t win anything) before heading home.

Overall, another fun race! If you have to do 18 miles, might as well do it with a whole bunch of other people and get a medal for it at the end. 🙂

Stu’s 30K Relay Recap

Happy Wednesday everyone!

First off, thanks so much to everyone who entered into the giveaway for the Glow Girl Fitness workout tank. The winner is Charissa, the blogger behind Charissa Running! Congrats Charissa!

Today, I wanted to share my recap of last weekend’s relay race, Stu’s 30k. My mom ran this race with our club the last two years, but this was my first time getting to run it since usually I’m away at school. After experiencing it, I have to say this is a pretty intense race! Most of the runners actually run the full 18 mile course as a tune-up for the Boston Marathon in April, so there were A LOT of very serious runners (I overheard one runner say this would be his 11th time running the Boston Marathon!) and many New England running clubs present. Our running club posed for a quick picture in the warm gymnasium.

Squannacook River Runners at Stu's Relay.Earlier in the week, my mom and I had gone out and gotten in a good, 8-mile run (I had been thinking of doing 6 miles, but she tricked me and kept me running until it wound up being just under 8.) My knee had held up pretty well through that, so the plan was for us to split the 18 mile race as a 2-person relay – I would do 9 miles and she’d do 9 miles.

After some debate about how exactly to split up the 4 legs of the race, we decided that I would run the first two legs consecutively, rather than running 4.5 miles, and then stiffening up before running another 4.5.

I lined up at the start, alongside all the other crazies who were running on this cold, gray day. Despite the frigid temps and snow flurries, I was excited to be racing again. The gun went off – and we were on our way.

I quickly got caught up in the racing spirit – and went out fast (for me) – my first mile was my speediest at 8:33. Not the best strategy for a distance race. Oops.

Of course, that was when the hills started kicking in. Long, gradual ascents, just steep enough to make the effort of running uncomfortable. I wanted to walk early on, but NONE of the experienced marathoners around me were walking. So, I used the feelings of peer pressure to my advantage and forced myself to keep running.

At mile 4.5, there was the first relay exchange. At this point, I knew I was halfway done and was settling into a rhythm. It was a great boost to see my mom and some of the club members at the exchange, cheering me on and snapping pictures.

Stu's 30K Relay Recap. 2 Generations Running

Stu's 30K Relay Recap.Despite a few twinges, my knee felt amazingly good. I was worried because the course was very hilly, but my knee held up. Around mile 7 (I think), there was a long descending section and the road became very canted towards the bottom – I was nervous that the uneven surface was going to throw my knee out of whack, but the road became flat again relatively quickly, and I was all good.

Miles 6 and 7 felt tough. The wind was brutal and the snowflakes kept coming down, and all I could think about was how happy I was NOT to be running the full 18 miles (I guess it’s a good thing I’m not registered for a marathon right now!). Surprisingly, the last mile flew by, and I was pleasantly surprised when I saw I was coming up on the mile 9 relay exchange where my mom was waiting to take over. I gave her a hug and wished her good luck, and she was off!

My average pace for the 9 miles was well off my half marathon PR, but I was still very happy with it. Considering the hills and my less-than-stellar training lately, it was a solid pace. And I had barely walked (I probably walked 30 seconds or less on only a couple occasions). After catching my breath, I hopped in the car with some of our running club members, and we went to find a good midway point to scope out and cheer for our team.

Stu's 30K Relay Recap.We hadn’t been waiting too long when my mom ran by, looking quite happy for still having roughly 8 miles to go!

After that, it was back to the finish line which was at a middle school. This was awesome because I was able to change into warm, dry clothes in a real bathroom (not a porta-potty)!

I had some of the wonderful post-race foods while I waited for my mom to finish, which included donuts, bagels, and hot clam chowder! Then, I went out hoping to catch my mom crossing the finish line – but ended up missing her by just a few seconds. So, no dramatic finish line photo unfortunately. 😉

Stu's 30K Relay Recap

Stu's 30K Relay RecapWoo! Another racing success for this mother-daughter team!

I’m thrilled it went so well, and my knee wasn’t even too sore the day after! Our next race is the Run for the Troops 5k in April, and now I’m even more excited for it. 🙂

Have a great day!