Tammy and Dorothy, my friend from the 24 hour race in 2007 at the Starting line
Spooktators along the course
Taking a moment at Hebron Village
Tammy at Sculptured Rocks
Tammy and Erika the cat at the finish line
The New Hampshire Marathon is a great marathon! It is beautiful, has numerous aid stations along the course and has many very nice and enthusiastic volunteers. I unfortunately forgot about the massive hills. In fact the day before the marathon as Tristan and I drove past the Newfound Lake exit off I-93, Tristan mentioned he had read the review of the marathon and it apparantly is the toughest marathon in New England. Somehow I conveniently forgot how hilly it was. I commented to Tristan it was a little late to mention this as my check had cleared in January!
The coures is quite hilly. All along the 26 miles runners do spend alot of time going up or going down. But it is so pretty that I have almost already forgot about the hills only 4 days later (oh and the hiking in the White Mountains probably also diminished my memory of the hills).
Tristan and I flew Southwest to New Hampshire early Friday morning (BWI to Manchester for $49...life is good). We drove to the White Mountains and went for a hike to Bridal Veil Falls. It rained much of our hike. The waterfall was very full (as were all the waterfalls we went to through our long weekend) which was nice and we even met a cute small female Bernese Mountain Dog. After our hike we went to our cabin, checked in and then headed out for dinner. We decided the Woodstock Inn (which brews it's own beer and root beer) would be interesting. The rootbeer was really good. After our meal we headed to bed so we could get up early Saturday when I was running and Tristan was hiking the Franconia Ridge.
We got up about 6:30 (although only so I could drop Tristan off at the base of Flume Mt.) and I would have adequate time to get to the race. Because of using Drymax socks I no longer use half a bottle of glide on my feet which saves me time and $$. The race again started at a very reasonable 9 a.m. however we were at a hotel closer to the White Mountains rather than the lakes region. I arrived at the race location about 7:40, I picked up my packet and strolled around. My first interaction was with the Quick Bunny (pictured above). I am not sure what distance he was running but suspect he was doing the 10 km run or 2 mile fun walk. I got my first picture of the day posing with him. While I waited for the race I ran into many folks I knew from the Marathon Maniacs as well as the 50 States Club. I chatted with Paula from 50 states. And then I ran into my friend Dorothy from the 24 hour race at Wakefield, MA in 2007. Dorothy graciously lent me a bed in her room and the use of her bathroom in 2007 when Tristan had abandoned me at the race to go hiking in the White Mountains. I had run with her for a few miles at the B&A trail marathon in March 2008 but hadn't seen her since. It was great to catch up briefly!
Soon enough it was time for the start. After the runners were sent off, I jogged along and started my picture taking. It was a beautiful day and a lovely course. And I knew a fair number of runners and met a bunch of new runners. I told everyone in my pace group (4:30 or slower) that it was well worth the extra 5 minutes or so to detour to sculptured rocks. A little past the turn around point I ran into several folks who commented that they really thought the rocks were very pretty. Others mentioned they would drive the course after to see it. I hope they did because it is a very pretty little gorge!
The course starts by going up a hill. At the crest of the hill (about 1.5 miles later) you get the first view of the lake. It is very big and we circle it! During the first 3 miles the course was moderately crowded because there is a concurrent 10km race. After 3 miles I would guess only 25% of the runners remained. From this point on I ran the majority of the race alone. I was moderately near about 10 runners but tended to lose folks when I took pictures then caught up only to lose them again when I took more pictures. I ran into a nice gentleman from Southwestern VA, I ran into several fairly new runners, and I ran with three young ladies and one's mom who were on their first marathon on were sponsored by a restuarant they worked at. They really amused me because they were reciting the menu along the course (I think they were trying to generate some business because of being sponsored...they had shirts and everything:-). They made me hungry, particularly when they talked about mashed potatoes...I love mashed potatoes, especially after a race.
Continuing on the course I took lots of pictures. The fall folliage was getting close to peak and we passed lots of pretty views. I stopped briefly at the Hebron Village, then continued along the out and back. I really liked this section because I could cheer on other runners. During this 4 mile out and back I saw lots of friends. It was nice to see so many familiar faces. I also paid attention and saw some of my animal friends from last year. There was a donkey, some small horses, goats, lots of horses and turkeys. In this section we run along a pretty stream. This stream is what sculptured rocks was formed by. I was very excited to see it. I did take the slight detour on both the out and back to appreciate it.
A few more beautiful miles and the end was near. I finished in about 5:40 which I was very pleased with. At the finish, the race director shook my hand (as he does for all finishers), I grabbed a few munchkins and some pizza and cheered on the later finishers. As I was walking the course I noticed a cat who I met (stitch). I learned Stitch has a friend Erika. A few minutes later I stumbled on Erika (whom you can see above..she was a really sweet cat and sat in my lap for about 30 minutes...which did not help in my warm down but made me happy).
I will write up a bit more tommorrow (I hope) and include some more pictures.