Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Great Bay Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Newmarket, NH
Sunday, April 3
Half Marathon #29
State #26/50
Weather - 30's, sunny, INSANELY WINDY

I registered for the Great Bay Half Marathon almost a year ago. I had planned on pairing it with a half in Vermont that had taken place the same weekend in 2010. However... the Vermont race was bumped a week, and this was already signed up for. We found a way to make the travel work, so off we were to the lovely state of New Hampshire.

We boarded our flight, and off we went, headed to IAD (Washington Dulles), where we had a connection before catching our next flight to NH. We landed and had a little bit of extra time, so we found a Starbucks in the airport (it took some walking to get there... IAD is not a super easy airport to navigate), and then came back to board this awesome teeny tiny plane to NH:

We picked up our rental car and decided it would be best to eat close to the airport while we were still in a major "city." We did not want to have the same problem we have encountered in some of these smaller cities where everything shuts down at dark. We found a Ruby Tuesday nearby, and had the salad bar, pasta with chicken and carrot cake cupcakes for dessert. I can't believe I actually forgot to take pictures of my food! But I promise I ate :D

We made a few stops on the way to the hotel (about 30 minutes away) to pick up things to drink. We arrived at the Days Inn in Durham just before 9:30. Only to find out that the hot tub we had SO been looking forward to had closed at 9:00. BUMMER.  The race didn't start until 11:00, so we had plans to sleep in. We also had plans to stay up a bit later, but Grandma L only made it until about 10:30. I felt bad about being noisy, so I also headed to bed shortly after, around 11:00.

As I was trying to fall asleep, I noticed my throat was starting to feel scratchy. I ignore it, I often feel a bit "off" when traveling and it usually goes away.

Wake up before our alarms went off, around 8:30. That gave us a bit of extra time to get ready. We were leaving so early because we weren't really sure of the parking situation, and we wanted to be sure we would be able to get a parking space at the high school (where packet pick-up was located) because that is where we would be showering after the race.

I woke up with a stomach ache. Bad enough that I chose to not eat my bagel with peanut butter that I normally have every morning. On our way out we picked up some coffee at the hotel, then started the 10 mile drive to the race start. Some of the roads were already being detoured for the race, but we were able to get a parking spot at the high school. We decided to go inside, get our bibs and bags, then find out about the showers, then sit in the car until the race was to start.

We get our bibs and shirts (no actual swag bags), and have to ask quite a few people about the promised showers. Most people said "I didn't know that!" Glad we asked. We also got a lot of comments "You came all the way from Colorado for this??" Yep. We use the bathrooms then head back out to the car to kill time. We take a look at the back of the race shirt and see this:

Yikes. I'm still not feeling well. I force myself to eat a Luna bar because I don't want to run on an empty stomach. L gives me some Pepto but something is still not settling right. Combine my upset stomach with the promise of some nasty hills and the not so awesome weather... I'm dreading the race. I check the forecast again while in the car. Temps and sun? Fine...

But check out this wind!!!! I've never even SEEN that icon on my phone. Great.

About 30 minutes before the race starts, we decide to go inside to use the bathrooms. The lines are crazy long. We head to the port-o-potties behind the school. Lines there are also long, but we had to go. Get through the lines with just enough time to freeze for a few minute walk to the start line, just down the street at the elementary school. Quick profile shot of us before the race (I dropped my phone, cracking the screen right after I took this), and we lined up.

Just like the last few races, we managed to line up in the back. Normally I would be pretty frustrated, but I was feeling pretty icky and was just out to finish this race. I didn't care about racing, just cared about being done, with as minimal misery as possible.

We were blissfully unaware of how hilly the course would be. Partly because there was no elevation profile on their website and also because we both only skim read instead of paying attention. The only thing I remembered reading was that iPods were permitted but not needed because "of the beautiful scenery."

Mile 1 was through town. Sorta miserable, could be worse. Managed about 10 minute mile. Mile 2 still through town, some hills already. Sorta miserable, still manage a decent pace. About mile 3 is when we head out of town into the rural area. That's when the course got hilly and when my stomach went totally berserk. I had no desire to "race," but it seemed like the more I ran/jogged, the more my stomach got upset. I started walking for the first time around mile 3.5. I was trying to just do short walk breaks on the hillier parts. First, to give my legs a break, and second, to keep from throwing up my Luna bar.

I think it was somewhere between miles 4 and 5 that I finally "gave up." I knew I was going to have one of the worst races of my life. I was feeling so blah. The course WAS nice. But it was also VERY tough, even under pristine circumstances, I probably would have struggled.

By mile 5 I had to force down a GU and I was afraid I was going to puke. I took a five minute break to use the bathroom somewhere between mile 5 and 6. Slowing down my heart rate and taking a rest seemed to have helped a bit, although I still was taking pretty regular walk breaks.

Unsure of where all these were taken along the course, but here is a series of pics. There was still snow on the ground in a lot of sections!

I kept running slower and slower and slower. Kept walking more and more. There was very little support on the course, and moving this slow left me with a pretty empty field. I was pretty light headed and I was a bit concerned I would faint or pass out and it would take forever to get found.

I was miserable. I don't know what was worse. How bad I felt or knowing that the slower I moved, the longer I would be out there.

The wind was actually not as bad in the middle part of the course, but we came up on a weird out and back around mile 9. I didn't see L at all, which meant she was at LEAST 2.5 miles in front of me. Talk about making me feel even worse...

Most of the "out" I actually ran. I ran the longest section of course since the first few miles without walking, from the aid station at mile 9.25 until I came up on the hula dancers just before mile 11. They were awesome!

Most of the rest of the race wasn't as bad in terms of uphill, although I would still consider it "rolling." I still was walking every now and then. I had made a goal of 2:30 (!!!!) but then the wind really kicked up which just was too much.

The site boasts a "downhill" finish through downhill... I figured I could actually RUN for the last few minutes of the race and finally PASSED someone. Was never so relieved to cross a finish line in my life.

A new PR for slowest race EVER. By more than ten minutes. The only good thing about having such a crappy race is I will REALLY have to be suffering for one to be even worse.

Again... none of this was the course's fault or the race's fault. Just a blah day for me.

Official Gun Time - 2:34:11
Official Chip Time - 2:32:36
Official Pace - 11:36
Overall Place - 999/1175
Division Place 70/87
Garmin Time - 2:32:36
Garmin Distance - 13.18 Miles
Garmin Pace - 11:34
Mile 1 - 9:48
Mile 2 - 9:52
Mile 3 - 10:19
Mile 4 - 10:59
Mile 5 - 11:25
Mile 6 - 15:11
Mile 7 - 11:22
Mile 8 - 12:01
Mile 9 - 13:12
Mile 10 - 11:57
Mile 11 - 10:55
Mile 12 - 11:56
Mile 13 - 11:59
Mile 13.1 - 7:32

After the race, I meet up with L, who is relieved that the ambulance that headed up the hill didn't pick ME up. It was about a 10 minute walk back to the car. I was chilled to the bone and feeling even WORSE than when the race had started.

We grabbed our stuff out of the car, then headed into the school for our showers. The janitor had warned us that the school was very old and that it would take a while for the showers to heat up. He wasn't kidding. I think it was the coldest shower of my entire life. I was seriously debating if it was actually worse to take such a cold shower or to smell so bad for the rest of the travels.

Sucked it up, showered, and felt a bit better after getting dressed. Stomach still aching, still popping Pepto. We have hours until we need to be at the airport, but there is nothing to do. We make a few stops for souvenirs, and to walk around the local mall (boring, only went in one store) before we just decided to go to the airport early.

I was feeling to sick to eat (totally unlike me), and spent the few hours before boarding the plane curled up in a ball on the floor of the terminal.

Our flight was delayed leaving (rumor has it that something was stuck on a conveyor belt, inhibiting the landing gear). We finally take off, and I doze a bit on the flight to IAD. We land with about 45 minutes until our next flight leaves. However, we aren't able to get OFF the plane. Lightning has forced all the ground crew inside. We sit outside for about 15 minutes before we are able to de-plane.

Hurrah to IAD... we get off in concourse A. We find a monitor, only to discover our next flight leaves out of concourse D. That means we have to walk through concourse A (No moving walkways anywhere), up a flight of stairs, across a landing, up another flight of stairs, around a corner, down a deserted hallway, down a flight of stairs, across a hallway, down another flight of stairs. Catch a shuttle... but wait! Shuttle only takes you as far as concourse C. So that means we have to walk all the way through C, to D. Walk up the gate just as the plane is boarding.

We end up seated in a row with a 3 year old. Her mother has a seat a few rows up. Of course L and I decide to split up. No way should a mom and 3 year old be separated. (Reminded me of what happened with me and A awhile back. Airlines are stupid).

Plane is late leaving as well (because we had to wait for all the luggage from the flights that were late landing because of lightning).

All things considered, we made it back mostly in one piece (although I took almost a whole box of Pepto in one afternoon/evening, and ate nothing) only about 15 minutes late, just after midnight.

Double header back to back? Complete. Barely.


  1. oh, poor you - you sound like you felt miserable...I hope you are feeling MUCH better.

  2. I can not believe you finished this race!! WOW!! One thing you learned:No matter what, you finish a race!! :)

  3. he inaugural Vadodara Marathon was a spectacularly successful event that stirred the city of Vadodara on a scale never reached before, ushering in vibrancy, uplifting the spirit of each and every Vadodarian and filling them with pride for their city. The spirit of participation and enthusiasm was un-believable during the 75 joyous days, in which the city came together amidst energetic zeal; proving that nothing can be bigger than the spirit of Vadodarians.

  4. Hope you are feeling better. I learn SO much from your race recaps, and it's inspiring to read about you finishing strong despite your struggles.

  5. Wow - this recap just doesn't sound like you at all! I did laugh at your time though. I mean your slowest race ever is a time I hope to get in my race this weekend! I think you did amazing in powering through. I know I turn into a total weenie once my body doesn't get along with me. Every single race I want to throw up, without fail! So kudos to you, again! And I can hardly believe it .... it seemed to be a smooth travel trip for you - Finally!!


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