A Fun Run Through Newburyport With Friends Also Known As Newburyport Half

When a friend comes in to town and she needs a long run for her New York City Marathon, you have a plan already in place. Am I right?

Well I had planned to run the Newburyport Half with my BRF Page, but she was unable to run so we had a transferable bib. So when Sarah (@MomOnEmpty) told me she'd be in town and needed a long run, I was ready to go with an answer! My friend Susan (@LSofFashionista) had already been roped in from the year prior and a discount code so she would be joining us for a nice casual long run for Sarah. Goal was around 10:30 min/mile pace if possible. 

Now Sarah has been in So Cal for long enough that humidity wasn't on her radar so returning to a New England race would be a bit of a shock/adjustment. 

I drove our crew up to Newburyport which is about 45 minutes from my house. We left plenty of time to find parking, pick up our bibs and stash the stuff back in the car. Sometimes you really gotta love small local races.

We were back to the Start Line after port-o-potty stops and all with plenty of time to spare.

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We were a little excited to be virtually running alongside Sarah's husband, Rob and our friend Linzie. Rob and Sarah are both running NYC so we were all a part of their final long runs before the big show. 

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My amazing friend and fellow blogger Sue (@sparkefitness) ROCKED the National Anthem. We lined up between the 2:15 and 2:30 pacer. 

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Per usual, we were busy chatting and all of a sudden the horn went off and it was time to start the race. :P Thank goodness we had time to get ourselves together by the time we crossed the start.

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Shockingly I had to pee within a mile of starting and we spotted a port-o-potty with a limited line just after Mile 1 and we jumped on the opportunity. Again we weren't going to win or PR so might as well take advantage of the bathroom break. I also met some nice ladies in line to chat with. They were a little shocked I had run Chicago marathon on 10/8 then Brooklyn half on 10/14 then Newburyport half on 10/22.

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It's funny how your definition of normal changes during your weightloss and fitness journeys. In 2010, I would've LAUGHED if someone told me the above schedule would've seemed COMPLETELY normal to me. But look how things change. :)

Alright with a potty break done, we were back to business. It was wicked nice out running with my two friends who I don't get to see as often as I'd like. And with the big move happening I am soaking up all the time I can with my friends since I know it is limited.

Mile 1: 10:20
Mile 2: 13:53
Mile 3: 9:58
Mile 4: 10:24

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One the best things about the Fall? Running in New England. How can I complain about rolling hills ;) when there is this beauty all around us. 

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Since I race so often (blessed I know), I fully expect to forget the intricacies of repeat races. Yet somehow I was running along this course and the nuances from the previous year came back. Oh yeah we are going to be passing a farm and a Quaker cemetery and it was right around Mile 5 Page and I took a very pretty bathroom/water/GU break.

OH there's that spot ahead! :P 

And yes we were sending texts back and forth with our running counterparts in SoCal. :) After a nice GU break where yes we all managed to bring different flavors, we were off again. 

Just past the Mile 5 marker, it was time to make a big circle or lollipop for the next 3-ish miles. It was great seeing so many local high schoolers out volunteering along the race course at intersections (with adults of course) and water stops.

Of course we had our eyes out for any potential photo ops/character stops and since it was around Halloween the residents of Newburyport had our back.

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Ahhhh!!! Even in broad daylight that weird scarecrow/bear thing was creepy!

Now I didn't think anything could top that UNTIL we were running towards a couple cheering runners on from the end of their driveway and the woman was doing the queen wave.

Is she? Wait? Is that a floor length dress? Oh YES! I need a pic with her.

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How'd I do? Can I be royal? 

After some waving lessons it was time to get back to the fun. ;)

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It is going to be wicked hard to leave New England running, but I am excited to check out new running spots in Europe.

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Very little beats Fall in New England! 

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I will say my cape got some serious love on the race that day. There was also a wonderful woman who was running while her boss was biking alongside with Gatorade and water. Now SHE knows how to bring it to a race. Since the races were open I don't think there was anything against this person biking since she didn't interfere at all with any other runners and stayed out of the way of runners.

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Can we tell I was happy to be out running with my girls?

I was also having fun watching both of them experience this race for the first time since well I didn't really tell them about the rolling hills as much as I should've. ;0) Sometimes I forgot many of the details until we are in the race. Yeah yeah that's the reason. :P 

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Mile 5: 9:48
Mile 6: 12:26
Mile 7: 10:28
Mile 8: 10:16

We left the lollipop loop just after Mile 8 and we were realizing that our overall pace was a little ahead of what we were targeting. Sometimes I speed everyone up intentionally when we are deep in conversation and having laughs.

Unfortunately Miles 9-11 aren't the prettiest of miles on this course. You end up running over the highway then run through a business park. Additionally Mile 11 features an out and back that inevitably ends up being a wind tunnel because of the design of the buildings. What was fun at the end of the out and back were two little kids that were screaming with joy as they ran around and chased each other. 

While there wasn't much to look at during those miles, I knew we would be hitting the bike path at Mile 12. It is a pretty bike path flanked with art pieces. We just had to push our way to that point and the last mile would make up for it.

Mile 9: 11:17
Mile 10: 11:01
Mile 11: 11:09

We did it!! Now it was like the victory mile. 

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During the final mile, we all sort of split up as we got closer to the last 1/2 a mile or so. It was nice to kind of let the legs go a little at the end. I love the final push to the finish as the path is lined with spectators on both sides with kids, signs and dogs.

Mile 12: 11:56
Mile 13: 10:06

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I HAVE to appreciate when a race photog actually catches the leap and not just the take off and/or landing. ;) 

FINAL TIME: 2:24:14 (11:00 min/mile pace)

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Just after I came in Susan and Sarah both finished as well. We grabbed our medals, did a quick drive by the snacks and headed to the beer garden.

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Each runner got 2 free Goose Island beers and a slice of pizza. For the second-straight year, I couldn't find where the pizza was/was too lazy to truly investigate. But don't worry I of course found the beer. :) Luckily the beer lines seemed a little better than the year prior, where they were a complete shit show for anyone that finished over like 2 hours and 15 min.

After some stretching and snacking, we headed out back home so I could get ready to head to Amsterdam. That's right: half marathon at 9am and 7-hour flight to Amsterdam at 6pm. :P 

Overall this race is great and I would highly recommend it. Quaint New England feel with good post-race atmosphere. Friendly for all ages with great bling! I'm sad to miss it next year, but definitely need folks to take my place!