Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Old Port Half Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!
This past weekend, I completed my 16th half marathon! I have been looking forward to this race since December, and planned my summer trip home to New Hampshire around the race. I had high hopes for my performance, and while I fell short, I still really enjoyed the race.
Friday: Jake and I flew down Thursday and spent most of Friday in New Hampshire. I did a short 2 mile shakeout on Friday and felt pretty good. After dinner with my family, we headed up to Portland to meet my mom and brother. We had a room at a Days Inn in South Portland, about 10 minutes away from the start. My brother, Jake, and I had a late-night snack/drink at Sea Dog Brewing, which was wonderful.
Packet pick up: My mom got to Portland early enough to pick up packets and swag for the three of us. She had an easy time, aside from the volunteers saying I hadn’t ordered a shirt (which was not included in race registration). Thankfully after sending over a copy of my receipt, she was able to get my shirt. I also got a hat and a beer glass with my registration.
Pre-race: We left our hotel just after 6 to head to the start. We faced some slight traffic getting off the highway and were finally parked about 6:30, just a couple of blocks from the half marathon start. While my brother suited up in his fire gear, Jake and I ran down to the bathrooms. There were so many and hardly any lines. I realized I forgot to put on sunscreen so I sent Jake to the 5K shuttle while I ran back to the car to sunscreen up. I made it back to the start for 6:50 to stretch after my running warm up. There were two waves of runners, and I was obviously in the second (slower) wave.
Game plan: While looking forward to this race, I thought I had a solid chance to PR on this course, if the conditions were right. It was 62 with 93% humidity at the start, which definitely isn’t ideal. The course involves two major hills, but is flat otherwise. Unfortunately I woke up with cramps (woman problems). I decided to start conservatively and not die on the hills, before hopefully speeding up. Even if I couldn’t PR, I was confident I could run a sub-2:15 while doing 120:30 run/walk intervals.
Miles 1-5: I started out conservatively for a “race”, but not ready to keep steady splits. After a mile I got sucked in around the 2:20 pace group, which was very large and spread out. I battled them for about a mile and a half before finally passing them. We’d go back and forth for a while, but the group broke apart after the first hill. Speaking of the first hill, it was a good half a mile, and pretty steep. I made it up without altering my intervals and/or slowing, which I was proud of. The course flattened out before heading on a short, steep downhill back towards the start. Splits: 10:54, :31, :51, :08, 9:57.
Miles 6-10: I was stoked to see a sub-10 mile, but I knew I had to reign it in for the hill that was coming at mile 6. I managed to make it almost all the way up the hill without extra walking, but eventually gave in. I was moving so slowly, and figured if I had any hope of speeding up, I should conserve the energy. The climb was relentless, but the views at the top were so worth it. The terrain rolled a bit for about a mile, before coming back down to the “Back Cove” path. This is where I planned to speed back up, but I was failing at doing so. By this time it had heated up and there was no shade on the Back Cove path. The water stations started to hand out icy towels, which were AMAZING, but they could only help so much.
I felt strong until mile 8, then I started to fade, and fast. The 2:20 group passed me once more, and I knew I wasn’t going to be catching up. My cramps were getting worse and my legs just didn’t have speed in them. Splits: 10:56, ;55, :23, 11:26, 11:47.
Miles 11-13: Once I started running miles in the 11’s, I knew even a sub 2:20 was not happening. I knew I had a long day ahead of me after the race, so instead of kill myself, I switched down to 60:30 intervals. Despite this, I struggled to keep a decent pace. I was feeling hot, but really felt defeated more than anything. Nonetheless, I was enjoying the views, aside from mile 11.5 where we passed a sewage plant that was disgusting. Just plain disgusting. But if that was the worst part of the course, so be it.
I walked much more than I would have liked the last mile and a half. I was just bummed. I wanted to put up a time so badly – for my family that I came to see, my mom who was going to be at the finish, and for my boyfriend and brother who ran. Nonetheless, I finished, uninjured. Slow, but uninjured. I had a tough time for a few minutes, but felt better after sitting in the shade with an icy towel. Splits: 12:37, :54, :53, 2:38 (.22).
Official finish time: 2:29:08. My second slowest (road) half, I believe. (Falling a month after my slowest. Great.)
Post-race: My brother had to bring part of his fire suit back to his station, so Jake and I headed to the finish area for a quick beer. The runner’s food tent was a bit disappointing, where I was only allowed one orange piece. I only eat oranges after a race, so I would have been happy with a couple more. There were three beer options, and I stuck with one I was familiar with, the Shipyard Summer Ale. It was so refreshing! We drank our beers quickly, on the ground, because all of the seats in the shaded tent were taken or being used as foot-rests. We enjoyed the band for a bit, and then headed for pizza because we wanted to get back to the hotel to shower before check-out. They were OUT of pizza. Yes, I’m slow, but the pizza was a big draw for the race and for them to be out was a big bummer. The volunteers said there would be more, but had no time estimate, so we left. Thankfully, there was a family party later that day and we had LOBSTER.
Also, I can’t forget to share that Jake finished in 31:43 (I don’t think he’s run since APRIL) and my brother walked the 5K in his fire gear in 51 minutes.
All around, this was a good race. The volunteers were fantastic, the course was flat with two challenging hills, and the icy cold towels in the later miles are a game changer!
For me, this race kind of put me in my place and made me remember things I learned last year. It hit home how much fitness I’ve lost since the marathon. My training has been so inconsistent, and 9 weeks out from the marathon was too long to use that fitness and rest period to my advantage. A good thing was seeing how long I could keep up sub 11 minute miles while running 120:30 intervals. This was new territory for me, and a goal for Goofy 2018 is to run both races at that interval. I stayed in sub-11 territory for 8 miles, and made it to mile 10 before changing my intervals.
In terms of mentality, it was a struggle at the end, for the first time in a while. I think those last miles would have been different if I hadn’t gone out with time goals. If I had gone out with the sole goal of fun, I wonder how my race really would have gone. When I go in with looser, effort based goals, I end up more pleased with myself and with significantly better times. I know I have more to give, and Saturday just wasn’t my day.
For a more “technical” review, check out my review on Bib Rave!