This past Sunday I ran my second half marathon…ME! I ran the Old Sandwich Road Half Marathon in Plymouth, MA. The day was absolutely perfect for running. It was sunny, high 60s to low 70s with a cool breeze.
I woke up bright and early around 6 a.m. thanks to my four year old alarm clock! I can’t resist that face though.
Since the race wasn’t starting until 10 a.m. I had time to relax and snuggle with my little bug. I took my time getting ready. I ate my usual Joseph’s whole grain tortilla with a banana and peanut butter. I gathered all of my gear including the packet of Gu I found in my race bag. I had never tried Gu before but I didn’t have anything else for fuel so I thought I would try it. I got dressed, put my number on, tied my sneaks and off we went.
Orlando and Carlos dropped me off at South Plymouth High School where the shuttle buses were waiting to take us to the starting line. Here are the obligatory family pre-race photos.
Can I just say that Carlos takes much better photos than Orlando. I know, neither are stellar, but at least it preserves the memory.
The shuttle ride to the starting line took about 15 minutes. I was on the first bus so I had about an hour’s wait before the race began. The view from where we waited was beautiful, overlooking the ocean. I didn’t know anyone there so I just stood and took it all in. I am a pretty low key racer. I don’t run before a race and I had already done some basic stretching at the hotel. I love watching all of the pre-race rituals. Running is such an individual sport. There really is no wrong or right. I did eventually strike up a conversation with a few women and that helped to pass the time. One of them was wearing Vibrams and was doing her first long run in them. I spotted a few more along the course. Fun!
The start time was delayed by 10 minutes. By this time the sun had really perked up and we were beginning to feel the warmth. The start was a bit disorganized and chaotic. I simply started moving when everyone in front of me got going. There was no timing mat. We had to wear velcro ankle timing straps. This was new for me, but it wasn’t bothersome as I feared it might be.
We started out on Old Sandwich Road for which the race is named. It is the Oldest Road in America, having once served as a Wampanoag Indian foot trail. It later became a common stagecoach and mail delivery route between Sandwich, MA and Plymouth, MA.
There are seven historic sites along the dirt road. Unfortunately they are not highlighted along the route and although I had read about them prior to the race, I definitely missed most of them. Once the crowd thinned and I had some room to breath I just zoned out and enjoyed the tranquil scenery.
The Boy Scouts did a wonderful job of manning water stations along the way. They had water and Gatorade which was so appreciated.
I really felt good throughout the race. I knew that I was running a steady pace, but since I didn’t have my Garmin I wasn’t sure of my actual pace. There were no time clocks along the way so I had no idea how I was doing. When Old Sandwich Road ended at about the 6 mile mark the “rolling hills” began and continued until just about the end of the race. I took the Vanilla Gu around mile 7 and I wanted to gag. I did not enjoy that at all. I will stick to fruit chews or raisins. Yuck!!
I started losing steam around mile 11. There was quite an uphill climb about half way into mile 11 and I finally gave in and took a walking break. Once I saw the mile 12 marker I picked up the pace. The race ended in the high school football stadium. As soon as I saw the high school I instantly felt a surge of energy. The course had us run around the back of the school before we could see the stadium. Once inside the stadium we had to run 3/4 of the track before finally crossing the finish line.
I was ecstatic to finish in 2:16:51. My only goals in a race are to have fun, run strong and try to beat my last time by a second or more! I accomplished my goals and more. This was definitely a PR as my last half time was 2:21:49.
A few days after the race I got an email directing me to a race review website. I wrote a glowing blurb about what a great race it was. Not only do I hate to be negative I really didn’t have anything bad to say about the race. Then I read this review and my heart sunk:
“The course was short; only 12.7 not 13.1 and the lack of medals was really a huge disapppointment; especially since a finisher’s medal was advertised on the website. If they needed to cut expenses, they should have done away with the cold hamburgers and hot dogs. The race time should have been earlier; having your longest race go into the heat of the day isn’t great planning. There was also a section of the course where runners were on both sides of the street and cars were coming in both directions; again, poor planning. I wouldn’t run this one again.”
If the course wasn’t really 13.1 then I didn’t really PR. That would be a huge disappointment. I didn’t wear my Garmin so I’m not sure. As for the medal, I have never received a medal for any race I’ve run, including the ING Hartford Half Marathon. Most people find this odd. I don’t really care. I don’t even keep my bibs. I’m not a saver. I know I ran the race and usually have a photo or two of me wearing the bib. I also have a race tab on the blog to keep track of my races and times.
I agree that the start time should have been earlier, 8am would have been perfect. Sharing the road with cars was a bit daunting as the runner lane was wide enough for barely 2 runners, but I understand that blocking traffic or closing roads can be challenging as well.
By the time I finished the race there was nothing being offered except water bottles. Since I was heading to lunch with my family I didn’t really care, but I did find it a bit odd since every race I have run has had some post race festivity.
Overall I enjoyed the race and I would recommend it to others who live nearby. It was a great feeling to cross that finish line. I seriously get tears in my eyes when I realize that I have completed two half marathons. Really? Who am I?