10.28.2011

Passed With Flying Colors

On Sunday, instead of doing a training run by myself, I opted to meet up with a friend of mine in Massachusetts and run the Newburyport Green Stride Half Marathon! Newburyport is a cute little town in the very northeast corner of the state, just before you get to New Hampshire. It's about an hour north of Boston, so we stayed the night in Boston, where we did our carb loading at Nebo, in the North End. My friend is gluten intolerant and they have a full gluten free menu!

All I wanted to do was to beat my last time (1:53). I wanted a new PR.  

Before the Race

I woke up on Sunday morning with a sore throat. I had been feeling a little under the weather but was hoping it would hold off until Monday, but it didn’t. The drive from Boston to Newburyport was not too long and the fall colors got better and better as we headed north.

The weather was about 45 degrees at the start of the race and warmed up into the low 50s as we ran. This time I got towards the front of the line before starting, since last time I was farther back and it took a while to cross the start line. I think it took me only about 5 seconds to get over the line this time! The race started downtown, which was filled with spectators, and headed north at first. The first hill came around mile 1 and that is where my running buddy and I split up. 

The course wound around town and had a few ups and downs along the way. The best part was around mile 4 or 5 and then again around mile 8 when we ran past lakes surrounded by orange trees. The water and the reflection of the trees in the water made me want to shout out, “This is beautiful!” But I didn’t. 

I ended up using the Pink Lemonade Honey Stinger Chews as my fuel (Thanks to Jill for the suggestion!) They are great. I would recommend them to anyone who can’t stomach the Gu or the gels! I took one at mile 6 and one at mile 10. This was enough to keep me going but not too much to make me feel sick. The package comes with ten chews. I will probably need to split it up pre-race so I am not carrying around excessive fuel. 

This was the inaugural race for the Green Stride Half Marathon. It was pretty good overall, but there were a few kinks they will need to iron out for the next one. 

THE PROS: Water every two miles. There were plenty of volunteers to tell you where to go during the race. Gu at mile 6. Lots of spectators! Beautiful course that was mostly flat with several small hills. Great fall colors! Good sponsors – 2 free beers, pizza and plenty of snacks at the end, as well as a local band. Chip timer was on race bib rather than shoe. There were plenty of port-a-potties at the start line. T-shirts were sponsored by Life Is Good. 

THE CONS: Mile 10-12 was run right in the middle of a traffic-filled street that we had to cross! Also mile 12-13.1 was run on a single track wood/asphalt path along the harbor. It was like one of those cattle chutes, and I had a hard time getting around people at the end, when I usually try to sprint. The start and finish was in a fenced off area, which only had one door for entrance and exit, which was not good. The start and finish was also surrounded by a parking lot and people (runners) were trying to get out of the parking lot while others were still finishing the race! Also the room for spectators at the end was quite sparse and unorganized. At the beginning of the race, the first 500 people who signed up got a long sleeved t, but they did not have a good system of telling people who got one and who did not. No port-a-potties on the race course. Only the first 500 registrants get a wicking shirt. 

Right before the finish -- see the parked cars!?
THE VERDICT: I would run this race again. I really hope that they figure out better logistics for the finish line, so that the runners can run without being worried about getting run over by cars as well as having space to run and to pass other runners at the end. I also think they need at least 3 port-a-potties along the route. 

I ended up coming in at 1:49:21, which is an 8:21 mile. So I got my PR! I placed 13/119 in my division and 345/1103 overall. The fastest woman was around 1:10!! I “only” have to shave 39 minutes (roughly 3 mins/mile) off my time to beat her next time!  **(I was looking at the placing and IF I was in the 60-69 age group, I would have gotten 3rd. Otherwise I wasn’t very close to the top 3 in any other category!)**

Did you race last weekend? Or, if you are not a runner, are the fall colors showing themselves in your neighborhood? 

Don't forget to go to Jill's for more Fitness Friday blogs! 

4 comments:

  1. Nice race! Great PR - feels good to get "under" a certain number, like under 1:50! Fantastic!

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  2. sorry you weren't feeling great for the race but great PR! Good for you! I love reading race recaps, they totally motivate me to push through my next race! To answer your question, I didn't race last weekend but doing a local 5K tomorrow :)

    Newest follower from the fitness hop!

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  3. Way to go! Nice PR for you.

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  4. Yay for PRs!! It sounds like a beautiful run with the fall colors! I've now added a fall colors race to my "must do someday" list!

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