Hollis, NH is a beautiful town with well maintained roads, and gorgeous scenery. Yesterday's Applefest (race results are up!) went from the Hollis Brookline High School up and down the hills of Hollis and Nashua, NH. We passed Silverlake Park, went through some residential areas, passed a couple of paddocks (with and without horses). The air was brisk and clear with the temperature under 70 and the humidity relatively low. Perfect running weather.
My friend David is a great pacer (he remembered his watch), so I worked on keeping up with him for the first half. The second hillier half he went on ahead as the pace and hills started to tell on me. I walk-jogged (mostly jogged) most of the next two miles until I saw a woman running ahead. She looked like she had a plan. She was walking one or two telephone pole distances and then walking for a similar distance. I started using her timing and eventually caught up. We walk-jogged the rest of the course finishing in under 2:30. Hi, Victoria!
My time: 2:28:57
Not bad considering my training was differently stupid from the spring half marathon. This time around I did long runs and occasional speed work. Almost no other street runs, and almost all of my long runs were done at about a 12 minute mile pace. It just makes me wonder how fast I could have been if I hadn't done such a bad job on my training, because even with walking (and hills, lots and lots of hills) I beat my last half marathon time. (The last Boston's Run to Remember shorted the distance so I might have been faster, but the distance wasn't regulation...)
The finish area had finisher medals with an apple and a worm. Like a lot of finisher medals I've seen lately they are beer bottle openers, which isn't really my style. But I will put it on the shelf behind my desk at work with all of my other finisher medals. Better was the food area. The front half of the food tent was full of stacked bowls of apple crisp, like a pyramid of crisp reaching to the heavens. There were also cut bagels (decent bagels too), bananas, cookies, cider and possibly a few things I didn't notice. This race was definitely worth running for the apple crisp. The slower runners (like myself) were chanting or saying apple crisp like a mantra towards the end.
I also loved the themed water stations at about every two miles. We passed Hogwarts and Thriller, though there were other themes along the course.
I will quite likely do this race again next year only with hill training and a better base. I think this winter will be a lot of treadmill running, getting my speed and base mileage to a comfy 7-8 miles before I start training for my spring half marathon.
After the race (much later) I eventually got home and finished off the buckeye cake I made for gaming with friends. It was a lot of fun, but midnight was way past my bedtime!