Sunday. The big day. Half marathon day — and the whole purpose for this vacation. My second half marathon. But this one felt different. I spent months and months preparing for my first half. This one? It was just another long run in a series of long (and longer and longer) runs on my way to my full marathon in October. So, I was feeling a bit meh about the race. I wasn’t nearly as nervous as I was before the Bayshore Half Marathon — and, honestly, that made me a little nervous.
But let’s start at the very beginning …
I woke up with a very upset and sad stomach. And my sad stomach was having some major issues that involved re-introducing her to Imodium. Thankfully, it worked. There was no way I was missing this race. Who knows when I’d be able to run a race on the Atlantic shore.
I ate a stand-in pre-race breakfast. Since I was in my hideaway with no real access to a stovetop for my traditional Oatmeal Pancakes, I made do with regular oatmeal (made with water heated in my in-room coffee pot) and a couple of egg whites from some hard-boiled eggs I’d bought on my Trader Joe’s run on Saturday.
I headed off to the race for packet pick-up, which started at 7 a.m. I was very much looking forward to it because I was going to meet up with another blogger, the lovely Queen of Lean Danielle! Unfortunately, when I got there, I found out that there were no porta-potties along the race course. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Now, on a normal long run with no stomach issues, I need at least one or two potty breaks. And here I was in unfamiliar territory and a slightly wonky belly with no bathroom breaks in sight for a couple of hours. Plus, there were only four porta-potties at check-in, so the line was very long. In fact, it was so long that poor Michelle (of Michelle Runs fame) missed the race start by three minutes because she was stuck in the line.
The race started with just a bit of sprinkly rain to keep us cool. Danielle and I started toward the front, and soon enough the (much) faster runners had taken off down the road. The course started with a lovely little downhill to get us going. (Remind me next time that on an out-and-back course, I should not be happy about downhills at the beginning of the course — they come back at the end as an uphill.) As the runners spread out, I found my pace right around the 10-minute mark, which is where I stayed until the hills started. The course headed south from Rockport to Gloucester. A good half of it offered gorgeous views of the rocky coast. A couple of times I even caught myself slowing down just to stare at the ocean. Oops.
Throughout the course, I felt great. It didn’t feel like a race at some points because there were a couple of times it was just me on the road with no one really within sight in front of me, as the course was as curvy as it was hilly. As we got to the turnaround point, I ate my first, and only, Carb Boom (my favorite: Chocolate Cherry). I only ate it because I felt like I should. I didn’t feel like I really needed it, but I knew that if I missed it and waited too long I’d be sorry.
As the finish line got closer, I got a little excited when I saw that I was going to be pretty close to my Bayshore time. With the hills and the stomach concerns, I was certain I’d be much slower. Then I realized I needed a potty break — too much coconut water, I suppose. But no bathrooms. I was afraid I’d have to do like the other runners and squat in the bushes. Then, like a gift from above, a porta-potty appeared at a construction site. Score!
The last couple of miles went by quickly, and I was feeling great, save a little tiredness in my legs. I spent those two miles sort of going back and forth with this other random runner. When we got to within eyesight of the finish line, I started running faster. And so did she. Next thing I knew, we were having a sprint to the finish line. When we were almost there, she stepped in front and finished 1/10th of a second before me. No worries. I was feelin’ good. Besides, some random lady came up to me after the race and asked if I knew that girl I was running with at the end because “that was the best sprint finish of the whole race.” Cool.
As I was stretching, Michelle walked up to me and we got to chat while we waited for smiling Danielle to cross the finish line. We were a very colorful (sweaty) bunch, and our legs look amazing.
We all headed out for a post-race brunch. Funny story: We were able to find three parking spots fairly close to each other, even though we weren’t 100 percent sure where the restaurant was. So, we headed off down the street. We walked several blocks, sad that our legs were tired from the race, but happy to be on our way to food. After a while, we realized we were headed in the wrong direction — the restaurant was directly in front of our cars. We were so looking forward to breakfast that we forgot to look forward. Most delicious egg-white veggie omelet and rye toast I’ve eaten in a long, long time.
I had such a wonderful time Sunday. Good run. Very good people. Good food. I need more of all of these things in my life. I am continually awed at how wonderful every single Tumblr person is who I have met. I walk away from every visit feeling renewed, educated and inspired.
The rest of my day was pretty low-key. I went back to my hideaway to shower and clean up. I didn’t want to go to sleep waste my last full vacation day sleeping, so I headed out into downtown Rockport. (Note: Parking sucks in downtown Rockport.) Did some window shopping — for real this time. Didn’t buy a thing. Just enjoyed the views on the pier and walked around.
And then I ate a very early dinner at 4:30 because, quite honestly, I was starving. And the lobster was looking so very delicious. My lobstah salad hit the spot. In fact, it hit every spot. There may also have been some fresh-baked french bread as well, but it disappeared so quickly that it may have just been a dream.
And then I’m pretty certain you knew this was going to happen:
I don’t know what it is, but I truly believe ice cream just tastes better when eaten during a stroll along an ocean pier.
I called it an early night and was home in bed with my book by 7:30. A very lovely end to a very lovely day.