I thought about not recapping this race, because (SPOILER ALERT!) it did not go well for me. But then I reconsidered: There’s still value in documenting what the race was like for people considering it in the future, and there’s also value in reminding myself that you can have a really bad race and it’s not the end of the world.
So last weekend my husband and I ran the Mayflower Brewing Half Marathon in Plymouth, MA, known for its notable rock. This was the first year of the Mayflower Brewing Half, and between the timing (right at the beginning of summer, when one can still hope for good running weather) and the beer, it seemed like one to try.
If I ran this one again, I’d get to the start line earlier. We were promised ample parking in the area and while there was a lot, it filled up quickly. We nabbed one of the last spots in the lot arriving 30 minutes in advance.
The course wound through Plymouth (a town I really don’t know very well, so I felt lost the entire time), going on a gravel bike path for about a mile and a half and swinging right by the aforementioned Plymouth Rock (though I could not see it because of the fence surrounding it). The course was pretty hilly, with mostly rolling hills along the entire course. The elevation profile suggested that the first few miles were downhill and the last few up, but honestly, the whole course felt rolling to me. If anything, the last mile or so felt a bit downhill (which, if that’s the case, means the first mile was uphill). The exception was this crazy-ass dirt road around mile 10 that culminated in a steep, rocky uphill.
After Boston, I’m no stranger to hills, but unfortunately on race day my bum knee was nagging at me. I could feel the tendons pulling on my knee in a way I just didn’t like, especially on the uphills, so I walked a lot more than I normally like to during a race. Between the knee aggravation and the humidity that left me soaked from around mile 3, I clocked my worst half marathon time ever. Woe!
The race photos are kind of hilarious. The 10k photo (above) pretty accurately reflects how tired and frustrated I was feeling, but in fairness to me, the 10k mark was immediately after a water stop. You can see I’m holding a cup of water. I have learned from both experience and the Oatmeal not to drink and run:
By the end of the race, I was fully aware that I was probably going to chalk up my worst half marathon finish ever, and gave it my all to mitigate the damage. As a consequence, my finish line photo shows a sweaty mess making a desperate dash:
My finish time was 2:09:23, which means a pace of 9:52 per mile. Considering how crappy my knee felt and how much I walked as a result, I can’t really complain about this. I would have guessed I’d feel worse about the race, since I was hoping for a personal best and not a personal worst, but once again I was lousy at forecasting my emotions (theme of the week).
Despite not getting the result I wanted from the race, I’d consider doing this one again. The course was scenic, race support was probably the best I’ve ever seen for a race this small (maybe 2500 runners?), there was beer at the finish, and now I have something to prove.