I ran the Martha's Vineyard 20-Miler yesterday with my running partner and her husband. This race fell right in line with our marathon training (just 5 weeks away) so it was great timing. And really, it was perfect. Such a great race! I would recommend it to ANYONE near or far. It's probably worth traveling any distance for. Here is my Race Top Ten (in no particular order)...
1. The View - Martha's Vineyard is gorgeous...even in February. The first 10 miles are along the eastern coast, then four miles heading inland and west, and then 6 miles heading north. The last 10 miles were on a bike path that wound through forests. Even with empty trees, it was pretty.
2. Negative Splits - We decided to try this out for the first time and it really worked. I couldn't believe how good I felt at the end. Our last mile was our fastest - we felt that good.
3. No Potty Breaks - There were no potty stops along the way. That's a huge success for me!
4. Sprinting Across the Finish Line - And I was smiling. That's gotta be a first!
5. Inspiring People - I was so impressed with all the people we met. Really an amazing group of runners. We met a couple in their 60s who ran the Rome Marathon last year. And another woman who is running Boston for the third time this year. She qualified by running the Berlin Marathon - how cool is that?!
6. Great Conversation - We were joined for the first 10 miles by a man named David who said he liked our pace and decided to run with us. He stopped at 10. We talked about everything from TV to kids to racing to everything but the kitchen sink.
7. Overall Pace - Right at 10-minute mile, which was our goal. We were using this as a training long run, so it wasn't about speed. And this pace felt perfect.
8. Race Organization - There were so many volunteers and police officers and smiling people at all the aid stations. As soon as we crossed the finish line and headed into the school, they handed us our bags - they already had them ready. They played music along the way. Everyone was so helpful and fo friendly. Awesome.
9. Post-Race Food - Clam chowder, minestrone, bagels, fruit and cookies. Yummy! That clam chowder was the perfect New England way to finish off a race. So good!
10. Finishing My First 20-Miler - This is my farthest distance. And I felt great. Now I really believe I will be able to run a marathon. And that feels awesome!
And now for a few pictures (in reverse order) we took before and after. David's wife took a few while we were running, but we haven't received them yet. I'll post them once we do.