So, no need to bury the lede: I finished in 3:41:55. This was my 12th marathon and my ninth state (New Hampshire).
I was hoping to PR and didn’t get close. My prerace nerves (/my prerace meal?) got the best of me, and I felt sick and weak for much of the race.
I thought the ability to wait in my hotel until 15 minutes before the start would be a positive thing, but it only made me more crazed. I need distractions! (Other than Real Housewives of New Jersey, the only non-informercial I could find on TV before 8 a.m. on a Sunday. In fact, that probably made me more sick.)
I’m running Philly—historically a good course for me, knock wood—next month, and I wanted to enjoy the rest of my day in Portsmouth, so I backed off around the half and finished the best I could.
Let’s break it down:
The course: A double-loop that opens to traffic (!!!) after the half-marathoners clear out. Flat and potentially fast, as advertised, with some lovely fall foliage. Very quiet and residential. I would have run better with music, but I didn’t want to get hit by a car. (I never felt in danger, but this happened in the same area last month, so…) We had a lane closed for the last few miles, but there was plenty of traffic in the lane next to it. I very much wanted to slash the tires of the guy blowing cigarette smoke out his window around mile 26.
The weather: Mid-50s (good). Cloudy (good). High humidity (bad). Strong winds in the first few miles (bad). Rain in the second half (whatever). Possibly a factor for me, but not as much as my stomach.
My personal highlight: Telling a young volunteer around mile 14 that we were not, in fact, “almost there.”
The afterparty: Clam chowder! A tiny lobster roll! And two beer tickets! Pro tip: You get all these things even if you run the half. So just run the half. I was too chilled to finish even my first beer, but the food went down nicely (after I’d showered, dried my hair, and put on warm clothes).
The verdict: The marathon feels like an afterthought here. There are way more half-marathoners, and that would have been the better choice (if not for the 50 States Project). Also, almost everything is closed in Hampton Beach, and every runner went to the one Italian restaurant in Hampton the night before the race. They should consider offering a pasta party.
Non-race highlights: Bernie’s Beach Bar, which offers all draft beers for $2, all the time. (Including Harpoon IPA, what Paul and I had.) It comes with a heaping helping of bad country music, but it was worth it. | Watching the Bengals defeat the Patriots in Portsmouth; Paul not getting beaten up for being pleased about it. | Surviving a nearly seven-hour, bad-weather car ride home without having to stop to pee even ONCE. (Whoops. Dehydration?)