Time for a Margarita Half Marathon

I definitely did not feel like having a margarita after this run. The heat really knocked the snot out of me and booze was the last thing I wanted.

The Margarita Half Marathon was originally scheduled for May 3rd in New Hampshire.

Due to COVID-19 the Margarita Half Marathon and 5K were turned into virtual races. I ran my half marathon on July 10th.

May is a great time to run a half marathon in New Hampshire, July is not such a great time to run a half marathon in the Greater Boston Area (GBA).

Running the Margarita Half Marathon 2020

This was my second half marathon in 14 days. On June 27th I ran The Great Bay Half which was postponed from April 5th to a virtual half.

I had Friday off and decided it would be a good day for a half. No matter how  unfit I was or how hot it was, I was going to do it.

At 8:56 AM I set off from Medford headed to somewhere in Cambridge. I had a general idea of where I was going. My sole criteria for a turn around point was the mile 6 mark.

It’s easier to add on distance on the way back. In May I ran a half and ended up walking almost a mile so I could stop my watch at 13.1 miles for my official distance.

Sometimes I learn from my mistakes.

Garmin lists the temperature at 73° F, but that must have been at 8:56 when I started my watch.

As I ran down my street I actually felt pretty good. And that’s unusual. Usually a knee or an ankle makes a few grumbles.

I should have recalled that when things start out well, they often do not end well.

The First Six Miles

I knew it was going to be warm, hot even. Over the past few months my training has been poor.

My only goal was to finish the race through an honest effort. There’s no cheating in virtual racing. At least not for me.

The first two miles got me to the Somerville side of the Mystic River bridge.

This segment, along the Fellsway, was mostly in full sun.

Margarita Half Marathon, virtual halfAfter the bridge I took a right onto Shore Drive towards Blessing of The Bay Boat House. They had the crew of summer work kids out front for their morning brief.

I was glad to see that at least some kids were getting the opportunity to earn a few dollars and learn how to work this summer.

I went under the Rt. 93 bridge and headed south on Mystic Ave/Rt. 38. The on-coming traffic kept me very focused as the sidewalk is narrow here and folks like to fly down this road.

I found a break in traffic and crossed Mystic Ave to run the back side of Foss Park. The pool was full, but the facility was closed.

I chose this route for a little shade.

To avoid the bridge over the rail tracks I went down Broadway to Cross Street and ran through East Somerville up to Washington Street.

I hit Mile 4 just before I crossed The McGrath Highway and headed for East Cambridge.

Eventually I ended up in Kendall Square and headed down Broadway to find my turn around spot.

Margarita Half 2020, Kendall Square
Broadway in Kendall Square

On my way down Broadway I passed a Starbucks. I wasn’t at mile 6 yet but one water bottle was almost empty and I wasn’t even half way yet.

I ordered a Trenta iced coffee on my phone and turned back to Starbucks.

As I approached the door I stopped my Garmin and then stepped into the dark coolness. My drink was being made as I approached the counter, so I only had a minute or so to cool off.

I grabbed a straw and stepped back into the heat.

The Long Road Home

I was now on my way home and short on distance. My watch hit mile six as I walked down Broadway drinking my coffee. Man it was good!

I took a leisurely jog back through Kendall and The Canal District down to Lechemere Station.

My shorts were so wet from sweat and water dripping off of my coffee that for a moment I thought I had a problem!

When it’s  hot and you are sweating, that is a good thing.

I found a trash can on Cambridge Street and tossed in my empty cup. It only took about a mile and 12 minutes to drink the entire cup. And all of the ice had melted.

I pretty much took the same route back to Washington Street and then took a left into the neighborhood.

At this point my quads were exhausted and I was beginning to feel altered.

I checked my running belt for a salt pill, but I didn’t have one. That was a crucial error on a day like this.

My sports drink had some sodium, but I was dripping sweat.

I got back onto Broadway and ran the same route back to Blessing of the Bay Boat House.

Fortunately they had a porta-potty on the grass next to their parking lot.

It was like an oven in there,  but I meant business!

I continued on the bike path next to Rt. 93 and headed for Medford.

I didn’t hit mile 11 until I had crossed The Mystic Valley Parkway and was less than a mile from home.

At this point I was doing a fair amount of walking and experiencing the worse part of what I had anticipated.

Virtual Margarita Half Finish, Virtual HalfWhen I got back into my neighborhood I started going up and down the side streets to get in my distance.

So close to home and I felt like I was running laps!

I managed to jog down my street and stopped my watch before I got to my house.

I was DONE!

I don’t think everyone has run and reported their results yet. But as of my run I was 131 out of 138!

Have you run any virtual races this year? How do you feel about them?

Run well my Friends!

Andy

Rhode Master Series 2020

Looking to run Rhode Island in 2020? The Rhode Master Series of Marathons and Half Marathons is still taking registrations for feet on the street races!

2020 Rhode Island Rhode Master Series

Originally posted on March 6, 2020. Updated July 8, 2020

My how things have changed.

The Rhode Master Series consists of five Rhode races in five cities and towns across Rhode Island.

The first race, The Newport Marathon and Half Marathon was a live event in April. They 419 finishers for the full marathon and 1139 for the half.

Pretty amazing considering that Massachusetts was under shelter in place orders and The Boston Marathon was postponed at that time.

Newport Full Results

The Bristol Independence Half on June 27th went virtual and had 792 runners – Bristol Full Results.

Jamestown Half is still scheduled for September 19th.

The Narragansett Marathon and Half is still scheduled for October 25th.

The Providence Marathon was scheduled for May 3rd but was cancelled due to the Governors stay at home order which was in place through May 8th.

You can still take your pick of 4 half marathons and two marathons, with three events consisting of both distances.

Sign up for the series and run 3 or 4 of the races. As a Rhode Master Series runner you will receive discounts on registration fees, an exclusive medal that will “complete” the series, swag just for series runners and special sponsor discounts for series runners.

Information on the series is here.

Featured in my post, New England Marathons Fall, you can receive 15% off the Narragansett Marathon or Half.

This discount is normally reserved for Rhode Master Series runners who run at least three races.

Ocean State Rhode Races – Narragansett

Narragansett, RI |  25 October 2020 – Sunday – 7:30 AM

rhode island marathon, fall marathons, virtual race

The Marathon starts at 7:30AM, Half at 8AM and the 5K at 8:15AM.

Narragansett is the final stop in the Rhode Master Series and you are sure to see many Rhode Masters receive their series medal.

This race harkens back to the original Ocean State Marathon with the start in Narragansett Beach.

It follows beautiful Rt 1a and showcases wonderful ocean views, old stone walls, working farms, estuaries and kayak stands. It really is a pretty one.

It is a smaller marathon so you won’t have to fight through crowds of people at the start to achieve your PR or BQ.  The marathon is a Boston Qualifier.

These races feature FREE PHOTOS and a secured bag check at the start.

Registration is open –   $95 for the Marathon, $65 for the Half and $30 for the 5K.

They also have a virtual half marathon option for $50.

Exclusively for Omni Running readers – get 15% off of registration when you use code OMNIFAN. Click here to go to the registration page.

Next price increase is August 31st, 2020.

Rhode Races & Events is committed to recycling at this year’s Ocean State Rhode Races. Road Races create a lot of waste, but we’ll reduce our footprint by diverting hundreds of pounds of cardboard boxes, water jugs, and plastic bottles from the landfill.

To learn more about our race day efforts and how you can help – please click this link.  Additionally – all clothing discarded at the start of the race will be donated to North American Family Institute.

Run Rhode Island well my Friends,

Andy

Great Bay Half Marathon 2020 Virtual Edition

I ran The Great Bay Half Marathon in my own back yard this year. Like so many other races, Great Bay went virtual for 2020.

I’ve run The Great Bay Half Marathon four times.

It’s usually held about a week before the Boston Marathon and when I have a bib for Boston I don’t run Great Bay.

Tapering is supposed to be about cutting back and recuperating, it’s not good a time to run a challenging half marathon.

This year I didn’t have a bib for Boston so I signed up for Great Bay. I love the course, seeing all of my friends and the great party afterwards.

Great Bay Half Marathon 2020

Like almost every race since February, The Great Bay Half Marathon went virtual for 2020.

I had to make up my own course and run the race by my self, totally un-supported.

I went through my Garmin Connect dashboard and found a loop that I could make a 13.1 mile course.

Great Bay Health Marathon 2020 Virtual, Virtual Half

This is a short run across Medford to The Mystic Valley Parkway.

The Parkway is a nice run along the Mystic Lakes with several parks and lots of activity.

It’s particularly popular with cyclist.

When I woke up around 6:30 AM it was already 66° and I knew we were headed for the 80s.

As such I didn’t waste much time getting ready to go. All of my gear was laid out and I was out the door just after 7:00 AM.

The sun was up and the temperature was now 68°.

As I ran down my street I could feel all kinds of aches and pains. I’ve been running less and my legs seem to be feeling worse. Go figure.

I knew that much of this would go away after the first mile and tried to relax and go slow.

The first two miles were 9:16 and 9:03. In West Medford I had to stop for the Commuter Rail train.  I forgot to stop my watch and mile three came in at 10:32.

Great Bay Half Marathon 2020 Virtual, Commuter Rail, West Medford

Mystic Valley Parkway

About a half mile after the rail road crossing I came to the rotary where the Mystic Valley Parkway begins.

Mystic Valley Parkway Sign, Great Bay HalfStrait through the rotary is Arlington and to the right was my designated course up the Parkway.

When I stopped to take this photo just before 8:00 the temperature was already 73° . I was glad to know that most of this parkway is well shaded.

In Massachusetts masks are still required if you cannot maintain social distancing.

It’s impossible to avoid people and I know that I’m going to be close to people at some point during my runs.

It’s amazing how many people won’t give any room to pass on the side walk even with traffic. Am I supposed to run into cars and trucks?

For me, the possibility of death is better than near certainty!

Around mile four I took my Honey Stinger gel. I brought two just in case since it has been a while since I’ve run this distance.

These two miles up The Parkway were fairly comfortable. My aches and pains were gone for the most part. My left knee still bothered me but not enough to cause concern.

Mile 4: 9:03, Mile 5: 9:20

Winchester and Stoneham

Miles six and seven through Winchester were also fairly comfortable. I had been sweating basically since I left my house.

This section of my course had very little shade and it must have been close to 80°. One water bottle was empty and I had taken a drink from my second one.

My mind drifted back to Death Valley. There I learned to drink less than half of your water on the outbound leg of your hike.

I was more than halfway through my run, but I knew there were hills and more fully exposed road coming up.

I took a salt pill and a small drink.

With the Corona Virus pandemic, Dunkin Donut’s has closed all of their bathrooms. So no pit stops to take on or get rid of water.

I don’t take salt very often and I hoped that it wouldn’t make me sick.

But I was sweating heavily and knew I needed the sodium and potassium in that pill.

I passed our usual water stop on Eugene Drive and crossed Rt. 93 into Stoneham.

It was nice knowing that I was well over half way and still felt okay.

When I got to Main Street, my instinct told me to cross and go strait. But for this run I needed to turn right and head south on Main Street/Rt 28.

If I went strait, I’d end up in Melrose and have way too many more miles to run.

After about a half mile I arrived at the intersection of Main Street and South St/North Board Road just up the road from The Stone Zoo.

I stopped my watch and waited for a break in the traffic. I hate pressing the crossing light button. I can get across the road in 5 seconds, but those lights last much longer. Often I get across before the light even changes.

I continued strait on Main Street/Rt. 28 along the back side of Spot Pond. This was another two miles of almost no shade at all.

At mile 10 I had to walk a bit. I was hot and running low on water. With no water stops ahead of me I had to be careful.

Miles seven through eleven were between 9:34 and 10:12.

On the Home Stretch

Just before Mile Eleven I passed my normal turn onto Elm Street. This would have taken me over to Highland Avenue and added a mile or so to my run.

I kept running strait down Rt. 28 towards Roosevelt Circle. This is a busy entrance to Rt. 93 and for local traffic. Fortunately there is a sidewalk and traffic wasn’t heavy yet.

My kids went to the St. Francis Parish School and I was now in an area I knew quite well.

As I passed St. Francis Street I thought about all of the mornings I went up that road to drop the girls off for school in the morning.  Good memories.

The sidewalk along this stretch of road has been heaved by frost and tree roots. I had to watch my step and considered running in the road.

But this section of road is like a speed way on the way to Rt. 93. So I kept my head down and my feet high.

At the intersection of the Fellsway West and Fulton Street the walk light was on! I ran the diagonal across six lanes of traffic for a beautifully executed crossing. That intersection must be 200′ across diagonally.

About half way down the Fells to Rt. 60 I hit mile 12 at 9:35. Not bad.

American Runs on Dunkin!

I was on my way to Haynes Square in Medford. There is a Dunkin Donut’s there and I decided to run to the Dunkin’s for a large iced coffee.

I was dehydrated and I knew that ice cold beverage would taste so good. And since there weren’t any water stops for the half marathon, I owed it to myself to have one good water stop!

I pulled up my mask and walked into Dunkin’s. There were only two people in front of me and I stopped my watch.

It only took about two minutes to place my order and be on my way.

I drank about a quarter of the coffee before I even crossed Rt. 60! I’ve run with an iced coffee several times and it’s much easier to do if it’s not full.

I slow jogged down Spring Street towards my home which was lass than a mile away.

Great Bay 2020, Dunkin DonutsI’m sure I was a sight to see, but hey, America Runs on Dunkin! Call me Captain America, I’ve got an iced coffee!

Just after I turned onto my street I hit mile thirteen at 11:21. Not bad for a guy drinking an iced coffee!

I jogged the next 0.12 miles at a pace of 10:09.

It felt good  to be home.

Running in the heat is really draining. While I prefer heat over cold the heat does seem to take more out of me now. Some of that is probably age and some is probably my fitness level.

Virtual Great Bay Half Results

This definitely was my slowest Great Bay Half Marathon by well over ten minutes.

The real course has a total elevation gain of 424 Ft. while the course I ran only had a gain of 323 Ft. But it’s also about 20° cooler in New Hampshire in April!

It was good to get a solid long run in and the virtual race got me out there.

Have you run many virtual races this year? Have you run a virtual half or a full marathon?

Here are two recaps from from New Hampshire.

Great Bay Half Marathon 2015

Great Bay Half 2013

Run well my Friends,

Andy

Virtual 5K Races 2020

With so many races being cancelled due to COVID-19, it’s nice to have the option to run a virtual 5K and support local causes that need your support now more than ever.

Have you ever run a virtual 5K race before?

Until April 20th of 2020, I’d never run virtual 5K races or any other type of virtual races. Running a “race” by myself just seems like a training run to me.

On training runs, I never run as hard as I do during a race.  And the virtual 5k races I’ve run have felt like training runs.

Virtual races allow us to have some fun. Maybe provide the motivation we need to go for a run and our race fees are helping local organizations who really need our support right now.

Virtual 5K Races

It seems like virtual 5K races are everywhere this year but mainly in your in-box.

If you are like me you get emails for virtual races almost every day.

And like me, you’ve probably gotten way too many emails from races you signed up for, informing you that they are going virtual.

My running club, Melrose Running Club, held two virtual races the weekend the Boston Marathon was supposed to take place.

We had the “Keep Your Distance 5K” and the “Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon” on the weekend of April 20th. Everyone had a good time with it.

We ran the Cinco De Mayo QuaranTeam Virtual challenge on May 5th and will be running the Stepping Stones for Stella 5K and 10K the weekend of June 21st.

The way things are going we will probably be going virtual for the rest of the year.

Can you imagine crowding into a corral before a race?

How about running down the street behind and betwixt hundreds of other runners? All breathing deeply and exhaling forcefully?

There’s a lot of sweat, snot and spit flying during a race. That’s on top of being in everyone else’s space and breathing their air.

Finding Virtual 5K races 2020

As I mentioned above, you probably have more emails than you want announcing new virtual 5K races, 10K and even half marathons.

I’m running two virtual half marathons. God help me!

So between your in-box and the web site of your local race management or timing company, you can probably find more virtual races than you’d care to.

Since you can run a virtual race anywhere and you don’t have to go anywhere, pick a race that supports a cause dear to your heart. Perhaps one that raises funds to thank and support our healthcare providers and first responders.

A few Virtual 5Ks to choose from

Miles 4 My Community – May 23rd. This is a nation-wide effort to raise Virtual racemoney to support local youth sports programs and other local organizations impacted by COVID-19. You can run a 5K, 10K, half or full marathon for a $20 donation. Larger amounts will be accepted.

Registration includes a virtual bib and for $10 each you can order a shirt and a medal.

You track your results with your GPS watch or an app. They are not exactly clear on how to submit your results. That information may be in the registration confirmation email.

Sign up using code ‘maskon’ and you’ll receive a custom printed running gaiter with your registration!

Margarita virtual 5K

Margarita 5KJune 14th.  This race was scheduled to take place in Portsmouth, NH but now it can take place in your neighborhood.

For this race they will mail your shirt, bib and medal. So you can run around your neighborhood in the race shirt, with a bib. When you get home you can mix your own margarita and show off your medal.

The 5K is $39. There is also the Margarita Half for $79. Swag for the half includes a nice quarter zip fleece.

2020 Boston Run Fest Virtual – June 19-21 Registration is free and you can run a 5K, 10K or half-marathon.

Boston Road Runners, Boston Run FestBoston Road Runners is a local non-profit to inspire youth to run. Our vision is to create a community of runners to support one another while giving back. The Boston Run Fest will benefit the youth to support their runs through youth runs, youth running programs, and create a safe space for youth to gain confidence.

The run is open and free we encourage everyone to make a donation to support our non-profit.

Stepping Stones for StellaJune 21st.   This race is free with a donation appreciated to support their work. Click the image below for details.

Stepping Stones for Stella, virtual 5K race
Click to learn more

Smuttynose 5K – June 21st.  This race is still scheduled to happen at the Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton, NH. Loco Running does have a COVID 19 notice on the race web page stating that they may have to go virtual.

You will still get a shirt, bib and medal but no beer or BBQ.

I think it’s a safe bet that this will be a virtual race.

Smuttynose Will Run 5K for Beer, Virtual 5K

Of course you can make up your own virtual 5K race and make a donation to a local food pantry.

Run well my Friends and stay healthy!

Andy

Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020

Since all of our races are cancelled our club decided to run virtual races this weekend in honor of The Boston Marathon.

Since the BAA 5K and Boston Marathon have been postponed, our former club president Dan Slattery came up with the idea of running virtual races this weekend.

He proposed either a half or a 5K.

I hi-jacked his idea and added these virtual races to the Melrose Running Club Racing Series. If we wait for real races we wont be running until July.

So I created the Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon and the Keep Your Distance 5K.

Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020

I’ve been running about 10 miles a week, so running a half marathon seemed like a good idea.

I also thought it would be a good idea to run the Keep Your Distance 5K and then keep on running for another 13.1 miles. For a total of 16.2 miles.

It was not a good idea and I do not recommend this to anyone.

I’m under trained and well fed. Not what you need before taking on a half marathon.

I was smart enough to gather all of my gear the night before. I knew it would be in the 30’s when I left and in the 50’s when I returned. So I layered and wore gloves, winter hat and a neck gator or what ever you call those things!

I woke up around 6:00 AM and my phone said it was still 34°, so I rolled over for a snooze. Around 6:30 the temp was 36° and I knew it was time to go.

Out the Door You Go

My Garmin is a few years old and it took about ten minutes to lock onto satellites. It gets a little chilly standing around in shorts that long. But I was committed.

I planned to run the Keep Your Distance 5K and the Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon. The route I chose was a little over 15 miles so I ran down a side street to add some distance.

To do both races I needed to run 16.2 miles. I thought I could do it.

I’ve been averaging less than 10 miles per week, so this wasn’t the brightest idea.

I started running at 7:55 AM and thought I had started too late. The later you go out the more traffic there is.

Running through Medford Square I didn’t even have to wait for the lights.

I ran up High Street to Winthrop Circle and only had to contend with two cars!

I continued through West Medford toward The Mystic Valley Parkway.

Virtual-ly Insane Half Marathon 2020, West MedfordWhen I hit 3.1 miles I stopped to take a selfie and paused my watch so I could count that distance.

Running The Virtual-ly Insane Half

The Mystic Valley Parkway is a nice run. On a Sunday there are usually many runners, cyclists and walkers. The breakdown lanes, or bike lanes, are wide most of the way.

There were more runners than I expected and fewer cyclists. Only about half the runners wore masks. I even saw three women running together without masks.

When I approached a runner or walker I’d pull up my neck gator. While an N95 mask is supposed to stop 95% of the bad stuff getting into your lungs, my thin neck warmer is probably an N5 filter.

Pulling it over my nose felt more like a fashion statement than actually doing something.

I’ve gone to the store in an N95 mask and it’s so hard to breathe I usually start sweating! Not a good thing to do in public these days!

There is no way that I could run in an N95 mask.

At about six miles The MVP takes a short jog onto Bacon Street and then a left back onto The MVP into Winchester.

When I stopped at 5K, my watch added a “lap” which added a virtual mile to my run.

Virtual-ly Insane Half 2020

I hit seven miles just as I turned onto Forrest Street by the Gingerbread Bakery. The next mile had 92 feet of elevation gain.

My left knee had begun to ache so I had to walk some of this.

At this point, my dreams of running 16.2 miles began to evaporate just like a PR on Marathon Monday.

After I crossed 93 I took a right onto Park Street. I should have continued down the road to Main Street. I always miss this turn when I run this course alone.

Park took me to North Border Road where I took a left onto Main Street in Stoneham. Not far down the road I passed Nicole Jacob.

Due to the pandemic and people not staying out of the woods and walking crowded trails, the Sheep Fold parking lot was closed.

I saw on the news that the DCR had closed some areas of The Middlesex Fells. I didn’t realize that they had closed the road from the Sheep Fold all the way down to Elm Street in Medford!

They were not fooling around either! There was a State Trooper in his car and a snowplow truck in the other lane. This was in addition to those steel fences they use on Marathon Monday.

As I ran down the empty road I began to venture into the middle of the road. Normally I would not dare to do this.

As I got to the turn onto Elm Street I saw Dan Slattery. We ran together for a bit but he took off on the hill!

When we got to the rotary by Flynn Rink He went left and I went right onto Highland Ave.

At this point I knew I was only going to get in the half. My knee hurt and my hips were tight. A sure sign of not enough training and stretching.

About half way down the avenue towards Fellsway East I walked and had a Honey Stinger cookie. So good! They need to be a little larger.

As I walked I saw a turkey standing in someone’s front walk gobbling away. Someone was standing in the doorway with the storm door closed. Not sure if the guy was amused or scared to leave his house! I was amused.

Finishing my Run

There wasn’t any traffic so I crossed The Fellsway and continued down Highland Ave into Malden. I still had hopes of adding on a little bit here and there to get me to 16.2.

I passed a few other runners and they all waved.

Just before Pleasant Street I hit 13 miles. I was going to get the half done at least!

I hit 14 miles running down Spring Street towards home. I thought about jogging a few side streets but things hurt too much. I thought maybe I could run the 5K on Monday if I don’t mess myself up too much on this run!

So I managed 14.52 miles in 2:28:55 with an elevation gain of 364 feet. On an easier course I may have managed the last 1.8 miles.

My first virtual race hurt just as much as any other race!

Run well my Friends and stay Healthy!

Andy