Race Reviews: Saunders Rye Harbor 10k

(This was originally posted to my site at McCartySeasons.com in August of 2015)

I have many goals for this blog and one of them is to educate others on my mishaps, experiences and anything else that happens as I venture around from place to place. In addition, I would like this journal to make me a better runner because what is better than posting one’s mishaps to the world, right? Anyhow, this post is not about mistakes but about the Saunders Rye Harbor 10k which took place last night in Rye, NH.

Now to set the background of this race, as the pictures here show, the area is amazingly scenic with plenty of shoreline to see. There is one point on route 1a when coming around the bend entering North Hampton that it looks like one is driving into the ocean! Just great views all around. As a result of this beauty, I signed up for the Rye Harbor 10k – nothing like running with plenty to look at! (Now for clarification, you run along shoreline bit near the harbor and not the mansions or this bend – just trying to give you an idea of the beauty of Rye)

So as I ventured up 95 last night on my way to the race, awaiting a paradise of great views, a thick fog cloud moved down towards me, south on the highway. In fact, this fog embraced the whole coast and what I hoped to see while running 6.25 miles, was well…hidden by the fog. That was a bummer because as I drove the route the night before to get a flavor for it, I was expecting a great run and plenty to see. Instead my focus had to be on…well running!

So with the scenery hidden by the fog, let’s discuss the race. First, the course is flat except for one smallish hill near the 3.5 mile mark. It’s steapness did not bother me too much but with the group of people I was pacing with, it took out a portion of them thinning the number of people running with around me. The rest of the course from there had a slightly downhill tilt to it and that sort of unwound the pain that was incurred running up this smallish hill. The last 1.75 miles is along the coastline and ideal if you are kicking it into overdrive as it is very straight. There is two curves at the end with a tight narrow lane to run down but once you make it through there, time to kick it into overdrive and finish up the last 1/3rd mile.

Here are a few other tid bits to consider as well

– The start is packed and I was able to go up the outside to get in front of the pack. I did not start slow as it was only a 10k (vs the half marathons which have a different strategy) and pushed my target pace from the start. That worked out well.

– I had mixed emotions about taking water because I was trying to run hard and did not want to sacrifice my shot at breaking 8 min per mile. Each time I did get water, i barely could drink it was I was running at a high pace (for me). This in hindsight, I should have just skipped these as they just slowed me down. Plus again it was only a 10k.

– The last mile was confusing to me. At 5.25 miles on my watch and on my phone, the race organizers had the 5 mile mark posted. I am unsure if they mad a mistake or they were going for “1 mile left” type thinking. Or perhaps both of my devices were wrong?

In terms of the organization of the race, it was well managed and the people who were doing the managing, were great. Now, keep in mind that this is my third race of the year so perhaps I don’t share the perspectives of a seasoned vet but all the volunteers I encountered were great to me at every turn and answered all of my questions. The announcer was especially entertaining as he made a comment on each runner as they approached or crossed the finish line.

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In regards to how I did, I would say this first: I hate running at night! Over the past 9 months, one thing has been constant with my running performance – in the mornings, after running 7 miles, I feel great. At night, after 6.25 miles, I felt like crap! Ok, I realize that the sleep variable is coming into play here but still. And with Reach the Beach coming next month and one of my legs will be done at night, I guess I should start focusing on improving this end of my running. Though as I complain here, I still ran my best 10k time ever and from an overall performance standpoint, I killed it! But it still hurt!

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So what’s left? Well here are some random thoughts to close out this review.

– Trolly setup could have been better: basically the Trolley driver had to manuever through many people getting into the main area and out. I realize that perhaps this was not an necessarily ideal location for a Trolley, but perhaps some thinking should be done to make it easier so he does not end up hitting anyone by accident.

– Water and Gatorade setup: The people managing this put out a wagon that was full of ice, water and Gatorade. It was located to the right as you entered the post race area and was easy as heck to get a drink.

– Goodies: They had the normal post race goodies but there is one thing I would have added…a cliff bar or something alike. The half marathons that I ran earlier this year both featured a power bar type company sponsor. Might be a nice addition for next year if they could get such!

– How about a half marathon? There is enough beach line to setup a half marathon in this area. Running by the mansions would be great and that turn that looks like you are going into the water would be just outstanding.

So that is my review of the race. Feel free to comment on the story and share your feedback!

Thanks for reading

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