Monday, February 25, 2013

Hyannis Half Marathon - oh wet fun!

Nearly 30 hours after finishing the Hyannis Half Marathon, my shoes are now merely "damp", my raw spots are merely "very uncomfortable", and my blister is drying up, but despite these little battle wounds, Hyannis remains one of my favorite races and the entire weekend was a total blast!

Saturday the "Track Chicks" (Marie, Julia, Coleen, Jackie, and I) all headed down to Hyannis.  We had been watching the weather reports all week and reading the race director's updates.  He said that a decision would be made by 4pm on Saturday as to whether the race would go on.  We were optimistic so we stuck to our original plan to get there in the afternoon, check into the hotel, and hit the expo.  

Just as we were pulling into the parking lot of the Hyannis Resort and Conference Center, we got the email confirming that the race was a go.  Phew!  Glad it wasn't a wasted trip!  We checked into our rooms and headed to the race expo.  I've been to the Hyannis marathon several times now, but never a day ahead of time.  What a difference! No jam packed expo or long restroom lines.  We browsed the expo, picked up our numbers and shirts, and contemplated our next move.  We still had two hours until the pasta dinner, and most of us had skipped lunch.  We decided to pop into the hotel restaurant for some appetizers.  We all split a plate of nachos and potato skins, and somehow through some very loose peer pressure we all ended up ordering beers and wine.

We then freshened up in our rooms and headed back to the expo, which had transformed into an all-you-can-eat pasta frenzy.  We grabbed our food and somehow another beer appeared in front of me!  Between the two beers and the nachos I was pretty full, so I didn't eat much of my pasta (but it was good!)  Julia on the other hand went up for seconds and came back with an entire plate of meatballs!  We joked that with two little ones at home she had never eaten a meal with both hands in the last three years, so she was doing it up big tonight!  While we ate we got to listen to Bill Rodgers and Greg Meyer share some candid stories from their racing days.  Bill is always a hoot to listen to, but it was my first time hearing Greg, and they made a funny team.

Bill sporting a Wamp shirt!
After dinner we changed into swimsuits and headed to the hot tub.  The hot tub ended up being so hot I couldn't even sit in it!  After working up a good sweat in or near the hot tub, we finally called it a night.

One of the best things about having a hotel room right at the start of the race was being able to sleep late!  When was the last time I got to sleep until 7am on a Sunday?!  We are usually running by then!  Jackie and I rolled out of our beds sometime after 7, looked out the window, and saw the absolute deluge flowing by our sliding door.  The parking lot was a flowing river, and driving rain went sideways in every direction.  We kept hoping that the rain would work itself out by the time the race started, but we started worrying over how to dress.  For now, we stayed in our sweats and wandered down to the hotel lobby, where Marie, Coleen, and Julia had already set up camp.  We had bagels, peanut butter, and bananas in the lobby while people started filtering in, wet, soaked, and super-soaked.  Then, Anthony and his friend Carolina showed up and had breakfast and coffee with us!

Finally an hour before the race, we all headed back to our rooms to get dressed.  Since the temperature wasn't too cold (low 40's) I decided to wear a ball cap instead of a headband, and no gloves.  I also wore a tee-shirt and a long sleeve shirt, with no jacket. In hindsight, I wish I had spent more time at the expo looking for a rain jacket!  

The Track Girls, looking very "Tron-like"
Ron and I, enjoying our last few minutes of being dry
We stayed inside until just 10 minutes before the start of the race, and finally headed out in our final piece of wardrobe: the fashionable garbage bag.

We got to the start line just as the race was starting, and jumped into the chute.  The course itself is great, one of my favorites, so even though it seems like every year the weather is foul, it would be pretty hard to change my opinion about this race.   This year, in addition to whipping, stinging rain, there were more obstacles!  Many deep puddles meant a lot of swerving around the road and getting caught up in some bottle necks.  Some completely flooded sections of road required off-roading into muddy yards.    It felt like a trail race, steeplechase, and warrior dash all in one.  It was badass.  This course isn't known for having tons of spectators (there's not a lot of action on the Cape in the winter) and because of the weather I didn't expect to see anyone except for the volunteers.  But, those hardy New Englanders were out there cheering us on and it was pretty great!  One guy was yelling, "You runnahs ah New Englandahs!  Yer made fah this!!"
I felt pretty good the whole race, aside from being completely, absolutely, soaked.  I didn't want to kill myself in this race, but I wanted to run a little harder than I normally run a long run.  A few times I was surprised though, when I felt like I was really moving out at a good clip, and glanced at my watch to see I was only running about a 9:30 pace.  I'm not really sure why that happened, but I'm going to have to chaulk it up to the weather.  Our clothes were so soaked, it was like running with a weight pack.  Plus, a lot of energy was spent hopping over rivers and large areas of standing water.  I was a little bummed when I realized I wouldn't make my 2:00 hour goal, but I'm happy with how I picked up my pace in the last couple miles, and I finished feeling pretty fresh.  There was a brief moment when I was being handed my finisher medal where I got really woozy and had trouble standing, but it quickly passed!

Click here to see the course and my Garmin activity.

Immediately after crossing the finish line I met up with everyone else who had already finished, and we headed right into building to warm up.  We got a cup of awesome broccoli cheddar soup from the 99 Restaurant, and a hot chocolate and donut from Dunkin Donuts.

We all headed to our rooms to shower, where I began inspecting myself for wounds.  I knew I had a blister on the bottom of my foot from two hours of squishing, but I was alarmed at the amount of chafing I sustained on that soggy run.  The chafing was so pronounced, it looked like someone traced an outline of my sports bra and waistline with an X-Acto knife.  Showering was excruciating and I could barely get my body under the water.  

After showers, we all checked out of our rooms, packed up the truck, and headed to the British Beer Company a few blocks away for some much deserved beer and sandwiches!

Looking this picture, I'm now shocked that I wasn't carded.  I look like I'm 12.
So the weather may have stunk, but as usual it makes for good stories.  As Greg Meyer said, today it may have only been ankle-deep water, but a few years from now when we tell the story about today's race, the water will have been waist-deep!  

As for the after-effects of the race, I'm doing just fine.  I have a little bit of PTSD about the rain though.  For example, I washed my clothes, but can't bare the thought of touching the wet clothes to move them into the dryer.  I might just leave them in the washer until they dry!  And those chafe marks?  Well, let's just say having my annual physical the day after a near-drowning probably wasn't a great idea.  I explained to my doctor why I was covered in deep cuts, to which she responded, "you look more like you were in a car accident than a road race!".  Julia said it perfectly when she said, "as long as you don't feel like you were in a car accident!"  Amen, sister.

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