Man. That was tough. Like…the toughest race I’ve ever run. I barely slept last night due to extreme anxiety..I hardly ever get nervous for a race, but I was particularly nervous for this one because of the weather.
First, I will tell you all about the course. It started off at the Nashua YMCA/Stellos Stadium, in Nashua NH. It was breathtaking. seriously. I adore running local marathons and half’s where I don’t have to put in a serious commute. When I told a running coach friend of mine where I was racing this weekend, he said “I bet you it’s going to be your new favorite place to run.” He was correct: I wanted to stop and take a million picture to show you all how insanely gorgeous it was, but really, I couldn’t feel my fingers enough to take off my glove to do so. Plus it would’ve probably added ten minutes to my already crappy time. The whole thing was on the Mine Falls trails. I’ve always wanted to start doing trail runs, so I was psyched to be running along them today. Plus it’s right on the water..on a normal day, it would have been very refreshing. Today, it probably would only be refreshing if you were a polar bear and were used to the arctic terrain. Brrrrrrrrr. Anyway, I found some pics online and this will have to suffice for now:
Isn’t it lovely? Yes, yes it was. It was fairly flat, with a few surprising hills thrown in. I usually Love hills, but today, with a headwind always in my face, we just weren’t best friends.
The volunteers were great, and there were water stops every couple of miles, 7 altogether, perfectly placed throughout the course. I never carry water with me during marathons because i don’t do it in “real life” runs either. I would rather carry cash/debit card with me so that I can stop wherever it’s convenient to do so.
In New England, the weather man is hardly ever right. At times, He misses entire blizzards. Or, predicts rainy weekends yet the sun shines the whole time.(I like when they’re wrong about THAT) but today-Mr. Weather Man was spot on. He predicted that it would feel like 3-6 degrees when I started running, with a 23mph wind, and whaddya know? He got it right. It did indeed feel THAT cold. I swear, I can run in any element, except for wind. It cuts right through you, no matter how many layers you have on.
The first half, I was averaging 7 minute miles. But the second half was windier, and felt colder- No matter HOW fast I tried to go, I just Couldn’t seem to push through it. At one point, I had the wind knocked out of me by the wind…that has never happened to me before.
By the time mile 9 came, I was done. I wanted no more part of this trail. I wanted to skip the loops that you have to do, pretend I ran them, and head to the finish for my delicious soup. But since I’m “not a quitter” and I am a terrible liar, I ran the whole dam thing: official time 1:51:35. Did I think I was going to do better? Obviously. Am I mad? A bit. But I’m glad I finished it, and I do know that if I hadn’t been so brutally beaten down by the wind, I would have finished under 1:40, since I do that on much tougher runs around my ‘hood.
When you cross the finish line-you are greatly rewarded: two kinds of soup, hot bread, vitamin water, donuts, bananas, baked goods, pretzels (my fave!) …I could keep going, there was that many treats for the runners. I give the race an A++ , and a shout out to the YMCA: without them, I would have NEVER gotten out of my car. They provided shelter to all the runners during the half hour before the start. #iloveyou.
All in all-I would do it again, no question. It was way too pretty not to. Plus, a lady I was standing next to at the starting line said she ran it last year and she was in a t shirt and shorts. Usually this time of the month IS 50’s and not single digits-teens.
Oh, one more pic for you:
Enjoy EVERY SINGLE second of your Sunday! Now it’s time for family day…Hooray!
Run Free, Run strong..and stay warm today!
The Girl Who Ran Everywhere