Archives for posts with tag: 10k

The leaves are turning. It’s probably me looking for symbols but I find it apt: in a couple of weeks I will be moving back to NYC after a 4-year absence to start a completely new job. These are rather hectic days — movings are never easy — and bound to become more and more so, but I can’t leave the Valley without one final race, a farewell of sorts.

Part of Conway’s Festival of the Hills, Covered Bridge 10k is one of the toughest courses I’ve run to day: very hilly, it loops around back and dirt roads. The weather was perfect: it threatened to rain but kept a cool overcast sky that contrasts the red and yellow foliage of a rather early Fall. I am awfully undertrained but I did PR by 2 minutes: why are 10k’s so rare?

the race …


Since my last post on the Rabbit Run in New Salem, I ran plenty of more races but I didn’t have the time to sit down and write two words on any of those. I doubt I will go back and post about those races since they’re fading away in the mist of memories, but here they are: VFW/SMAC 10k (48:26) in South Deerfield on Memorial Day, Lake Wyola 4.8mi (33:04) on June 10, Northampton Mile (5:50) on June 16, 4 around the Fourth (28:12) in Northampton on June 30, and of course MassDash where we placed 2nd overall, and the weekly Northampton XC 5k Series which is teaching me the hard of lesson of pacing.
(I might write on the amazing experience of MassDash and on the Noho Series, but I won’t promise.)

Bridge of Flowers – August 11 – Shelburne Falls, MA (photo credit:

Bridge of Flowers 10k


Western Bay Staters, or Western Massachusites, do love their hills. Those hills in Western Mass. lack the imposing beauty of the Alps or the height of the Rockies, but can be deceptively steep and for good measure race organizers never fail to sprinkle one or two of those climbs in their race routes. Rabbit Run in New Salem is one of those and I have been warned on the fast steep downhill in the first 2 miles and of the steep uphill for the last 2 miles: what goes around comes around.
I thought 42 minutes would have been a reasonable goal for a 10K: I was wrong.

At the start, I met with friends from the local running club and decided to run with Marc — he’s a much better runner than I am, no doubt. I stander together at the start line; it’s a small race, roughly 70 people and pretty much everybody fits at the start line. When the gun went off, we ran positioning ourselves a good distance from the front group. As the route turns and climbs down towards the Quabbin I picked velocity: too fast, I knew, but it was fun and chatting with Marc took my head off of it. If you’re having fun, how would you stop? Well, you hit a hill, that’s how. We picked up a few front-runners in that crazy downhill, but as soon as we reached the Quabbins and the path turns around running along the water, I felt my legs were not there. Marc kept his stride and I lagged behind. I tried to pick it up but to no avail. I kept running until we hit the big uphill to the finish line: a mile, a mile and half of steep uphill. The stride shortened, the pace slowed down, and when I saw I was not catching up with the runners who decided to walk it, I switched to a walk. Fortunately the route passes through a beautiful, shaded wood. As the hill flattens out, I was passed by a few other runners, some asked if everything was alright, I replied not to worry, nothing was wrong I’m just awfully undertrained. At last, I picked up the pace not to finish walking. Finished in 48:42.

Rabbit Run 10k — May 19, 2012 — New Salem, MA

in italiano …

Yesterday I woke up at the crack of dawn (not unusual) and drove to Shelburne Falls, MA for their yearly 10k race. My last under half marathon race was two years, a 4 miler in Central Park NYC, since then the only races I ran were marathons and half marathons; a change of pace was to be expected.

Having run the NYC Half Marathon in March in 1:34, I was pretty confident I could have run a 10k in a sub 7 pace, that is I was going for a sub-43 minutes race … but how wrong was I! I finished in 44:09. Here the splits: 6:32 – 6:48 – 9:10 – 6:34 – 7:08 – 6:44 – 1:10. The last split is for the last .2mi (~344m) after the 6 mile marker to make 10km.
As you see the splits are pretty consistent on around a 6:40 pace (~4:10 min/km) except for that disastrous 9:10 on the third split and a 7:08 on the psychological third lap. Mile 3 was almost entirely the so-called hill, though ‘hill’ doesn’t completely give the idea of what a climb it is: a 300ft in half a mile, or, equivalently, 100m in 1km. Many just stopped running and walked their way up, I sucked it up and slowed to a jog; at the top of the hill the quads were burning and so tight I thought about stopping to stretch for a while.

Oh well I finished, but this race convinced me even more on my need to stop marathoning for a year after Chicago and dedicating more time on the track and speed-work. Marathons are fun and all, but the training relies a lot on volume and I want to see if I can get a bit faster … maybe a sub-40 10k as a dream goal.

In my adventure to qualify for the insane run, called 2009 NYC Marathon, I raced on Sunday, last weekend. The race was supposed to be on Saturday, but because of a Bon Jovi concert it was moved to Sunday morning.
It started at 8am, which in the hot New York summer is still a late start. For my morning runs I wake up at 6, and it is already hot and humid. I enjoy running, but I don’t enjoy running in a soggy weather; also the blinding white sky makes almost impossible to get up. But I managed, so far.

The finish stretch of the Park to Park Run (10k)

more on the race