With not many longish runs this year, I had the nerves and excitement as if this was a marathon. The extras & details made it feel like a marathon too! Number pick up the day before, fleece jackets, waterstops competing to be the best, fanfare with cowbells, Millennium arches & Traveler signs along the course, post race with friends. It turned out to be one of my best race experiences in a lot of years… from the training on our “home course” and the build up to the event, to the challenge of the distance (my longest race in almost a year), so many familiar faces, fabulous weather, Millennium Running’s incredible attention to details, first class quality. I am pleased with my time, fastest half since March 2013, but especially for my friends hitting their big goals, PRs and sharing their race experiences with them!
Saturday number pick-up was seamless and so convenient at Grappone Center.
Sunday at 8:30, Jim and I dropped his car at the finish and took mine to the Loudon Speedway start. It had been in the 30’s earlier that morning, so we were studying the wind/temperature. Josh Fields decided the tailwind = less clothing, so I switched my long sleeve to arm sleeves & gloves, shivering we went to the start, knowing I’d warm up.
After about 2 miles on 106 we turned right and then onto the dirt road. It was gorgeous and comfortable underfoot, but I was not sure how long it would be – Jim said afterwards it was about 3 miles of dirt.
What a beautiful surprise to see the Millennium black & white arch reaching up at 10K! THEN we got to our Shaker course – my 5 mile mark from my house, so many memories & long runs on that road. Julianne was at Oak Hill trail with the best/loudest cowbell (frying pan too?) cheering ever! Even the hill at Snow Pond felt effortless this day. Our training hill – slipping down it in the winter, seeing the ladyslippers in May – usually Jim would surge, Perry tells me I put the pressure on there too – our hill interval until the farm at the top!!
Several of the water stops were a kick, reminded me of Cape Cod marathon with costumes, leis, and even live music at Shaker Road school! Another Millennium mega arch looked so welcome at 10 miles and I saw a few people who knew me from running that road, including Alex Vogt who reached out to touch my hand as I ran by. Down Eastman and I was passing people, even on the narrow bike bridge I passed 2 people… more memories, another long run route and a very fast 10 mile race for state age record.
I was surprised my legs felt OK and near Horseshoe I saw Greg Audet ahead and I put on a chase. Dang, he was running fast! I told him congratulations it was his PR day and he said Jim was just ahead, but didn’t make a move to come with me. It’s a switchback up to 393 and I saw Jim. I caught him almost at the top and asked finish together?
Rounding to N. Main, perfectly positioned Dana B. caught my gloves and then I was ready to open it up for a sprint down Main towards the finish. Jim told me go, it was OK. It so memorable how it played out. I couldn’t believe how good my legs and form still felt – sprinting down Main Street towards the golden dome. Ooops, surprise turn to Centre and slight incline – no problem, I can hear announcer Andy Schachat’s voice. Corrals and crowds, Andy saying something like “here comes running hall of famer, Sarah Prescott”… YAY, hit my watch and I crossed the finish line!!!! I was elated, everything went so incredibly well!!
Jamie Staton gave me a congratulatory smile & fist bump and I received my medal from Miss NH contestants. I turned around for double high fives as Jim finished 30 seconds behind me. Whew, done!
Greg finished strong 30 seconds later with his incredible 6+ min PR. I checked results screen (slightly disappointed with place, 12th Female Master of 248) there were quick chicks! My time (1:48:14, 8:16) was faster than anticipated and everything else came together perfectly, I seriously have no reason to complain for sure. What a fabulous day. Hey, even a really good band was playing on the Legislative Office Building steps… love this Bill Withers song, Use Me
How about this for post-race snack – a mobile, copper, wood fired flatbread/pizza oven! I think mine was cheese herb variety — just a bit of scrumptiousness kept me from going into a post-race bonk. American Flatbread’s wood-fired pizza oven truck, yum!
Warm dry clothes (handicap ramps + post race legs!) then Ellen Carr Tidd, Tim Pifer, Jim, the Kovars and I went to Margaritas for race sponsor Traveler curious shandy, sample of pumpkin too and promotion (posed for photos with Traveler moustaches).
John Mortimer stopped in to say “hi” – kind as always. We got the couches near Margarita’s fireplace and Greg Audet joined us. Runners everywhere sharing race experiences… we toasted each other with our new Traveler pint glasses. Walking back to the car, we talked with more friends at Eagle Square, then Loudon Speedway for my car. We will be reminiscing about these great race memories for a lot of years to come!!!
Results, 1:48:14, 8:16 pace, 12th master of 248.
And wow, the best part is I kept my place in Points Standing!!! Still 1st female master, 3rd female overall and 9th person!!