Date and time: September, 2014, 8:30 am
Location: East Hampton, NY.
Starting and ending at the school with a (more or less) out and back loop east along the coast.
Weather: Warm and still. ~75ish by the halfway point and sunny through the middle portion (like starting immediately after you vocalize that “this sun vs. shade situations is going to totally make or break my run today.” Oops.) And (apparently) a beautiful day for some cheer team members to survive a brief detour off course…
Threads and treads: Asics tank and running skirt, swirls Pro Compression marathon socks, my favorite had-too-many-miles-on-them-a-while-ago (oops #2) Mizuno Wave Elixers.
Field: Mostly east coasters with a handful of out-of-towners in for the run and a fall weekend in the Hamptons. A smaller race with ~2500 5k runners, ~2500 half marathoners and ~500 running the full. The vast majority (read: all) of the field appeared to be long-time recreational runners and everyone was super friendly.
Support: There were 18-20 water stations or so with one Gu fueling station (that this genius missed). More water stations during the mid/end/entire/sunny part of the course would have been appreciated…but I’m afraid that is more of a personal issue as 20ish stops in 26 miles is more than reasonable.
Pre-race Expo: This was a very quaint and low-key expo. It was at held at the school gym (also the location of the race start and finish) and was basically a dozen or so folding tables around the perimeter of the gym servicing all three race distances (packet, t-shirt, bag and stocking cap…yup…that’s right…stocking cap…pickup, maps, pasta dinner (which we opted not to participate in), a (very few) vendors, etc…) Small, but suitable considering the number of entrance and the entrance $$.
Race start: The race started at 8:30 am from the school in (what I think is) the center of the East Hamptons. The marathoners and half marathoners went out first and then the 5k began shortly after. It was a very mellow start, there were a reasonable number of port-a-potties and I was lucky enough to find a lone one-off to the side with no real line, so that made everything look just a little bit more rosy me 🙂 It was about 60F starting out, so arm warmers were nice to have, but not much more was necessary.
The Run: The run began by leaving the school and winding ~10 miles through the wooded, rolling hills of East Hampton, near the southern coast and out to the Eastern tip of the island. The middle ~6 miles were flat, but sunny and HOT (at least for this wuss). The final ~10 miles were back inland to the school, weaving around to get all 26.2 miles in.
I got to enjoy the first 6 miles or so with both Jen (who had an awesome first half marathon) and Martin (who had a perfect first full marathon). This was great. Jen split off with the other halfers at their mid-point leaving Martin and I to brave the warm, sunny, midsection of our course by ourselves.
The plan was to run 9:05 min/miles, a 4 hr finishing time. The idea was that if things slowed down for a few miles, there wouldn’t be THAT much catch up to do but that hopefully the pace would be ok and there would even be fuel in the tank for ramping it up at the end. Right. And in this case, right = wrong. At least for me.
By about that 10 mile mark, coming out of the rolling wooded area, I built up the never/concern to voice that “holding this pace is going to strongly depend on how much of this course is shaded. If I lose these trees, the wheels are coming off.”
And then we lost the shade.
I held on through the half way point and that was it. I was getting dizzy and metal-mouthed and I needed to slow down. (Hell, I wanted to lay down with a beer, but I don’t think that would have gone over so well with the rest of the crew.) I slowed down my pace to whatever felt ok and started walking not only through the water stops but also for a few (hundred) meters after/before. I fell into a little group of women (spaced out over ~1/4 mile or so) that seemed to have the same plan as me. This was nice. There was pink t-shirt pacing/pulling me up ahead, and tape-girl behind, who had to stay behind.
Meanwhile, in Martin land, things were going great. Someone managed to hold on to those 9:05, kick it up a notch at the end for the perfect sub-4 hr finishing time for his first marathon.
Ass hole. Just kidding…mostly… 😉
I survived the second half of those hot middle miles, rather enjoyed the shaded rolling hills and the
opportunity to drip sweat all over
chit-chat with my cheer team every time I ran into their smiling faces along the course now that I had no hope of running any particular time. I was still quite irritated by the 3 or 4 course fake-outs where it seemed like we might be heading back into town for the finish only to be going out to an unshaded stretch along the coast for another mile or two instead.
The 25 mile mark did finally come, and then the 26 mile mark, and then the school after a final 0.2 miles and one final cheer team encounter 🙂
Note: being a small, small-town race, the course was not closed to traffic. Not a huge deal, but something to be aware of such that you’re not surprised when you encounter these:
Post-Run: I was the last one of our crew to finish (thanks for sticking it out with me guys!!) so shortly after I arrived we snagged some group photos,
a post-race message (the first one I’ve ever gotten, and god it felt great) and headed home for showers, an AMAZING lunch spread and some solid RnR for the rest of the day. We rented a little abode not far from the start using AirBnB and I would absolutely, 110% recommend doing this. We had amazing digs
that were super convenient and reasonably priced with a most excellent hostess.
Executive summary: Small, low-key, friendly, pretty. Not the fastest course I’ve ever done, but certainly not the slowest — and not at all unreasonable as long as you aren’t delusional about running above your fitness 😉