On February 23rd, I completed my 12th official half marathon about a half an hour away from home in Hyannis, Mass. I had heard about this race for years, but always thought: "A February Half Marathon on Cape Cod sounds like a terrible idea." And I'm sure in other years, it really and truly is (except for the crazies!)
This year, though, I was training for Boston. And I like to add Halfs into my training plan to keep things broken up and so I don't have to carry water for long runs (I like a good fuel station!) Since this race was so close to my parents, I also would get a good combo visit. Little did I know when I signed up for this several months ago that this would be, in fact, my warmest run of the training season. At about 45 degrees, I felt downright warm at points. It was great.
My friend Meghan slept over my parents' the night before, and then my #1 fan club drove us to Hyannis in the morning to pick up our bibs, see the cute little expo they had going on, and get ready to start.
My parents had never been to a pre-race bib pick up / expo situation. At first I don't think they understood why I was getting so excited at the Bondi Band station.
Parent: "Um...Don't you have, like, a dozen of those already?"
Me: "YES BUT I NEED MORE."
But then they got really into it.
|Perusing the goods|
|"Run like an animal"|
|"I Run So I Can Drink"|
I purchased myself a new goodie to add into the rotation and which I wore for the race. It was just so damn hot out at 45 degrees...I didn't need my winter hat so I needed some fun headgear!
At the expo I also got a first in-person glance at the 2014 Boston Marathon jackets that everyone has been hating on so much. I mean, I do see their point. It does, in fact, look like a traffic cone.
Is it a bit...much? Yes. Will it make me look like I'm directing traffic at a sporting event? Yes. But will I never get shot if running in the woods? YES.
Looks like I have an $120 purchase to make come April. I have no choice, because I don't want to go the way of Bambi's mom.
Some more pre-start pics:
|Meg and I|
|My Mom takes her role as race Sherpa very seriously|
|Love this picture....no idea what we are cracking up about|
The course as a whole was really great. The beginning was probably too tight for the ~4,500 people (4,000 Half-Marathoners, 400 Marathoners and 100 Marathon Relay participants) and I found myself running much slower than I wanted and weaving a lot. Since this was a training run for me, I didn't care...but would have probably been annoyed if I was attempting a PR.
But the rest of the course more than made up for these minor misfortunes.
Some parts were residential, but just so "Cape Cod"-y cute!
There was one area -- once the field had long thinned out around miles 10-11 or so -- that we had to go nearly single-file on a main road. It was a bit unfortunate, but no big deal.
But mostly it was just downright gorgeous. It was iconic Cape Cod through and through.
|Run, Meg, Run!|
My parents, as always, had mapped out the course and were ready to cheer us on. We saw them around miles 3, 6 and 11 and my Dad had the camera ready to capture the magic.
|I love my #1 Fans!|
Here is a video of me handing Meghan and my sweaty clothes to my mother that my Dad chose to capture. I've decided to share with you for no good reason except you've read this far, so it may amuse you:
It was such a pleasure running with Meghan the whole time. We have known each other since Sophomore year in college and it's been wonderful having this common hobby with her. She's also running the Boston Marathon for a wonderful group called the Samaritans, a non-profit that works for suicide awareness and prevention.. Meghan was one of the people who -- after running 25.7 miles -- was unable to finish the race last year. I'm so happy that she was safe and so proud that she has decided to run again.
Neither of us were runners in college, so as we were running we kept saying things like, "If you had told me 10 years ago we would be running a Half Marathon together...I would have thrown up on you." or "Since when do we run marathons?! What is happening!?" Although she and I are both Marathoners, this whole being a "runner" thing still doesn't fully process for either of us.
Of course, I made Meg get foolish with me for the race photographers for posterity's sake. It was a new experience for her to make a complete ass of herself on the course, and I think she was doing it only to pacify me. Making funny faces and gestures at photographers is half the racing fun for me!
We finished in just over 2 hours and 2 minutes. A fantastic time for me and a PR FOR HER! I was so happy to be a part of her PR experience, and it was a pleasure running with her. So often with running friends you can feel like you are running too for someone or that you're holding your running buddy back. It's my experience that for the most part if someone wants to run in a pair or a group, that person won't care if the other is slightly slower than them. But I do think that it's always a bit uncomfortable for the runner who perceives themselves to be the slower one. You never want to feel like you ruined someone else's run, despite how ridiculous it might seem.
Weirdly -- and wonderfully -- Meghan and I were truly right on target with each other. I wish we lived closer so we could run together more often, but I guess we'll just have to make the most of our visits.
And make her sign up for more races with me.
I loved the race medal at the end. Super adorable.
Overall, it was a great race and one I would absolutely recommend for anyone in the area, anyone looking for a great winter Half, and particularly anyone training for Boston. Maybe go crazy and do the Full! Or find three friends and do the Marathon Relay. The people doing that seemed to be having a great ol' time.
Like all good running events, the race was followed by a large, delicious brunch with my parents, my sister and her fiance. All-in-all it was the recipe for a perfect day: Family + friends + good run + sea air + eggs and corn beef hash = One happy MeriG.
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I am running the Boston Marathon with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge! I have raised $8,358 towards my goal of $10,000! Find our more or donate here: http://www.runDFMC.org/2014/merig