Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Hello Race Report! Great Bay Half, in the Oh-Eleven...

Race report time! (pictures to come.... later...)

Good old New Hampshire... I seem to have darkened the doors of our neighboring State several times this winter all in the name of running insanity. This time for the Great Bay Half which was held in Newmarket, more or less on the water.

The weather was remarkably and unusually good. This left me feeling confused about what to wear and how to operate as I have not run in temps much above 32 for the past couple weeks. The high temp at the race was a blistering 55 degrees and despite the stupid wind felt quite balmy. Perhaps I am exaggerating slightly but compared to sub arctic mid 50's feels downright tropical.

I felt good! An extra weather related day off seemed to be just what I needed to get rid of the dreaded and unnecessary knee pain. I ate food, drank purple gatorade, donned odd layers including sunscreen and was ready to go!

There were lots of people there plus many cute puppies. Cute puppies = happiness and warm fuzzies in my heart.

The whole shebang got off to a smooth start despite the fact that there was a 5K running at the same time and that can make things frenetic. It was not bad though and I set what felt like a decent pace for what my legs and I had in mind. I overtook the 8:30 pace group before mile 2 which surprised me as I didn't see them at the last 1/2 until mile 11. I felt fine about this since my goal was to maintain about an 8:20-8:30 pace throughout. Evidently, I have an excellent inner Garmin as I don't actually have any way to measure my pace other than in my head. I am a real woman of genius apparently and seem to be fairly competent at pacing myself. (I am a real woman of genius in many other areas too, don't want to short change myself.)

Anywhoo. It was great to be running on a warm day! With friends (ummm, strangers but who is paying attention!) In a tank top after mile 3! All these exclamations do justice to how I felt. Just fine.

There was a rather troublesome stretch of dirt road. Not overly troublesome because of its surface but due to some never ending potholes which required some dodging and leaping. I had more or less fallen into pace with a good number of runners at that point and we all stuck together more or less, for a couple miles. It was hard to tell how fast the "real" runners were running because the 5K start had fuddled things up. Regardless, I certainly wasn't expecting to be in the top group of runners so I stuck to my arduous pace happily.

I missed the memo that this was a hilly course. I think the "Cool Running" blurb on the race casually said that over the past couple years they have designed a course with "10% fewer hills." 10% fewer than 100%? That's what it felt like. Have I mentioned that I train the hell out of the hills in my own town? Yes I have... BUT STILL. It wasn't that the hills were long it was they they were friggin relentless and JUST. KEPT. COMING. I was planning to pick up the pace a bit after mile 7 but the hell if I could what with the hills knocking me on my ass at every turn. I wasn't so much tired... As I was tired of seeing more hills. It was really pissing me off, to be completely honest. The other thing that was really grinding my gears was that for whatever reason the Shot Blok stupid things were NOT sitting well. Again, what the hell? I practice eating those little weirdo's all the time so shiz like that does not happen. It wasn't the best, and hiccupping slightly while I run kind of messes with my nice breathing rhythm.

Despite my trials and tribulations I soldiered bravely on, passing people here and there and feeling small twinges of victory.

Here is what I was thinking around mile 8-9ish.

THE GOOD-I'm at mile 8-9ish. Almost done? Almost done...
-What a nice day
-Not feeling tired

THE BAD-I'm only at mile 8-9ish. WTF??
-Shot bloks feel like lead weights in stomach. bleech.
-Number is swooshing annoyingly. swoosh, crinkle, swoosh, crinkle. GRRR!
-Chafing under right arm. Must have a flabby bit there.

At mile 11 we came to the "out and back" part of the course (another thing that makes me cross. seeing who is ahead of me!) The front runners had indeed set a blistering pace- quite impressive. I don't feel like having to run that hard for 13 miles though, thanxxx.

Mile 12 was a sight for sore eyes, sore feet, multiple chaffed areas and an ever growing more uppity belly. At that point I was still pain free (as in, hip flexor and knees! yayyy!) and I knew I could make it. I had one more bizarre moment when my allergies got the best of me and I sneezed. I don't know if it was because I was running into a very strong wind, because I was slightly breathless or WHAT but the sneezed backfired and seriously chocked me. Yes, bizarre. No crap, I could not get a single breath of air in and was imagining a horrifying situation that involved me, the paramedics and some sort of tube stuck in my neck to give me air. Luckily, my imagination was far worse than reality as I quickly regained my breathing capabilities and got on with it. Not before several people managed to pass me...

I ran into town, thru the finish and saw that I snuck in just under 1:46. Found the Huz and tried to walk off the unpleasantness in mah belly. To no avail. I should have given up and lost my shot bloks on my shoes but I sucked it up and held back on the projectile vomming. I definitely felt dehydrated (stupid warm weather!) but for the life of me could not force anything down. I spent a couple hours curled up in some sort of sick, fetal position going "ewwwwww. ewwwwww. I hate myself" and things of that nature. eventually I was able to straighten up, gulp some gatorade and get back to life... In an attempt to fix me, as lack of food was certainly was playing a part in my lightheadedness we went over to Redhook. Our waitress said that she was seeing an awful lot of green hued runners who were announcing the probability of imminently loosing their lunches. I was quite pleased that I was not alone in my struggle... I suppose I could have won myself one of those coveted pukie awards if I had just hurled immediately upon crossing the finish line- I'll have to take that into consideration for my next race!

So, despite feeling green around the gills after the race I felt good about how everything went. It is better to hit the wall immediately upon finishing then to bonk at mile 6 (a good way to look at it?) I was super pleased with my time of 1:45:40, and to finish 215th- out of about 1200. I was 9th in my age group and the 47th placed woman.

So! I met my goal of shaving a bit of time off my last Half, not feeling the same pains and finishing strong. Now I have to figure out how to finish well and not feel like junk!


  1. Great job, but Im sorry you felt like junk!

  2. Wow!! That is an awesome time - a pace I would dream of

  3. Congrats! That's a great time. You earned that almost pukie.

  4. Awesome time and hooray on no hip flexor pain! Wonder if the "heat" had anything to do with your off-stomach...

  5. Wahoo...nice time! Sorry about the shot blok reaction & I'm jealous of the no knee/hip pain!

  6. Congratulations on a great new PR! Ugh---tummy trouble is the worst....but at least you stuck with it. :)

  7. Congrats on your great time, I know about stomach problems, I have them at every races, not fun.

  8. So flab is what causes that chafing! (my 'a-ha moment' for the day!)

    Super YAY for lack of pain... and huge CONGRATS on a new PR!

    Love this recap, too :)

  9. Great job! Your pace was awesome! Hope you can figure out the stomach issues. Didn't realize that course was so hilly.

  10. whoa, my eyes, I at first read that as GREEN BAY half marathon, which is like 2 hours from me, and I would have totally come to spectate & cheer you on. But, well, yea..
    Well congratulations on the finish! Hills are a bitch! Now you'll have a new objective in your training: conquer those hills!

  11. Sounds like the unexpectedly warm temps (50s are still warm when you're used to 30s!) did a number on a lot of people, but still, looks like you had a great race! Congrats!