Yesterday I ran the Hyannis Half Marathon in Hyannis, MA. This race is the first opportunity of the year to run in a half marathon or marathon in New England and brings in as many as 3,500 runners.
After enduring a week of ominous weather predictions before the race I arrived on Saturday to a seasonably cold and cloudy day. The storm track kept changing seemingly every 12 hours and by Saturday it appeared that the Cape was going to be spared from the snow. Game on! I picked up my race packet, checked into a nearby hotel, and then hit the British Beer Company in downtown Hyannis. After having a great meal and a few pints with friends I turned in for the night ready for whatever race day would bring.
I woke up Sunday and tentatively looked out the window hoping the weather forecast was correct and the snow had held off. I was happy to see clear roads but unfortunately it was pouring rain and windy. The good news is that I knew I could deal with the rain but the bad news was I knew it was not going to be fun. After a leisurely breakfast (the race starts at 10 AM) I headed to the start. The rain and wind actually relaxed a bit right before the race but I was already wet just walking to the start.
It was a cold rain so I decided to wear my full winter gear for the race. But as the race started I almost immediately started to feel uncomfortably warm. By mile 2 I took off my head wrap and wished I had worn shorts. The rain continued to fall and the roads were completely covered with puddles due to all of the pouring rain and the snow melt. Dodging puddles made it almost impossible to get into any kind of rhythm and my legs felt sluggish right from the start. The puddles in the road were so bad a few sections of road were impassable forcing runners to run in the front yards of houses or on the grassy sections on the side of the road. I was soaked and to make matters worse I grabbed a cup from a water stop, went to drink and had the cup "explode" in my hands all over the front of my jacket. Fun!
I was soaked and for parts of the race I felt warm and others I felt cold. I tried to maintain some type of pace but felt like I was struggling the whole time. It was a real battle. Right after Craigville Beach there is a tough hill that leads up to the 8 mile mark. I knew it was coming so I purposely reduced my speed and ran a comfortable pace up the hill. I made it up the hill but soon after I started to feel like my legs were giving out. By the time I ran over the "speed bumps" after mile 9 and turned on Route 28 my legs were dead.
The last 5k was a real struggle. I had decided before the race not to wear a watch and there were no clocks on the entire course so I had no idea how I was doing. I wanted to run by "feel" and the last 5k I felt terrible. Running through the last two side streets before the finish felt like it took forever, and I finally started my finish line sprint up to the line. The cool thing about running without a watch is that as I rounded the corner to the finish I had no idea what the clock would say. I crossed the line to 1:43:32....7:54 pace. Not a great time for me but with the tough weather just finishing is a victory.
As soon as the race was over I instantly felt freezing cold. Not sure if it was adrenaline or the effort of running heating my body but I didn't feel that cold during the race. I think I can speak for everyone and say I was very happy to warm up and change out of my soaking wet clothes.
Despite the weather this race was a "fitness check" and I think I did OK. I am behind where I was last year but with a few more weeks of training I should continue to improve. I am really looking forward to the Good Times 5k Series in April and plan on working on my speed over the next month to prepare. First race of 2013 in the books!
If you are interested in running this race or the marathon check out the course video here.