After a year of (almost) monthly half marathons, 2015 is off to a weird start where the focus has been on marathon training, and I haven’t been able to participate in any half marathon races. Sarah and I were going to run one while I was in NC in the beginning of March, but they were all hours away and more money than we wanted to spend. The ONLY half marathon race I was able to run was the Savin Rock Half Marathon in West Haven, Connecticut.
Sarah’s awesome friend Elizabeth recently moved to Connecticut and I’m so glad we’ve become friends. We signed up to run the Savin Rock Half Marathon together pretty randomly – it was the only race a decent driving distance between us on a day that worked perfectly with my marathon training schedule AND the logo had a shark. And who doesn’t love sharks? Especially after Katy Perry’s performance at the Super Bowl featuring the infamous Left Shark, sharks are all the rage (however, we’d like to point out that our plans to dress up like sharks for the Savin Rock Half Marathon date back to NOVEMBER, long before Left Shark).
The weather was, obviously, not forecasting to be great. I left work a little early on Friday and drove out to New Haven. It snowed the whole way to Connecticut. And New Haven didn’t seem to plow its roads as well as they could have, leading to a bit of a scary drive to the hotel and to dinner.
I found a deal on a hotel through Rocketmiles, my favorite website for collecting miles. Not the greatest hotel, but it did the job. (Special thanks to the people who were having a party next door to my room at 1am). Elizabeth and Mark and I had a lovely dinner of pizza (of course) and watched some Duke basketball. After watching a few episodes of Friends, I went to bed by around 10:30 or so.
Thankfully, because the hotel was a 10 minute drive to the race and Mark was willing to drive us and drop us off, we were able to sleep in a little and grab breakfast before getting to the Savin Rock Conference Center right at 7:30 to pick up our bibs. Elizabeth is amazingly crafty and made us AWESOME shark fins to wear on our backs. We also had matching shark hats from CVS. No surprise, but everyone loved us and commented on how awesome we looked. I struggled with my fin for the first few miles, and was worried I’d have to ditch it. Thankfully, we figured out how to tighten it so that it would stay on.
The snow started to fall as soon as we walked outside to the start line… and got wetter and heavier as we ran. Elizabeth hadn’t trained as much as she’d hoped, and I’ve been running slower per my coaches’ advice to GO SLOW on our long runs, so we stayed at a 10:30 pace for most of the race. There were a LOT of hills – they weren’t necessarily fun, but they were definitely good practice for the Newton Hills. The snow eventually began to stick, so the ground was super wet and slushy and our shoes were soaked through. Icy snow collected on the teeth of our shark hats. Overall, not great conditions. BUT, we felt great and even quickened our pace in the last few miles, getting under 10:00 minutes in the last mile. We finished in 2:20:05.
The race organizers had some DELICIOUS pasta waiting for us inside the conference center – definitely one of the best post-race meals I’ve ever had. The medals and t-shirts feature the Shoreline Shark logo – probably one of my new favorite medals. Of course, as soon as we hopped in the car to go back to the hotel, the snow stopped and the sun started to peak through. It ended up being a gorgeous afternoon. After quick showers and hotel check-outs, we grabbed lunch at Prime 16 and I had one of the most delicious burgers of my life.
While the weather was far from perfect, I had a great time running with Elizabeth like a shark and running in an actual race. Even with the gross weather, the spectators and volunteers were awesome and incredibly supportive. We probably saw one couple and their dog in 4 different spots – and every time they saw us they’d yell and cheer. Running in the snow may be hard, but being a spectator in the snow is even harder! Thanks, Shoreline Sharks, for letting us join the fun!