Two weekends, two wonderful half marathons - different weather conditions and obviously, completely different courses, but the same cast of questionable characters winding their ways through the 13.1 mile courses to do our best to represent and take advantage of the wonderful fall weather that makes New England the greatest place to be in the fall.
First up was the Smuttynose Rockfest at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, a favorite fall outing for the E Streeters.
This year, though, despite the warm and placid appearances to the contrary, a biting headwind for the first six miles was a special treat that didn't make it into runners goodie bags.
This year also included a special gift for spectators: the bridge from Seabrook to Hampton was completely closed, which meant folks like spectator stalwart Ann Scanlon had to make the trek across the windyway on foot. But she did it with a smile. And nary a word of complaint. *cough*
One half of this happy couple was at least dressed for the weather
Andrew's got his stride going in the first loop around Hampton
The sight of Blink's Fried Dough being closed behind him was enough of an impetus to drive Andrew to run at much faster pace
And perhaps Tommy was driven by the same fried dough closure, as he, too, was blazing up the boulevard on this seacoast Sunday
Either that or he's trying to run away from his brother's inappropriate comments
Sunshine on my shoulder
Barry strikes an imposing figure against the Hampton Beach skyline
The camera went away for the back 7 miles, though. Too damn windy, and needed to concentrate on the course!
Post-race: yeah, we might look bright and colorful, but make no mistake, we were frozen.
Tommy and his posse at least had the common sense to grab thermal blankets and sweatshirts up at the half-shell
Nicely done, all you Smuttynosers!
This past weekend, it was on to the Boston Marathon half-marathon, which weaves its way through the historic Emerald Necklace loop, which starts at Franklin Park
Barry, of course, was clowning around as always
The weather was a bit warmer for this outing, but we still needed to have our race start disposable gear on to keep us warm on the front end of the 13.1
In the chute, everyone was smiling. Except for the woman whose nose Barry broke. (Not really. Not even close.)
One final thumbs up from Andrew and we're off!
Andrew was in full fighting mode. Me, I looked like I'd already gone a few rounds.
Because yeah, photobombing friends is what running a half-marathon is all about
I felt bad for the other runners. They didn't have a chance getting around the rolling roadblock of Barry, Sean, and I.
One of the more interesting finishes, I might add. After an out-and-back along the Emerald Necklace, past the Arnold Arboretum, and back to Franklin Park, we ran a loop through the Franklin Park Zoo. Sadly, I didn't see any wildlife, other than my fellow E Streeters.
Post-race we proudly showed off our medals swag. This was pre-feedbag, which, I might add, was epic thanks to hamburger sliders provided by B Good.
While we didn't get a chance to connect in person, we can't let the blog pass without a shoutout to fellow E Streeter Nicole Hatem who was blazing up the byways with best bud Colleen! Awesome socks, Nicole!
One final note - a posthumous thank you to our bud Martin Brewer, who passed away this week, but was on our minds during the race. When I hit my darkest patch of the course around mile 12, my ipod provided me with Bruce Springsteen's cover of I Wanna Be Sedated by the Ramones, an unforgettable cut from one of the dozens of Springsteen shows we took in with Martin.
Barry chose to acknowledge the unforgettable Mr. Brewer with a note on his running bib.
Long may we run!