Sarah Hardy - View The Race Blog
A+ A A-

View The Race Blog

Sarah Hardy

Sarah Hardy

Sarah Hardy has not set their biography yet

Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler 2014 Race Report

Posted by Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Thursday, July 31, 2014
in Road Races

On Tuesday, July 29th I ran one of my favorite road races, The Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler in Newburyport, MA.  It was the 8th time I've run the race and while not my fastest 10 miler, I was happy with my 1:19:09.  Because this event is run in the evening and it's held in the middle of the summer it's often a very warm night.  However, 2014 was a beautiful summer night to race with temps in the mid-70s and a nice cloud cover. 

One reason I love this event is because of the varied terrain over the 10 miles, and the course gives you great views of the Merrimack River and Maudslay State Park. I always start out fast as the first two miles are flat or downhill, and this year was no different with my fastest two miles coming right away.   The course stays pretty flat down Water St. which then turns into Merrimack St.  As you run through downtown Newburyport both sides of the street are lined with cheering spectators.  I love this part of the course because of the crowd support and the beautiful views of the river to the right. 

Shortly after mile 4, the course starts to get interesting.  You head into the woods and the rolling hills start.  At this point I put in my headphones and tried to concentrate on keeping a steady pace.  In longer events I usually run pretty consistent splits, but at Yankee I'm never able to do that. The flats and the hills really mess with my pace.  There were volunteers at each mile marker calling out the time, but I tried not to hear them.  I don't like to know if I've had a slow mile.  I prefer to run based on how I feel and look at my splits later.  For this race my fastest mile was 7:30 (mile 1) and my slowest was 8:14 (mile 5). 

Miles 5-8 are scenic and rolling.  I was happy with how I felt during these miles.  I tried to keep a steady pace going up the hills without red lining.  Running around and through Maudslay State Park is great!  I always try to distract myself by taking in the view.  I probably mystify most runners whose eyes are locked straight ahead as I swivel my head around and notice what I'm running by.  

The last two miles of this race were tough for me.  Getting over the I-95 overpass is challenging.  It felt like the longest hill on the course, but it might be because it falls just before mile 8.  After the overpass the course is mostly flat, but the road is straight and wide and you can see very far ahead.  I tried to increase my pace after passing mile 8 but the open view made me feel like I wasn't making much forward progress.   I ended up tucking in behind another runner and just staring at his back instead of the looking into the distance.  That helped, and I ran 7:53 and 7:45 for the last two miles.

According to my Garmin, I ended up running 10.09 miles.  I'll have to work on cutting the tangents better next time.  But otherwise I'm very happy with my race.  It was a great crowd to run with, good spectator support and lots of water stops (but could we have Gatorade too next year???).  Yankee Homecoming 10 mile is a great summer race, and I hope to be back next year.

Hits: 25384
Rate this blog entry
6 votes

John Carson 4th of July 2013 Race Report

Posted by Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Saturday, July 06, 2013
in Road Races

One of my favorite racing events of the year is the John Carson 4th of July Road Race in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. (see a previous blog post explaining why I love this race) The 2013 running was the 12th time I've run this race and my time of 14:40 was one of my worst.  It was exactly one minute slower than I ran last year.  But I'm going to blame that on the heat and humidity, not my fitness level.

When I arrived at the start line the sun was already shining strong and the heat was shimmering off the pavement. The turn out for the race was not diminished by the weather. Over 2,200 racers showed up to run the 2 mile race. I was accompanied to the start line by 14 of my friends and family, including my daughter and sister. We were absorbed into the massive crowd at the start line, and I ended lining up with only my brother-in-law.  While we waited, we bemoaned the fact that we were both completing our first event in a new age category, 40-49.  

The start went off without much adieu.  All of sudden the crowd starting moving forward.  I had not positioned myself as close to the start as I usually do, so I didn't cross the start line for 10 seconds.  While this race offers a chip finish, there is no mat at the start line.  The first half mile was spent jockeying around little kids and people running side by side chatting (really??).  Once I made the turn onto North Road I started to get into a rhythm.  I knew my splits weren't great, so I didn't look at my watch at the one mile mark.  Racers are different, but when I see a slow split mid-race I start to feel a little dejected, so I didn't want to know how bad my first mile was.  Unfortunately, there was someone yelling out the mile time.  I heard "7:30". Ouch!

Just after mile one the road starts a nice gentle downhill (see the course video for a full narration).  I focused on turning my legs over as fast as I could and enjoyed running right down the middle of the road.  The crowds were great, cheering and squirting runners with Super Soakers. There were even a few folks with sprinklers out creating a little patch of rain for runners.

Heading into the center was exciting as always. The crowds were 3 or 4 deep and everyone was cheering. Even though I felt like my lungs were going to explode, I tried to pick up some speed going up the final rolling hill to the finish line. I focused on the fire engine ladder dangling over the road like an upside down  V, with a huge flag hanging from it.  I knew the finish line was just after that. I managed a good sprint and passed a handful of runners at the finish. I was relieved that I managed to stay below 15 minutes after having such a slow first mile.  Final time: 14:40 Average Pace: 7:20

While I'll hope for a cooler day in 2014, I know I'll be out racing no matter the weather.  This race isn't really about a time in the end.  It's about friends, family and celebration. 

Hits: 2420
Rate this blog entry
4 votes

I Love the John Carson 4th of July Road Race!

Posted by Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Monday, June 10, 2013
in Road Races

The 4th of July is one of my favorite days of the year.  It just so happens that my hometown, Chelmsford, Massachusetts is a great place to celebrate the 4th.  The John Carson Road Race is held on the 4th of July each year and brings out close to 2,000 runners. This year will be my 12th running of the race.  I'm usually joined by my husband, daughter and a whole group of family and friends. 

The energy and atmosphere at the start line of this race is different from most road races.  While there are serious runners who will cover the 2 miles in under 9 minutes, there are also slower runners and walkers who have come out with their friends and family to participate. As people wait for the starting gun, it's time to catch up with friends and neighbors. It is not unusual to see whole families running/walking in this race.

The race is a point to point course.  It starts on Parkhurst Road behind Hannaford and finishes in Chelmsford Center. The course is rolling and you'll feel some of the hills if you're sprinting. See the course video for specifics on the race course. One thing I like about this event is that each half mile is marked on the ground.  My goal is usually to finish the race under 14 minutes, so I try to keep each half mile under 3:30. 

The first half mile of the race is crowded, but once you turn the corner onto North Road it opens up a bit.  There is another benefit to hitting North Road...the fans!!  North Road is lined each year with spectators to cheer you on.  The reason for all the spectators is that immediately following the road race, the Chelmsford 4th of July Parade follows the same path down North Road. The closer you get to the Center the more spectators and the louder the cheers.  The last quarter mile is usually a blur for me with crowds 4 or 5 deep on both sides of the road. 

 

One of my favorite things about this race is getting to run in the middle of North Road.  A lot of my training runs take me down North Road, so on race day I take advantage of not being stuck on the sidewalk.  I usually run right down the yellow line. 

I think I first came to love this race a number of years ago when I was a 4th grade teacher in Chelmsford.  In June I would always challenge my students to run the race. I said I would buy an ice cream for any student who beat me. I always looked forward to seeing a few of them at the finish line, and I never was beat by a current student.  As the years have gone on, I often see in the race results the names of some of my former students, and I'm happy they are still running the race.  Now that they are older and faster a few have beaten me. 

The John Carson Road Race may be a short race at only 2 miles long but the benefit is it brings out a lot of people who wouldn't tackle a 5K. The entire event has a welcoming feel to it, and since it's the 4th of July everyone is in a good mood.  I know I always am because I'm looking forward to a day spent with friends and family, and maybe some fireworks to celebrate too.

Chelmsford is the place to be on the 4th of July!


Click here to sign up for the Road Race.

Click here to see the course video.

Click here for the Chelmsford Parade website.

 

 

 

Hits: 2218
Rate this blog entry
7 votes

Cold Weather Running

Posted by Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Wednesday, January 30, 2013
in Training

 When the temperatures drop into the teens, running outside can be uncomfortable.  Many runners opt to use a treadmill when the mercury sinks that low.  Being a runner in New England I try to avoid the treadmill whenever possible.  I really don't enjoy it.  When I saw that the weather forecast for Sunday morning was calling for temps in the low teens, I had to decide if I would hit the roads or head to the gym for my 12 mile run.  It wasn't really a hard decision.  I layered up and set out into the cold and wind.  I knew I might be uncomfortable and sluggish, but I'll gladly slog along wearing multiple layers of running clothes than face 12 miles on the treadmill.
 I know not all runners agree with me. I can see how the treadmill has its benefits. It is nice to run in shorts midwinter. You can set your pace, put in your ear buds, and zone out.  There's no doubt that you'll work up a sweat.  However, I think there are a few benefits to running in cold weather that you can't get from running on the treadmill.
 
 -The added weight of your clothing makes you stronger come spring.  Even if you have the top of the line technical gear, you will feel bulky. Your head, neck and maybe face will be covered to block the cold. All of this means more effort to move. When you take away the layers on that first warm day in March you'll feel free and fast!
 -Running in the elements toughens you up.  If you race in New England, you need to be prepared for all types of conditions on race day, so you should train in them too.  Even if you don't race, running through the cold and the wind gives you natural resistance. Every step you take is just a little bit harder than usual. You work harder, so you get stronger. You can't get that on the treadmill without a wind tunnel.
 
 So I managed to run my 12 miles and enjoy them (mostly)!  I have had some miserable runs in the cold, but over the years I've figured out what works for me with cold weather running. Here are a few tips for running in the cold.
 
 1) Wear thin layers that wick away moisture.  For your outermost layer try something that will break the wind and hold in heat. Don't overdress. Use a short run as a way to figure what cold weather running outfit works for you. In general, it's okay to feel cold when you start out. You should start to feel warm within 10 to 15 minutes.
 2) Cover up, head to toe.  Any exposed skin is going to allow heat to drain from your body. If you're wearing a hat, make sure it goes down low enough to cover your ears fully.  Face masks can be helpful, but a neck warmer is a great alternative. You can pull it up over your nose as needed.
 3) My toes are always cold, but I discovered one trick that helps. Before I put on my running socks I put a light coating of vaseline on my toes. It helps hold in heat. Just don't overdo it or your feet will feel slippery.
 4) Run with a friend or a group. The conversation makes the run go by faster. And you have someone to complain to about how cold it is. 
 
 Running in the northeast is always a challenge during the winter months. Although there may be times you will be forced to run indoors due to the weather don't totally eliminate running outdoors. With the proper dress running outside in cold weather can actually be more comfortable than running in the heat of summer. We still have a few months of winter left so if you haven't ran outside in awhile get out there! I guarantee your next run will go by a lot faster than on the dreadmill...(sorry treadmill). Laughing
 
 
 
 
Hits: 1820
Rate this blog entry
4 votes

Bay of Fundy Trail Running

Posted by Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy
Sarah Hardy has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Friday, July 06, 2012
in Training

       The Bay of Fundy Trail is located in the village of St. Martins in New Brunswick, Canada.  It is a park of sorts, with a 10 kilometer path and an adjacent auto road winding along the Bay of Fundy.  Since my husband, Dave, and I are both runners we are always on the lookout for unique places for a long run, especially when we are traveling. A few summers ago while on a trip to St. John, we heard about the Bay of Fundy Trail (BFT) and thought it would be perfect.

 

      It was a foggy July morning when we headed out to the BFT.  We parked at the south end of the trail, intending to run the 10k path to its northern end and then back.  We headed down the gravel path with a light mist falling around us.  The trail was set up high, away from the coastline, surrounded by green and the hushed sound of the ocean far below.

    After running for about 5 minutes we noticed a side path leading down toward the water.  We decided to explore.  Leaving the main trail, Dave and I headed down the steep path that eventually turned into wooden stairs.  At the bottom we had a clear view of the beach below, even though we were still a good 100 feet above it.  It was low tide, and since the Bay of Fundy is famous for its low tides, the water had receded behind a curtain of fog.  We stood still, looking down on the endless beach rimmed with cliffs, our hearts still beating from our swift decent.



    After snapping photos we headed back to the main trail and pressed on.  It became apparent within the first few miles that this trail was woven into a miniature mountain range.  Walking up a steep hill is understandable, but some of the down hills where so steep they also forced us to walk.  It was a rollercoaster of a trail, threading its way through a pine forest with the foggy coast peeking through every so often.

    We took one other jaunt off the main trail at about the 5k mark.  This long series of wooden stairs brought us down to the ocean floor.  It was a continuation of the beach we had spied earlier.  To our surprise, we realized the beach was made up of millions of rounded rocks, not sand.  We marveled over the unusual colors of the rocks, still wet from the blanket of ocean they had recently been under.  We filled our pockets with rocks of all colors: dark blues, rosy pink, iridescent greens, grays with white stripes.  Laughing about the added weight, we climbed the stairs back to the main trail.

    We finally emerged from the woods at the end of the trail to see a visitor’s center.  Fortunately, we’d had the foresight to carry cash, although we’d neglected to bring food or water.  After snacking on candy bars and sports drinks, we set out to retrace our steps along the trail.

 

     It was a memorable long run full of stops and starts.  I used my hands to help me climb up a hill and lost count of the times my pace changed dramatically, from downhill speed to uphill speed.  However, it was the type of adventure that makes me thankful to be a runner.  And even though I was sore the next day, I saw things I would never have had the chance to see if I had taken the auto road.

Hits: 3420
Rate this blog entry
1 vote
Race ListVTR BlogVTR Discussions

Latest Blog Posts

© 2015 View The Race | All rights reserved.

Login or Register

           |