Category Archives: Races

5 Lessons from Spectating a Marathon

spectating a race  happyfitmama.com

Last Sunday, I spectated the Baystate Marathon.

The marathon I was supposed to be running.

I have never spectated a marathon before. Or any long distance race for that matter. I’ve watched a couple of 5k’s. That’s it.

I’ve always been the runner.

Being on the other side of the road, I got to see a lot more. When I’m running, I usually have blinders on. I’m in my own space. I don’t notice the faces of the other runners as they push their aching bodies towards the finish line.

I’m in my pain cave.

As a spectator, I saw pain, grimaces with each step and tears. But I also saw smiles, joy and relief of knowing they did it!

5 Lessons Learned from Spectating a Marathon

1. Race day outfit matters! Don’t wear an old ratty, stained shirt. There will be pictures after all. You worked your ass off to make it to the finish line and most likely you’re going to look like hell. You owe yourself to at least look like a little effort went into your attire.

2. Cold weather + singlets = bloody nipples. I have never seen more bloody nipples in my life. And it wasn’t just a little bit of blood soaked shirts. It was a lot. And they were all on males. I was in agony just looking at those poor guys. I’m sure they learned their lesson – band aid up boys!

3. Runner’s won’t stop, can’t stop for anything. Kailey and I almost missed seeing Mariette running into the finisher’s chute because of a woman that had blood running down her leg. We couldn’t help but stare as she trudged by us. I’m not sure exactly what it was from but I’m guessing her shorts were rubbing on her inner thigh the whole 26.2 miles. There was a large chunk of raw skin in that area. At least it was cold enough that maybe she was numb?

4. Some people make it look so easy. You gotta love the guy or girl who comes trucking into the finisher’s chute at a blazing speed with what looks like little effort and absolutely no sweat on them at all. Seriously, how do you do it?

5. Marathons are freakin’ hard! It’s easy to forget that running 26.2 miles is not something that can be done by everyone when you see the smiling race reports coming through your social media feeds. It takes endurance. It takes heart. It takes guts. No matter how well your training went, it still is going to be hard work to make it through those miles. It’s kind of like childbirth – you swear you are never going to do it again but then you forget about all the pain and agony in a month or so. And then you sign up for another.

Have you spectated a marathon? What did you learn?

Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon Recap

Post Zooma Cape Cod | happyfitmama.com

I did it!

I ran Zooma Cape Cod Half Marathon on Saturday and showed my Achilles ache  who was boss!

All the rest, ice, stretching and fingers crossing must have did the trick because I felt really good on race day morning.

We arrived in North Falmouth early Friday afternoon. We lucked out so much with the weather. The Sea Crest Beach Hotel is the race headquarters and where we stayed. It was perfect to have the beach, an outdoor heated pool and an indoor pool. We spent the afternoon soaking in the warm temps and sunshine. I don’t know how many times I said “I can’t believe it’s late September and we are swimming outside!”

Sea Crest Beach Hotel | happyfitmama.com

That night I got to meet up with all of my fellow Zooma Cape Cod Ambassadors. It was so nice to meet everyone in real life although Amy and I go way back to the days of the water slide at LoziLu. You know I’m all about sunrises but this sunset was breathtaking.

Sunset on Cape Cod | happyfitmama.com

I woke up Saturday around 6 a.m. My Achilles felt good walking around the room and with a few bounces so I thought I’d give it a go. From there it was a scramble to find where I’d put all of my running gear. When I packed I must have been in the mind set that I was not going to run. I forgot so many things and didn’t really think about my race day outfit too much. Thankfully I had packed my favorite Saucony shorts/tank/shoes and Feetures socks. At least I had the essentials!

Our room was right at the starting line. No really, it was right there! (That’s our room to the right of the picture below). I had woke up around 5 a.m. to the sound of clinking metal and found that the barricades and starting line Zooma arch were being put up. My own private bathroom for any last minute potty breaks was so nice. I think I had my fill of port-a-potties after Reach the Beach!

Zooma Cape Cod Ambassadors Starting LineZooma Cape Cod Ambassadors – Jessica, Danielle, Dani, Amy, Nancy, Me, Kelly, Jessica. Photo credit to Nancy.

The 10k runners were starting first at 7:30 a.m. They started a short walk away on the main road. At 7:35, it was go time for the half marathon. I had lined up near the front of the pack and took off. In the back of my head I knew the pace I needed to PR. Instead of focusing on that, I was pacing by feel. If at any time I felt any type of pain from my Achilles, I was going to stop. While I would hate to have a DNF, I knew I had to think of the bigger picture too. I’ve still got a busy fall ahead of me!

The first few miles were right along Buzzard’s Bay with beautiful views. It made me feel like I was at home running my favorite route. I was shocked how open it was from the start. There was no congestion or running in and out of runners which is typical for most races. I think I had my slowest race start ever too – which is a good thing since I tend to positive split like it’s my job.

There were a few small hills but nothing really large – at least they didn’t seem like it with fresh legs. We did a short out and back to a point before heading to the Shining Sea Bikeway. It was great to see the other girls and give out some cheers at this point.

Mile 1-3 – 8:01, 7:48, 7:51

At mile 3 I caught up with 3 ladies, The Skirt Crew, as I called them in my head. They turned into my pacer bunnies. They kept me entertained with their chatter even though I was behind them and not included in the conversation. Just call me #CreepyLurker. The bikeway was awesome. It was pancake flat and shaded. I was anticipating hearing some sort of protest from my Achilles but it was comfortable and quiet. And can we just talk about my mile splits? How’s that for pacing? I don’t think I’ve ever been that right on. My hopes of a mega PR started to grow.

Mile 4-9 – 8:09, 8:05, 8:05, 8:05, 8:04, 8:07

At this point we got off the bikeway and the route meandered through residential neighborhoods. Things started to get hilly and hot. At one point I came upon a girl who did not want to be passed. We played a little back and forth game before I lost her up a hill. Once I lost her, I was by myself. The course became quite lonely. The next runner was at least 1/4 mile ahead of me and there was zero crowd support. I was thankful for at least the one runner ahead because the race signage became sparse. Hopefully she knew the way! I was getting tired and my motivation was lacking. As I trudged up the endless last hills, I felt my mega PR crumble. A girl finally did catch up to me but she breezed past me so fast that my legs didn’t have time to even think about speeding up. Thankfully, there was a little down hill at the end to at least make it look like I finished fast.

Mile 10-13.1 – 8:13, 8:31, 8:34, 8:34, 6:30

Finish – 1:47:06. A 38 second PR!

After finding Ron and the kids, we headed to the after party where I promptly found Amy “icing” in the water. It felt so good!

Ocean Ice Zooma Cape Cod | happyfitmama.comAnd then drank wine. Because wine at 10:00 a.m. is perfectly fine after running 13.1 miles. Wine not?

Post Zooma Cape Cod Wine | happyfitmama.com

I had a blast running Zooma Cape Cod! It truly was a marvelous mini racecation. While I would have loved to have felt 100% confident going into the race, I’m very happy with my squeaker PR. The little added bonuses of running this race make it really special. From the sweet swag bags to the after party massages, wine and yoga, it really was like going to a spa to get pampered.

It’s just like Zooma’s motto – Run. Laugh. Celebrate.

Check. Check. Check.

Disclaimer: As a Zooma Cape Cod Ambassador, I received a free race entry and products from their sponsors. All opinions, as always, are my own.