Wow, what a race! Who knew the Falmouth Road Race was such a party?!?
Sunday morning, I met the New Balance folks bright and early at the Sea Crest Beach Hotel (where the media retreat was held) to board a special trolley that would take us to the start line of the race at Woods Hole. (The race provides buses from Falmouth to the start.)
The trolley took back roads to Woods Hole, so we avoided traffic/road blocks and arrived with plenty of time to spare.
Falmouth uses a wave-start system, so the first two waves kicked off at 10:00 AM. I was in the forth wave, so I didn’t start until about 10:10 AM.
The Falmouth Road Race is 7 miles. The first three are narrow, hilly, and wind along tree-shaded roads.
Just before you reach Mile 1, you run up a gradual incline along the coast by the Nodska Lighthouse.
The first three miles of the race pretty much kicked my butt. The hills just never stopped!
Just before Mile 3, I randomly saw Elizabeth on the course and ran with her for a little while. The race had nearly 12,000 runners, but somehow I spotted her!
The last four miles of the race are open and flat and go right along the Martha’s Vineyard Sound. (After dying on the hills, I tried to make up some time here.)
The spectators at the race were unbelievable. In fact, I think they were THE BEST I’ve ever seen at a race. At some places, the crowds were three or four people deep and they were having the time of their lives! Pretty much every house along the route had people outside cheering, and many of them were in total party mode with music, big banners, and plenty of day drinking going on. There were also a ton of people with hoses spraying down hot runners. I also loved seeing all of the excited kids– many of them were giving high fives and handing out orange slices and even plastic leis to the runners. (I took advantage of the high fives and leis.)
At the last half mile of the race, there’s a small, but steep hill. Once you’re over the crest, it’s all downhill to the finish. In 2004, when I first ran Falmouth, I walked this hill, but this year, I was ready for it. I powered up it and finished the race strong.
- Mile 1: 8:55
- Mile 2: 8:49
- Mile 3: 8:59
- Mile 4: 8:26
- Mile 5: 8:17
- Mile 6: 8:39
- Mile 7: 8:25
Total: 01:01:09 (8:36)
I wanted to run the race in under an hour, but it just didn’t happen for me. But, for once, I really don’t care that I missed my goal. Honestly. Usually, I feel a little bit disappointed when I don’t achieve my goal, but this race was so fun, I’m happy to have simply participated in it. My face was plastered with the biggest smile for the entire thing. It actually felt tired from smiling so much when I finished.
If you want to run a fun summertime race, I highly recommend the Falmouth Road Race. They have a lottery system, so you’ll need to register sometime next May, but just sign up for their mailing list to stay in the loop.
Do you set time goals for yourself at races? Are you disappointed when you don’t achieve it?