Gate City Striders Inaugural Marathon

 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?

flat Nicole!

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)

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37 thoughts on “Gate City Striders Inaugural Marathon

  1. Bummer about the heat coming. It does take awhile to adjust to it. I bet there were many others struggling through the heat too so you weren’t alone! You’ll have a great summer to focus on speed and shorter distances and I have no doubt you’ll come back and crush your marathon goals in the fall!

  2. Sorry you had to stop and couldn’t finish. I can’t stand humidity, your temp and humidity were similar to my half in February and I started walking at mile 7. There’s no way I would have finished a marathon in that. Nice job getting through 17 miles!!

  3. That’s a bummer about the DNF, but you have such a positive attitude about it! The humidity and heat always get to me, especially this early in summer. I haven’t DNFed yet, but if I do ever it will for sure be because of heat!

  4. Bummer about your race 😦 I can imagine that feeling of wanting to stop each time you hit that finish area! I hate that feeling whenever the half marathoners get to turn the corner to finish and I’ve still got 13.1 to go!! I am still not ready to be running any marathons, or even any halfs, after Boston, so good for you on those long distances!

  5. Sunday was brutal! I was at my daughter’s soccer game at 4:00 in the afternoon and it was still 87 degrees. These girls play hard and one of the girls on the opposing team collapsed on the field and could barely breathe. It was awful to watch but she was fine. Just overheated and dehydrated. My daughter’s coach is big on conditioning and it really helps out under these conditions. Loved reading your race report. You’ll kill the next one!

  6. I have DNF’d before. I had a bladder infection and chose to run anyways. Not wise. I ended up dropping out around mile 8 when the pain was just too much! I think it was smart for you to drop out when you did! Good for you for realizing it and not getting seriously dehydrated or sick.

  7. bad races happen to the best of us. kudus for hanging in there for as long as you did! i am definitely having difficulty acclimated to the heat as well. i ran the harpoon 5 miler on sunday (after running 12 on friday) and was sweating before we even started racing. this humidity sucks! plus allergy induced asthma sucks too! so many more races to kick butt on. whats next on the docket? we have newburyport river half on the 31st. then looking for ideas for other halfs!

    • I wish I had done the Harpoon 5 miler instead! I can suck it up for shorter distances, but full marathons kill me in the heat! Allergies are killing me still too!!!!!
      I have a half on 6/7…..I would LOVE to do one the same wknd as you but i’m trying to hold back from registering for another half right now so it makes me THAT much more excited for 6/7!!!

  8. Oof… Sunday was definitely brutal. Props for making it as far as you did!! That sounds like it would be a super fun race to do as a relay!

  9. I have never DNF, although I probably should have… My second marathon I trained arrogantly (i.e. overtrained) and had hip pain for 4 weeks leading up to the race. I took two weeks completely off, and decided marathon morning to run. Which was great. Until I hit mile 20 and had to shamefully walk the last 6.2 miles of the course. I actually ended up being diagnosed with a femoral stress fracture and had to take 12 weeks off from impact training. You definitely made the right decision listening to your body! And that course sounds incredible! I will definitely have to check it out! : )

  10. Sorry to hear about the DNF. I ran Maine Coast on the 10th and it reached almost 90 degrees at the finish line. Needless to say the goals that I had trained for and were capable of reaching went out the window (very far out the window). I somehow finished…but it was only because a training partner of mine convinced me to just “wog” it to the finish line with her. I was so close to getting into my boyfriend’s car at mile 17. But eh…On to the next one 🙂

  11. I have yet to DNF a race but I am sure it will happen one day! As I said on instagram, its too early in the season to be adjusted to the humidity. I don’t think I could ever do a full Marathon between May and September because of it. But Im glad you have a positive attitude about it and of course there will be many more races!

  12. I ran a marathon Sunday and the heat slowed me down as well. I had a dnf last year and it was the right choice for many reasons but the hardest choice ever!!!

  13. Oh bummer! But you know you did the right thing. If you kept going you would have gotten dehydrated and miserable.

  14. Bummer about the dnf. My body hadn’t quite acclimated to the heat yet either. I struggled through only seven miles yesterday! I don’t think I could run a warm weather marathon. Nashville got up to the 70-80s but that was toward the very end. I’m going for a fall marathon this year in Nov!! But, you have a great attitude about it. Good to be still excited about racing!!

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