Run a race they said. It will be fun they said. There will be beer at the finish line. There will also be many hills before you earn that beer…
This past Sunday, B&B, along with some of our friends headed out to Port Jefferson for the first ever 15k Run to the Port Jeff Brewery. This race was created due to the popularity of one of my favorite Long Island Races, the Blue Point 10 Mile Race to the Brewery. The Port Jeff course starts and ends at the brewery with a post-race party including music, food, and of course, beer. Being the first year they are holding this race, we had no idea what to expect. On GLIRC’s website, the description states “The race you will love to hate followed by the party that you will just LOVE! Not for the fainthearted (with a first mile going up Port Jefferson’s famous East Broadway hill!)”
Okay, so we kind of had an idea of what we were getting into. Race morning comes and unfortunately, LI is getting hit with the wet remnants of Hurricane Matthew. Rain jackets, check! Easy t-shirt and bib pickup was available that morning then we headed to the start line. Gun goes off and we head through town making a turn towards our first hill. Now, we are south shore girls; training for races includes hill repeats on what may be mole hills compared to the mountains we traversed.
Pam: I want to point out that only Louise had an idea what we were getting into. She casually asked me to run this race over the summer and I blindly signed up. I never looked at the website and they left that little sentence off the email that I got. Whoops. This is so not like me – I usually like to be uber organized but it has been so hectic. I also knew I wasn’t racing it because I had my 20 miler on Saturday morning so this race was only 24 hours later. My goal this race was to stay present the entire race, focusing on how I tackle each and every hill and focusing on my form. I practiced maintaining an even effort level – a little slower on the way up and making up the difference with a controlled downhill. Even when everyone else was walking at one point, I reminded myself I have the NYC marathon in 4 short weeks and I needed to be tough!
Running together for the first half of the race, we conquered the first hill then ran along the ups and downs of the course as we wound through neighborhoods. There was a communal groan when we turned one corner for an out and back. Out and backs are generally not my favorite, and this one was a straight downhill to the water knowing you were going to turn around and climb right back up. Luckily we spotted some friends and exchanged high fives. The view of the Sound would have been so pretty if the weather had cooperated. *Smile!* Camera guys spotted here!
At about mile 7, we reach Big Hill #3, Pam and I started to get separated as we powered up this hill. It’s a long steady climb and just when you think you’ve reached the top it turns left and gets steeper. This was the one that got everyone… at this point I contemplated whether I could walk faster than I was running up this hill and many other runners around me had the same idea. But that was the last one! As we headed into the final two miles of the race, the course continued on a downward slope as we reached the heart of town and it flattened out just in time to book it to that finish line!
The race was well organized from sign ups, to bib pick ups, handing out refreshments, and raffles. Throughout the course, there were water stations, each mile was marked with a time clock, and volunteers kept the intersections safe for runners. Huge shout out to the volunteers for standing in the rain- you guys are awesome 🙂
As you crossed the finish line, your name was announced, other finishers and spectators cheered you on, and you received a fabulous finisher’s medal! There was water and beer immediately as you crossed the line- pick your poison. The post race party was held at the Port Jeff Brewery where we were served unlimited beers, heroes, and sweets while the band Jelly Band played underneath a tent. No post-race party would be complete without bib raffles! Pam was the first number called and she won an awesome gift basket with craft beers and mugs to serve them. The rest of us didn’t have any luck, but the prizes were great! They included Sayville/ Smithtown Running Co. gift cards, backpacks, and more beer.
Thanks again to GLIRC for hosting a great race. We are looking forward to next year! Did any of you run?
Xo, Louise & Pam