I had a blast running the Falmouth Road Race with my mom this weekend. I grew up near Falmouth, but this was my first time running this race.
On race morning, I woke up, got ready, had an english muffin with peanut butter and lots of water and we left the house a little after 7 AM. We parked at a nearby elementary school and walked over to the middle school where shuttles were busing the runners to the starting line in Woods Hole.
We stopped in the port-o-potty line before getting on the shuttles because we figured they would be longer at the start of the race. (We were wrong, there were tons of port-o-potties at the start are and the lines weren’t bad at all.) Then we got in lines for the buses a few minutes after 8 AM (just before the line got really long).
We got to the start area around 8:45 and had some time to kill before the 10 AM start. We ended up just sitting in the shade people watching, before finally warming up. The weather was beautiful. It was warm but not humid.
Finally it was time to get in our corral. The race was huge! I think it was the biggest race I’ve ever run. There were over 12,000 runners. Woods Hole, where the race starts, has very narrow streets and so they do a wave start to help with congestion. But even with the wave start it is still very crowded.
The first half mile we were barely moving. It was so crowded! Going in to the race, my goal was to run it in under 60 minutes. I thought that was a little bit of a stretch for me physically, but felt I was capable of it if the day went well. I knew within 30 seconds of starting that it wasn’t going to happen. I would have needed to have had a faster first mile to even stand a chance at reaching that goal. It was almost better that way though because I just let it go in the beginning and stopped putting pressure on myself.
The first 3 miles were rolling hills. I heard a lot about these hills prior to the race and was worried about them going in to it. They weren’t as bad as I was expecting but it definitely helped that they were at the beginning of the race, when I still had lots of energy. These 3 miles were also nice because there was lots of shade.
Mile 1: 9:20, Mile 2: 8:39, Mile 3: 8:27
At mile 3, the course flattens out. I didn’t take pictures while I was running, but the course ran along Martha’s Vineyard Sound and was gorgeous! There were so many people outside cheering and spraying hoses for the runners. It was hotter during this stretch because there wasn’t any shade, but thankfully there was a little breeze.
Mile 4: 8: 25, Mile 5: 8:40
By mile 6, I knew the end was so close, but I was struggling. I definitely would have finished in a slower time had I not been running with my mom. Every time I went through a water stop I would feel myself slowing down and then I would look and see her start picking up the pace. There was no way I was going to let her beat me again so it forced me to speed up.
Mile 6: 8:46
I was worried about the final hill (which is the steepest hill of the course) and just kept trying to tell myself that I had run up a much longer hill in mile 15 of the Vermont City Marathon and that this was nothing. The hill definitely wasn’t nothing. I wanted to die, but fought hard to stay on pace with my mom. (Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but it was tough).
At the top of the hill, a friend I used to work with was there cheering and my aunt and uncle were too. That helped me with the final kick to the finish line, which was thankfully down hill.
Mile 7: 8:33, Last .08: 6:00
Age Group: 607/3211
We caught up with some friends, stretched and then jogged back to the car, which was about a mile away.
Overall, this was an awesome race. The race is directed by Dave McGillivray, who directs the Boston Marathon and the other BAA races, so every detail was super organized. The course was gorgeous (I wish I took pics) and the atmosphere was so much fun!! What could be better than running a fun, challenging road race on Cape Cod in the summer? It is hard to get a bib, but I highly recommend running this race!