Race Recap: Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon 2013

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.

Talking with some guy near mile 23 about how we'd both feel a lot better if we could barf. Really. #runchat

Talking with some guy near mile 23 about how we’d both feel a lot better if we could barf. Really. #runchat

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.

It was the least-bad of my New England marathons thus far. (See: Connecticut. Vermont.) That’s something!

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.

The ocean was so rough that waves were coming up over that retaining wall.

The ocean was so rough that waves were splashing up over that retaining wall.

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).

Fote courtesy of my #1 cheerleader, Paul.

Fote courtesy of my #1 cheerleader, Paul.

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.

Alone in a sea of half-marathoners. (We had orange bibs; they had green.)

Alone in a sea of half-marathoners. (We had orange bibs; they had green.)

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?)

The calm before the storm on the drive home.

The calm before the storm on the drive home.

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About Meghan Loftus

http://meghanloftus.com/
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10 Responses to Race Recap: Smuttynose Rockfest Marathon 2013

  1. Katrina says:

    Congrats on your race! Too funny, but that’s my husband in the blue shirt in the upper left hand of your first picture. We must have been running behind you – not sure for how long, by that point in the marathon most everything was a blur to me 🙂 And even though we were that close to you at mile 23, I still finished 6 minutes behind you!

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      Thank you! Also, small world! That final stretch was brutal. I wasn’t familiar enough with the area to know where we were going, but it seemed like we should be almost there for the duration of those last four miles. Congrats on your finish!

  2. djamesbutton says:

    Great recap. Portsmouth will always be one of those great towns to have a pint in. I agree with the thoughts on the full feeling like more of an afterthought. The weather was best in the morning before the race start, we got there early and watched a nice sunrise, def would have been better than any real housewives. Lol Glad you guys enjoyed NH!

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      I guess it makes sense for the full to feel that way, since 4/5 of the runners were doing the half, but still. One of the best things about racing is not having to worry about traffic, and I did feel somewhat worried about it in this race.

      • djamesbutton says:

        I actually felt safer on the backroads, simply because the cars that were there gave a very wide and slow berth to the runners. Back along the coast at the end, in the rain was not so fun, having the cars speed by on the open lanes. Definitely could have been worse, but I actually liked the course at Hartford more, as far as New England fall races go and I loathe CT.

      • Meghan Loftus says:

        I’d agree Hartford was the better course. I just had a really godawful day there. NH was…less godawful. Ha.

      • djamesbutton says:

        Haha! I’d like to think that is always the case between CT and NH. One has far less godawful days.

  3. Congrats on the race! Still a really good time for having backed off at the half. I get really frustrated with races that obviously cater to the half marathon and have the marathon as an afterthought, but seems like it was a good experience overall!

    • Meghan Loftus says:

      Yeah, it was fine! I was disappointed with my time at first but have since put it in perspective. If I can do that well feeling sick with no crowd support or music, Philly should go better.

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