The South Shore Half was originally set to take place on November 2 ... but that never happened.
Due to weather advisories, the police and fire department decided to postpone the race.
Thankfully it was a postponement rather than a full on cancellation. They pushed the race back to November 16. Yay I was free that day. Boo it would be the day after my first Spartan Sprint at Fenway Park. Ummm... ouch?
I wasn't sure how sore I would be after the Spartan Sprint, but I had committed to do the South Shore Half so no matter what I would be there.
The morning of the race the alarm blared at 5am and I bolted crawled out of bed. My upper body and legs were sore, but manageable. The wife and I loaded into the car by 5:30 and were off to get her some much needed Dunkin' Donuts.
According to Google Maps, the ride should've taken us about 50 minutes ... well on that early Sunday morning we were there in just over 30. Ummm yay extra time in the car? Well it was a real feel of about 22 degrees so I stayed in the car with her until 6:30. At 6:30 I dragged myself out of the warm car and onto the shuttle busses. Participants and spectators would be parking at the Hanover Mall and racers would take the 5 minute bus ride to the Start Area at Norwell High. Spectators would take a later bus to the Finish in Norwell Center.
Congrats to the race crew for having plenty of busses for the runners and my wife said there were enough for spectators as well.
(Note: I did receive complimentary entry into this race, but all opinions are my own - ain't nobody got time for lyin'!)
When I arrived at Norwell High, I headed straight to the gym to meet up with my friend Steph, who would be tackling her first half marathon! Woo! We are teammates on the Slumbrew Happy Soles so it was great to see a familiar face in the crowd.
We chatted in the warmth of the gym while other runners poured in. I wondered of the original registrants how many would be showing up on the new date. Personally I knew three friends that had originally signed up wouldn't make it due to other plans. But the gym seemed pretty packed in my opinion.
We made the decision to finally leave the warmth of the gym around 7:10 to hit up the port-o-potties and bag check then off to the Start Line we went. There was just a hoard of people heading that way and as we approached the Start Arch an announcement was made.
We were told to line up on the opposite side of the Start Arch from where we were all standing. Umm... ok. Can I tell you that was tough with the amount of people. Note the sea of people trying to make their way through the people already standing on the other side. Does that all make sense? Can you picture the cluster that ensued?
It was frustrating since people didn't want to move to let others into the corral. I would recommend another tactic to the race director next year, but I knew it was the first of this race so kinks would need to get worked out in the future.
But once we were on the right side, I caught a woman's unique running outfit.
Okay I'm kidding. ;) This was a spectator who was walking in the Start Area with her husband. Still not sure why she was there, but I had to snap a pic of the furry boots.
Due to the cluster, the race went off about 7-8 minutes late, which was okay with me as I was still trying to stretch and get my music in order. Yes I opted to run with music for this race since I wasn't sure how many spectators would be out on the course. I knew Disney music would keep me going. :)
Before I knew it I heard the MC doing a countdown and we were off. Here we go Half Marathon #24 overall and #10 of the year.
It was definitely chilly out. I couldn't feel my toes during the first few miles of the race.
Mile 1: 8:43
During Mile 2 I made the smart decision to stop and retie my sneakers. Unfortunately it took me awhile to do it since I couldn't feel my fingers when trying to retie the shoes. Ha. I wasn't sure how long I would be there attempting to get this done. I was wicked happy to put my gloves back on once I was finally done tying.
We also passed the Mile 12 mile marker and I thought "Man that seems really far away right now." But I tuned out the negative voice and focused on living in each mile.
Mile 2: 9:21
I had glanced at the course map, but hadn't seen any elevation chart so I had no idea what to expect when it came to the hills on the course. The website did say it was NOT a flat course. :P There was an interactive map on the website, but I didn't explore it.
Mile 3: 8:33
And they were right.
5k Mark: 27:46
Big thanks to Racewire for texting me the 5k and 10k updates during the race. I was then able to tweet them to my followers. :)
Just after the 5k mark, we hit the first hill.
Ouch! My legs were definitely feeling the stairs from the day before when I started working my way up the hill. I just kept telling myself one foot in front of the other! My mantra for the day.
Mile 4: 8:48
There were more spectators out on the course than I expected, but we were running through local neighborhoods and many folks were standing at the end of their driveways with signs and music. It was cool to see so many kids out cheering for their moms or dads. I pretended that they were cheering for me as well. ;)
Mile 5: 8:42
I loved the amount of water stops on the course. I made sure to take water at each stop and walk for at least 10-20 seconds to let the legs recharge. The Mile 5 water stop would double as a Mile 9 water stop so we were able to get Gatorade twice on the course.
We took an overpass over Route 3 and headed towards the out-and-back portion of the race. As we made our way to another neighborhood, we saw the lead police escort coming towards us! :) I had to snap a pic of the lead runner.
He was making it look effortless.
It's always so exciting to see the lead pack during a race. It is motivating, inspiring and fun to cheer them on.
The rolling hills rolled on with a beautiful quaint New England background. During the uphills, I reminded myself that what goes up must come down. But on the downhills, it was what goes down must go up! (Okay folks let's stay PG ;)) I tried to soak up the downhills as much as possible, but knew I'd be facing another uphill at some point.
Mile 6: 8:40
Racewire had photographers along the course, but I never seemed to notice them until I had already passed. Once I hit the 10k mark, I realized the front of my Sparkle Athletic skirt was stuck in my jacket ... and yes Racewire caught it on camera. Oops! :P
10k Mark: 55:09
I had never been to Norwell before so it was a great chance to see the gorgeous houses and cute neighborhoods. The loop we did through Brigantine Circle was adorable. I loved the feeling of this small town race.
Mile 7: 8:29
As we completed the circle, we headed back towards Route 3. I cheered on the folks heading towards the circle and tried to high five some folks. Not everyone was as excited as I was. :P
I stopped at the water stop during Mile 8 and took the opportunity to take a KIND Snacks break. I like using the KIND Bars as half marathon fuel.
I did a little extra walking that mile in order to eat my snack and stretch out the legs. They were really starting to get sore, but I was ready to push through.
Mile 8: 9:12
Bravo to the race for also handing out PowerBar Energy GUs. While I don't use them, my fellow runners were thrilled for the extra fuel.
Mile 9: 8:39
I checked in with the body and could tell the legs were sore and tired just like the upper body. Apparently the middle part of me was fine and excited to run. It was just everything else that was ready to be done.
I tried to turn up the tunes and just soak up the chilly morning air and be proud that I was out there getting it done.
That is what I love about running - it gives me time to work through issues or celebrate triumphs. Today was celebrating doing an obstacle race on the Saturday and the half on Sunday.
Mile 10: 8:52
Okay a 5k to go. I can do that. It was like my iPod knew what I needed to hear at that moment.
It turned out "Let It Go," "Go The Distance," and "Zero To Hero" in a row. I mean what more could I ask for. I was now changing from running to freakin' jamming! :P
During Mile 11, we turned off Wildcat Street and on to Pleasant Street, which meant we were back on familiar terrain. We would be overlapping some of the early miles as we headed to the Finish.
Mile 11: 8:11
I was needing some support and turned to social media! I called to my peeps for positive vibes and they came out in full force. :)
We were coming into the home stretch. I could see folks around me walking and I had a debate in my mind about walking. I thought if they could do it I could. While yes I could walk, it isn't what I wanted to do. I knew if I just kept running I would get to the Finish faster. The image of the free beer at the end put a little pep in my step.
Plus I soaked in the quaint New England feel for the final two miles.
Mile 12: 8:17
Guess I had something in the tank that I didn't know about. I was tapping in to some speed in the final 5k.
I need to send a big thank you to the volunteers and cops along the course. They were friendly and encouraging the entire time. I know it was cold for them to be standing in one place for so long.
With 1/2 a mile to go, it was time to start playing those games with myself. Just a few more sprints to the Finish. It's like a run around the block. Keep an eye out for the wife as distraction. Etc.
Mile 13: 8:02
I was behind a group of folks and I was ready to buzz past them during the final .1. :) I saw the wife just before the Finish and she even got a pic of me.
Can you tell my phone had slipped down behind my left knee? Yeah I was just trying to keep it from falling out. I had put it in the back of my pants for the final stretch and somehow it started slipping.
But I was ready to fflllyyy across the Finish... and I did.
Final Time: 1:54:00
WOO! My 24th-career half marathon and 10th in 2014 was done. :)
While my Garmin gave me 13.21 miles, I do know that Garmins can usually be off from the advertised 13.1. (Read more on that here)
I had a tough time catching my breath post-race, but thankfully the wife was there to help me slow down my breathing as we walked. I had to keep moving. If I stopped, I wouldn't start back up.
I beelined it for the beer line. Priorities, right? Well they didn't have chocolate milk a the Finish so I had to go for the next best thing. The Finish line featured water, crackers with peanut butter, gummies and a granola bar. I was surprised there weren't bagels or bananas. I was ready to hit Dunkins after so I wasn't totally disappointed.
The post-race party was held just past the Finish Line area outside McGreal's Tavern.
The Sierra Nevada IPA sure hit the spot. The race also offered free hot dogs and hamburgers to Finishers. I passed, but I loved the gesture.
Mmm beer and bling! A great reason to run 13.1 miles on a Sunday morning. :)
Big thanks to my wife for getting up early with me, driving me and being my #1 cheerleader.
Photo via Racewire
I do want to give a big shutout to Steph for owning her first half and finishing a tough course in 2:06:31. Yay Steph!
Photo via Steph
The wife and I had to head home so we hopped on the shuttle busses after grabbing an extra pint glass and were back to the car pretty quickly.
Overall the race was very well-organized. I was happy to see a comment on the race's Facebook page from the final runner of the day sharing how pleased she was with the volunteers and amount of support still on the course when she finished. THAT makes me happy and eager to run a race again when they spend the same energy on runner 1 as runner 1750. Bravo South Shore Half Bravo.
The swag was great. The post-race beer was delicious. The course was challenging.
What more could you ask for?
Do you shy away from inaugural races or do you like to give them a try?