Hot and Hilly

Great Bay Half, finishLast weekend I ran the hot and hilly Great Bay Half Marathon–my fourth half since I started running 5 years ago. The Newmarket, N.H. race was part of the Will Run for Beer series, and Loco Races did a great job of organizing the event. The Newmarket crowds were charged up with the running spirit as well. In addition to fuel stops and cheering onlookers along the route, at mile 6 there was a hula hoop, fiddle playing guy on roller skates, followed by belly dancers at mile 12! On and off the course, people were having a blast.

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With the Cabot Trail Relay  coming up in May, my plan was to do the Great Bay Half as a training run. The Relay is a huge event on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, and I’m running it for the first time this year. I’m working on gaining more control over my running gears, and I was coached to run the first 5 miles of the Great Bay Half at a relaxed pace, then to pick it up and race the final 8 miles. It didn’t work out quite like that due to the relentless hills and warm temps.

GBHalfSTARTI placed myself further back in the pack at the starting line, and spent the first 4 miles of the race reining myself in. With the goal of “conversational pace,” I tried chatting with the people around me. I couldn’t get more than a nod and a word out of anyone so I focused on awareness of effort, making sure my breathing was steady and unlabored. Awareness of one’s body and surroundings is the primary reason not to race with earbuds, and I’d actually love to see them banned in longer, more technical race events. In this race, I had three near-collisions with runners who were completely unaware of what was going on around them. At one point I ran by a couple arguing about ipods–the woman complaining that unless they both turned down the volume, they wouldn’t be able to hear each other during the race!

The race shirt for the Great Bay Half reads: These legs conquered the hills of the Great hillsBay Half Marathon, and they’re not kidding! In the early miles of the race, the rolling hills kept the terrain interesting, along with great views of the woods and the bay. After I picked up the pace in the fifth mile, I realized that in spite of the mellow pace, my legs were still taking a beating from the terrain. After 8 or 9 miles of up and down, I muttered, “Sweet Jesus, are these hills ever gonna let up?” The guy next to me chuckled and said, “Not until the final stretch of the race, when you get to run downhill to the finish!” He went on to say that there would be a respite during a 2.5 mile lollipop loop through a residential development. GBH5I was still feeling pretty strong as I turned the corner into the development, but at that point the tree cover disappeared and the miles under the sun began to take a toll. I reminded myself that a short recovery time after the half would be key, in order to continue my training for the Cabot Trail Relay uninterrupted. I stopped looking at my watch at about mile 11 and just ran it in. I know it was a smart choice, given the unexpected challenges of the race, though it’s hard not to wonder what would have happened if I’d taken it on as a race from the start!

Beer

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About lucindasrunningblog

Lucinda is an artist and teacher whose work focused on landscape and place. Bliss currently serves as Dean of Graduate Studies at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.
This entry was posted in Half Marathon, Racing, Running and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hot and Hilly

  1. OmniRunner says:

    I ran the race also. Did you stop to take those pictures?
    That guy playing fiddle, doing hoola-hoop on a skate board was amazing. Three things I cannot do. All I had to do was run.
    The weather was perfect and the beer was cold. So nice of them to let us drink outside.
    I’ve run the race four times now. My friends love this race.

    • I’ll definitely run it again! As for the pix, my friend Rick Chalmers ran the 5k (fast!) and then took the shots of me; the others (the hill, the shot of the start, and the hula hooper) are official pix from the Loco site. Glad you had a good day!

  2. Pingback: Great Bay Half Marathon « Maine Running Photos

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