Kaiser Permanente’s San Francisco Half Marathon

I haven’t “raced” in about 2 years. Do I miss it? I am torn for the nostalgia of new PRs (and glory of small town age group winnings) but not the smells of humanity and beeping of Garmans or worse, that smell of Gatorade. None the less, nothing pushes you out of your comfort than the adrenaline rush of a horn on a race. And when it comes down to it, despite the struggles of the race or the early wake ups, I am always glowing in happiness and deliria afterwards.

While I planned to visit a friend out in San Francisco to escape from the Poler Arctic that is now Boston every winter (thanks climate change), I got the idea that maybe I should sign up for a race.

The old me would never fall short of a marathon when doing a vacation race, but this is the new, slower, fasciitis modified, climbing out of a rut to start running again me. She’s content with a 2 mile jog so a half marathon might as well had been 100000 miler. I haven’t seen double digits in a while but before I knew it, I handed my good money to some website that said it was secure and signed up for the 35th Annual Kaiser Permanente’s Half Marathon.

The good news, the course had a net decline in elevation and it was a on course I was familiar after running Bay to Breakers (coincidentally enough this was the last race I ran two years ago in San Fransisco!).

So I was ready to go! Training for the 6 weeks I had went great! I hit two double digit runs before race day.  I was ready! Sure I ate and walked tons the few days before (post to come) but I am a pro at burning out my legs walking the 7 bumps of SF as my taper.

Morning of the race, I was still on east coast time and woke up about half an hour early before my alarm. Ate some bread and cashew butter and ubered my way to the Golden Gate Park, the start of the race!

The 5k and half marathon both start at the lovely (but huge) Gold Gate Park. I knew the area, but the issue with the park is that it’s a hill and has these lane paths that can wind you out to the buffalos instead of the race start. After a little turning around and following/stalking behind people that looked like they might be running a race, the starting line was found in time.

The race had a little under 5,000 runners, but It never felt cramped or obnoxious and I barely smelled at menthol gels at the start. I was hoping for a little delayed started so I can procrastinate and figure out my music (my spotify didn’t download the albums I wanted to!!!! bad juju right there) but within 30 seconds, the horn went off and with the only music on my phone being an Eve 6 album, I worked with that I had.

The first 7 miles loop around the park in a few little rolling bumps (not really hills). Within about 30 second, i definitely regretted that long sleeve I had on, and I probably could have taken it off right away, but there’s something stubborn in me that tries to test out how long I can run while feeling hot and miserable. Just like that part of me that wants to see how many water stations can I pass before my lips chap from dryness and thirst.

I have a Garmin but I didn’t bring it, nor used in in years besides for when I bike outside (literally once a year). So I had no clue my pace and just went with my feeling of feeling too fab at the first miles of the race. The first mile marker I saw was around 4 and I guessed I was running about sub 8 minutes and gave myself an invisible dusting of the shoulder (most of my miles are in the 8:30-9 min range).

I tried to take a selfie, but the salt of my sweat was burning my eyes and my running selfie game is also not what it used to be. Plus there’s all these kids running with selfie sticks and shit. I can’t compete, esp not when I don’t have glasses or contacts on. We ran past some buffalos in the park too, but I didn’t even attempt to photo after failing at the water fountain.

After mile 7ish, the second half of the course is and out and back on ocean drive. Now, while I love me a good ocean view on a run, there’s some about a long, flat view of a path that makes it seem sooo infinite and never ending.

Somewhere between mile 7-9, I was starting to feel the burn. If you told me by mile 10, that it was the end of the line, there probably would be no complaints from this sweaty beast. I would have given you one big, sweat hug.

The first 3 miles of the ocean drive run also had a slight incline that made the endless open room in front of me seem even more daunting, but I definitely enjoyed the swing of it on the final 3 miles. Did I reward myself with a walking stretch at each mile marker I made to without vomit? Yes I did. Did the mile markers turn into stretches at every .25 miles after mile 12? I will never tell.

And then there’s the final .1 mile that always seems longer than .1 of a mile as you tell yourself what blast you had suffering for the past two hours.

And when all else fails, there’s always the join of collecting this gold medal (hey, we can’t all win the Olympics) that has a moving whale!

And I am glad to say that my skill of running positive splits has not diminished

Bib Number 4097
HALF MARATHON 1239 of 4972
Gender Place 328 of 2404
F 30-34 72 of 360
Gender F
Age 31 (shit I am getting old)
Start Time 08:11:06
4.7 Mile 00:36:47 07:49 min/mi 
9.8 mile 01:20:48 08:14 min/mi
Elapsed 01:52:01
Pace 08:33 min/mile

And now I go look for more races.

2015 Boston Marathon Race Report

The 2015 Boston Marathon was held on April 20th, 2015. And to be honest, I’m not sure what can I recap that I haven’t before? Like many others, I’ve gone mile by mile of the course and placed my best tips forward. The heat wave of 2012? My amazing PR in 2013 (before hell started), the joy of being back in 2014 and then there’s 2015. Cue the womp womp womp.

Boston by it’s design is my favorite race of the year. As a running nerd, I get to hype up on the competitiveness and as a local, I get to partake in one of the Boston sports I actually like. Marathon Monday for me is better than Christmas (and not because I’m Jewish).

By the time I gave in and admitted I am injured, it was March and I had two options.

1. Take time off, take physical therapy and basically give up on running Boston

or

2. Ignore my issue, go through half assed mediocre training and run Boston anyways

yea, it’s no surprise that I went with the kick myself in the foot for a longer term injury option, all for the glory of one day.

I kept my training pretty low key this year with weekly mileage 25-40 miles versus my usual 60-80 miles in prior years. And I have to admit, I miss it. I miss the exhaustion that can only come from too many miles in a week. I know some might call be crazy, but I really love high mileage weeks and it’s constantly making me on small line of depression since I stopped. However, while I wasn’t taking a break to resolve my issue, I was running every other day to try to minimize an increase of inflammation. I’m sure someone whose smarter than me would tell me all the ways I was doing myself more harm than good, but what’s ran is ran.

I took a half day off on Friday to stop by the expo and get my hair done! Nothing says marathon Monday weekend and end of tax season like turning my unintentional ombre back to my Lucius golden (slightly orange) lockes.

So the 2015 expo? Way better than 2014! I got my number within a few minutes on Friday. I sat down and immediately examined my swag and was on the verge of tears when I didn’t see my Boston Marathon Sam Adams Bottle opener. SUPER BUMMED! I don’t keep most race trinkets, but I liked hanging those up in a special Boston marathon hook I have in my kitchen. They gave us a plastic Sam Adams cup, but it’s blah.

The expo itself had some great vendors there and I made sure to leave my money at home, but I really didn’t need more running things, as much as I always WANT more running things.

There were two things that stuck out to my visit. I stopped by Topo Athletics and tried out their shoes on a True Form Runner treadmill… it’s literally a hamster wheel that was one of the hardest miles I ran.

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They had a contest who could run the furthest in 5 minutes each day. I guess since I haven’t heard, I’m probably not the winner =)

The next VIP stop I had to make was Skirt Sports! More on my relationship with them later. Kathrine Switzer was there signing her book. She pretty amazing, and will be running Boston in 2017 in honor of her leading the way for women to run Boston. You know because before 1967, men had this theory that my ovaries would fall right out if I ran more than a 5k. Pfft men! It’s okay, now (or at least when I’m not injured), I get to run past them in a skirt.

I made a note to return to the expo and buy the book, but between a baby shower and other obligations, I never made it back to town.

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After meeting Noelle and Nicole (owner of Skirt Sports), I had to dash to a very late hair appointment. Next time, I need to take my selfies after i get my hair done.

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The streets were literally litered with runners and the city did a great job trying to pretend we’re in Spring, even though most of it still feels like winter.

Saturday, I did my last shake out run, a 4 miler and felt pretty good. A minute a mile slower than last year, but a run is a run.

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Sunday went to brunch and then a baby shower that had a amazing Italian food and I tried to control myself. I have a pretty iron stomach, but I definitely didn’t want to test my limits with pounds of ricotta (no matter how badly I wanted to eat everything).

I taped my foot (excuse my gross callous. I still haven’t made up an opinion on k-tape besides that I think it’s super expensive for what it is and how many rounds I get for $18, but the added support does feel nicer on the heel.

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And then like many others I continued agonizing over the weather as it was looking colder, wetter, windier.  I finally decided on a rain jacket for the added pockets and my favorite Skirt Sports, the Vixen.  Boston marathon 2015 (3)

A DailyMile friend said it best. It will never get NOT weird to go to sleep in my own bed, at my usual time and wake up and head into Boston, only instead of heading to work in the daily grind, I’m running a world marathon! Never.

I woke up at 7:00 and had most of my stuff prepared. My outfit, my throwaway layers (two sweatshirts from a friend and pajama pants), my peanut butter pita bread for the busy).  Left the house at 7:30 and got to the Bus loading area by 7:50 thanks to Tony. had a short little walk to get to the bus loading and was sitting in anxiety by 8am.

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As I looked around the other runners on my bus, it was 95% women, which personally, I thought was pretty cool! The ride to Hopkinton was easy, and I was in the village by 9AM with more than 30 minutes to wait until I can start heading into my corral.

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I usually like to roam a little, stretch my legs and see what’s there. But it was a bit chilly and wet already in the grass field. Instead I found myself a nice corner against some barrel than blocked the wind and sat/napped a bit more.

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It’s the runner or homeless person guessing game

As soon as they told us wave 2 can start in their corrals, I went in. The bathroom lines in the village are always insane, and I know there’s some before the corral loading area so I was holding out for that. Downing a bottle of vitamin water through the bus ride was taking it’s toll.

They did set up something new this year. Usually when they start loading the waves, the corral system is kinda a free for all, where I have never been able to get to my actual corral. It’s 8,000 people! This time, they put us all in this caging area, and like us go in 2 corrals at a time so for the first time in my 4 year history, I actually made it to my corral!

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The time in the corral flew by because before I knew it everyone around me was running!

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The thing with Boston Marathon is that if you start with your corral, you are literally running with others at your best PR pace. I qualified with a 3:22 and so did everyone around me and they were gunning to beat it. Trying to take it easy was damn near impossible without being trampled. I stayed to the side and tried to not freak out about everyone passing me. Even with trying my best to keep it slow, my first 5K ended up being a 7:45 pace.  Last year I would have credit to be that slow as I was trying to go 7:15, this year was the opposite. I was really trying to keep an 8:30ish pace.

By 10K, I was getting a little bit more into my rhythm. I was trying my best to not get intimidated about everyone running by me. I saw a girl with crutches doing the race in worse shape than me.

Here’s the thing about Boston. We all qualify to get there at our best. What shape we show up to to actual run varies across the board. I did take walk breaks earlier than I ever would have in the past. People kept beating my back with words of encouragement. I did appreciate this spirit and on any other race, I would have dug deep and pushed on. However, on this day, I didn’t want the dig deep to push through the pain to lead to more pain later on. I know my logic makes no sense to a sane person, but it had it’s own flow to how I was justifying what I was doing.

By mile 8 it started to pour, and any time it would slow down to rain, the wind picked up. I remember after the 10K mark, just telling myself it’s another 20 mile training run. I’ve done them in more misery with less desire than today. I told myself to ignore the crowd, ignore all the other runners, and just get it done.

Sometime after mile 15, I started to get really cold and stiff up. There was a medic tent every mile and I would eye ball it each time. I contemplated stopping by for something warm, but I also wasn’t sure if I would continue if I stopped and DNF was not an option for me today. I have no shame in DNFs, but there’s just certain things you don’t DNF unless it’s life threatening. For me that’s Boston.

At mile 19, I finally saw my friend Sonia. Before that I saw my roommate at mile 7 or so and for the most part, unlike other years the race was a bit lonely. The weather made most people decide to go to work instead of partaking in day drinking. I couldn’t blame them. Hell, if I wasn’t running, I would be crawled up in bed on a day like this.

The hills of Newton came and went, and to be honest, compared to last year, they didn’t feel too bad. Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t feel like a slide either. But I guess since I’ve been struggling to get myself moving since mile 10, the struggle on the hills didn’t seem any bigger than the struggle on the flats.

Nothing get’s me happier than hitting the 21 mile mark or so around Cleveland circle. After living in the area for so long before I moved to Malden, there’s a certain comfort in knowing that I’ve walked this path soo many times in college, from sober to drunk, from friendly to a, shit the T stopped running and now I gotta walk home. I know that from Cleveland circle to Kenmore can be done. I can outline the terrain in my mind from memories alone. And then there’s the comfort of passing by so much familiarity only instead of alone, I’m surrounded by all these other strangers form all over the wrong.

around mile 23 is Coolidge corner, where I spotted a bunch of friends from the area on the left and they took this photo!

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I may be pale, I may be tired and cold, but if I see a familiar face, I put on a good show 😉

Our other friend was on the other side because crossing for spectators was impossible. I’m excited for him, as he’ll be running his first Boston next year!

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and then the final 5K. The final 5K is always like a scene in slow motion. There’s lots of crowds and cheers, and you want to keep putting on the show, but I never pace myself well enough to not feel like death at mile 24. I guess that’s why I keep running this race year by year. Each year hoping for something better out of myself.

I don’t know how it happened, but I somehow missed Tony and Adrienne. They were in Audobon circle and I kept looking for them. Tony had dry socks and Adrienne had her amazing cookie waiting for me. Two things I was ready to kill to get my hands on and didn’t see =(

As I was going towards Kenmore, I saw Tony’s family and group bringing me a little extra energy for that final 1.5 miles. As I went to Boylston, I searched the crowds for anything familiar as I still couldn’t find Tony or Adrienne, but to no luck. And just like that, as I couldn’t imagine how this race could be going any slower, it ended.

I crossed the finish line with many others. Just another race in the running crowd.

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I think because of the cold, they took pity on the runners, and instead of making me walk the rest of the Boylston down to the gardens just to come back up to Clarendon, I was able to cut straight into the John Hancock tower. My office lobby was packed with runners and family. Usually they kick anyone without a pass out, but I guess the cafe saw the cold as great business so they let people hang around. I changed, sat by a co-workers space heater and slowly ventured back downstairs to meet Adrienne and Tony where I finally got my cookie, but no socks! Tony left them in the car which was all the way in Alston. We met up with more friends at Sunset so some margaritas, nachos and burgers. Because nothing says Marathon, like nachos and tequila.

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Net Time4:10:14

Overall 20559/26610

Gender 8595/12022 (Female)

Division 4490/6011 (F18-39 Age Group)

It’s not the best time, it’s not the worst time, but I can proudly say it’s my time and it was earned through the struggle, sweat and joy.

2015 Great Stew 15K Race Report

Speaking of historical races, there’s also the Great Stew 15K in Lynn with it’s 41st year in action! Yes, that’s right before I was running very sick and weak (for me) half marathons, I had a great showing at a 15K.

The 2015 Great Stew 15K was originally scheduled in Mid-February as it usually is. Being New England, we always expect cold, wind and general crap weather. What we didn’t expect was 100 inches of snow that were beyond most humble cities’ ability to remove with many more inches in the near future. So the race director did what many others tried and rescheduled for data that would allow a city to recovery a bit, clear up it’s roads and recruit more volunteers!

And that is how we found ourselves on Sunday March 8th with a race at 10AM.

The race is only $15 and $20 on race day, so a great local option for those on a budget. There’s no medals, and there’s no race shirts, the roads are not closed, but there’s a dedicated race director, and an amazing group of volunteers making it a great event. There’s also Stew at the end, but I’ll get back to that.

Race morning I woke up and felt the usual lazy Sunday feeling I’ve grown accustomed to this winter. I wasn’t sure if the race was going to go on or not, so I ran a tempo 10 miler Friday and did a snowshoe walk Saturday.

As I was making my way through my Costco size jar of peanut butter for breakfast, my friend Dan stopped by to pick me and another friend to the race. And that was that for breakfast… I should really get back to a routine.

We got there an hour early to make sure there was parking. As promised, there was a warm place to hang out before the race start at the Knights of Columbus in Lynn and real bathrooms. Nothing is better than real bathrooms before a race with minimal lines. Not sure where the other people went.

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As Dan went to warm up for the race, Sonia and I stay back as I covered by the heater. Eventually it was 3 minutes to start of the race and I decided now would be a good idea to hobble over.

As the race started, I kept a moderately conservative pace. I heard the race was hilly and I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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The weather was in the 30s and although I expected to be way too warm in a long sleeve, I decided to run with it and in actually ended up never really warming up. The wind and overcast clouds did not make it feel any more like March!

The race starts on a side street and continues to on a relatively busy road. While there’s power in number of runners around you, I didn’t feel save enough to wear my headphones so I just carried them I guess for decoration. The hills many mentioned were nowhere as bad as Amherst and the only really lung killer for me was around the 4-5 mile mark.

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I really have no idea what I’m thinking here, maybe gee I’m thirsty but I’m too cold to drink water.  Or better yet, I was feeling the joy of the downhill portion.

Towards the last 3rd of the race (it’s only 9.3ish miles) I started to pick up my pace and feeling in a good running spot. I even got to pass a few dudes which always makes me happy!

However in the last mile I started to loss my pace as the mile wouldn’t end! My garmin had me a 9.55 distance versus the 9.3 official distance.  My kick was weaker than I would have liked but I was excited as I sprang through the finish line. For a short moment I regained the joy of running I seem to be struggling with this year!

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And nothing catches you heel handed as these photos demonstrating part of the what’s probably causing my PF!

After the race, I enjoyed some Great Stew as the race name indicates. Although I did put my foot in my mouth as I rambled about not really being a fan of stew and then loving the one they had at the race as I downed two bowls!

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They had a meat and vegetarian option as well as cookies, bananas and hot beverage. I think there was a cash bar too if one wanted to.

There was an awards ceremony afterwards that seemed to be geared more towards the older age groups. They got some small packs and hats I think. It went top 5 in gender as overall winners and then age group winners starting at 40+ going in 5 year increments. So basically the the 1-39 age group and overall winners was one group. I was about a few seconds off from 5th place. If only I didn’t give into the voice for walk breaks up that hill in the middle!

Finish Time 1:08:59

Official Pace 7:25

Division Place – 6/37

Overall Place – 38/173

Overall, for $15 it was a great small race and hope to participate next year!

Newport Marathon Race Report

Newport marathon… my second marathon in 36 hours, part of my crazy back to back marathon plan that started with Hartford, another notch on my 50 states belt. Why did I sign up for Newport? I already had Rhode Island as a state (times 2) and I’m not really thrilled with the race organizers that put on the event.

Well, I picked Newport because it’s relatively close to home (90 minutes with small traffic) and I wanted to force myself into some double long runs. And to be honest, the third and main reason is my ego. It’s the third race in the Triple Crown series that I have partly participated in this year. It consists of three races, Providence, Jamestown and Newport. It’s actually a half marathon series since Jamestown doesn’t have a full, but Providence and Newport those. To still participate, they take our first half split.

I wasn’t planning on competing as my Providence time wasn’t anything exciting after coming off Boston and a 50K the weeks before. Jamestown; however, came with a better time and when I checked the standings after the first two races, I realized I was in the standing if I can hold up in Newport. Now, I am not an elite runner, and the best I usually hope for is an age group in local races where the more competitive runners with more talent and discipline are racing elsewhere. So when I see a chance for extra bling and a new trinket with my name on my fireplace, I kind of want it. Sometimes, we all need our pats on the head, and running local road races is mine. Sometimes I get lucky, sometimes I run well, and sometimes I just have terrible runs.

Although, this desire for some extra bling, clearly wasn’t as important to me as my double long run goal, because otherwise, I wouldn’t have threatened my standings with a marathon the day before.

So right after I signed up for Hartford at the end of September, within 30 seconds I signed up for Newport. Registration was similarly around $100 and probably could have been a bit cheaper if I signed up a few months ahead like I usually do. Jamestown and Providence were much cheaper but way less scenic.

I was familiar with the course since I ran the half (after dropping from the full) two years ago when I started my marathon addiction. It was even my half marathon PR for a while, so I was excited to return to the course and see how it feels as a smarter, older, more experienced runner.

After finishing Hartford, my main objective was recovery. Tony and I walked around a little bit so I could stretch my legs and then headed to Newport. We took some really lovely smaller roads from Connecticut to Rhode Island that really showcased why New England at times is beautiful (when it’s not negative 50 wind chill and snowing for months).

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Although the race did have race day bib pick up, I wanted to minimize some of the race morning stress and get my number in advance. The expo was a pop up tent in a parking lot of the beach with some small local vendors. The shirts, terrible unisex boring designs like my Jamestown and Providence were. It’s a free for all when you pick your size, but they did have multiple color options. I guess if you’re a guy, or love running in oversize shirts, they may work. Sometimes, I wish women had the option to pass on the short and save 5 bucks instead since they’re clearly designed for dudes only. But aside from the short meh mehs, the line to pick up my number was quick (the line for half marathon was long) and the bag that came with it included some yummy snacks of dried cranberries, and nut mixes. I do always appreciate free snacks/swag.

After grabbing my number, we headed to my friend Anj’s house, about 30 minutes away. She volunteered to be our host for the Newport race. We relaxed a little bit in her warm house as I hung up my soaking shoes to dry. Yea, next time I run a double marathon, I might want to pack double the shoes. Showered, warmed up with hot chocolate (which is the true recovery drink) and turned into a functional human again. I’m always a little terrified of showering after a rainy race because I never know where I might have chafed, but lucky for me, no pain!

We grabbed dinner at a local spot nearby Pop’s that served a mix of pasta, pizza and Mexican and yet was amazing.

I started with the soup as this was my first real meal of the day post marathon. I know… recovery fail unless you count tomato soup and half a grilled cheese a meal. Then, I moved onto the chimichanga until I was happily stuffed.

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It was a food coma and I passed out into sleep somewhere around 9:30. I did take two ibuprofen even though, I usually never ever take anti-inflammatory meds post running, because I want my body to heal and adapt on its own. However, this was a special case, and I didn’t care how my body did it, as long as the inflammation, if any, went down.

The race started at 7:30 so my plan was a 6AM wake up with a 6:40 departure. The marathon and half marathon started 30 minutes apart and I knew there were a little less than 1,000 marathon runners with no road closures so I felt fairly comfortable in being able to get to the starting line. The other thing is that these races for some reason always start 10 to 20 minutes late so I didn’t really expect a time start as running Newport once, Providence twice and Jamestown once.

But instead, my early bedtime caused me to wake up at 5:30 fully rested. So I had time to enjoy some coffee and gluten-free brownies. Anj picked up some baked goods from Pumpkinpoolaza at RISD, cause she is the best host ever.  I don’t really eat real food pre-race as much as I just add calories, sugar and caffeine and hope for optimal results. For the most part, this works better for me than a steady meal of peanut butter and bread I used to have and then taste my whole run. And I’m not anti-gluten, but these were pretty amazing. I took a piece to enjoy post race as well!

Anyways, I get to the race start around 7:20. The weather is in about the 40s and expected to climb up to 60 with clear bright sunny skies. I’m wearing capris, a short sleeve, a long sleeve throwaway from the nightmare that was Hyannis marathon (although I did like the shirt) and a pair of throwaway gloves. This wasn’t exactly the plan of my outfit, but I realized I forgot a second running skirt outfit and so decided to go with this plan B as I was feeling a little too cold for the booty shorts I had as plan C. Yes, next time I plan on doing a double marathon weekend away from home, I’ll try not to pack the morning of.

As the marathoners gather around to shiver in a tighter circle, our watches hit 7:30 and no start time, 7:40 and no start time. Boy am I happy I decided to take a throwaway long sleeve this time and the gloves, I may never do another fall race without gloves again. They add this extra layer of comfort and warmth that can’t be replaced.

I spotted a 3:30 pacer and decided I would stick with him through the first half of the marathon and then see where I am. The race finally starts and maybe it’s those glutton free brownies of pure oil and sugar, but I feel amazing. I am filled with adrenaline and I decide to just run with it. This is my final race and I decide to make the most of my energy for the first half. In the back of my mind, I always knew that I would run the first half too fast and pay for it in the second half and I was okay with it. I just didn’t know how fast I would run. As I complete the first 10K and about a quarter into the overall race, I realize, I’m running sub 7 minute miles. After an hour at this place, I do start slowing down a little bit but for the most part I feel amazing. I don’t know for sure, but it felt like the whole first half was flat and the barely any wind to push me back. Even those 4 miles along ocean drive, I barely feel any push back. Before I know it, somewhere around mile 7, I start taking the lead and everyone is screaming first woman as I pass by them. I know I’m running too fast, too hard and probably too dumb for a girl on mile 34 of her weekend and almost 20 miles left in the overall run. However, I’ve never run the lead of the marathon and all this excitement is just fuel for my adrenaline. There’s smart runners and there’s passion runners and the elites have both, for me, my best performance isn’t always my ideal splits and running smart races, it’s usually the ones where the excitement takes over. Around the 10 mile mark, or maybe 11 mile mark, the lead girl takes back her place and I happily slide into a slower second place. As the final 2-3 miles runs along the avenue of mansions. Normally, I would take the time to admire and stare around, but I have a race to run and I just focus on the 13.1 checkpoint.

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The race provides free photos and that’s great an all, unfortunately, I seem to be making this face a lot as I get closer to the 13.1 checkpoint

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Anyways, after the 13.1 mile check point I slow down a bit to maybe 7:30 and those last me a few miles, but as the miles go by, my quads are starting to feel more and more sore. I don’t know if its because Hartford or the fast half, but I’m suddenly feeling the prior miles in my legs. I slow down to an 8 minute mile and that lasts me for about a mile before I’m starting to really not want to run.

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Around the final 7-8 miles the struggles hit full on. The course gets a little more boring with a little out and back loopy doo. Every little bump in the road felt like a mountain to climb. If you follow me on social media, you might have noticed the increase in tweets. It’s how I get myself through hard finishes. I distract myself a little bit. The final 10K was an ultimate ultra style finish. I would powerwalk and text every mile or so to recovery and run another mile or half a mile before taking a few seconds to walk. It wasn’t an ultimate way to finish, but it got my across the finish line. The final hill to the finish line is on Purgatory street… what a name.

And as I start to dash to the finish line, I don’t quite have the same kick as I did yesterday, but it’s still there, kicking. I forget the pain, the aches and complaints of the past miles and just remember the joy of why I run.

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My hair was on a marathon of its own!

After the finish line, I grabbed two slices of pizza and ate as one. The one problem with taking walks in a run is that it makes you realize that you are hungry!

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The weather did reach a lovely low 60s and as you know, here in New England, that screams beach weather!

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Did I mention that I really love how scenic the course is and this is what you get to enjoy at the finish line.

Pros

  • GORGEOUS COURSE! Okay, so here in the northeast even if advertised, we rarely get good ocean front view for races. This one delivers on its promise. The ocean drive run gets a little windy, but nothing feels more epic than running against the wind with the ocean on your side

  • Pizza and beer post race, they had plenty left even for the marathoners!

  • Part of the triple crown series

  • Great volunteers and just overall great happy vibe on the race source

  • Pacers if you’re into using them

Cons

  • Support and crowds get a little more skimp in the second half

  • Roads are not closed – it’s a small marathon so understandable, but I think things get a little packed if you’re more of an average pace runner in the first half

  • Cheap unisex shirts – maybe they work for men, but I don’t even bother getting mine or I donate them

  • Delayed race start

Overall, despite the cons of this race, I think the gorgeous course makes up for it all. It is a fairly local race and they do a nice enough job that if I lived just a little bit closer I would run the course more often. At least for the half. Maybe even the full!

Total Time: 3:31:40

Overall Place: 70/807

Gender Place: 13/385

I have to admit, aside from the fact that I ran two very different races, I finished only 9 seconds apart. Hartford, although rainy was an almost perfect steady effort, while Newport was a more win, crash and burn type of event where I barely know how I got myself across the finish line. A perfect double if you ask me.

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And in case you’re wondering, I am happy to report, I did win the triple crown for overall female winner! Can’t wait for my trophy!

Hartford Marathon Race Report

To start recapping the story of Hartford and Newport, I must first start in why I would sign up for two marathons in a row. No, I didn’t bump my head on a recent run. Although if you seen my instagram lately, I did come pretty close! My poor knees =(.

To be honest, I’ve wanted to run doubles for a while, but it always seemed silly to go through the logistics of travel and cost and not really be able to devote full power and energy into a race. Finally, I decided October, a few weeks away from Stonecat (my official 50 miler) and Ghost Train (A timed event where if weather is tolerable, I would like to break 50) was perfect timing.  It’s just two back to back training runs used for a ultimate goal. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Not the fact that I wanted to see if I could push my endurance to another level. Something I’ve been questioning as I failed a few attempts at a 50 miler. Am I the problem, is my terrain the problem, or is it all just a mental game. I still didn’t know the answer, but I knew that in the comfort of a marathon, the support, the familiar terrain and just the stubbornness that hits me when my feet hit the pavement, I knew that I would succeed, maybe not fast, but I would finally hit my threshold of getting 50 miles in a two days.

So back to Hartford, I signed up the race sometime mid to end of September. While the cost wasn’t completely tragic, around $100 versus I think 80 or so for earlier registration, I did miss out on some conveniences. If I registered before September, I could have had my packet mailed to me (for a cost of course), and I could have had a seeded corral start (not that it ended up mattering).

The expo was a Saturday race. I know, you don’t see that happening too often in large scale marathons. And like my other Saturday race that I’ve done, they don’t do same day packet pick up. That means there’s only a few ways of getting your packet. Paying them more $$$$$ to mail you a number, which I couldn’t do since I signed up too late, taking a vacation day and driving up early, or having a friend pick it up for you with a signed waiver and copy of your photo ID. Luckily, a friend of mine was also running so I went with my final option. Although, I didn’t go to the expo, from the photos I saw, it seemed to be a fun time.

And so Friday began once of the longest (non-snow related) drives of my life. Tony and I left work around 5:30 and my Google Maps was still saying it was about 2:20 to go from Boston to Hartford. I figured we get my number from my friend and have some dinner.

Yes, I’m a late dinner marathoner. Here’s my theory. If I eat late, I’m not starving in the morning and I don’t have to wake up early to eat and then digest. So far it works far better than the 5PM dinner idea where I go to bed hungry by 10 and starving at the sound of my alarm.

Anyways, it gets to 7:30 and we barely have left Boston. We’re about 20 miles out of town, in a gridlock. I guess Columbus Day weekend Friday is the worst travel day of the year, worse than Thanksgiving. Considering Tony and I have never worked for a place that had Columbus Day off, we were like… seriously? I’ll avoid the rant about what a terrible person Columbus was and let you enjoy your day of if you get one.

So yea, we gave up; the next exit was about 9 miles away, which probably meant another hour, so we hit one of those highway food courts. I really hate eating at highway food courts. They’re sort of like mall courts only dirtier and have you trapped on a pike because you really don’t feel like paying the toll twice. However, they rig the prices up 30% and somehow everything tastes more stale and oily than a regular chain off the highway would.

I’ve been craving pizza for a while now, so we hit up Pappa John’s and got a whole pie because I was starting to get really hungry. I don’t remember what my lunch was if any, but it couldn’t have been very exciting because at this rate I contemplated getting two pies for two people.

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Anyways, we eat and try to wait out some traffic, but nothing seems better 30 minutes later so we move on and eventually make our way into Hartford, where I get my number from Lori and we head north another 15 minutes to our hotel. Upon my number, I immediately inspected my swag and was really excited about the long sleeve shirt that came with the race packet.

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Our hotel north of Hartford was nothing exciting, it was somewhere between a motel 6 and a Holiday Inn; comfortable enough to sleep but not enough to keep you from not wanting to get up when your alarm goes off.

6:30 AM for an 8AM start. 45 minutes for me and Tony to get ready, maybe nibble at some bread at the hotel breakfast, drive 15 minutes to Hartford Downtown and be ready to start by 7:45…

All plans have good intentions and although I’ve done countless races, and I should know better… I don’t.

I will take an extra 30 minutes of sleep over a stress free race morning.

Yes, they closed all the exits off the highway and then all the roads leading up to 2 miles to the race start area.

And it’s raining so I’m really in no mood to add an extra 2 miles to my 26.2ish (I ain’t no pro). We circle around with several other cars that are probably in the same, oh shit, I should have woken up earlier problem. There’s police detail, but the weather is miserable and most seem to be hiding inside their squad car and we’re at a loss of where to go. We see another car sneaking through the police barricades via Walgreen and etc. parking lots and Tony follows to get me closer to the start. When I’m a few blocks away and it doesn’t look like we can get any closer, I kiss goodbye and off I head out, hoping the starting line is somewhere nearby.

So I find a starting line… I’m getting ready to wiggle my way in when I hear something about a 5K and I dumbly remember, there are TWO starting lines.

Yes, my dumb wet butt almost started the race in the wrong line.

I quickly, turn away from that started and tried to find people whose bibs matched mine. Luckily, it was nearby and the race already started so I tried to make the best of it.

I don’t know how many people run Hartford between the full and the half marathon, but I know they take up the whole road. I’m not sure how many minutes we’re into the race, it’s raining, so my cell phone is safely stashed in a ziplock in my rain gear I decided to test out. Thank you Adidas outlet $15! I’m not fully sure how late I am, but I could tell by the large mob of people in the front, it must have been a few minutes at least. I tried to make the best of it, and make wave through the people, on the sides, maybe a sidewalk but I’m at a dead end of walking trashbags.

I know, I really try not to judge and I have incredibly respect for all sorts of runners, but theirs is nothing more frustrating than wanting to move forward and being stuck behind a group of women walking at the start of a race. Yes, I know, it’s my fault for getting there late.

I’m pretty much kicking myself and then reminding myself that it’s good I’m being forced to take it slow. After all, I have another marathon in less than 24 hours I should worry about. But if there’s one thing I really hate, it’s running in the rain.

I have run and completed more marathons than I’d like in countless degrees of rain from freezing to heat-wave). If I’m racing, there’s a high chance of precipitation. It’s just how it works. The amount of training runs on my own accord that I have done in the rain? ZERO and I will probably keep it that way. I hate running in the rain. I’ll swim in the rain, maybe even dance in the rain, but I am not running in the rain unless I absolutely have to because I paid to run on that day.

So, I try to make my way through as my current running pace my Garmin is currently having me at a 11 minute per mile on a downhill is driving me crazy. I was starting to feel really wet and really cold. I needed to find space and at least get into a 9 minute jog. Unfortunately, the sidewalk in downtown Hartford is about as pleasant at Providence. And after my faceplant on the pavement a week ago, I try my best to avoid the obstacles.

And then, like a beacon of heavenly light, a few miles in, the half and the marathon course split up. I give praise to one god, or another, or whoever will listen to me. Because finally I have room! What can I say, I love road races, but I’m a claustrophobic at times.

I decided to cover up my Garmin in rain jacket and just run at a comfortable steady pace as if I was doing a regular long time. I pretty much keep my Garmin cover for the next 10 miles or so. I decided that I wouldn’t allow myself a peak until I hit the halfway point.

I slowly started catching up on the pace groups. 4:30 first, 4:00, 3:45, and eventually the 3:30 group where I told myself to slow down. I know that 3:35 is about an 8:11 pace and with the slow/late start, I knew I must have clocked in some sub 8 miles. So it was time to relax more. I had a slow week of running as I tried to adjust to my new work schedule and I knew, the ease of running I was feeling, was the feel of a taper. Nice, but I needed to not use it all up in Day 1 of the weekend.

So 3:30s and I hung out for a good while. I tried my best to stay just in front of them, but still keep them in my sight. I don’t generally like to run in pace groups, because I find them crowded and I like being a lone soldier on the road. Maybe a buddy or two, but otherwise, I don’t like staying in a pack. Also, I’m pretty sure someone in that group crapped themselves around mile 8. I felt sorry for the dude, but not enough to keep smelling it. I’m like a pregnant woman when I run. Any smell can set me off into a gag reflex.

The course for the first 14 miles or so was an interesting mix. We hit the downtown area, some industrial parks and what looked like a really nice running path along a river.  In between that we went up and down highway ramps to go from place to place, but It kind of felt like we were running a circle a bit. There were no real hills, but the highway ramps did start to feel tiring after a bit. I’m sure there were more interesting things to take note of, in fact, the race organizers provide you a very nice long list of things to look out for at every mile, but with the rain and my visor on, I just focused on moving forward and keeping my rain out of my eyes.

The second part of the race was an out and back suburban road. While, I normally find a little boring, it was nice to get even more robotic into my run. There was no, twists, turns, curbs to look out for. I can just run forward, find a turnaround point and run back. It was really cool to see the elite runners run on their way back. First ran the men, then a woman, then some more men. Elite runners always look so elegant. I don’t know how when I run, I always look like an orangutan. My hair is always sticking out at all ends, and the sides of thigh jiggling. I may be able to get faster, but I don’t think I’ll ever get to be a Runners World model. O well, such is life.

We hit mile 20 and I realize, I’m currently running a sub 3:30, maybe 3:25 marathon. Which is probably a very bad idea and I decide now is a good time to walk. I try my best to slow down but the rain seems to only fall harder. I decide to work my best on a run/walk combo at every mile marker. I figured if I turn this into a 20 miler and a 10K easy run, I had hopes of having a strong half marathon at Newport the next day and I thought this would work. Trying to take an easy slow run when it’s miserable outside and you just want to be finish is definitely a mental strength I did not half. The walk breaks at every mile helped, but it was hard to keep walking when the other side of the road runners were cheering you on. So I ran more than I should have and before I knew it, I was in the final two miles. I was closing in on the downtown area finish line, and the crowds of cheering people seemed to get louder. And as I got into the final mile of the race, I forgot all about my walk break and got lost in the cheer and excitement of a crowd and the joy that as soon as I crossed that finish line, I can seek out dry clothes and warmth.

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I found Tony, my loyal cheerleader and crew waiting for me at the finish line as I walked trembling shaking, from the coldness that hits me when I stop running. In the car we cranked up the heat and I began my routine of changing in a car that I’m a pro at by now post races. And I continued by putting on every layer I had with me because I packed like a child the night before bringing everything and nothing I actually needed. Why yes, I am wearing 4 cotton long sleeves and no coasts. It’s the new classy.

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After getting dry, we walked back to the festival. I think the award ceremony probably already happened and I went in search of the food. The food tent at first felt disappointing. They had a cup of those scary preserved fruit, a banana, tomato soup and cold grilled cheese sandwiches. I really wanted some chicken noodle or clam chowder. Luckily, no one minded me taking extra cups of coup and by my third cup; I was starting to feel a bit happier and even wholeheartedly enjoyed my cold grilled cheese.

There was a hot dog stand too, that made my day, even though normally I don’t even go near a hot dog. However, when you’re hungry and you just ran a marathon, you can eat all the crap you want.

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And of course nothing tastes better than a pumpkin beer; no matter how wet it got out there.

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Overall, I had a great time at Hartford and if you’re looking for a race to knock off Connecticut for a state, or just something nearby if you’re from the area, this is a good one!

Pros

  • Volunteers are amazing. Seriously, the only thing I could imagine that’s worse about running in the rain is standing at an aid station in the rain. My most respect to you guys and gals!
  • Music, bands, bagpipe players! It was a shame the weather was so terrible, because I could tell in sunny weather this would have been a giant party
  • The race is really well organized, it started on time, aid stations well stocked and after party village from the food and beer tent seemed in top shape.
  • Relatively flat course, particularly the second half
  • Halloween candy aid station, yes
  • Well at first I didn’t get it, the tomato soup/grilled cheese combo really was comforting
  • Harpoon beer! I like Harpoon as a beer and sometimes I find beer really refreshing after an endurance event. Just not shitty beer.
  • Pretty nice long sleeve shirts, really loving mine

Cons

  • You need to get to the start early since the roads close and unless you’re in a race hotel there’s no way to get there without a car.
  • No day of packet pickups for race numbers which means either paying extra if you register early, having a nice friend whose there early, or taking a day off from work (if you work Fridays).
  • Full marathon and Half marathon starts at the same time causing mass congestions if you want to run your own pace and not the mass pace
  • There’s parts of the course where it’s just the marathon on a bike path that I felt were pretty tight and crowded spots as well. Luckily, I wasn’t racing.
  • Hartford is not a very exciting place to visit, sorry, but its two hours from Boston and two hours from NY so all the fun tends to go elsewhere. So, I wouldn’t really say it’s the best destination race unless you’re on route to somewhere else; but it is a great Connecticut fall race if you’re in the market for one.

Total Time: 3:31:31

Overall Place: 376/2419

Gender Place: 70/1070

I feel pretty happy that I was able to run a BQ on a fairly steady pace. I think with the exception of my first few crazy miles and my last 10K that I tried to slow down in, I ran a fairly steady race with no wall besides the I really wish it would stop raining already wall.

Cambridge Oktoberfest 5K Race Recap

The Cambridge Oktoberfest 5k is part of a series of 5ks put on throughout the year ending with the Yulefest in December. I haven’t done any of them; however I’ve always wanted to. Sadly when you run as many races as I do and drag your boyfriend into half of them, you have to eventually get picky since these events aren’t getting cheaper. Luckily, Dani at a Weight Off My Shoulders holds tons of giveaways and discounts throughout the year. I entered for Octoberfest and kept my fingers crossed. And… I won!

And immediately went in search of a dirndl. Yes, I have never raced in a costume before, but this seemed like a good way to start. And no, I am not one of those cool kids that makes their own. I’m an accountant, creativity isn’t my strong point and I ain’t got time for it in between all the miles and Doctor Who episodes I’m watching. Soooo,.. Amazon to the rescue!

Race registration was around $40 but I wanted my favorite running partner with me! So yes, that’s how Tony got roped into back to back 5ks.

The bib pick up was offered earlier in the week at Jacob Wirth in Boston and made it super easy for me to grab our numbers on Friday night since they were available until 8pm!

The race swag came with a parking pass to Cambridgeside Galaria and a cotton shirt that although won’t be used for running was pretty soft and cute.

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On race day we woke up at 8AM and in theory had plenty of time to get to the race on time if Mr. snooze didn’t enter our world. Damn you snooze, so tempting like the devil. Before we knew it, we were scrambling out the door. It took us 35 minutes to drive 4 miles and find parking. Luckily parking wasn’t too difficult on a Sunday morning but road closures due to construction were frustrating.

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It was chilly, around 48, so I played around with ideas of how to stay warm and still fit into my costume. These things run small! I only have one small regret, I should have ordered a small and not an extra small!

Anyways, the race started at 9:30 and we got there around 9:27. And at this point, I told Tony I’ll wait for him while he finds the bathroom and we’ll run together.

So I waited for him and we get to the starting line about 2 minutes late and I see tons and tons of runners. Seriously, I don’t know the numbers but I feel like 3,001 is a good guess. Suddenly I get the gleam of reaching the starting line and not trying to run at least 7 minute pace seemed unacceptable to me.

Oktoberfest 5k

I don’t exactly know how it happened but the crazy eyes took over and within 3 seconds I parted with Tony and started to weave in and out around people, sidewalk etc to get ahead. If you didn’t start in front of the pack this was a tight race and I started two minutes into the race.

However, I have to say, I work best when the adrenaline or trying pass people takes over. It’s how I ran a 3:24 on my first marathon because the DC metro broke down and I got to the race 20 minutes late.

They had clocks at mile 1 & 2 that I saw and for the most part, my Garmin seemed to be in sync with the distance. The course goes up one street with an uphill around mile 1.5 that rewards you with a mild decline for the remainder of the race. No matter how hard I tried to get ahead, it didn’t get any less packed and I was definitely starting to get tired. The 13 miles from the day before was definitely in my legs.

As my watch beeped 3 miles, I was excited for the pain to end in about a minute, but there was no finish line in sight. Eventually, it came and I kicked ahead because the last 10 seconds of a 5k is always my favorite part.

By the time I finished my Garmin said 3.25 which isn’t a bit deal. I’m no pro, so for me more miles, more smiles even if it’s an extra .1 mile.

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The one thing this 5k is known for is a killer after party put on by Swissbaker, Jacobwirth and Cambridge brewing company.

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After waiting and watching Tony finish, we went to grab out beer and feed. I got the pumpin ale which was light and refreshing for a 10am drink and then it was the food.

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I justified it since it was past noon in Germany so I was drinking with them, right?

Anyways the food… Swiss Bakers had their amazing pretzels

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and I actually have no idea what I ate from Jacob Wirth but it was delicious, there was pickled cabbage, a pulled meat, gravy and something that reminded me of gnocchi but German.

Cambridge Oktoberfest 5K

Yea, this doesn’t look that pretty, but I promise it was tasty.

Overall it was a fun event and I hope I get a chance to participate next year.

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Official Distance: 3.1

Official Time: 21:50

Overall Place: 107/2121

Gender Place: 14/(not sure total)

 

QOTD: Have you ever ran in a costume?

 

2014 Jamestown Half Marathon Race Report

What a fun weekend!

For the most part, I am a lone weekend warrior when it comes to running and racing, but when I get to combine those moments with friends, I find them most rewarding and memorable. Quite frankly, if it was up to me, I would convert all my friends into runners! Worry not if you don’t run, I’ll still hang out!

Anyway, when we saw a Groupon for $30 for the Jamestown half marathon in the Newport, RI area, a few of my friends and I jumped right on it. Of course little research was done until we realized not only is this race starting at 6:30 AM but it’s also one of the hilliest courses in the region that is still a road race. Great way to try your first half marathon!

So with some planning, we got two nights of hotel in the most luxury level of Ramada Inn. Yuck! But we needed a place to sleep and not spend a small fortune so we put up with the outdated tiny beds and the lack of lighting in the room. We should be sleeping anyways come darkness.

The drive from Boston to Newport was anything but fast, I don’t know what happened, but the highways were backed up all the way to my house. We did eventually make it to the expo, if you can call it that, and picked up the bibs and numbers.

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The expo consisted of number pick up tables and a small area with some clearance items and socks for sale. The swag? Was a large sized gender men’s tech shirts that barely had any effort in them. They had some cute baby blue shirts next to them, but those you either had to buy or be part of the triple crown. The triple crown consists of Providence, Jamestown and Newport half marathon. Since I’ve already run the other two, I contemplating doing Newport for the heck of it all. We’ll see.

Anyways, after number pick up, we had dinner and went straight to bed in our luxury accommodations. Despite the tiny bed, I slept quite well. While I wasn’t thrilled about a 5AM wake up call, I didn’t feel completely miserable either. By 5:30 we were all out the door and getting ready to drive to Newport Grand Slots, a casino whose parking lot was hosting the shuttles and parking.

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The race organizers kept repeating that we might not start on time unless we get on a 6AM shuttle to Jamestown. What we didn’t expect was that it would take about 25 minutes to get on a shuttle because there was a severe lack of buses to take us runners over. You know, if I’m standing on a line, I might as well pass a bathroom, except those were on a separate long line that we decided to skip and just wait on the shuttle line instead.

Jamestown Group Start

Since the line was barely moving, we decided it was perfect time to take some photos! Not pictured is our friend Kerwin who although was not running probably ended up walking 13 miles on his own since he woke up same time as us.

Once on the bus, the ride was about 10 minutes as well got to watch a beautiful sunrise.

Jamestown Morning

There was about 2,000 runners and for the most part, the porta potty lines were fairly short. I did appreciate the race announcer mentioning that the start is 5-10 minutes late; giving me just enough time to do a pitstop.

Afterwards it’s kiss Tony goodbye, good luck to the friends and dart my way to the start of the group.

Jamestown Start

The race start had no real corral system. Up in the front, I saw a 1:30 pacer chatting with a 2:00 pacer. However, I’m not sure if it was because a few people were still waiting for shuttles or what, but even with 2,000 runners, I didn’t feel too crowded.

For the first two miles I ran with the 1:30 pace group until the hills started to roll. That’s when I told myself to stop being stupid and to slow down to my own pace. It wasn’t the fastest, and I started to get passed by a lot of men, but it felt a lot better than trying to keep up with the lead pack.

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By 6:40 am, the weather was already 65 and it felt humid and sunny to me. Luckily on the course we did hit a lot of nice patches on shade. At times, I did go outside the cones when I saw no incoming traffic because quite frankly I rather run a longer distance with shade, then be exposed to the sunlight.

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As you can see from the map, the course goes around the island with lots of rolling hills to keep your heart rate racing. For the first time in a while, I was actually feeling awesome during the race and ended up focusing on running instead of photographs.

I do remember that the hill at mile 5-6 got the best of me and  I had to take a short walk break. My calves were burning!

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I think I’m trying to run away from this sweat shirtless dude?

As difficult as hills may be, I really do enjoy the hillier courses. Going up might really suck, but I love passing others on the down side of the hill.

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For a while, I was worried the course was short. My garmin was always about .07 of a mile shorter than the mile marker. Clearly, it stopped being an issue when the final mile refused to end and Garmy clocked me in at 13.18 miles. 1:37:18, not a PR, but I was very excited by my time with how the weather was and the rolling hills.

Jamestown Splits

Overall, I feel pretty happy with my race strategy and results. I wanted to reach 1:40 with a plan that my second half of the race would be a bit slower with the heat. However, I was lucky enough to be able to hold onto my pace despite the feel of the hills. I think trying to be more realistic about my goal pace and running a little slower than I normally would for the first half helped me a lot in keeping up with my pace.

After crossing the finish line, I tried to get an icepack for my tendon but the chemical ice wouldn’t get cold enough so I just gave up and went to go cheer on my friends.

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I loved watching all my friends sprint to the finish line. Unfortunately everyone was running so fast that my IPhone wasn’t fast enough to get photos.

At the finish line they had some bread rolls from a local bakery, cliff bars, water and Gatorade. Enough to get you by, but not a breakfast replacement.

The shuttles to get you back to your car however were not pleasant.

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After watching everyone finish the race, we took ourselves to the long unshaded shuttle line where we stood for about 30 minutes. Sweating, hungry, dehydrated but proud and excited with our accomplishments for the day.

Jamestown Group Photo Finish

My friends app showed that I was 3rd place in my age group so I went by the prize packs to see if I would get anything fun. Turns out that because the first two ladies were overall winners, I was actually first in my age group and I got a pretty awesome prize box!

These are the contents of my race pack that I won. I’m very excited for the car cover seat! Tony doesn’t like it when I get my sweat all over our glamorous Prius. Although I really wish I could

The box is really cool though and will now be where I store all my Gus at home.

James Town Prize Pack

Total Time 1:37:18

Average Pace 7:26

Division Place 3/324

Gender Place 9/984

Overall Place 70/1632

First place woman ran the course in 1:19 and finished second place overall! Feeling very proud of the fast ladies on the course!

Pros

Scenic Course – Really beautiful course

Hills – If you love running on rolling hills, this is a fun one

Free photos – I get to share some of these thanks to TomTom sponsoring the race course photos. Always cool!

Cons

Roads Not closed – They use a cone system to give runners a shoulder of the road, but this barely fit anyone single file. Furthermore, I heard from friends that it was hard to pass anyone or speed up because if you got out of the cone area, the cops were yelling at the runners. I didn’t have this issue in the front, but I wasn’t passing too many people either.

Last Mile Might be long – I don’t know if it’s true, but my Garmin and a few others clocked in the final 1.1 miles at 1.3 and that’s within the cone space.

Shuttles – Terrible, the stress of getting to the starting line and the annoyance of waiting for 35 minutes to get back to your car.

Hills – If you don’t like running hilly courses, this might not be for you

No Post Race Hang out area- Unlike other races, there’s not really a great hang out vibe. You grab you banana, some cliff bars and get in line to wait for the shuttle.

Conclusion

Although I’m listing a lot more cons than pros, I think the scenic course really makes up for all the shuttle and cheapness of race organizers issues. Had I paid the full price, I probably would be annoyed at how cheap everything felt, but for the price we all paid, I really can’t complain. It was a blast and great morning run while in Newport.