A huge thank you to Cabot Cheese for proving me a bib to Beach to Beacon as part of the Cabot Fit Team.
With almost 7000 runners in one small coastal Maine town, I anticipated Beach to Beacon 10K to be a big headache of mishaps. I’m shocked at how well that it’s run and I didn’t see one hiccup. Twenty years ago, Joan Benoit Samuelson (one bad ass Olympic marathon runner from Maine), started this race. It’s obvious that there are hours of thought and planning that takes months (years!) to make it work so well. This race not only attracts tons of runners from around the world but also elites like Shalane Flanagan and Ben True.
I’ve lived in New Hampshire for 11 years and this is the first time I’ve run this race. I’ve known about it but have just never attempted to beat the clock in registering for it. This race sells out in minutes – like less than 5 minutes!
Originally I had planned on hitting the expo on Friday for bib pick up and staying the night in Portland with Sandra. There was a last minute change in plans when I got Sandra’s text that she wasn’t going to make it to the race because of being sick. Instead, I had my friend and coworker, Robin, pick up my bib and I got to sleep in my own bed. A one hour drive in the morning would be no big deal.
On the drive up Saturday morning, it was cloudy, with an occasional sprinkle, and cooler but ridiculously humid. Is 98% humidity horrible? Yes! I was sweating on the bus ride to the starting line.
I met up with my friend Julie, her sister Megan, and her friend, Colleen, shortly after arriving. Cabot graciously gave me an extra bib and I passed it along to Megan since she really wanted to run the race but didn’t make it into the registration months ago. Fun tidbit: Megan was once an intern for Cabot It was fate that she got the bib!
We looked seriously sharp, right?
The bathroom lines were ridiculous and the corrals were packed. Julie and I did a quick warm up on a trail in the roads before finding a spot to merge into the corrals once the race started. Soon after, we ran into my friend Nicole. This is the same Nicole from the Six03 Summerfest 10K the week before. How ironic!
The gun went off and it was go time. We started at Crescent Beach State Beach and headed North along rolling hills. Nothing at all like last weekend’s mega hills but still hills. In fact it was gradual uphill at the start.
I had no plan for the race. I was going to run just like last week. No goal, no thoughts. Just run. I honestly did run that way because I only glanced at my watch to see the mileage.
I felt ok from the start except for the humidity. I was working at a comfortably hard pace. There were water stops at every mile and I grabbed a cup to “attempt” to drink and one for my head. I’m so out of practice of running and drinking!
From the start I was kind of out of it. I don’t think I actually took the time to look around at my surroundings. Everyone said it was a beautiful course but all I remember is seeing runners. Tunnel vision obviously.
I do know that there were people along the course for the whole 6.2 miles. There was a live band on a flat bed truck. There was a group of singers. There were tons of little kids with cowbells and hands out stretched for high 5’s. And apparently there was a group handing out bacon with a sign that said ‘Beach to Bacon!’ How did I miss that?!?!
I was always with a group of runners along the course the whole 6.2 miles. Not packed in sardines but there were plenty of times where I got boxed in or had to scoot around someone. I also spent the majority of the time running with a dad and his son. I’m guessing the boy was about 8-10? Running consistent sub 8 mile pace at that age? A.w.e.s.o.m.e
By mile 5, I was feeling tired and kind of nauseous. The steeper, rolling hills started around mile 4ish. Around this time I saw a guy down on the side of the road, EMT’s were just getting to him. He wasn’t moving. A few minutes later he went zooming by with the EMT’s on the back of a cart. He still wasn’t moving and the EMT was doing a pulse check. Since I was starting to feel like garbage, it freaked me out and I slowed down. It put things into perspective.
The crowd leading up to the finish line at Fort Williams Park was crazy. It was nothing but a chute with packed crowds on either side. Despite the energy, it felt like it was taking forever to get to the grass to run across the finish line. Even though I have been to Fort Williams Park before, I was totally disoriented. Where was the lighthouse? Like I said, tunnel vision. (Side note: In the finish line photos I can see that the lighthouse was directly behind the finish line…tunnel vision for sure!)
Mile 1: 7:23, Mile 2: 7:50, Mile 3: 8:04, Mile 4: 7:56, Mile 5: 7:57, Mile 6: 8:30, Mile 0.26: 7:02 Finish time: 49:29
For not looking at my time or pace at all during the race, I’m kind of impressed with my splits. I didn’t check my finishing time until I got home. Imagine my surprise when I found out that I was 3 seconds shy of my 10K PR (I had to look that up too!). 3 seconds!!!
I guess this running for fun thing isn’t so bad. Imagine if I actually trained?
Once I crossed the finish line, it was a LONG walk up a HUGE hill to get water and a finisher’s medal. I usually could care less about medals but I guess there aren’t usually medals. When it’s the 20th anniversary of a race, it’s a big deal.
The post race party is really great. So much good food (watermelon is always a good thing after a sweaty summer run!) and tons of freebies. I walked away with a box full of goodies.
I was still feeling kind of out of it after refueling with water and food so I cut things short to catch a bus back to the satellite parking lot. I’m bummed that I missed the opportunity to catch up with so many running friends that I didn’t get to see!
I’m not a fan of big races but Beach to Beacon was really fun. Maybe I’ll be (im)patiently waiting at the computer with fingers crossed that I make it in on a cold day in March next year.