2010 Smuttynose Marathon


Years from now, when 'Smuttynose' is synonymous with 'Boston' in terms of marathon lore, I will be able to say I plodded through the first one.

I didn't have high hopes for this one.  Other than an 11.6 mile training run, technically Reach The Beach was my longest run in the prior 6 months!  However, I was looking at this as a throwaway training marathon, the first of three leading up to my second JFK 50.

My other JFK friends Ranger Dave and Rain Man Dane set the fall marathon schedule months in advance, then proceeded to either sign up for the wrong marathon (Dave) or fail to sign up altogether (Dane).  Not to worry, my sister in law signed up, but then she too failed to make the start (something about lack of training, but I thought I had a lock on that excuse..).  All was not lost however, on race day I would have Mass Soles team mates Gary meeting me at mile 12, and Xuan meeting me at mile 16, so I would have excellent pacing for the second half of the race.  And maybe a few laughs as well.  Dave also placed a bet with me, that he could run his marathon and still get to the finish line of mine before I did.  The loser would buy lunch.  I figured that since he was starting an hour and fifteen minutes before me, and was at least an hour faster with the running, I should probably budget for a halfway decent Hampton Beach restaurant..

Xuan had printed out the course map and carefully plotted out all of the locations where she would be along the way.  The first stop would be at mile 10, where she conveniently parked the car.  The second would be right at the mile 16 course marker.  Gary didn't print out anything, but remembered where Hampton was.  He planned to meet me 'somewhere along the way', hopefully around mile 12.

The race started promptly at 9:00 AM.  I went out a little faster than I wanted to, but felt surprisingly good.  Mile 10 was not where it was supposed to be, but supposedly Xuan was there, looking for my bright yellow long sleeved shirt, which I removed around mile 5 and tied to my waist.  Unfortunately, Xuan was looking for my shirt, not me, so she completely missed me when I ran past.  Also unfortunately, I was looking for Xuan where she parked her car, not where the mile 10 marker was, so I ran right past her.  This is starting to become a pattern with Xuan, so Gary now recommends we tie a balloon to her so we can always find her along the course..

Anyhow, Gary, who had no idea what I was wearing, and I, who had no idea where Gary would be, spotted each other around mile 11.5.  Gary's car was pretty close by, so he grabbed my long sleeved shirt and pants and threw them in his car, which helped with my overheating and lightened the load a little bit.  Gary called Xuan to let her know I was well past mile 10, and that she should proceed to mile 16 according to plan.  We then meandered around the course, Gary was most excellent at taunting me along every time I wanted to take a walking break, and getting me back to plodding when I did.

We reached mile 16, which was poorly marked with a 2 foot tall bright yellow sign at the side of the road.  We didn't see Xuan, so just after we passed it Gary got her on the phone:

Gary: "Hey Xuan, where are you?"

Xuan: "I'm right at mile 16!"

Gary: "Um, we're just past mile 16, we don't see you.."

Xuan: "I am *right* at mile 16!!"

Gary: "Ok, keep running, you can probably crawl and catch up to us at the rate Brian is plodding along."

Gary hung up and we looked at each other, then back to the mile 16 marker, which we could still clearly see.  No Xuan.  I joked that she was probably ahead of us.  (It turns out, from where she parked her car, she had to have walked/run right past the mile 16 marker to get to where she ended up).  A few minutes later, Gary's phone rang.  It was Xuan, who was now at mile 17!

We finally caught up to Xuan, and the rest of the way was kind of a blur for me.  At one point I had hopes of finishing under 5 hours for the first time in many years, but I had to be satisfied with a 5:10, which isn't too bad for a plodder on a training run!

Oh, naturally, Ranger Dave was waiting for me at the finish line, looking very hungry.

Fortunately, Xuan had marked the location of her car on her iPhone, so Gary was able to drive us back there without too much trouble.  Xuan found the course map in her car, then proudly pointed out to us how the course was not the same as was on the map, which clearly explained why she had walked right past the mile 16 marker!

Thanks to Gary and Xuan for the pacing!  You two kept me laughing, and moving in a generally forward direction!