|Having a cappuccino at Crackskull Books & Coffee|
So here I am. In Newmarket on Saturday morning before race day, sipping a very good cappuccino in an adorable little book store and coffee shop in an antique building along the little main street of town. A running friend I know through the Half Fanatics had connected me to a friend of hers who lives in Newmarket. Her name is Sandy and she hadn't planned to run this race, having done it several times before. But when we exchanged emails, she decided to go ahead and register and we made plans to meet for lunch the day before the race and get our race packets.
|Pretty Congregational church in Newmarket|
I finished my cappuccino and walked down to our pre-designated meeting spot in front of the post office. Then we shared an enjoyable lunch at a very cool restaurant/pub in another of the many antique buildings along the main street. Afterward, we walked across the street to the revitalized mill buildings where we picked up our race packets then said our goodbyes until race day morning, with plans to meet at the start line and at least start together. We each felt that the other might be faster, but I had my suspicions that she was going to be the faster of the two of us.
|Revitalized mills in Newmarket|
Back to my hotel room, another sub sandwich for dinner, and I settled in with my knitting in front of a marathon of Godfather movies on AMC.
Race day morning, I didn't have far to drive plus the race didn't start until 11 AM. But still, I wanted to get there early to get a parking spot in the municipal lot next to the start line. I didn't want the stress of hunting for a parking spot or having to walk from the high school, or worse, having to park at the industrial park and take the shuttle. I just didn't have a feel for how big this race really is or how difficult the parking situation might be. So I left the hotel at 8:45 AM and got to Newmarket at 9:00 AM. I managed to snag one of the last parking spots in the little municipal lot. Hooray!
With such a great parking spot, I could leave my things in the car and walk down to that cute little book store coffee shop and get myself a cappuccino to bring back and enjoy while sitting in my car reading my Kindle. I was all set. Cappuccino. Book. Portapotties within 30 feet of the car. What more could I want or need?
Sandy texted me at 10:30 AM to say she was there. Hanging out at the start line, talking with another runner, we were soon treated to a lovely voice filling the air with the national anthem. And then we were off running. It became clear immediately that Sandy was indeed faster than me. I told her not to wait, to go on and I'd see her at the finish.
The route was quite rural! After two miles of zig-zagging through little residential streets in town, it headed out of the downtown area onto Dame Rd which, at mile 3, turned into a hilly dirt road. With snow banks along the edges. But it was beautiful out here and the miles seemed to pass by quickly. At mile 6 the route rejoined a paved road - but was still quite hilly - and I at least felt like I was now heading in the direction back toward the finish line.
Somewhere along mile eleven I had the irresistable urge to dig my hands into the snowbank that lined the side of the road. It was cold and granular, filled with bits of sand, and with the consistency of shaved ice. I grabbed a handful and squeezed it in the palm of my hand as I moved along, until it melted away. I couldn't remember the last time I'd held snow in my hands. It brought me back a few years.
All along the route I was greeted by name by the race marshals and volunteers who were congratulating me on running my 47th state and cheering me on. No question that Sandy had been spreading the word as she ran ahead of me. And she knew everyone on the crew, being from this town and active in the local running community. It was kind of fun but also a little embarrassing to get all of this attention. But secretly I was enjoying the enthusiasm which really did keep me going.
|The race route, data from my Garmin GPS watch|
Finally a right turn, then a quick left turn, up a steep hill and then another left turn and I was back on the main street of downtown and heading downhill to the finish line. Sandy waited for me and we celebrated by heading for the tavern where we had lunch the day before. We shared an appetizer and I collected my free Smuttynose beer, while we recapped the race together and toasted my completing my 47th state.
|Finisher! State #47 is done!|
It's done! And now I only have three more states...three more states!!
|My 50 States map with NH colored in|
Tomorrow a relaxing drive and couple of days in Portsmouth before heading home.