It was beautiful weather in Gloucester yesterday. The earlier morning temps were perfect racing weather, as it warmed up it was a tad warm for running, but still gorgeous. Part of the reason I chose to run the Twin Lights Half Marathon before the one planned for next weekend was to see the ocean views in Gloucester and Rockport during the run.
We started out at one of my favorite North Shore beaches, Good Harbor. I didn’t really want to walk around in the sand with my running shoes (sandy shoes for 13 miles, no thank you), so the picture is not great, but still pretty.
Earlier this week I was looking at some reviews of the Twin Lights Half Marathon and was realizing that this was not going to be a flat race. I was still holding out hope that perhaps it was not quite as hilly as “constant rolling hills”, but I learned that was correct on race day.
I was nervous as I really was not properly trained this time around, I could sit here and make excuses, but the majority of the time it was an accumulation of poor choices and too many ignored alarm clocks. On top of this, I never train for hills. I know that sounds like not the brightest choice, but I just don’t. Most of the places to run around me just don’t have hills, like running around the Charles. Honestly I’ve also found that by walking most hills in races (speed walking, not just leisurely walking) I am only going slightly slower than I would be at my struggling running pace uphill. And then I have saved the energy it took to make it up that hill. I know, I know, I should probably just train for it, but just doesn’t seem worth it to me right now.
Anyway, this is a seriously hilly course. It was an out and back course and I handled the hills fairly well on the way out, running some of the smaller ones, walking the large ones. I was actually pretty hopeful that I could beat my PR at this point. And then about halfway through I realized that was not happening. The hills were rough, the heat was on and the race was lacking in water stations. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth the extra weight of running with my fuel belt in a race, but I was thankful I did during this one. And I actually did need more liquid than I ran with, it must have been super tough for those that did not have anything.
To be clear, there were water/gatorade stations, but on the second half most of the stations seemed to be out of liquids or out of cups. They were trying their best by portioning out small amounts or holding up the containers so runners could drink below, but as you can imagine this is not ideal on a hot day. I was also a little confused that the stations were often on the opposite side of the road, there really should have been enough to have stations on both sides. I guess this would be less of an issue if the roads were completely closed, but they weren’t so if you really wanted to stop you had to cross the street with cars coming by.
Sadly I had my worst half marathon time at this race, but when you don’t train well with a challenging course that is what happens. On the second half of the course I did quite a bit of walking. At least I can be proud of the last 0.1 miles, I always like to finish strong as possible, Ben caught me right before the finish line.
At mile 10 all I could think about was having a large cold beer and a maybe a dip in the ocean. Anyone else crave beer during their long runs or races?
So I skipped the cold dip in the ocean, but beers we had! We paid a visit to Cala’s in Manchester and spent time with my friend Jaime. And seriously, I love all the food here, but these lobster rolls are always amazing (and not to mention the hand-cut fries). Plates were definitely cleaned.
And then back to Boston, desperately in need of a shower!
All in all, if you want a challenging course with beautiful views you should run this race. I know I mentioned some issues, but to be fair I’m pretty sure this race is in its second or third year and it takes some time and money to get everything to go along smoothly.
One plus, free race photo downloads, you don’t see that very often. I’ll share what I am guessing will be super flattering pictures as soon as I have them!