The Great Bay Half Marathon—Newmarket, NH
What a perfect day for a half marathon. Today I ran in The Great Bay Half, my first half marathon, and finished in less than two hours—1:58:01! It was a chilly start to the morning so I wore my winter tights and long sleeved moisture wicking shirt over a short sleeved one. I even went as far as to put on a hat and gloves! At the starting line I found it had gotten a bit warmer with the sun out so I took them off to toss to my sister who lives within the first quarter mile. The temperature was in the low 50’s, sunny and VERY dry. I took my Camelbac with me as I am used to and stuffed some GU into my pocket. I was ready for a race. Although there were over 1700 people registered for this race, only 1237 runners showed up and 122 walkers who started ½ hour ahead of the runners. Some of those walkers are fast! We got started exactly on time at 11:00am with a fog horn start. The group soon got to running and took the first turn out onto Rte 108 past my sister Julie’s house. Julie was out there with Julian and her son Brennan cheering us all on. I tossed her my hat and gloves and took off down the street along with 1200+ other people. My first mile was 8:30 which I was very happy about. It is very motivating to be in such a large group of runners. Mile two was on target for under a nine minute mile finish but as I went along the terrain got harder. Those beautiful rolling New England hills that are such a joy to drive down are quite steep when faced wearing running shoes as tread and only GU as fuel. There were a lot of uphills that I thought I would be ok with but I wasn’t gaining on my targets until the downhill where I quickened my pace. For two or three miles we were on a graded dirt road which was nice for absorbing impact. I felt good all along the route with a bit of fatigue in my ankle and knee but other than that I felt great. My energy and breathing were paced. I passed several people along the long route and several others passed me. It never ceases to amaze me how many different running styles there are among runners. Some people look like they are in intense pain when they run and look like they are going to collapse at any moment but they are still ahead of me! Haha. When I rounded the bend by my sister’s house I was happy to see her and the kids out there cheering still. Julian ran along beside me along the property cheering me which made me so proud. I finished this inaugural race right in the middle—number 601 out of 1237.