Last weekend I ran an 8.5 miler in an attempt to "ramp up" for yesterday's half marathon. While I probably ramped up in mileage too quickly, as the race approached I knew I was going to run. I wasn't going to race, but rather I was going to have fun and just use it as a training run.
We got into New Hampshire Saturday afternoon and found Isaac. We drove most of the course, we got lost and didn't find a turn and then just went back to our hotel after, and there was HUGE puddle at mile 1. This thing almost could be called a pond.
After hanging out at the hotel with Crystal and Joe for awhile, we all went out to dinner. It was a relaxing and fun evening, but most of us were saying how we weren't really feeling the race.
We went to bed and woke up early on race morning. The one negative of this race was that they only had packet pickup on the morning of the race from 8-10am. I think that this was somewhat out of their control because they had a packet pickup time on their website for Saturday originally.
Joe dropped me, Crystal and Mike off, and we found Isaac instantly. We had no problem getting our bibs and then we found a wall to sit at while we waited for the start. All of a sudden Eric and Sara found us! This was our "friendiversary" because we had all met last year at the Hyannis Marathon. Luckily, this year we had better weather!
After waiting in the really long line for the bathroom, I went back to our group of friends and Andy was there! He came out with his kids to cheer us on. I haven't decided which twin is better yet (Eric and Andy are twins), but I'm happy to have finally met both of them!
Crystal matched both of us!
We took some group photos and then walked the 5-10 minutes to the start. Isaac lined up first, then Sara, then Crystal and finally Mike and I made our way to right in front of the 9:00 pacer. Mike had decided to run with me because he wasn't really feeling the race, and I really appreciated that.
My goal going into the race was to not have this be my worst half marathon time ever (not including Musselman). I figured I would aim for 9:30-9:45 pace and see what happened. I was also planning on taking walk breaks as necessary. My main goal was to come out of the race without further damage to my foot.
After the National Anthem, the race started and we were off. Sort of. We were so far back that it took a little while to get to the start (about a minute or two). Once we got going it was easy to settle in to a good pace. We were going faster than I had intended (about 9:17 pace), but it felt easy enough.
I did comment that my foot hurt a little bit, before the first mile even, and this other runner said "we're almost there". I laughed and told him I was injured and he just told me to run smart. Then he asked if I was training for Boston, at which I laughed. I did tell him that we were going to be doing Ironman Louisville. We chatted for awhile, but Mike and I eventually pulled away from him.
Luckily, when we came across the huge puddle it was gone! They must have drained it somehow.
The first few miles went along easy enough. The one other thing I didn't like about this race was that you had to go by the start/finish two times in the race. Although it did mean that we got to see Andy and his kids twice!
The first 7 miles had most of the elevation gain, but it really wasn't bad at all considering when I was running before I got injured it was on trails. Mike and I did get stuck around these two woman who were chatting the entire time, and for whatever reason their conversation was really annoying me. On one of the hills Mike asked if I wanted to go around them, and at that point I couldn't. We did go by them on one of the downhills, though (unfortunately they passed us again later at a water stop).
I like to break my long runs and races up into chunks, so I had told myself to just get to mile 6.5. Then I thought, "just get to Joe". He was supposed to be at mile 8, but we saw him at mile 7! I was happy to see him, but I changed my new goal to mile 10.
The course was really reminscent of the Hyannis marathon and a few other races that we have run. Mike and I weren't really talking a lot, but when we were an hour and 20-something minutes into it Mike said, "Isaac is probably done" (he finished in 1:25:51).
The only time I walked during the race was at the last water stop around mile 10.5. I said out loud, "I think walking was a bad idea" because I wasn't sure if I could get myself going. I hadn't run double digits in over a month, but luckily I got going again.
The final 3 miles were along the ocean and the headwind was horrible! All I kept thinking was, "get to mile 11.5", then "get to mile 12". Around mile 12.5, we saw Isaac. He ran us into the finish, which if I was racing would have annoyed me because you could see it for. ev. er. It kind of annoyed me anyway because I just wanted to be done.
We made it to the finish, ahead of those two chatty women who we had passed toward the end, and we saw our friends on the sidelines cheering us on. We crossed the finish line in 2:03:36, which is actually my third fastest half marathon time ever.
Overall, I am really happy with how this race went. I know that if I hadn't have gotten injured this race could have potentially given me a new PR (the course was perfect for that), but I accomplished all of my goals. This was my 11th stand alone half marathon (12th including the half at the end of Musselman) and my 7th state that I have raced in with Crystal.
I don't think I have any reason to be disappointed, at all.