Hi guys! Remember me? As I was sitting here contemplating half marathon no. 9 TOMORROW, I realized I never posted a recap of the Smuttynose Half Marathon last month!
Of course, now that 4+ weeks have gone by, my memory is a little foggy, but I’ll give it my best shot. The good thing is that I’m no stranger to this race, having run it (in heartbreaking fashion) last year, missing out on my sub-2:00 goal by 5 seconds.
I was sooooo determined this time around to hit my goal, even though this has been a up-and-down year for running for me, and I was only discharged from physical therapy for my knee issues in June. I knew going into it that sub-2:00 was going to be really tough but I thought I might have an outside shot.
One good thing about this year’s race was the company! I was running not just with Dr. G., but with a whole crew of #motherrunners from my town! It was so fun to see so many ladies—some experienced runners, some running their first-ever half marathons—ready to take on the challenge.We took over Hampton Beach!
I also had the luxury of having run the course before, so I knew what to expect—including a double loop at the beginning, and a long uphill around mile 8.
Having all that support almost made the awful weather bearable. Because it was pretty unpleasant, although not Hartford Half Marathon unpleasant, but still rainy and damp and CHILLY. Luckily I had my trusty garbage bag to keep me dry until start.
The race started right at 8am. With visions of last year’s slow, congested start in my head (the half marathon and 5K races line up together and start simultaneously), I thought I could put a little time in the bank by getting out to a faster start.
Yeah. Not such a good idea.
My first two miles were sub-9, which was when I realized I was being totally insane and dialed it back some. Dr. G. and I passed each other a few times during the first 4-5 miles of the race (the dreaded double loop).
My Garmin was not cooperating that day but I thought my miles hovered in the 9:15 area, which should have kept me on pace for sub-2:00, given my fast-ish start. But around mile 9-10 my legs started to feel heavy and sluggish and I just kept telling myself not to stop. I think this is where my paced slowed down a bit.
By the time I got to the last 2-3 miles—a straightaway along the ocean leading to the finish line—I was totally gassed. But I kept chugging along, trying not to be discouraged as people passed me.
Finally, I saw the finish line and dialed up whatever I had in the tank. Final time: 2:01:24. So just over a minute slower than last year.
To be honest, I was kind of surprised to find I wasn’t as disappointed about missing sub-2 yet again as I would have expected. When I remember how I was in PT just a few months earlier, turning in my third fastest half marathon time ain’t too shabby!
We were shivering post-race (though thankfully we have our race fleeces to keep us warm…seriously, best.race.swag.ever) but managed to grab some food (chowder and a lobster roll for Dr. G., vegetarian Minestrone soup—a welcome addition from last year!—for me) and headed over the to the beer tent, where we stood shivering yet managed to get down two post-race beers!
It’s funny, at some point after the race, I was struck by this thought:
Running a half marathon is kind of like giving birth. You prepare for months and get so excited and anxious for the big day, then mid-race you realize/remember how freaking HARD (and often painful) running 13.1 miles can be. But over time you forget, and only remember the good things, so you sign up for another one the next season and the cycle begins anew.
Except that I decided to run two half marathons in five weeks, which means I still clearly remember how tough this race is, and how I struggled at the end. So I’m definitely having a hard time getting my head into tomorrow’s race. But who knows, maybe that will be to my benefit?
Time will tell…