Portsmouth Half Marathon Recap – April 23, 2017

Today was a beautiful day to run. The morning was cool but near the end of the race it was starting to heat up. I wanted to do this race because it’s in my town and the course I run frequently on my runch runs at work! 

So let’s start from the beginning. I got to the shuttle around seven, which was the parking lot across from my office. I wasn’t happy to be that close to work on a weekend but I quickly pushed past it, ha kidding I didn’t mind. I got on the shuttle which came about every five minutes which was great and I enjoyed the ten minute ride to the start. I got off and met my friend Kailey, who I have been coaching for the past couple of months. She is my favorite Portsmouth running buddy because she is always down for everything and we always just talk on our lunch runs – we work at the same place! 

Anyway I caught up with her, went to the bathroom and then grabbed my number and shirt. We warmed up a bit in the Mercedes benz parking lot since that was where the start was. I scoped out my next car, also kidding. With about 15 minutes to the start I wanted to go to the bathroom one last time, nervous pee anyone?! So here comes my one complaint of the race… there were only 10 porta potties!! I knew there was no way so I darted into the woods. Hey, nature calls, literally. Now it was time to go to the start. 

Soon we were off and the first three miles were a loop where we would pass by the start/finish again. It was flat and I definitely started out a little fast but held myself back a bit after realizing that. The portion alone route 33 which is a pretty busy road in Portsmouth was my least favorite but after that I must say I loved the course. Once I passed the original starting point we went out into a road that leads to Newington. 

Around mile 5 I got a strange tightness in my right hamstring out of nowhere. I haven’t been having any troubles but I backed off a bit just to see if it improved, if it got worse I was going to really dial it down. I don’t want to power through only to get injured! Around mile six it felt much better, it was almost like a muscle spasm. 

I was running behind a girl and a guy that were easily running 7:10s and it was clearly a conversational pace for them. I was impressed, it was my goal to hang out with them and then at mile 8 or 9 to drop down to 7 pace. The scenery was great, it’s all older houses and farm land and at some points you can see the ocean. I am biased because I love this road to begin with. 

Around mile 7/8 was the turnaround point in Newington center which I had never been to and although small I found it charming. I was clearly enjoying my surroundings. So after the turnaround was my favorite part because you were running back the same way so you saw other runners. I had a great time cheering others on as I looped back and I LOVED everyone who cheered me on. It gave me a little inspiration to keep hanging on. 

With about 5 miles to go the two people I was hanging with really picked up the pace. I mean it must have been comfortable 6:30s. I saw them pass the girl currently in first and just keep going. I knew that wasn’t feasible for me today, so I just ran my own race. I took in the surroundings and the other runners and tried to catch the second place female. It took me three miles to catch up to her. I wasn’t sure how much I had in me, I knew if she sped up I probably would have to let her go since we still had two miles left, but I had a little more left than I thought. I got into second for females and just tried to hold strong until the end of the race, which I did! I crossed the line in 1:33:25! 

My favorite thing about races are the strangers I meet. No one is afraid to go up to a fellow runner and congratulate them or talk to them. After crossing the line the super fast male runners congratulated me and said I ran a great race. I waited at the finish and congratulated some of the other female runners I had run portions of the course with, this was the best part! Meeting the other inspiring runners! One woman came up to me and told me I ran a really smart race and that it was awesome to watch. This made me so happy because I used to not race smart at all! I used to go out with a bang, thinking the faster I ran at the beginning the faster I would finish, WRONG! 

Eventually I made it to the food and awards tents. Since I got second female I got so many things! I got a bag with a fleece, a shirt, socks, beer, a pint glass, stony brook Tupperware, a mug with chocolates, and 50% off a loco race in 2017! So with that said I will be back! 

Another note, loved all the dogs at the finish line. I wish my little pup was there to see me, I am sure she would have had a blast saying hi to all the sweaty runners, she loves that. 

And with that, I definitely recommend the Portsmouth Half for anyone in the seacoast area looking for an April race next year! 


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