One of the more “special” races that I have been wanting to do for the past several years is the Redding Road Race. The Redding Road Race is located close to the New York border border and it always sells out fast. In fact this past year it sold out in 35 hours. Crazy, I know!
One of the things I love about this race is that it supports the New Pond Farm – Connecting People to the Land that Enriches and Sustains Us All.
I signed up for this race over the winter, when I was injured (I am seeing a bit of a trend here!) along with my girlfriend Jessica Willis.
The Redding Road Race has two official races- a 7 miler, a half marathon and one “unofficial” race – the Mighty Cow Challenge which is basically a 5k that is run before the half marathon. Not feeling that a half marathon was enough – for an extra $5 I signed up for the Challenge of running 16.2miles over the rolling hills of Connecticut.
Now, I am currently training for a Spring half marathon and ultimately a Fall marathon but until last Sunday my long run had not been longer than 9 miles. Now I expected my legs to propel me to run almost double that.
On top of that the weather was supposed to be cool and a “front” to come through Redding just as the 5k was supposed to start. My mom had mentioned that maybe “not a lot of people would show” to the race. Ha – little did she know that runners will show up in all types of weather! We might not do much else but we will show up to run!
And show up they did!
I arrived around 6:30am and picked up my awesome swag which included a shirt, cup, insulated lunch bag, sticker, obligatory cow bell and my “mighty cow hat”.
With the start of the 5k approaching at 7:20am I snapped a picture with Jessica and her boyfriend Matthew and headed to the start. I would say about 20 of us lined up. A “gentleman, whom might have been the race director,told us we were crazy, not to “blow out our paces because we still had a half marathon to run”, and then told to “go” just as the rain started to fall.
I kept a pretty consistent pace – finishing in 27 minutes. I so wanted to speed up as people were passing me but I heeded what I was told before the 5k and also what my coach and I discussed in the days leading up to the race. Also – the course (on open country roads) was a bit hilly so it was not that hard to keep my pace in check.
Basically it boiled down to – Yes, I signed up for the race BUT I was not to race, the race. This meant running in my trainers and keeping the pace down.
With about 10 minutes between the 5k and half marathon start – I grabbed some water, made another bathroom stop and headed to the start. I also made a plan in my head to follow a pacer for this race. I know that following a pacer can be hit or miss BUT I knew the 2:00 hour paces, Adam Osmond, is a very consistent pacer so if I could just say with him, I knew I would be good.
But how would I do – that was the real question. I put my faith in following the plan and knowing that if my coach knew running the Redding Road Race was a bad idea, he would have told me to DNS (and I guess I would have listened).
The race itself was a challenge, not just because I ran a 5k before but because of the following:
- The roads are country roads – meaning a lot of holes and uneven surfaces. They are supposed to pave, just not this year
- It had a lot of rolling hills and those can take a told if not run correctly
- It was raining and that combined with the cool weather can be downright miserable
BUT you know what with Adam pacing I just fell into a groove – he consistently hit his splits. The course was really well marked, with plenty of water stations and even a sponge station at mile 11. Shoutout to the boy scouts manning the sponge station – unfortunately I was soaked at that point but if the weather was warm (as it was last year) they would have been my best friends.
Don’t get me wrong – the course was challenging but by keeping my pace under control I still had some gas in the tank at the end (although once I stopped my legs told me different).
Crossing the finish was a great accomplishment and I got a sweet finishers medal.
- There are so many races are happening every weekend in Connecticut – I love this time of year!
- I love races that benefit a great cause. I will happily plunk my money down for these races.
- The race director of the Redding Road Race is awesome – from the 10 newsletters that runners receive before the race to the small personalized factors on race day, and truly makes all runners feel special.
- I am usually wary of running with a pacer but after running with Adam this past weekend, I believe that they can really help you keep on pace.
- I need some new running songs – suggestions?
- Running in the rain and cool weather never gets easier. I got some great chafing as a prize for running 16.2 miles (or as Mark said – vampire bites)
- The Redding Road Race is a truly special event and some of the best swag around. I can see why it sells out so fast.
- Shoutout to those that made the home baked muffins – I am not usually a muffin eater after races but they truly hit the spot!
- I am impressed with my endurance. I was really wary going into this race but being able to run both races WITHOUT STOPPING was a great accomplishment and confidence booster.