Contributed by Samantha Zeigler, Author of the blog Running and Cupcakes
I finished my 6th half marathon in 13 months, the Half at the Hamptons in Hampton Beach, NH.
I felt kind of off all morning, but I had myself convinced it was just nerves.
When we got there, we parked (at a lot called Chat, Chew, and Play – I’m still laughing about that) and walked over to the Ashworth by the Sea Hotel – where bib pick up was located.
I picked up my bib and t-shirt. I’m happy that the shirt is not a long sleeve tech tee – I have WAY too many of those already and I hardly wear them.
The good part about this is that we were able to wait inside – it was about 27 degrees out and windy. We were also able to use the indoor bathrooms.
While waiting I met up with Halen and Amy – I had never met either of them, just a lot of chatting on Twitter, so it was great to put faces to names!
The starting area was a bit crowded – since there was nothing separating the runners from the spectators – but it was easy to find the 9mm pacer, right where I wanted to be.
As soon as I took off I had a bad feeling about this race. I could not get my head in the game. I felt nauseous from the start, and my breathing was ragged and almost painful. Cold weather is the only time I cannot beat my exercise induced asthma. I fought side stitches from Mile 6 through the end. I had thought race day weather was going to be a bit warmer, not taking into consideration the wind, since we were by the ocean.
Still smiling – this was around Mile 2ish. Thanks to my bro for taking pics!
I ran the best race I could have run given the conditions – coming in with a 2:11:26 official finish time. That’s VERY close to my PR – and I’m not in the least bit upset with my performance. I had a very sound frame of mind going into the race – thanks to the ever so awesome Coachy. He said, “Remember, no matter what happens during this race, if it doesn’t go as well as you had expected, it’s out of your control. You have done everything right in training, and you are ready for this.” The stars just didn’t align for me yesterday, but I’m okay with that. New Orleans is in two weeks, and this was an ass kicking pre-marathon training run.
At Mile 11 I did see Jolene waiting and cheering for me, that was so AWESOME. It was just what I needed at the time. I did feel bad when the only thing I could say to her was, I think I’m going to throw up! You can see it in my face, these pics are from Mile 13.
Now, as for the race itself, it sucked (In my opinion).
First off – there were a total of 3 water stops. THREE. I was DYING. I never carry water during a race, I’ve never had to. I also normally look at the course map for location of the water stops, but this race didn’t outline the location of the water on the course map.
Second – I am known for being a hill lover. But for this race I wasn’t prepared for hills because it was touted as being “…the flattest course in New England for a half marathon…” I have friends that have run other half’s that I’m pretty sure are flatter than this was. The website also says no climbs bigger than 60 feet – well not according to my Garmin data (not including that crazy little blip at 4ish miles).
Does this look flat to you?
Third – The town. I don’t know what I was expecting but this town looked to me like 1960’s Jersey Shore. Or that scene in Dogma, along the boardwalk…
No one’s playing at Playland today
Anyway, I was less than impressed with what the town looked like. Other than runners I’m pretty sure it was deserted. All the business were boarded up, and it looked ghetto and creepy. Some of the neighborhood areas we ran through were nice…only one stands out in my mind though, it was a straight stretch surrounded on either side by tall pine trees.
Finally – The finish. Every race I’ve ever run has had people either handing you water at the end, or it’s RIGHT there. I found food before I found water. And at that, all I found for food was bananas and yogurt samples. I was about to give up and go drink my own water that I had in the car, when I finally found the water. And the medal is cheesy. It’s a cute idea, but it’s cheap.
I will never run this race again. There’s nothing about it that stands out in my mind and says “Maybe give it another chance next year.”
Post-race we went to a pub called the Coat of Arms in Portsmouth and met up with even more blogger/Twitter peeps. Unfortunately I had to bail after just 2 hours because my stomach was bothering me. Turns out, I’m pretty sure I ran this race with a stomach bug. I was sick all night last night, and still feel pretty weak, tired, and crappy today. It was so awesome to meet everyone. I can’t wait to do it again! And, I’m not sore today though, so that’s a plus!
Halen, Greg, me, Janine, Amy
Sorry for this post being such a downer. Look forward to my normal perky-ness tomorrow! I hope everyone had a great weekend!
P.S. Less than 2 weeks until Rock N Roll New Orleans. I’M STOKED!