Sunday, November 9, 2014

Tiny Beers, Flatbread, Friends and the Seacoast Half Marathon Recap!

Getting WILD with our 4oz. beers!

Today was the Seacoast 1/2 Marathon, it's a race I do almost every year, and was the first half marathon I ever completed! This year, I chose it as my tune-up race before the marathon in December.
 The Seacoast 1/2 is a fun, beautiful course that winds through Rye, New Castle and Portsmouth.  It's flat (except for a hill that feels like a mountain in the last 1/2 mile.)  
  Most years, I've gone into the race with a goal to beat 2 hours and to not walk.  The first year, I finished in 2:04, the second year 2:10, last year 1:58....and this year, with my training, I was hoping for at least 1:51.  My "secret" goal was to get down to 1:48.

   The night before the 1/2, Sarah, Kim (who just qualified for Boston, at the NY Marathon!), Angela, Mariette and I met for dinner at Flatbread in Portsmouth.  It was a blast, as always!  Mariette and I were the only ones running, Angela was going to be cheering us on, and Kim was going to be volunteering.  Mariette and I were going to actually split a beer...but the waitress pointed out that we could get "half" pints!  Hence, the miniature glasses seen above.  We all ordered our own small flatbread pizza,  I had the full intention of eating only half of mine....but ended up eating the entire. thing.   So very lady like.  It was good, but I had quite the stomachache...and wasn't sure how it fare the next day at the race!

This year, the Seacoast course was going to be different than before (because there are 89 bridges closed in Portsmouth right now.)  Instead of being a loop, the race was going to be a point- to -point race;  people were asked to park where the finish line was (the Portsmouth High School), and buses were provided to drop us off at the starting line in Rye (at Wallis Sands Beach.)
    Race morning, Mariette nicely picked me up at my house and we rode over to the high school together.  I had a bagel, almond butter and coffee for breakfast, and packed 3 Gu's to bring with me on the run.  The weather didn't seem too cold, but we were also not at the beach yet, and were both also wearing sweatshirts/pants over our race outfits.
  We got aboard one of the buses at 7:15, and headed over to Wallis Sands where it was MUCH colder.  We met up with Angela N. and Nicole, begrudgingly shed our sweats, and all did a warm-up together.  I had a GU 10 minutes before the start, and cued up my Spotify mix.  Before the race, I saw my friends Laurie, Karla and Patty- it helped to see more familiar faces as I was nervous!

  Angela N. and Nicole lined up around the 7:30 pace group, and Mariette (who just ran a marathon!) and I lined up between the 8-8:30 min mile pace.  Angela (my coach), had made me a pace band for 1:51, I knew to finish at 1:51, I had to do an average pace of 8:30 minute miles.

  The gun went off, and we all headed out! The 1st mile seemed like two miles, but I think it's because I was still cold, and because my Spotify playlist wasn't loading!  By the 2nd mile, I was running alongside super speedy Mariette, and was still feeling strong.  We were running right behind the 8:00/min mile pacer, the pace felt perfect and comfortable. 
  I kept waiting to get tired, and kept feeling like I was going to need to rein myself in, but it didn't happen!  I felt great!  I took a GU every five miles, and eventually, my music started working.  Right after the fourth or fifth mile, we passed the 8:00 min/mile pacer, and headed towards the 7:30 min/mile.   The spectators were great this year, and it was so nice to see Angela cheering for us!!

  When I got to the half way point, I was still feeling great! I saw that my 10k time was below 50 minutes!  I was still afraid that I was going to lose steam, but I think eating an entire flatbread the night before luckily worked for me!
  At mile 8, I hung back from Mariette, and tried to focus on staying right at, or below an 8:00 mile pace.  I was still feeling strong, until I got to the 12th mile....I had one mile left, and THANK goodness, Angela and her family had now moved to watch the race from the 12th mile marker.  I was so happy to see a friend, and shouted at her that I wanted a ride!

The last half mile was tough, I slowed my pace going up the hill and was really wishing to be done!  Luckily, the last 10th of the mile is all downhill, I ran as fast as possible to the finish line and my face lit up when I saw that my time was not 1:51, not 1:50, not 1:48....but 1:45!!!!!!!!!!!
  Not only was this a 10 minute half marathon PR for me, BUT it was a 13 minute PR on this course for me.  I'm not winning any awards, but it's so encouraging to see the positive effects of training!!

All in all, I finished 20th in my age group out of 254- (30-39 year old ladies), 53 out of 756 women of all ages,  and 173 overall out of 1,122 runners/walkers.  Angela N., Mariette and Nicole all rocked it (of course), they all finished before me and close to 1:40.   My friend Laurie got 2nd in her age group with a time of 1:35!

All so glad to be done!!  We're just missing Angela :(

It was a great day, I had so much fun, and as always, it was a fun course! I think I'm going to take tomorrow off from running...and then Tuesday, will try these new shoes that Saucony sent (thank you!!) I can't wait to write about these (they're the new Triumphs.)  

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