Friday Five – 5 Things to do in Gloucester & Rockport

Although only about 40-50 minutes north of Boston, the Rockport & Gloucester area is one of my favorite day trips within my house. Spring/Summer/Fall and maybe even a sunny winter day are all great to check it out. I thought this Friday, instead of telling you what I did the last time there, I’ll list five of my favorite things to do there. Coincidentally, I tend to visit all these place every time I am there!

1. Check out the old Rockport Quarry at Halibut Point Park. Parking is free in the off season and only two bucks during the summer.

Halibut Point State Park use to be a huge granite quarry that was closed back in the 1920s but sign of the old quarries are obvious.  Huge holes in the ground that were carved out and massive chunks of granite are still just lying around everywhere.

Quary Rock

The actually quarry is now filled with water and the flat rock pieces are perfect for a picnic. You can even get some great wind protection.

Quary

2. Take a side trail for amazing ocean views in Halibut Park. There’s several beautiful less than a mile side trails for the most breath taking cliff side ocean views.

Ocean view

Great for some coffee, but a little to windy for me to sit and relax.

3. Eat a Lobster Roll at Roy Moore Lobster Co

photo (5)

Or in my case, everything on the menu!

4. Lay on a beach

Beach

Sure it might be chilly, but that’s why you gotta make sure you do number five first!

5. Run a race… you have several spring time half marathons going from April, May and June and countless 5Ks.

Run A race

Check out RunningInTheUSA for other races. Or feel free to catch up on my Twin City Half marathon (May) or Fool’s Dual 5K and Half Marathon (April) Race Recaps.

 

What’s your favorite day trip near your home?

2014 Fool’s Dual Race Report – Breaking the white tape

On Sunday, I once again returned for some running in Gloucester. It took me two years to make my way back, but it ended up being a worthy day!

The race is called Fool’s Dual because they offer a 5K and a half-marathon for those of us that are dumb enough to complete both races back to back.The 5K registration goes up $35 and the half at $69 while both races are $89. Clearly, its not only foolish, but economically smart to do both ;).

The 5K started at 8AM but since I still had to pick up my bib number, I decided, I should get there around 7:45 with a 40 minute drive from home. The alarm was set for 6:30 but after working so late all week, waking up so early was not something I craved on a Sunday morning. Tony even tried to convince me that it’s okay, I can oversleep the 5K and just run the half! Luckily, I told him, no way buddy, get up, let’s go!

And then I discovered at 7:10 that I had absolutely nothing to eat! Yea, ladies, if you suddenly leave for weeks and don’t do food shopping, you can expect that your significant other isn’t doing it either. I found some peanut butter and flatbread pizza bread and decided, sure, it’s carbs, it’s peanut butter, it’ll work and with a cup of tea, out the door we went.

Number pick up was super easy and about 1 minute walk from the starting line. Swagbag came with some nice sponsor samplers and a shirt that was a size too big.

And at 8AM, the “gun” went off for the 5K. I don’t have a mile to mile break down, as I feel like it all happened too fast. I read some accounts calling the course hilly, but I honestly thought it had more of a decline than an uphill net gain. I remember on the drive over, we passed by this crazy hill and I prayed to running gods that I would not be running there, but the gods answered me in a better light. We ran down that hill and came back up a more mild way.

The one thing I remember that was making everything so difficult was the wind! I don’t know what direction it was coming from, but it always felt like it was in my face.

At around mile 2, I noticed that I haven’t had any female pass me yet. I tried to look back and see if anyone was near by, but couldn’t see anyone but another dude. Things were starting to feel painful but I decided to go with it! I could tell that my Saturday 18 miler was definitely making my legs feel heavy. The only good thing about 5Ks is that the pain is over relatively quickly. I knew that with a mile to go, I have less than 10 minutes. As I approached the finish line, I saw them putting up the tape back and before I knew it, I was running across it!

Finish line

Now picture me with a white tape looking confused because I still didn’t believe I was in first place for women and 9th overall.

Official time was 20:54:7! It’s not my best time and it’s not anything special, but sometimes showing up is more than half the battle! After crossing the finishing line, I grabbed some water, bananas, and went to wake up my driver/assistant who slept through my whole glorious moment!

I quickly made my way into the changing room, aka our Prius, for an outfit change.

Fools Dual Half

I knew that by giving my all, on tired legs for the 5k, I was going to have a pretty miserable half marathon. As I waited for start time (9AM), I could feel the lactic acid building up. Luckily, I had my compression socks to help relieve some of the soreness in my calves.

As the “gun” went off, my legs seemed to forget about the 5K they just ran 30 minutes ago, and wanted to push; however, by mile 3 they started to remember. Or maybe it was the hills that went up and down, down and up.

Fools Dual Hills

The course is an out and back rolling hill party. Every time we hit a downhill, I would curse because I knew I would see the uphill on the 2nd half of the course. As mile 4 rolled in, the only thing I could focus on was to remind myself that I only had about 2 miles (I like to round down) to get to the halfway point. At mile 5.5, I saw the Welcome to Rockport sign that reminded me that I’m almost halfway there.

As I started to reach the 7 mile marker on the return, I got a second, or maybe it was my third wind… Everything seems better when there’s only a 10K left.

My original goal was to finish under 2 hours, but I slowly bumped it up to 1:50 around mile 7; by mile 9, I dreamed about a 1:45 that faded into a sub 1:40 and PR by mile 10! I think, I was reaching my 4th wind at this point.

Fools Dual Ocean

It helped that for once in my racing days, I had perfect, beautiful water with amazing waterfront views. It’s always raining when I’m racing.

I ended up crossing the finish line at 1:40:48, about 2 minutes slower than the last time I ran this course two years ago.

Final Time

Why my Garmin is calling the course short is weird to me. I remember for half the course it was saying I was .1 mile long and somehow on the second half I cut off .2 of a mile? Maybe my Garmin took a nap somewhere at mile 8 as I was contemplating taking a nap myself.

Either way, while I didn’t reach a PR, a course PR, or my last second goal of sub 1:40, the time I ran was good enough. I ended up being 4th in my age group and 3rd overall female in the fools dual, combined time of both races. I lost second place by 8/10th of a second!

Awards

The day was truly a lesson in that sometimes, the hardest part was just showing up. Sure, there are countless faster runners in Boston and north shore area, but luckily they all decided to stay home, sleep, or somewhere else. What did I win? ONE BILLION DOLLARS… of bragging rights, these cool award paper things and awesome memories. I also got three $10 gift certificates to use towards shoes at Greater Boston Running Company, a sponsor. Although I haven’t been able to confirm if I can combine them to get $30 off shoes instead.

Key race review points

PRO – Beautiful, scenic course

Fools Dual

PRO/CON – Hilly course, but what goes up must come down and I think the hills make it a more fun of a run

CON – Roads are not closed and while it wasn’t an issue at 9AM at the start of the race, it became a little bit frustrating after 10AM when a lot more cars were on the road. Since the shoulder was very small, trying to bypass another runner, or even just running alone felt a little stressful at every curve.

PRO – Reasonable Price and great value for the course, support and distance

CON – The free shirt was too large for me and the visor we get for running both races was too large as well and felt cheap. The shirt felt nice, but was just too large for me to ever run in. I personally prefer for races to charge less and not offer free shirts since they all seem to always be too large.

PRO- WELL MARKED! This is so important, especially on a winding 5K course. I never felt confused or lost at all!

PRO – Amazing volunteers, great race director and overall a great small race vibe! This year they had about 500 half marathons and 200 or so runners on the 5K course.

I would love to return to Gloucester/Rockport for more racing!

Gloucester & Rockport Visit

I’ll write up a full race recap for the Twin Lights Gloucester Half Marathon once they post all the pictures. It was a tough race, much tougher than I expected but it was fun! I didn’t get to the top of my age group like I hoped but I did PR.details for later.

After the race, the Mister and I hung out at the Good Harbor Beach for a while as we waited for the parking lot to clear out. We were at the end of the lot and expected to not leave for a good hour after trying for 30 minutes. Luckily the place wasn’t too shabby to chill out for an hour or so.

I decided it would be a good time to take a nap.

And an ice bath for my feet in the water to walk to the island in the sea.

we then walked around the small town center for ice cream and olive oil tastings… I know we’re too cool.

Stop by the fisherman memorial

After getting lost a few times, we got bored of Gloucester and went back to Rockport. Rockport from my visit seems to be the more affluent cousin of Gloucester. It had a bigger more touristy cute little area by the beach. B We drove on the same path we ran that morning. The road was much more pleasant from the car seat view then when I was trying to run it.

Thanks to Yelp, we got an early dinner at the Roy Moore Lobster Co.

Total $11

As you can tell the theme is smoked fish… salmon, regular mackerel, peppered mackerel, stuffed shells.
This is what I ordered and I thought the peppered mackerel was my favorite. Although the stuffed shells were pretty good.


Tony didn’t feel full so he went back and go the Lobster Roll ($15)

It would have been delicious but the bread roll was stale or bad tasting or something. We all know the bread makes or breaks the lobster roll.

Don’t I look just dashing! Nothing beats changing in the back of a Prius with a pile of baby wipes after running 13 miles in 70 degree weather. Personally I thought I was ready for a filet mignon at the most expensive restaurant Rockport had to offer, but smoked fish will do.