February 24, 2013
Resort & Conference Center at Hyannis
The week leading up to the Hyannis Marathon was certainly a nerve-wracking one. With every day that passed, the weather forecast became increasingly ominous, throwing the possibility of cancellation into the mix. Antsy from my taper, I eyed Gmail like a hawk, waiting as patiently as I could for Race Director Paulie’s “Weather Discussion” email updates to come through. Even though I knew that conditions would be tough if the race were to proceed, I was still very excited to give my second road marathon a shot…
…and at 3:15pm on Saturday afternoon, the call was made. The race was a go!
Rob and I celebrated with a pre-race carb load of chocolate coconut banana ice cream. Homemade, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious I might add.
5:30am arrived all too quickly on Sunday morning. Sleepy-eyed, I amassed (an embarrassingly large) collection of running gear, gulped down two cups of coffee, and shuffled into Rob’s car for the long drive down to Cape Cod. Snowy, slick conditions on the road soon transitioned into driving rain as we crossed the border into Massachusetts. Listening to that rain forcefully beat down upon on the little Honda, I felt oddly relieved to have brought so many layers with me.
Arriving in Hyannis, we were lucky to find a parking spot that was in easy walking distance of the Resort & Conference Center. During packet pickup, I was thrilled to see that I’d been assigned a fun bib number – 123. Yes, perhaps I find consecutive numbers a bit too exciting (though not as awesome as palindromes). I viewed it as a good omen.
With about half an hour to go until the start, I had some time to think about my strategy going into the race. My biggest concern had to do with layering. Typically, I’m the sort of gal who tends to run very “hot” when moving, which means I tend to wear less layers than most. However, with temperatures in the mid-30s and no forecasted break in the rain and wind, I knew that I’d quickly become drenched out on the course. Erring on the side of caution, I opted to go with a thick, windblocking layer up top. As always, I planned on carrying all of my hydration from the get go (~1L of liquid), along with an 8oz gel flask that I’d sip from religiously every half hour.
Pace? 100% dictated by heart rate.
It’s funny how the last few minutes leading up to a race seem to last an eternity, and Hyannis was no exception. Time certainly slowed to a crawl as 10:00am approached. Filled with energy, I bounced in place as the national anthem was sung, fumbling with my race vest straps, my sunglasses, my heart rate monitor…
…and with the rain steadily beating down upon us, we were off.
Within 5 minutes, I was warm. Hot. Too hot! Stashing my gloves in my race vest, I chided myself for wearing such a beefy upper layer – which actually proved quite amusing as I tried to think of ways to gracefully delayer and re-pin my bib number while running at a 7 minute pace. After some elegant person-weaving and puddle jumping, I was able to break away from the pack around mile two and settle into a decent rhythm. Other than a bit of a naggy right hamstring, my body felt strong, and I couldn’t help but smile.
What I love most about road marathons is that the miles seem to tick by at an unusually rapid pace. It makes the act of running one of pure joy. Keeping a solid focus on my cadence and form, the first half of the two-loop marathon course seemed to fly by, and I soon found myself heading out for my second, final lap.
Around mile 14 or so, conditions out on the road seemed to rapidly deteriorate. Perhaps it was fatigue setting in, but the wind seemed stronger, the rain more vicious, and the puddles increasingly plentiful. Moreover, at the halfway point I had forgotten to check my 13.1 mile split, and for some reason not having that knowledge was really starting to weigh on me. Nevertheless, I refused to become too discouraged. Lows are a part of almost any race, and I reminded myself that as long as I kept moving forward, things would get better. I thought of the hundreds of volunteers out on the course, all of whom were standing out in these brutal conditions to make it possible for me to run this event. Filled with gratitude, I popped a salt tab, sipped my gel, and pushed onward.
I made a point not to look at the mile markers (which I’ll admit must have been quite amusing, as sometimes this required me to turn my head at very odd angles to avoid the temptation), concentrating instead on staying relaxed and maintaining good turnover. Passing familiar landmarks and friendly volunteers seemed to bring about a second wind in me, and my positive energy soon returned. Once again, the miles seemed to tick right by, and I became optimistic that I’d be able to finish strong.
Hitting the home stretch, I tried my best to push the pace a little, but it soon became apparent that the cold, wet conditions were taking a toll on me. Drenched and shivering, I was extremely glad that I had decided not to ditch my beefy windblocking layer, as the fabric seemed to hold good warmth even when saturated with water. My iPod Shuffle, however, was not being half as cooperative. Thanks to numb fingers, it took a few difficult clicks to find an appropriate song to finish up to… but eventually I managed.
Approaching the finish line more reminiscent of a drowned rat than runner, the bright green clock showed 3:06 – I was going to PR!
…and then, over the loudspeaker, it was announced that I had won the women’s race. Never in even the most far-fetched of my dreams did I ever think I could place well at a road marathon, and I struggled to keep my emotions in check. My final chip time was 3:06:36.
The day after the race, I was honored that WMUR – New Hampshire’s primary news station – chose to feature me on the evening sportscast! You can check out a recording of the broadcast here.
A huge thanks to RD Paulie, the Barnstable Police Department, and the hundreds of volunteers and spectators who stuck out some truly tough weather conditions to make the Hyannis Marathon possible. Your unwavering energy and enthusiasm kept me moving forward even when I was at my lowest. I also cannot thank StrongerFasterHealthier and Honey Stinger enough for their continued support of my running adventures.
What’s next for me? After a few days of active rest, I’m looking forward to ramping up my training for the Zion 100 Trail Run in April. Hopefully this will entail some long winter days out in the White Mountains, as I’m itching to get out for some snowshoe adventures!
Some fun facts…
- Gels consumed – 7 (4 Honey Stinger, 3 Vega Sport)
- Water consumed – .5 liter (NUUN mixed with BCAA powder)
- Salt consumed – 2 SaltStick tabs
- Protein consumed post-race – 2 packets SFH Recovery
- Calories burned – 1,877
- Average HR – 160
- Max HR – 167
- UltraAspire Surge race vest
- Hydrapak 2L bladder and hose
- iPod Shuffle
- YurBuds headphones
- Polar FT4 heart rate monitor
- Pearl Izumi Infinity Windblocking hoody
- Flag Nor Fail “Work Is in My Blood” tank top
- Lululemon Dash shorts
- CEP compression calf sleeves
- Hoka Bondi B2s
- Darn Tough socks
- Headsweats beanie (Peak Races!)
- Ryders Nitrous sunglasses
- LL Bean power stretch gloves