Sunday, October 6, 2013

Smuttynose Marathon

Hampton Beach, NH
Sunday, October 6, 2013

Finish time:  2:51:55!  Average pace 6:34.  5th overall of 948 finishers.  1st in age group (of 128).  Full results here.

Arrived the afternoon before, in time to go to packet pick-up and go for a 3-mile run on the course.  The motel room was a little rundown, but at $89 and 1/2 mile from the start line, it would work fine for the night.  Went out to carbo load on shrimp scampi, laid out my gear, and watch National Treasures 2 until I fell asleep.

Up at 6AM, showered, and ate the breakfast I had packed of cereal, yogurt, OJ, and a bagel.  Met up with newest WTAC member Nate at 7:30 and we warmed up for a mile on the course.  Finally saw Muddy at the start line about 5-10 minutes before 8 start, and the three of us ran a few strides.
My colorful bib and 3 packets of GU ready to go

Miles 1 - 11 (1st loop):  Race started at 8 promptly.  Roads are closed - nice!  Nate went ahead (he was running the half), and Muddy and I ran together in high 6:20s about for three miles.  We ran into a headwind running along the ocean for the first two miles, but fortunately it wasn't a problem after that.  By mile 4 we were out of the wind and into a neighborhood and running into the high 6:10s, so it was time for me to bid adieu to the speedster Muddy.  Ran by myself for a mile or two, then got into a pack of about five that mostly held to a pace of high 6:20s over the next few miles.  At mile 11, the half-marathoners break off from the marathoners, as the marathoners start a second loop.  Everyone in my pack deserted me as they were running the half, and I trucked on solo and lonely.

Miles 12 - 22 (2nd loop):  On long straight stretches (there weren't many), I could see a runner way ahead of me in a white singlet, and wondered if it were Muddy.  Halfway split:  1:25:27 (6:31 pace).  It was lonely up until about Mile 18.  I passed a runner at mile 15, and got passed by one at mile 17, otherwise, running as an island.  Starting at Mile 18, I started passing the back-of-the-pack half-marathoners.  There was plenty of room to pass at all but the last 1/4 mile, and many of them cheered me on as I passed them, so that helped.  The final uphill was leading to Mile 22, and it was only 30' elevation gain, but the legs were complaining and slowed to 6:56 pace.  (Yes, I'm a whiner, and yes, I know the Nipmuck guys had serious elevation, but by Mile 22, I wanted nothing to do with even the tiniest of hills.)

Miles 23 - Finish.  Just bring me home.  The rain has become steady now.  I tried to tell myself to stay south of 7 pace, and with the wind at my back and flat right along the ocean for the trek back, I succeeded.  6:38, 6:37, 6:28, 6:36!  With the finish in sight and clock inching towards 2:52, I said not this time, clock, and I picked it up to 6:07 pace to beat the clock.  Not a negative split, but only one minute slower than my first half - I'll take it!
Rainy finish line

Elation and exhaustion followed.  I walked with Nate for a while (congrats to him on his sub-1:23 half), drank a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade, and then went to the beer tent with him.  No beer for me in immediate post-finish daze, but I was happy to accompany him.  Happy that is, until I started shivering and shaking.  Not that it was that cold (mid-50s), but I was soaked to the skin and even with the mylar wrap, had lost a lot of body heat.  Told Nate good-bye as I walked back to the hotel for a hot shower and dry clothes, and then came back for my lobster roll, chowda, and age group awards.
Smutty finisher award, and various swag for 1st place age group award

Never saw Muddy post-race (he also PR'd!  4th, 51 seconds ahead of me), but he called me later and we caught up.

I ended up with a PR by over 4 minutes from my 2013 Boston PR, which was already 3 minutes ahead of my previous PR at 2012 Providence Cox.  I know that I can't keep defying aging, but for today, the gazelle keeps aging at bay for another day by writing a new huge PR.  Ecstatic!


  1. Great race and write-up oh Ageless One!

  2. Fantastic result!!! That's a mighty race you ran, Jeff!

  3. Congrats on the pr and holding back the hands of time!

  4. Great job Jeff!!! Seems like your advancing age is helping your running not hurting it, smashing PRs left and right and all.. Oh yeah, totes OK to whine from time to time!!

  5. You continue to humble me on a weekly basis, oh hoofed one. Absolutely amazing effort!

  6. I remember you doing a 20 miler back in July(?) and being really impressed with your fitness then. I thought well he doesn't have to do anymore training - he's ready for the marathon now. Congrats on the huge PR and great summer of training. What will the Gazelle do next?