Thursday, April 11, 2013

Great Bay Half Recap (State #39- New Hampshire)

State #39
Lifetime Half # 47
2013 Half #5
Official Time 1:53:30

Even though this was on day 2 of a double header, day 1 was surprise PR in Maine, I was actually excited about this race. The start was 11am (sleeping in), and since we decided to stay an extra night we weren't worried about late finish. The weather was supposed to be tolerable, my legs were feeling pretty good, and it looked like a pretty flat course.... (more on THAT part later)

After freezing our fannies off in Maine, B and I made it a point to hit up a thrift store for a decent throwaway to actually keep us warm for New Hampshire race. Even though it wouldn't be nearly as cold as the day before, it was better to be prepared than not. We found these precious gems at Salvation army for $5---- taking matchy matchy very seriously... (Liberty Mutual golf outing) 

The race start was at one of the schools, however we had to park in an industrial park, take a shuttle to the gym of a different school, then walk about 1/2 mile to the actual start line. Despite the late kickoff, it was still a bit nippy out, so we spent an hour in the gym stretching, staring at all the people in spandex (they LOVE to wear it in the Northeast) and admiring the beautiful paintings on the gym..
Home of the "fighting mules" 

thats a mule, prepping for a fight--- too funny

So let's get back to this whole "flat race" concept.... 

So here is where I digress... I've ran a lot of races... I'm pretty confident in my ability to read an elevation map. This is what is listed on their site--- yes there are a lot of zig zags, but if you pay attention closely, it never goes over 100 ft. Much to my surprise when I was standing in line for the bathroom before the race  I saw the back of last year's shirt saying "My legs conquered the hills of the Great Bay Half Marathon"--- what?!?!? I asked the lady if this course was hilly and her response was laughter, followed by 'it's all hills'--- knowing that I did read the elevation profile I thought maybe it was rolling hills and she said mildly "it's a tough course and if you don't run hills, you're in for a treat"---- that is my disclaimer for the race. 

After learning this new piece of information, I'm less than excited to run it. B and I decide to suffer through the cold and do bag drop so we can enjoy our awesome fleeces AFTER the race as well and brave the chilly walk to start line

There is no sugar coating this, the race was pretty negative for me,I wanted to just quit,and there was zero enjoyment during the whole time I spent running.  As to not divulge into too much negativity, here is the bullet version...
  • I remind myself to go out easy, not get excited and just listen to my breathing. Apparently I wanted to hang with the 7:30 pacer so thats what I did.. only he was going faster and our first mile clocked in at 7:19... seriously?!?
  • Once first mile hit it was all hills from then on out- at first I didn't mind, but then the tightness in my legs reminding me I ran yesterday kicked into full gear. That lethargic / heavy feeling coupled with not caring about pace allowed me to given in mentally and slow down significantly.
Scenery for large part of race, barren trees and hills galore ( i bet its GORGEOUS in fall)

  • I'm pretty positive I 'officially' gave up around mile 6 which is when I introduced walking into every mile- although there really wasn't much to look at, I was trying to be good at 'enjoying the run' and 'taking in the scenery'
  • One kind of different aspect was there were several spectators playing instruments along the course- one lady had a HUGE oboe. This guy was my favorite with his sweet banjo
  • No matter how much I hurt or want to quit a race, there is usually SOME type of competitive streak in me, today was a different story. I can officially say that from mile 6 on, the only people I passed (that didn't pass me back up within a min) was in my final kick... thats right, ZERO.
  • I finally figured out that most people running the race have this thing called 'strategy' where they knew the course was tough and conserved energy so they could make it through the whole race and finish with positive splits... what a novel concept, I may have to try that some time. 
  • Probably the strangest thing I've ever seen on the course were belly dancers- I remember thinking "this doesn't motivate me at all, and the 2 guys sitting in lawn chairs filming them kind of creep me out" At least I know that if I gave up on running, I can always turn to learning belly dancing since apparently stomach size doesn't matter ;)
  • The belly dancers were right at a turn around point to head back toward finish line (seriously the only flattish part of the course) I saw B on my way back and gave her a big thumbs down and shouted "worst race ever"--- she was looking pretty strong vs. my harlem shake shuffle I had started doing. 
  • At some point in the last mile we left the boring trail and started heading into downtown where the scenery is exactly what you would expect a New England town to look like (pictures don't do it justice)

  • I was amazed at the large crowd support the last bit of the race, literally the streets were lined. I somehow managed to have a kick at the end and actually passed 3 people----again, the only 3 people I passed the whole race
  • I got my crappy medal and headed down to finisher area to wrap my sorrows in my yellow fleece and grab some food.
  • The area they chose to host the after race refreshments was hopping and actually quite gorgeous
  • Once B finished we got a quick photo by the water and headed to one of the 2 places that were handing out free beer!

  • Although I love beer, after running I can't drink that much so in the time B was able to finish her 2, I had a measely 1 (there was no limit as to how many you could drink!) 

Afterthoughts of the race:
New Hampshire has potential to probably have some great scenic races--- Great Bay Half was not one of them. I think they need to put an accurate elevation map on the site so runners know what they're getting into when running (granted most everyone was local so they probably know the area) My garmin is currently dead so I don't have my splits, but I DO remember that miles 7,8, AND 9 were all exactly 8:57 pace... how is that for consistency. Although the race severely sucked for me and I felt like death running in slow motion, not disappointed that I was able to pull a 1:53... that is only possible from banking time in the beginning and is in no way a reflection of pacing for that. 

I highly recommend if you don't live in the Northeast to wait till later months to visit. Its such a beautiful area, however the wind and gray just put a damper on the scenery. Needless to say, I was so excited to return to Nashville and be greeted by sunny 80 degrees :)

State 39 done, next up, the big 4-0 is over a month away, in Maryland. 


  1. Wyoming is the big 4-0 for you? I think that is fitting since it is going to suck.

    Sorry about NH, but thanks for the advice. I think I'll be doing NE in the fall...

    Minnesota will be #25 for me. Kind of excited about the halfway point coming up in September.

  2. Ugh so sorry about the hills! What a disappointment. Congrats on finishing anyway and not giving up! Love your outfit, too! :0)

  3. yikes, sorry about the hills, but surely that sweet banjo'er made up for that ;)

  4. Congrats on a great run in a less than great race! And #39! Woohoo! As always love the outfit. I'm envious of your 80 degrees. Cinci weather is sucking less but still sucking.

  5. That did look like a pretty course...but for the gray. Definitely a nice route for fall. I'm looking forward to venturing east again next year!

  6. yikes! i think i would email the RD about the site and the inconsistencies. congrats on another race though!