Every race no matter how many times you've done it will be a different experience each and every time. It's one of the amazing things about running.
When I registered for my first half marathon in 2006, I had no idea what to expect. My dad committed to run every mile of it with me as we chose the Hyannis Half on the Cape.
I mean who wouldn't want to run in February in New England along the beaches of the Cape? I mean it sounds tropical. Right? ;)
But it ended up being a decent New England morning with a light snowfall that started right as the race did. My dad in fact ran every step of the race with me and I crossed the Finish of my first half in 2:20:18 (10:43 min/mile pace).
I was on freakin' cloud 9! I was so happy I went ahead and registered for a full marathon for later in that year. Yeah I was that excited. :P
When I was putting together my race calendar for 2016, I knew Hyannis Half had to be on the list. What a great way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my first half than going back to the first.
Well as I started to get closer to #50, I realized that the stars were going to align and magic would happen... my first half could also be the scene of my 50th half!
Once the plan was in place, I needed some people to enjoy it with me. Thankfully the Slumbrew Happy Soles were there. The Hyannis race day offers a 10k, half marathon and marathon option. Between the dozen or so people I knew running, we had folks running all distances.
Susan and I opted to drive down morning of (2/26) and meet the crew in Hyannis. The great thing about a 10am start time is the fact that you can drive down day of. I wish the wife could've been there, but she was heading out to San Francisco for work.
It took about 75 minutes to drive from Boston to Hyannis. We timed the trip out perfectly as we pulled into the parking lot just after 9am. We headed into the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center to pick up our bibs and t-shirts. I walked in the door and immediately started spotting familiar faces!! I love that feeling at a race. :)
I brought as much color to my race celebration as possible!
Is this one fine looking crew or what?
We met at the port-o-potties (right next to start chute) at 9:45am and it was so fun seeing so many familiar faces. I don't think I have ever hugged as many people in a port-o-potty line as I did on this day. :)
The sun was shining and we were ready for a run. Page was ready to run all 13.1 miles with me. Susan was doing the 10k so the plan was for her to hang with us until the 10k runners had to veer off the course (around Mile 5). Dan was running the full so we were going to keep him company as long as possible. I hoped his wife Katie would run a majority of the half with us too!
Crowds were gathered and ready to rock a gorgeous Cape morning. All 3 races started together. The 10k veered off the half course (as I mentioned) around mile 5. The full was 2 loops of the half course.
Just after 10, we crossed the Start Line and we were off.
I love running with friends for many reasons, but 1 is catching up. I hadn't seen Page in about a month so we had a ton to catch up on. I hadn't see Dan and Katie in ages as well.
We were complimented by another runner for discussing registering and running other races while competing in another race. Haha. We are always planning on when we can hang out while running.
During Mile 1 I spotted some familiar faces and of course it was selfie time.
Oh hey Katie!!! She was just minding her own business, listening to her music and I come up on her all creepy like. Because I am smooth... or not! :P
Right after seeing Katie, Danielle and her crew came running up behind me. Danielle asks for a group selfie (#ussie? #groupie?)and I had to oblige.
We made a stop at the Bay Street water stop and had to take a port-o-potty in honor of our missing friend Jenn. Last year at this stop there was a line, but she had to go. So the rest of us spent the time cheering on others and passing out water. Gotta help and pay it forward. ;)
No one had to go this time so we were able to move on a little faster than last year. :P
I love running by Hyannis Harbor and counting the beaches that follow. You end up seeing about 5 beaches in addition to the Harbor while you run. Beaches are beautiful but also windy! ;) One of the side effects of a Cape race. Hello extra strength training. Haha.
Through the pics you would've thought it was nice Fall morning, but nope it was February.
As we were discussing the upcoming beaches, we spotted this lone bagpiper out. Of course I had to stop and take a video.
I could've stood there all day listening to her play.
Goal: selfie at as many beaches as possible.
I thought we had lost Dan and Katie, but they were off taking a cute couple pic a little further down.
And just like that we had hit Mile 4
Mile 1: 10:26
Mile 2: 10:21
Mile 3: 9:49
Mile 4: 9:58
OMG how did we already laugh our way through 4 miles? Time flies when you are having fun! That's for sure. :)
I was talking to Dan and Page was talking to Katie. At the same time we said - the lighthouse is coming up. Haha. Glad to still be in sync with the BRF.
As we approached the lighthouse, I noticed a familiar face! HEY JOEY! It was my friend and Katie's husband Joey. It was great to give him a hug and have him snap a couple pics for us. Which version is your favorite? ;)
Of course the 1 guy in our group running the full had to play it up for the camera. We said goodbye to Joey and prepped Susan for the first real incline of the run. She hadn't done this race before - the only newbie!
We took a right on to Scudder Ave and we figured out it was our final stretch with Susan who would be veering off to the right shortly. We bid her farewell and she said she would cheer us in at the Finish!
Bye Bye Susan! Half/Full to the left and 10k to the right. Just after this split we had our own water stop. Perfect time for a quick walk break.
Now it was time to enjoy some time on Craigville Beach Road.
Okay this house put up some high contenders for favorite sign. The "Need to Poop? $5" was my favorite for this house.
Just after the house we had the opportunity to enjoy a water stop and it was time for a Gu.
Dan and I were having a good conversation on how things had been going for both of us health and training wise. I am so thankful that Tedy's Team brought Dan into my life. He is one of my inspirations and someone I love spending hours running and talking to. Plus he volunteered to get into pics with us. C'mon he knew how boring his second loop would be without us there to pester - I mean distract him. ;)
How great are these people?
We made continued down Craigville Beach Road and came up on the Marathon Relay transition spot. I was praying there was another person dressed up like a Minion like last year. But alas I didn't pray hard enough. The relay spot was pretty standard. No fun costumes at all.
Last year I decided to take a pic at the Mile 20 sign (since this is 2 loops for the marathon we see the marathon signs all along the way) and share it on social media and say "i took a wrong turn." Jokingly. Well Page and I said I had to stop and take the same pic.
As I was getting this pic taken, someone ran by and said "we will see if you are that smiley at the actual mile 20." I popped up and yelled sweetly: "I am only running the half. Have a great race!!"
I know not everyone likes my running style, but I will always respond with utter kindness!
Page and I caught back up to Dan and Katie. Dan said "oh we must be at mile 9 by now"... Sorry buddy just in to mile 8 at this point. ;)
It was time to power up another incline. I was worried for the hills, but let me tell you folks I felt strong on them. As you know I have only been running about once a week due to the hip, but I have been strength training and cross training. Those Spin classes and squats are paying off. I was powering up the inclines and feeling strong.
Thankfully we were greeted at the top of this incline with 1) a nice downhill, 2) amazing sigs and 3) a cute adorable little town.
Yes I got the spectator to let me hold my favorite sign of the day! :) What you don't stop mid-race to hold signs? ;)
Wow! And just like that we hit Mile 8!
Mile 5: 10:24
Mile 6: 10:03
Mile 7: 10:37
Mile 8: 9:59
Nothing says you are on the Cape like passing a cranberry bog. Oh man glad no one needs cranberries right now. Doesn't look good.
Mile 9: 9:48
I had gotten a text from my friend Nancy that she and her daughters would be out on the course. She had said she would be near Mile 11, but as passed the cemetary she mentioned in her text I realized she was right in front of us! YAY!!! I am wicked thankful blogging brought Nancy into my life. She is an amazing person, mom and runner. She is pregnant with baby #3 so she couldn't run with us like last year, but I was pumped to be able to give her and the girls a big hug.
Aubs even shared some of her snacks with me. Let me tell you friends - those Teddy Grahams were WAY better than the Gu Page and I were going to have at Mile 10.
It was awesome to catch up with the girls, but we did have a race to finish. A couple more high fives and we were off.
After visiting Nancy and the girls, we had to make our way down the side of the main street. It isn't the best part of the course as you sort of single-file your way down the side of the road.
But the rest of the run definitely makes up for this little rough stretch.
Mile 10: 14:29
Nooooo we only have a 5k of fun left!!! :(
And from our group of 5 we were down to 2. Haha. Page and I continued to catch up. Yes we had a lot to go over.
Oh and another selfie of course.
Me: "Okay we will start walking after we take a pic with the Mile 11 marker?"
Page: "Yup sounds good."
This my friends is why she is my BRF. :)
Mile 11: 9:18
It was time to also start thinking about which half I would race in 2017. I need a better time for an upcoming Disney race so I need to start thinking about where I can do that. What I love about Page is that she is up for anything! "Okay tell me when and where and I will be there!" :) Now to get to planning. We might try Boston's Run To Remember (Memorial Day weekend), but you can never tell what the weather would be like.
Mile 12: 9:43
Mile 13: 8:45
We took the final right to head back to the resort/convention center/Finish and my watches buzz for Mile 13 and I started laughing. I turned to Page and said: "We have a lot in the tank. We just hit 8:45 on the last mile without trying to." And that my friends is why we run so well together.
It was nice to end feeling so good. My knee had hurt at the beginning of the run, but the pain subsided a few miles in.
I was most worried about the hip. And you know what? It didn't really start to hurt until the later miles. Plus the pain wasn't as strong as it was a month ago. Let's say that running only once a week and cross training is paying off!!!
And like that we passed Susan and made our winding way across the Finish Line. One more leap and we were done. :)
FINISH TIME: 2:15:53 (10:22 min/mile pace)
Just like that half #50 was done!
We met up with Susan and bam turned right around into some of the ZOOM teammates.
As we were chatting, the WINNER of the marathon came barreling through in a time of 2:21. I have never witnessed the winner of a marathon so that was quite a sight. He didn't even look tired. Haha. He actually kept running through the Finish and around the parking lot. :)
After catching up with Susannah and Cat, we skipped going into the convention center for bags and not my type of beer and headed to Susan's car to grab extra clothes so we could head to lunch at Seaside Pub. I was ready! It was time to break my 33-day booze free streak and celebrate half #50!
It was time for my beer and splurge meal. Everything was worth each and every Weight Watchers Point.
The rest of the Happy Soles crew started rolling in so of course we had to take a group shot... or two! ;)
Overall this was the perfect way to celebrate Half #50! I followed Logan's advice: "Today isn't about time... it's about fun!" And fun was had by all!!!
I cannot thank you all enough for your support during this journey. It is crazy to think half #1 was February 2006, yet 49 of my half marathons have happened since August 2011 (post back surgery)!