Saturday, 29 August 2015

North Shore Half Marathon, Salisbury MA 2015 recap

Another state completed, woohoo, state number 10. I really had no business running a half marathon but it was too good of an opportunity to run in New England without paying for flights. I was staying on anyway to see my friends after a conference in Boston, so why not run? This was an inaugural race held in Salisbury about an hour north of Boston along the coast. It was part of a weekend of races held during the Seacoast Running Festival. 
One of my sweet friends, who I was visiting, played navigator and came with me to Salisbury for the weekend. On Saturday we picked up my bib and tech t-shirt and proceeded to wander around the area. Like most beachy towns there wasn't a whole lot to do other than the beach, arcades and bars. After a week of eating and drinking, especially with the race the next morning, the bars were out and the weather wasn't nice enough to lie on the beach. 

Another friend who lives near by came and met us and we went further north to shop and play a few games. Later that evening we drove to Newburyport for dinner, had gorgeous Thai food and lamented the fact that we hadn't found this beautiful little town earlier in the day.

The hotel I was staying in wasn't the nicest for the price (clean but run down) but man was it convenient..Sunday morning it was less than a 5 minute drive straight to the parking. The race area was right by the beach and parking was really easy. The meters here were expensive compared to Columbia (x2 the price) but the local authorities let us park for free until 11am on race morning. 
Everything was right there with drinks and Kind bars laid out for runners. For the first year of this race they had some really great sponsors. Ford sponsored the 10k and one lucky duck won a Ford Fiesta. They even had Dave McGillivay, race director of the Boston Marathon, as a speaker so someone has done an excellent job with organization. 
 I'll voice my only complaint about the whole race....the port a potty situation. At the start I went early and didn't have to line up but they obviously never cleaned them out after the other days races and lets just say they were full...I retched a good few times when I went into one because of the smell. They never smell good but this was a bit much. As a result I didn't go back and by the time I started running I was dying for a pee.....but there were no potties anywhere on the course. I was fine but if my stomach had acted up I think this would have been a much harder race.

The weather for the most part was great. I ran in temperatures in the 70s for the first time in months and it was overcast. The only thing that followed me from the south was the humidity. I was still a sweat monster within a few miles. 
The course was really easy to follow but I could never figure out where we were except for the fact that we passed the same graveyard multiple times. I tried taking a bunch of pictures with my gopro but since the sky was so overcast it really doesn't do the area justice. We ran through lots of grassy swampy areas that were beautiful and into a state reservation that gave us views of the sea. Some of the time we were off the road on paved trails and some of it was on open roads under the watchful eye of the law. 
There were aid stations every 2-3 miles. The first one I walked through had a Ucan electrolyte drink and after that I only saw water.
For the first 5 miles I ran with the 2 hour pacer. The cooler temperatures made that feel easy but I'm pretty sure she was running slightly below pace. My gps kept saying 8.45 min/miles but it was very patchy so its hard to tell. Either way that was only sustainable for so long since I've not been running far at near that pace in a while. Around mile 7 I got my first bout of ITB induced pain in months, left hip and right knee. My shoes are almost new so I can only put this down to my lack of weight training (and my glutes are screaming that this is the case after my first Bodypump class in 2 months) and being really tight all over from all of my traveling and walking around in bad shoes. I slowed down, right down, and tried to enjoy the run.

Running while being in pain was a bit of a shock after running so many halves that felt down right easy, making me realize I'm not pushing myself enough when I do feel good. In positive news it wasn't as bad as some of my first half marathons so I'm definitely not back anywhere near square one, I'm just not able to waltz through them right now. As the miles went on I got sorer and sorer all over and my calves were cramping quite badly. All that eating out, no beuno. I walked on and off not wanting to inflame my hips and knees too badly. I still managed a decent pace and even broke the speed limit at one point.
Showing up on the speed monitor at 6-7 miles/hour
Later breaking the speed limit of 5 miles/hour
 I eventually hobbled through town to the finish line in 2:11:11. It sounds stupid to be grateful for a hard race but I felt more satisfaction at finishing this race than I have for many of the easier ones this year. I think its that sick part of me that likes things to be gritty and hard.
After I finished they had tables set up with fruit, nuts,drinks etc. One of the local pizza shops also arrived over with a ton of steaming pizzas. At 10am one of their sponsors Shocktop opened up a bar as well. They also had a giant box full of freezer packs (an unusual but useful goodie), I took one for later given how sore I was. I sat around for a while eating and then hightailed it for a shower before driving to check out Salem, MA for a few hours.
 For me no 13 mile run is easier than during a race...I absolutely love the atmosphere in case you can't tell. I think this race, if they keep it up, will become really popular in the next few years. They only had around 300 runners but I can see that growing fast. They were organized, had a nice t-shirt (and extra goodies), a nice medal, a gorgeous flat course, and an after party..what more could you want!!
Swallows swarming


  1. I love the medal! Wow, you have run in 10 different states now? When are you going to add Oregon to that list? ;) Sounds like it was a smaller, but fun race with excellent temperatures. I have always wanted to run in the Boston area in the fall. Were the leaves changing colors yet? You can definitely tell you were running near the coast... it looks a little foggy?

    1. Believe me I'd love to add Oregon, every picture I've seen of the state (ob including yours) looks out of this world beautiful but for now while I live here I'm trying to run the southern and eastern states first slowly spreading outwards.
      No fall colors yet it's still too hot the highs were still in the 80s but Boston was amazing, I completely recommend it. However, maybe you should visit your family in Greenville (if the little man permits) because the fall colors in NC are meant to be spectacular this fall, due to the weather this year.
      No fog just really overcast and so humid it was steamy but the temperatures and the occasional breeze were heaven. The go pro just sucked on the sky colors still learning how to use it.

  2. Congrats on state 10! I love all the GoPro pics! You carry it in your hand, right?

    The hard races make us grateful to run and remind us to take care of ourselves! Nothing wrong with being grateful for that! Hope you feel better now!

    1. I had a clip that I could put on my belt but for some of the pictures I unclipped it and took the pictures from my hand.
      Feel fine, back to Bodypump, I think I was mostly tight and had ate badly all problems on any of my runs this week :)