Just a little disclaimer: I feel the need to start this recap with the cold hard facts: I ran a marathon on Sunday…but…I did not finish.
Sunday was the Inaugural Gate City Striders Marathon in Nashua New Hampshire. I woke up so excited to run another race! I love new races, and I love races in my ares. A WIN WIN in my book!!! Nashua is only about 20 minutes from my house-Perfection.
Packet pickup was located at Fleet Feet Sports in Nashua, also nearby-only 15 minutes away. I was able to go on Saturday –I love picking up my packet early, but sometimes that isn’t possible due to the race being further away. The swag bag was great! Lots of fun goodies in it and I love that!( I wasn’t one of the earlier registrants, so I didn’t get the Beer Glass or the race T.)
I laid out all my clothes the night before (duh) and went to bed super early…I think 8?
I got to the starting area around 7:30am..
I was able to park RIGHT next to the start, and had enough time to use the porta potties beforehand
and take a selfie and check out the cool tents lined up.
So excited to run!
This race was both a full marathon and a relay race: The finish line was actually the central area of the race, and the course is designed as 5 loops that make up a four leaf clover (the first & fifth loop were the same). Runners passed the finish line area and were either swapping off the baton to their next runner, or continuing on (like me) for the full 26.2. (If you are really curious, you can read the great write up on cool runnings about the race). It seemed that every relay group had their own tent set up…pretty cool! This race was a terrific one to spectate at since you would see your runner several times as they went through the finish chute, instead of the usual drive and hope you actually find them deal that typically happens.
I took this before I started-this is the finish line that all runners pass through with every loop. It was lined with people one the race started!!
course design-four leaf clover!
The race started about 10ish minutes later than its 8am start due to a main intersection in the race not being blocked off yet. (It’s a super busy intersection, and I was more than happy to wait until it was completely closed off!) Runners were treated to church bells at 8am sharp-That was seriously beautiful.
As far as my own personal race goes: It’s not really that interesting. I had an off day, and that off day also coincided with a marathon. Go figure! If you would have told me that on Sunday I would wake up, start a marathon, but not finish I would have told you that you were crazy. The first loop (5.4 miles I think?), my splits were great. I should have known it was a bad sign though that when I would see someone with a baton, I would automatically think “oh wow they only have a little longer left.” And then I would wish I only had a little longer left. And then loop 2 my splits dropped from 7:19 to 8:30…and only got worse from there. It was hot by the start- I’m typically in a sweatshirt until I hit mile 2…but i was comfy in a tank and my skirt from the time i stepped out of my car. At race start, it was about 65 and 88% humidity. By the 2nd loop, it was easily above 70, and by the time I hit the 3rd – it was at least 75. I couldn’t stand it! I love running in the heat, but my body is not adjusted to it yet! After a loooong cooooold terrible winter, I’m still adjusting to the warm weather. I was dragging the entire 2nd loop. When my watch clicked 11, I had just passed through the finishers chute and I wanted to call it a day RIGHT then and there. However, the stubborn girl who loves her weekend long runs reared her ugly head, and I slogged through the 3rd. It was like I had sand bags on my legs. I could already feel how badly my sweat was making me chafe! I was REALLY glad that I had my camelbak with me because the water stops were spaced out at every 3 miles (i think) and it wouldn’t have been enough water for me! And, I only had one GU along the whole route- I wasn’t even hungry! So weird.
I really liked the concept of loops! Every time I passed through, I got the energy of the crowds, and the announcer called my name. Thank you Mr Announcer Man! The whole 3rd loop was torture. I was sore all over, hot, whiny, and just plain old miserable. I had no desire to run another 10 miles at the turtle like pace i was holding. No matter WHAT i did, I just could NOT speed up. So annoying!! So i passed the finish line for the 3rd time, got some water, and called it a day. My body just did not want to be running a hot and humid marathon!
Ironically, I truly believe that running Boston a month prior had zero to do with how I felt this past Sunday. I know my body, and my body felt ready all week for a big, really fast marathon. I had a 16 mile long run 2 weeks before this in 2:06, 7:54 pace. . . and that run was a dream and felt so super easy. Sunday was just not a good day. I’m really okay with it, so please don’t think I”m complaining here!
Some facts for you that didn’t fit in:
-The volunteers + police =amazing. I NEVER questioned, even ONCE, where I was supposed to be going. All the volunteers were in these BRIGHT orange shirts- you couldn’t miss them! And I really felt that the police officers were there protecting the runners. I never had to stop to wait as a car went by, and I felt safe the whole day. There were a million orange cones, too, so you clearly knew where you were going!
-The 3rd loop, although slow (for me) was actually my favorite for its scenery. It was through my favorite parts of Mines Falls. I’ve run in that area a ton of times-It’s SO beautiful! The Gate City Striders did an incredible job of marking each individual tree root/uneven spot/rock etc so that the runners wouldn’t fall. (I took two falls the last time I ran the Mines Falls trails!)
-At the beginning of the race, some of the early start runners passed by. The announcer yelled out that there was a woman named Kerrie and she was running her ONE HUNDREDTH MARATHON that day!!! Can you believe it? She is AMAZING! I passed her around mile 14 (?) and had to stop and take a picture with her! You ROCK Kerrie!!!!!!
-I’m not only chafed, i’m covered in WELTS from my sweat. So painful. On my neck (sports bra) legs, back, underarms….. It’s seriously aggravating. I guess the “Summer of Chafe” is upon us again. Boooooo. And I had applied Body glide that morning too, but it didn’t do anything!
-I did a quick change post only-a-17-miler-and-not-a-full-marathon…and went to my favorite nephews 10th birthday!! These two..Be still my heart! They are the best little people I could ask for to be my niece and nephew!
-Above all? I am REALLY excited to race again. I have in mind SO many half marathons, am racing a bunch of 5k’s, and I’m just super excited to get back to higher mileage again. I have a pretty amazing running plan for the summer, and I’m really excited to hit it, and hit it hard!
I would highly recommend this marathon to anyone! I I will absolutely be back again, and next time-I will finish the full..or form a relay team and customize awesome race shirts for us!! Who wants to be on my team???? 🙂
Ever “DNF” a race? (for the record–> I dislike that term and it kills me to use it)