10Ks by the sea: Lone Gull & Salem Road Race

Finish Line Lone Gull

“Together we can face any challenges as deep as the ocean and as high as the sky.”
-Sonia Gandhi

Sometimes cool races come up, but during my marathon training I have really cut back on racing altogether. Since a lot of my friends are from my running club, I hear about fun and exciting races all the time.¬† Temptation is always around, but I have been trying to stick closely to my marathon plan. However, sometimes races come up that I really don’t want to miss. Sometimes they serve a double purpose in that they happen to fall on weeks where I need to do an easy 6-mile on a Monday. Getting the miles in a day earlier gives me the additional benefit of not forcing a run on a work-day, especially since my commute makes this mileage difficult to accomplish. This is especially true in September, as daylight is running out fast.

I decided to do this race replacement twice in September. Both races  just happen to take place in seaside locations, with wonderful ocean views along the course. The first race was the Salem Road Race, a casually scenic race with an amazing dance party at the end. Food and beer were flowing afterwards (more so the beer), complete with a DJ that loved to talk over all the songs! But they did get some good tunes in and my friends and I stuck around to dance.

I really didn’t want to push it with this race, but it was really hard because two of my friendly competitors just happened to be running this as well. There was a lot of passing each other back and forth and me telling my legs to slow it down. At one point they both appeared along each side of me and as I looked over, I exclaimed “Oh no! It’s the three of us!”

Since this did take the place of my easy run, I decided to focus on the goal of negative splits. I was able to achieve this almost artfully as evidenced by the screen shot below. Even though this wasn’t my best 10K time, I was happy with the result of this race and how great I felt afterwards.

I realized after the fact that I didn’t actually take any photos of the race or the after-party. This one is from the Facebook album:Salem Road RaceThe course mostly looped around some Salem neighborhoods, but there were some nice ocean views as well. I remember turning a corner and suddenly, sail boats! The scenery was pretty, however not as consistently eye-pleasing as the Lone Gull 10K, which took place a few weeks later. I’ve always loved this race – the weather is usually pretty nice since it takes place at the end of September and the course winds around Gloucester mansions and seaside views. It reminded me a little of the Newport race I had done in June.

Lone Gull scenery

The course is definitely not easy, with rolling hills pretty much throughout. I happen to have a horrible cold this day and was very congested. I knew I would have a hard time taking it easy since there were many members of my running club racing. Competition can sometimes get the best of me, even when I feel like death. In fact there were a lot of clubs and groups racing – walking around the parking lot before the race you can see all the club uniforms and group personalities. It kind of felt like high school with all the different cliques walking together.

Lone Gull walk
Something to know if doing the Lone Gull race – the start line is a little bit of a walk through sand to get to, about 10 minutes. Make sure you have time to dump out your sneakers.

I had no goal with this one, I just needed to get the miles in. It was unusually hot and humid for late September and that affected a lot of people’s performance. I was just happy to finish under an hour since I wasn’t feeling 100% and the weather was so unbearable. 59:58. I just made it. Unlike Salem, there were no clean negative splits. My pace was all over the place, going out too fast in the beginning and barely having any real focus towards the middle. I still got to enjoy the views of this race and was glad I could run it. I do wonder how I would have done in better conditions.

Lone Gull running
I think I actually feel worse than I look in this picture. Running while sick is never a good idea, but felt necessary during my marathon training.

After the race, they serve a nice breakfast. It’s a lot more low key than the Salem race, but the food is pretty good and the company even better. Even though I am glad that I mostly stayed away from racing during this marathon training, it felt good to get out a few times. It felt even better getting some running over with during the weekends, freeing up some time during the week. This was especially nice for Lone Gull, which allowed me to get a rest day in that Monday, the day I started my new job. Talk about stress – training for my first marathon, starting a brand new job and being sick on top of everything. Well pretty soon it will be all over – not sure if that thought is helping.

In conclusion, two great races by the sea that should be checked out in the New England area. Different vibes, same ocean.

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