So, half marathon #4…here’s how it went down.
The night before, I laid out all of my gear, as usual. I’m always so nervous that I’ll lose something (like my socks) so I packed two or three of everything…you can never be too prepared, I say! I was meeting up with some of the other girls in the morning to ride up with them so I set my alarm for 3:45 am. Yawn.
I didn’t get much sleep but I normally don’t before races…to nervous/excited! I got up and showered to wake myself up and loosen my muscles a little. I made two pieces of cinnamon toast and ate them on the way over to the meet-up, along with a glass of milk. This breakfast worked great and I didn’t have any stomach issues.
The race didn’t start until 8 but we had over an hour drive and traffic was expected, as there is really only one road going into Hampton. We were on the road by 4:45 and with a couple quick stops (for necessities like coffee) we made it there around 6. We had no problem finding a parking spot and had plenty of time to get our bibs and shirts and use the bathrooms.
A group shot pre-race…Alyson, Mikella, me, Rachel, and Ashley.
It was FREEZING! No need to worry about overheating! We were right on the beach and the wind whipping off the ocean was frigid. We hid out in the van until we had to line up and added some layers. I was running with my Garmin, iPod, two GU’s and a plastic water bottle.
There were about 5,000 runners and the start was really crowded. They tried to do a wave start by pace group but you couldn’t even move to get into the right corral. It was alright though and once we got moving things thinned out. I didn’t train with the other girls but Rachel is about the same pace as me so we decided to stick together unless either of us wanted to slow down/speed up.
The course was great, nice and flat, and it went along the ocean for a couple miles at the beginning and again at the end. Once inland, the wind died down and it was perfect running weather. The sky was overcast and it drizzled here and there, but the rain held off until we finished. Rachel and I kept a steady 10:30 pace and chatted a little while we ran. I usually run solo but it was really nice to be running with someone…it kept me distracted and the race flew by. The website mentioned a couple small hills but you couldn’t really even call them hills, more like slight inclines. It was glorious…you don’t find 13 (.1) flat miles very often in New England!
(Image Source, from a previous year)
Rachel and I ran together until around mile 10.5 (I believe). I was feeling really good so I picked up my pace a little. My goal was to come in under 2:15 and it was looking like I was going to be able to do! That’s been my goal since I started running half marathons and I’ve never even come close, so this was big; my PR (personal record) up to this point was 2:27.
The last couple of miles were right along the ocean and it was an awesome way to finish the race. I picked up my pace and ran the last mile in 9:39! The finish was great, with a lot of spectators cheering everyone on. I sprinted over the finish line, with an official time of 2:15:47. I missed my goal by 48 seconds!! ;) I think I can live with it…especially since I beat my previous PR by 12 minutes. What a difference a flat course makes!
A big Thank You to Rachel’s husband, Kale, for all of the photos…especially this gem. ;)
I was able to easily find the others from our group since the finish area wasn’t super crowded. It had started raining at this point so once everyone had finished we didn’t stick around for the post-race festivities (each runner got tickets for beer and a lobster roll). I did grab a Gatorade and a yogurt on the way to the car, though.
Victory! This was their first half marathon and they all did great.
All in all it was an awesome race and such a fun day! Even if we do end up moving out of state as planned, I think I would fly back to run this race again…maybe even the full marathon some day. It was well organized (except for the wave start but they just needed more room…and the pace signs higher in the air so you could see them above the crowd of runners. Just in case a race organizer happens to read this ;) ) and the atmosphere was great. A perfect New England race for the fall!