Back on September 12, I headed down to Plymouth MA for the Run to the Rock 10k. This was sort of a last minute thing. I hadn't really planned on doing much racing this summer but Ronnie somehow talked me into it. And since I was looking to get in that distance that weekend anyways, why not do it in a new location? At least that always seems like a good idea at the time, until the night before the race when I realize how early I have to leave my house, how much stuff I have to pack, and knowing that I had some issues at work looming over me this weekend. Man, it would've just been so much easier to run from my house! Nevertheless, I headed down 495 super early and got a call from Ron, who happened to be just ahead of me on the highway. We pulled into a parking lot in Taunton and carpooled the rest of the way, which made things easier!
The race started at 9am and we got there with plenty of time to spare. This was a point to point course, where you park at the start, run to this rock in Plymouth that's famous or something, and then get shuttled back to the start after the race. I thought the logistics of the race were a little confusing, with three different distances all starting in three very different locations and converging at the finish line. It made it impractical to carpool with anyone doing a different distance. Plus, they promote an after-race BBQ and beer festival, but the festival starts at 1pm and the shuttles to your car run only until noon. If I looked into it more I probably could've figured out how to make that work, but we ended up doing just fine without the beer festival. (<--- Teaser!)
The day was overcast at the start, mild temps and very soupy air. After such a dismal performance at the Finish at the 50 10k in July, I knew I needed a better plan. So this time I started further back in the field, and made sure my pace was only slightly faster than my usual pace. Let people pass me, don't get sucked into the fast first mile pace. That worked great and my first mile was 8:54. The course description mentioned a "memorable hill", and sure enough I found it going into my second mile. The people who made a break for it right at the beginning were sucking wind going up that hill and I motored past a lot of people. I was happy to see that 2 miles into the race I could still see Ronnie just ahead of me. The good thing about that big hill was as soon as it crested, it went right back downhill, so I made sure I took as little recovery time as possible at the crest of the hill and then took advantage of the downhill. A little bit later, I smelled the distinct odor of a feed store. That seemed strange since we were running in an industrial park, until I noticed the SmartPak sign off to my left. SmartPak is where I order most of my horse equipment and supplements, so that was pretty funny to see it in person. My second mile was 8:56 which I thought was great considering that memorable hill. Mile 3 was even better at 8:45. I started slowing down a bit after that, partly because my body was like, okay... I think 5 miles is far enough. The sun came out which heated things up, and I also noticed that I started getting caught up in other peoples' paces. I realized I was comfortably running right behind a guy, when I should have been passing him. Turns out I get sucked into both faster and slower paces. I'm such a follower! I was excited when I realized I might actually make a sub-9 minute mile pace, which is the fastest 10k I've had in years. Finally I reached the finish line in 55:16, and an 8:55 pace. I was really happy about that!
At the finish line I caught up with Ron, and Sarah, Kim, Melissa and Julie who all did the 5k. We got a quick picture for the running club, then headed over to the BBQ. 10am hot dog? Sure why not!
We enjoyed our BBQ on the lawn and noticed a photo booth nearby. Naturally we can't resist a photo op.
By this time it was about 11am and we still had some time to kill so we decided to take a walk up the street to grab a beer at the bar. It turned into two beers, and then we realized it was well after noon and remembered that the shuttle back to the start line only ran until noon. Luckily Melissa had a giant truck that we piled into and she gave us a lift back.
As we pulled into the parking lot where our day had started hours before, Melissa pointed out that the Mayflower Brewery was right next door. So, obviously we had to stop in for a tasting and a tour!
We left the brewery and stopped by the beach where Julie spent the afternoon. It was a beautiful beach day for September, and a nice way to end the day in Plymouth. We capped off this adventure by meeting up with more friends in Carver for dinner. I pulled into my driveway at 8pm, 13+ hours after I left for the race. Running from home definitely would have been less time consuming, but it wouldn't have been nearly as fun!