Drove about two hours north and east today to run in a 10K in the town of Ossipee, a town just south of the White Mountains and close to the Maine border. Town #121, and it wasn't one of the easier ones.
Why? Because it's mid-July, the start of the hottest time of year in this part of the world, and today's run had a relatively late start of 10 a.m., meaning we'd be out on the roads when the sun was at its strongest. A cloud-free morning and a lack of shade along portions of the course helped heat things up. Good thing the finish line was at a church, because I might have needed it.
And who knows what I was thinking this morning when I left the house without sunscreen and wearing a dark blue moisture-wicking shirt -- one that would absorb the heat -- rather than a white one, which would deflect it. Well, at least it wasn't humid, so it wasn't as bad as it could have been.
Very small turnout for this one, which was a benefit for the town's Main Street revitalization efforts. Kudos for the relatively reasonable $18 registration fee, but I hope they cleared enough for the event to be worthwhile. Exactly 12 people registered for the 10K, and I think about two dozen were in the 5K.
With such a small field, there's always a chance that I might be the odd man out in a field of otherwise elite runners. This time, however, it was mostly just plain folks, and I came in 8 out of 12, with a time of 1:02:08. That's close to a 10:00 minute mile pace, which is pretty good for a hot day with lots of ups and downs, though I was disappointed to once again not break the one-hour barrier.
I arrived at 9:30 a.m., and glad I did because the 10K started at 9:45 a.m., not the advertised 0 a.m. The few of us brave enough to do a mid-summer 10K lined up, and the next thing I knew, an airhorn was blown and off we went. Course was basically a loop that took us out into backwoods Ossipee, out southwest of town, then back to town center to the finish line in a church parking lot.
Once again, a longer race (6.2 miles) didn't seem as long as it might have. Seemed like we reached Mile 3 before we knew it. The course between Mile 4 and Mile 5 was the only tedious section, with ups and downs and some sun exposure that was really starting to get to me. Nicely paved roads, but not much to look at, though at one point we went by a charred mobile home, the remains of which were choking on mounds of half-burned debris.
I had been just ahead of a woman most of the race, and then we both passed a guy who was clearly slowing down, so as we progressed I felt assured that at least I wouldn't be last. The last mile, mostly in the sun as we headed downhill and back into town, I was able to push myself so that I finished more than a minute ahead of the woman. Still, a tough race and, by virtue of its mid-day time in mid-summer, one of the hottest races I've done.
The only two I can think of that compare to it are a blastingly hot races in Keene on July 4 about 10 years ago, and the pavement-meltingly hot 5K race at the NASCAR track in Loudon at about the same time. And there have been a few CIGNA 5K races in Manchester that have taken place in sweltering heat, but they're evening races (in August), and the sun is usually low enough for its impact to be mitigated.
Missed a race in Langdon today, but hope to pick up the Monadnock Region town of Marlow next week (Saturday, July 23), where they're celebrating the town's 250th birthday. See you on the road!