This is still one of my favorite races but DAMN was it not a great one for me this year. I thought I could get under 40 but I totally ate it on the hill. Y'know how some days you just aren't feeling it? That ended up being me. My legs felt dead after just one mile. I was pretty sure I wasn't even going to hit 42 and I was going to have to run a fast 5K to get seeded again. I sprinted down the hill and it was a bit better, but then my fourth mile wasn't as fast as it should've been. I thought I couldn't make it, but I pulled it together and ran the last .748 miles at a 8min/mile pace. Somehow (somehow) I managed to get a personal record for the course by about 20 seconds, finishing in 41:18. Comparatively, I did better. This year, I got in the top 15% in my division (152/1007), top 13% in my gender (688/5349), top 25% overall. Maybe next year I can actually reach my goal.
It was the 80th year of the Manchester Road Race in Manchester, CT and they definitely have this nailed. This was one of my favorite races that I've ever run. It was packed (11,225 people finished the race, but about 15,000 were registered), but the atmosphere was great, it was well organized, and I didn't feel too crammed at any given point (despite being constantly surrounded by people). The spectators were the best part. I've never been to a race that was that well attended! You couldn't run more than 10 feet without encountering another group. I also appreciated that they actually seeded people (instead of letting people self-select), so you were either in a corral (and had a ticket) or you were just in the mass of people in the back. I was able to get in the U42 corral and I think that definitely contributed to my enjoyment of this race.
As far as the actual race, it was mostly smooth sailing for all 4.748 miles, other than the massive hill that took up the entirety of mile 2. I ended up walking a bit of that due to my total lack of hill training, but I was able to make it up by keeping up an 8:20 pace as soon as I crested the hill through the end of the race. I finished the race in 41:33 (an 8:45/mile pace) and finished 3,032 (top 30%) and was 302 out of 1513 in my division (top 20%). I'm pretty proud of my run and could not be happier with the finish. I know I could definitely do better with some more hill training, but for a first go around, I'm pretty stoked!
Now to prepare for the marathon in under two weeks...