The race is point-2-point and despite the elevation profile, is quite rolling with short climbs and descents and a net gain of around 670 feet over the first 7 miles. The first mile climbed 260' in a 3/4 mile stretch. That's a good way to start a race! The 8th mile (still not on the mountain) climbs another 190 feet. The first 8 miles averages 197 feet of elevation gain per mile, which is slightly more than, say, climbing Mountain Rd in Falmouth (about 180'/mile). This is hilly for a road race but certainly not a mountain run. The Mid-Winter Classic 10 miler averages 70' per mile elevation gain, so is super flat by comparison. The first 7 miles really did roll; the number of descents surprised me enough that I wasn't actually sure that we had done any net climb by mile 7 (obviously my "feel" was way off).
At 7.9 miles the course turns onto route 101 and there is a good climb (6-8% grade) to the park entrance. At 8.7 miles you enter the park and actually start the mountain climb. The race web site advertised grades like Mt. Washington and it didn't disappoint. The first 1/2 mile of road is about 12-14% grade continuous. This is harder than Mt. Washington. The second 1/2 mile is back to about 6-8% and makes you feel like running, if you still have gas in the tank. The last 1/3 mile starts with a Mount Washington grade but then turns onto a loooooong wall of >20%. The wall is maybe 200 meters, which is much longer than the final wall on Mt. Washington and just as steep. It's sick.
Grade over the last 2.1 miles (from the turn onto Rt. 101 to the finish). The park rd. begins at mile 8.7. Individual points for the grade were averaged over 11 gps points (taken every 3 seconds) so even the red line is smoothed. The error is in the location of the GPS point which on a steep hill can create lots of noise.
I'll be brief. My goal was 1:18 which seemed conservative but given my 10K last week maybe even this was optimistic. I was very conservative on the first mile (which was again very uphill) and lots of people passed me. I passed a few people after mile 1 but then settled into a long lonely race where I ran alone, wasn't passed by anyone, and took about 6 miles to close the 50 meter gap with the two guys in front of me. Once I caught them I dropped them quickly and slowly closed the gap with another pack of about 5. I passed this entire pack on the Rt. 101 section between mile 8 and the park entrance (mile 8.7). On the park road, I passed about 4-5 more runners, and again, wasn't passed by anyone from behind. Finish time was 1:17:55 for 38th out of 201 runners. Wow, nailed the goal which is good, but not great since it was a conservative goal.
About 10 days ago I started to lean toward the source of pain being retrocalcaneal bursitis rather than insertional achilles. I based this conclusion on the ability to cause pain when I poked my heel with the achilles flaccid but not when tensed (hence the pain would seem to be deep to the tendon unless a tense tendon isn't painful for some reason). In response, I started myself on an NSAID treatment, which is usually something that I avoid (again tendon injuries aren't typically inflammation but tears).