I got up around 7:00 with tentative plans to run at around 10 or 11 o'clock after church. I had talked to Joe Shairs earlier in the week about getting together for a 20-miler, but we nixed that yesterday when the weather became a major factor. Joe decided he would probably put a movie on and hop on the treadmill, and I figured I would go for what ever I could when I had the chance.
We found out at breakfast that church had been cancelled due to the weather, so we eased back on the Sunday morning rush and then had our own family service with some singing and a little lesson that mommy taught admirably. Ben played the drums and we all sang. Heather headed out for a run around ten o'clock and then came back shortly afterwards, opting for the treadmill, so I got ready to go.
I knew starting out it would be wet and windy, but it didn't seem unreasonably so. I headed out the main entrance of Asbury Grove and up Asbury Street toward the center of Hamilton. I was soaked in the first couple minutes, but felt good, and after yesterday's lackluster race I was determined to put forth a solid effort. The first mile went by in 6:32 as I approached the end of Asbury Street and had to decide whether to head north or south on rte. 1A. I decided to head south, through Wenham and into North Beverly, hoping that the storm would be mostly north of me. Miles 2-7 were all between 6:18 and 6:24 as I found a rhythm that was only intermittently interrupted by a severe blast of wind. I made my way through Beverly by the hospital and back into wenham on rte. 22. I followed that all the way to bridge st in Hamilton (about 13 miles). 8-13 were between 6:09 and 6:19. I turned onto Sagamore off of Bridge Street and thought I might be a little under 20 miles the way I was heading, so I turned for a brief jaunt up Sagamore (aka "sacrifice") Hill. This is a paved hill off Sagamore Road that we have periodically trained on for HW XC to prepare for running at Northfield Mtn. It is about a quarter mile up a pretty steep grade - it felt a little like Mt. Washington for about 2 minutes, then I turned at the top and carefully came back down. Mile 14 was an understandably slower 6:33, then I tried to drop it down again as I headed into the final 7 miles. Miles 15-20 were a 6:10; 6:18; 6:10; 6:05; 6:08; 6:06. Then I finished with a 4:30 last .73 (6:07 pace). I felt really good, especially for no water or food; it was nice that the weather was such a distraction from the normal long run concerns.