Sunday, September 30, 2012

Smuttynose Marathon, Hampton, New Hampshire

I love saying Smuttynose.  Sort of dribbles off the tongue.  That’s the name of a local brewery, the major sponsor of this race.  I’m sure their beer is very good too, although I didn't try it.  Yet.  I’m partial to darker beers, so maybe I’ll look in a store for Smuttynose Stout or whatever.

We ran six miles along the shore
I finished my 68th marathon and 48th state since myeloma diagnosis, in 5:01:39, just three minutes slower than the Sioux Falls marathon three weeks ago.  I was third of four in my age group of 70-74.  Best of all, NO PROBLEMS. This one was a total success.  I love it.  Preliminary results are here:

My Race: 

I would have finished sooner than I did in Sioux Falls, but had to take four (4) porta-potty breaks. I’ll have to do something about that, though I don’t yet know what. On two of those breaks I had to wait a short time for the facility to be available. It rained almost the whole way, easing up only a little at my finish. Because of the rain and threat of wind, I carried a jacket, tied around my waist. I never used it, but it got soaked along with everything else and added to the weight I carried. Similarly, I wore a long-sleeved tech shirt under my short-sleeved Team Continuum shirt, and removed the long-sleeved one somewhere around mile 8, also tying that around my waist. I suppose those slowed me a little.

The temperature varied only a little, from 54 to 58. I took six Clif Shot Mocha gels, 50 mg caffeine each, at roughly 4-mile intervals, and perhaps eight or ten salt tablets. I ran 30 “triplets” and then walked 20, which results in 30 seconds of run and about 25 of walk. I suppose I ran about 2/3 of the distance. Aside from ordinary muscle fatigue, the only limiting factor in my race was my calves, which threatened to cramp in the last four miles, especially the last two. Both calves acted up equally - that’s good, I like to be balanced. :-)

Smuttynose Marathon:

It’s OK.  But because of the course, it's not great.  I liked the half better than the full, because there was less vehicle traffic.  We full marathoners ran the half first, 11 miles of it, and then took a second loop which included much of the same route plus some additional roads.  For the half, the course was closed to vehicle traffic for the first seven miles, at least it was for people going my speed.  It was not closed all that way for people going slower.

Full marathoners, on the second loop, ran on roads that were not closed to traffic, some of them quite busy.  We were almost always required to run on the right side of the road, which presented two problems: (1) I have a PFS injury that is apt to appear when I run too much on roads tilted to the right.  Happily, no problem today; and (2) Vehicle traffic was always coming from behind.  That’s very uncomfortable, especially on these roads, most of which had no paved shoulder at all - just a white line at or very near the edge of the pavement, which then usually dropped two to four inches to the grass shoulder, if there was any shoulder at all.  Sometimes there were cones, but usually not.  Some busy roads had neither a shoulder nor a white line.  Runners ran in single file, as close to the edge as they dared, and put themselves at extra risk if they wanted to move left to get around the runner in front of them.  Most New Hampshire drivers were courteous and careful, but of course some were not, roaring past us as if we were simply an annoyance.  To them, of course, we were, though that's no excuse.

I really can’t believe that the race organizers can imagine that this race is safe.  It may be the least-safe of my 68 marathons.

Now I have that off my chest, here are some good things:
  • Registration and race number pickup were easy peasy.  No problems.
  • They had women’s race shirts.  My women like that.
  • The “chips” were strips attached to the back of the bib.  That’s a pretty simple way to do things.
  • After the finish, a runner could literally walk up to a screen and it would automatically detect the bib and display the time, age group place, and every other interesting statistic.  In 68 marathons, I've never seen this before - it’s cool!
  • Parking was free in the municipal lots, but you should get there two hours before race start.  90 minutes might not do it.
  • It’s a fairly big race, as marathons go.  The marathon and the half started together, and it took me seven minutes to get to the start line after the gun went off.
  • At the finish we were treated to a lobster roll.  I’d never tried one before, and was delighted.  Didn't eat the white-flour bun, of course, just the lobster.
  • There was other good food at the finish, including hot soup.  That went over very well with chilled runners.Volunteers and spectators were terrific, despite the dreary day.  All of the marathon staff was.
  • For the full marathon, there are six miles of ocean view.  Half marathoners get four.  This is right along the beach, by far the best part of the race, and the safest.
  • We were able to understand the public address system before the race started.  That’s unusual.
  • Finishing the race
  • According to the race organizers, it’s the least-hilly marathon in New England.  Might be - it wasn't bad.

Only one small thing - after the race was over, in the shower, I noticed a bruise on the top of my left foot, an inch or so back from the little toe, about an inch long (along that tendon) and a half inch wide.  Quite black and blue.  There is also a small skin tab near the worst part of the bruise - slightly scraped, but no blood.  Either: (1) Something or someone stomped on my foot (I don’t recall it); or (2) my rain-soaked sock bunched up there.  I suspect the sock.  Odd that I felt nothing at all, and still don’t unless I press on it.  I have photos, but will spare you.  The toe still works - I checked.  It will heal in time for the next marathon.  This is good  - no real issues like PFS or hernia.  Yay!

Splits: 11:42, 13:25 (natural break), 21:17 (2 mi), 10:35, 21:57 (2 mi), 10:21, 10:46, 16:33 (major natural break), 21:50 (2 mi), 10:50, 11:17, 11:00, 12:42 (natural break), 11:12, 11:08, 11:26, 11:33, 11:11, 11:44, 11:20, 23:18 (2 mi & natural break), 12:01, 2:35, total 5:01:39, pace 11:30.  Good enough for a rainy day.

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