Sunday, March 27, 2016

Eastern States 20 Miler, the 2016 edition

It isn't too often that I run a race yearly. The ones that I do are fantastic for one reason or another. They are either the right distance at the right time, in a great location with nice things to look at or are so well run that you can't think of any reason not to attend.
Basically, the Eastern states 20 is all these things. I had a great time and a great run last year and I have been looking forward to another good 20 miler along the super pretty coast of Me/NH/MA.

I got lucky again and it was a perfect damn day. Chilly, about 43 degrees but with absolutely blazing sunshine. (Boston take note: if it's going to be a sunny day in Boston it better not be one degree over 43!!!)

We got there in plenty of time to find a super long porta potty line. I'm not sure what was going on this year but I have never seen such insane potty lines! Runners: poop at home!!
I am not going confirm or deny this but there *might* have been a building that *some* of us might just have peed behind. Beats standing in a 40 minute line, that's for sure.

After standing in line forever, almost there!!
They had also run out of pins which is no big because I have approximately 32,987 pins. I ran a whole business out of the trunk of the Corolla, selling pins to the masses of runners saving them from having to jerry rig their bibs. (I did no such thing but I imagined a similar scenario.)

Anywhoo, disasters averted I hoofed it to the start while cramming a sandwich in my face. The race starts at 11:00 so it's great Boston practice. I'm well versed in mid day long runs but when you are running right through lunchtime you need to plan ahead. Pre race I ate my normal breakfast of coffee and toast and then I had some turkey followed by a plain donut (no shit, I eat a plain donut prior to every race) followed by a pb&honey sandwich. I was not too hungry while running but I ate a clif bar.

At the start. Post sandwich.
My plan was to hold a very controlled pace. I had a hunch that I was going to peak this week and that was pretty accurate (full week training report coming soon) Since this was a big week of training and in NO way a taper I figured that I would be tired enough to hold back, not blow my load early on a 20 miler and subsequently wreck my legs for my last real training week. Smart planning.

There are a ton of super good runners at this race and a bunch of people just like me, getting in a really good pre Boston training run. (except for all the Hanson's people... I miss you guys!) What I'm saying is that it's easy to find people at your pace and to stick with them, which I did.

The first few miles are the hilliest and that's overselling it, they are more like little bumps. Once you're up and over those it is bone flat the rest of the way.
The day was nice, the sun was blinding (thank heavens I poured sunscreen all over my body) the wind was more from a sideways direction this year and all was well. There were lots of cardinals singing. Apparently, NH is literally RIFE with cardinals which makes me jealous.

Around mile 6 (they had painted mile markers on the road this year! yay!) I was like "what is that mysterious pinching feeling in my toe?" I decided that it was not serious or potentially debilitating so I put thoughts of my foot into my nothing box and I moseyed along.

One thing that was slightly out of the ordinary, and I blame the REALLY sunny day for is that I was pretty thirsty. I had pre-hydrated thoroughly but I needed water at every single station. I must have been sweating like a pig or something. Who knows.

Right. So I was running comfortably, apparently sweating my balls off, and (as I am wont to do) taking snapchat videos. I agree, this is completely annoying. But! When I have a long way to run and the pace is casual I need entertainment. The plus is that I can screen shot my videos and then have blog pics. #winning

Snapchat views #1
The course is so pretty so when I'm not being a snap chatting tool I can look out at the waves and think profound thoughts about nature. As one does.

Ohhhh Oceanfront views! #profoundthoughts

At mile 13 I found a BEST friend named Shelby and, no shit, we proceeded to talk to each other for the rest of the damn race. It was amazing because I am a hostile hag and rarely chit chat while running because I am so elite and serious. Obviously.
I love to talk to people before the race but once I'm running I'm all like "rawwww get out the way bitch!" I need to work on my people skills.

Get out the way BITCH!!!"
So yeah. the last 7 miles were friendship, magic and sparkle unicorns and they went by so fast that it was like *blink* finish line. Now why I didn't get that woman's twitter handle is a mystery but I appreciate our fleeting moment of best friend status.

Sparkle unicorn. So much more pleasant than a jabberwocky!
And that my friends, was that. I finished in 2:42:22 which is like an 8:08 pace. Solid. And I appreciate the BONE flat course for making this pace feel leisurely because, honestly, I think that's rather fast.

Such skill.....
Last year I had a great, life altering run at this race and ran far better than I thought I might. This year I did indeed have a great run and a super time but it was more in line with my training and less shocking. I'm thrilled to have such a decent run at the end of a legit ass kicking week. I definitely ran this to plan, I'm not all "hee hee oh oppsie daisy tooo fast tweeeee blahhhhh...." I ran a very controlled effort and finished on happy legs which felt healthy and still fairly fresh. No accidental "racing."

Excellent husband/athletic support system/driver/hot person
Oh Boston, why can't you be flat?! (because flat is for wimps that's why!!) Man, I'd be really good right now in a marathon that was flat, on a cold day, with a tailwind, and only 20 miles instead of 26.2! (wouldn't we all? yes we would!)

I examined my feet and saw what the mysterious pinching was.

Gross. Bloody foot.
Then we met my sister in Portland for a good beer and terrible food which seems par for course post race lately!
I also got to show her my sweet new tattoo which pays respect to my favorite birds in the world.
(which got me in as a Crow Athletics lifer which might be the coolest thing ever!)

A beautiful bird tattoo and a bird medal!
In conclusion. I had a good day, I felt good and as though I made the most of this as a Boston practice run. Yeah, we all know that Boston is a completely different beast but that's ok. Every little bit of good practice is good and fun, and an excuse to run in pretty places with nice people!



  1. I want to leisurely run 20 miles at an 8:08 pace! ;) Better up my game. Great run!!!! And you scored on the day. It was gorgeous!

    1. The course makes it easy! If you ever want a race that makes you look good go here 😃

    2. And what I mean is "if you want a race that makes you look sneakily better than you are" go here. Because you always look good, duh ;-)

  2. and Boston will be gorgeous. I'm not running. ;)

  3. I ran this yesterday too! It was my first time, and I totally loved it - I can see why you keep coming back. The flat course, perfect weather, tailwind and incredible views... Plus super organized, I was so impressed! Although one of my favorite parts may or may not have been the pizza and soup at the post-race ceremony!

    1. One of these days I need to hit up the after party! I hope you had a great run yesterday :-)

  4. Your report has been added to

  5. Awesome! You seems so strong and happy and in such a good place here! Gotta feel good about this to add to your training belt for Boston! you make me laugh.... way to make friends out there! :) Kind of sad I didn't register for Boston this year. Oh, and I don't even know what a long run at 8:08 pace feels like anymore since these trails add at least a min on to my mile splits and's best to just not look at the watch. :)