Photos of Joshua Way courtesy of Maine Running Photos
The morning of the Central Maine Striders Fall Classic 10k was very cold and windy, I felt like I was freezing waiting for the race to kick off. My intentions were to win in a time around 36 minutes. When everyone was at the start line I was nervous as I didn't know how fast everyone else was, Club President Ryan Goebel kicked the race off with a "Runners set....Go!!" I was off and immediately I was up front with a fellow Strider runner Casey Gallant as we went down Quarry Road and turned onto North Street. I didn't think I could continue the pace I was running, but luckily the wind pushed me right up North street. After we finished the first half ,I pushed the uphills and got rid of Casey. He did a great job during this race. He pushed me very hard the first 5k. Back onto North Street I went, with the wind slowing me down, I was getting very tired. When I got back onto Quarry road for the home stretch, I knew I only had only a mile left. I ran that last mile faster than I thought I could, I was up front in the lead as I came near the finish line. I was pushed on by cheering family's and friends. I sprinted to the finish line in 34:32. I was very pleased as I moved off to the side for fellow runners to come through. I would love to run this race next year!
As the worldwide pandemic continues to evolve, we do too and continue to roll with whatever comes our way. There have been a lot of changes over the past 7 months, but one thing has not changed for me: the sheer joy of lacing up my sneakers and going for a run. Both my husband (Patrick Guerette) and I are avid runners and have continued to find joy in running, despite races being cancelled. We were both training for big races in April and May, including the Boston Marathon and an Ultra Marathon in Vermont. We didn’t let the cancellations of those races get to us. When Patrick mentioned that the Central Maine Striders were organizing a fall race with a capacity of 40 runners, I knew I had to sign up. This was my chance to see results of all the training I’ve completed in the past year.
It was a cold, breezy morning at the Quarry Road. Foliage was at its peak and runners were happily warming up for the Fall Classic 10k. There was some nostalgia of a high school cross-country race with the crunching of the leaves and the brisk fall air. Race directors, runners and volunteers were masked up and following all COVID-19 safety protocols. Despite all the safety measures, race day did not feel any different than any other race I’ve done. I still had pre-race jitters, I still did my typical warm-up and mingled with other runners and my husband was STILL competitive with me as always. Patrick made a friendly bet with me prior to the race: If he ran faster than me, I would have to cook dinner all week (anyone who knows me is well aware that I am no chef and I never cook!). Fair enough. I knew we would be close. My 10k goal has always been to break 40 minutes but would today be the day?
I started off strong with mile 1 at 6:11 pace. Too fast? Maybe. Leaving the Quarry Road and heading on North Street, finishing the second mile at 6:12 pace. I felt strong and knew I could keep up with the pace. I could hear Patrick trailing behind me through miles 3 and 4. I was in the zone and knew I could finish strong. Patrick crept up on me and passed me going into mile 5, looking strong. He cracked a joke and broke ahead. I just had to keep him in sight if I wanted to break 40 minutes. Turning back onto the Quarry Road for the last 1.5 miles, I could feel my legs starting to cramp and the wind was strong. I could hear the voices in my head saying “How bad do you want this?” Feeling the adrenaline rush in the last 400 meters, I raced to the finish in a time of 39:07. I immediately felt that “runners high.” All the hard work and dedication paid off.
We may be living in strange times but I felt a glimpse of hope in today’s race. It was fun to see other runners in the community come together and do what we love to do. Thank you, Central Maine Striders, for putting together this event! See you next year.