Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Race Review: Smuttynose Half Marathon Hampton, NH October 2013

Setting: Seacoast of New Hampshire, October 2013
Cost/Registration:  $75
We flew up from DC and arrived at the Manchester/Boston Regional Airport.  As a former Wildcat, I had to get a picture with the sign!  And we headed out to the seacoast.  We made a stop at UNH campus where I converted my two loves into Wildcat fans as well!

We met up with my cousins who had flewn in from Raleigh and Charleston so we could all run the half marathon together. 

Packet pick up and expo was located in tents along the beach in Hampton.  We got our packets and took a group photo.  We were staying at the beach and the cousins were staying back in Manchester, so we said goodbye for the evening and that we would see them in the morning.  

The Race:  When we got up in the morning, it was a bit chilly and definitely windy.  I realized that I have no pictures from the start of the race!  It was nice because our beach front hotel was right at the start, so we stayed inside in the warmth until the last minute and didn't have to worry about porta potties, traffic coming into the beach or parking. 

The race travels against the wind down the shore for the first two or so miles.  It was such a strong headwind that I laughed outloud and threw all thoughts of PR out the window, or to the wind if you will!  I passed the first set of porta potties about mile 3 and there was no line so I decided to go even though I didn't have to very badly, but didn't want to waste this opportunity. 

We continued to travel through neighborhoods around Hampton.

It was a "loop" course where we ended up back up on Rt. 1A by mile 9. This was my favorite part of the course!  This is where my rockstar friend Amy was out in full force in the cold and rain to cheer me and a few other friends on.  She is amazing for doing so...pregnant and all!  Seeing her and her amazing sign really gave me some pep in my step.  I was grinning from ear to ear for the next few miles!  I LOVE seeing people I know at a race!
Amy Warner is an amazing friend! 
   We were able to enjoy unobstructed views of the ocean and the gorgeous seaside mansions. Then we travel ran past North Hampton State Beach where some hardy souls were riding the waves.  It was a great run and course for me, because I spent so much time in this area when I was in college.  The seacoast of NH will always hold a special place in my heart.  We got engaged on a snow covered bridge at UNH (even though we were living in San Diego at the time) and we got married in Rye, NH (even though we were living in San Diego at the time).  We just love the NH Seacoast!

Finally we turned a corner and off in the distance I could see the tent at the finish at Hampton Beach.    I crossed the finish line and found my husband, daughter and mom.  Jim had finished about 20 minutes ahead of me and they were able to see me cross the finish line. 

The rain is holding off....but not for long!
The rain really started coming down and it became a bit miserable! 
Laura and I - UNH buddies and bloggers!  Follow Laura at I Tri Training.  She ran a great race!
We enjoyed our complimentary Smuttynose Beers, Clam chowder and Lobster Rolls while shivering in the cold rain!  It would have been a much better after party if the weather had held off...but I know we can't control that!  We decided to go get lunch as a group and enjoy some additional warm soup and beer inside where it was dry and warm at a local beachfront  restaurant. 
When I got my official results back, I realized it was a PR....a PR by a few seconds, but a PR non the less! 

And the medal!  I have always loved Smuttynose because the Harbor Seal is adorable!  I don't have a picture of the shirt unfortunately because as soon as I got, I gave it to my mom.  The small was too big for me and so I knew I wouldn't wear it.  They had a women's and a men's shirt.  The women's shirt was pink (was I was not a fan of), but the men's shirt was black with lime green sides, which was much better in my opinion but they did not come small enough. 

Grade: A  Great course, not crowded, great after-party.  If you are considering this race, I say GO FOR IT! 

I was tempted to run this as a full, but I was already doing Marine Corps Marathon in DC that same month.  I was drawn by the finisher's jackets they had given full finishers the year prior, but it turns out this year they did gym bags instead.  And it looks like for 2014, the full may be scrapped altogether because they are having trouble getting local approval from some of the towns the course passes through. 

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