Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

*Whoops, edited to include my splits!*

Despite swearing I wasn’t going to race again until fall after the New Jersey Half Marathon in April, I caved and couldn’t resist registering for the Newport 10-Miler, which I had had my eye on for months! The photos on Facebook were stunning and Newport is one of my very favorite places (plus, the place where I was born!), so finally, in early May I signed up and brought my sister and her boyfriend fiance (yay!) Chris along with me.

I packed a backpack before going to bed Saturday night, reminding myself that the only thing I really needed to complete the race was my shoes and socks. I threw a bunch of other stuff in there and hit the sack. It was a pretty good night — Henry woke up around 11 and needed some settling — but for the most part I slept pretty well until my alarm at 4:45. Waking up, I realized I really didn’t have anything handy for breakfast (Henry has been eating all of our bananas like a champ!) so I poured a water bottle and hit the road, hoping to swing by Dunkin Donuts en route to Rhode Island. As a wrench in those plans, I slept pretty much the entire drive, so ended up at Fort Adams a bit hungrier than I would have liked, pre-race.

We arrived at Fort Adams with about 40 minutes until the start, which was plenty of time to collect our numbers, drop gear at the car and get through the actually pretty fast moving porta-potty line. Luckily, there were KIND bars in our race bags, so a coconut and almond bar replaced the bagel and large tea I was really craving, but did the trick to get me started. THEN, at the start line I realized I left my Gu in the car, so Caitlyn graciously shared a few Chomps with me — ever the accommodating middle sibling. So much for only needing shoes and socks! Finally, after a few selfies, we were on our way. 

The first mile was crowded! I had no idea what pace we were going but it felt slow and pretty jammed up. I’ve never gotten this way before that I can remember, but I was actually a little irritable. Still, it was good to hold back a bit as a warm up, I guess. 

By mile two, things shook out a bit and I was able to start carving out a little room for myself without tripping over other runners. I took it a little too fast, though, freaked out by the slower first mile. When we emerged onto Ocean Drive, there may as well have been an audible gasp. The ocean and sun looked completely gorgeous and I thought for the first time how lucky I was to be out running on such a beautiful course. It was a thought that played on repeat throughout the race.

Mile three clicked in again sub-8:00 and with it the very predictable thought: gosh, do you think you could actually run 10 miles sub-eight?! Not this weekend, but HEY, new goal, I’m coming for you

Mile 1 – 8:57
Mile 2 – 7:48
Mile 3 – 7:54

The course thinned out really nicely and I ran the rest of the race with more or less the same little crowd. The girl in the blue tank, the guy in the Sox hat, the mama with a gorgeous French braid (I saw her stop to kiss her kiddos), and the guy in the bright blue shirt. These were my people. 
Along the way there were some little pockets of spectators too. Not a “well supported” course, per se, but it had a nice small town vibe. And did I mention the views?

As we approached mile four or five, a road sign buoyed our spirits and garnered some laughs: Slow Down! In hindsight, I guess I listened. The whole course was rolling, not with any real doozy hills, but pretty much constant and enough that you noticed. If I didn’t run hills regularly, I will have felt them much more. Despite pretty solid inclines at mile five and again at mile seven, I never found myself looking ahead at them and groaning or dreading them. Up and over!

Mile 4 – 8:11
Mile 5 – 8:11
Mile 6 – 8:26

If I’m remembering correctly, we turned off Ocean Drive and onto Bellevue Avenue around mile six. Bellevue was nice and shaded and lined on either side by gorgeous mansions that helped pass the time nicely. I gawked quite a bit. Then, when I hit mile seven, to avoid dialing back from being tired, I worked on reeling people in and passing them as best I could. It worked here and there, and my little posse rolled together, picking people off one by one, but never really shaking one another.

By the time I saw the street signs noting that Fort Adams was straight ahead, I was pretty ready. I knew we had one more mile to go once we were on the Fort’s grounds, so I felt like I had a pretty good sense of the course and my pacing. I had slowed up a bit in the last couple of miles, but knew I would turn it on with a mile to go.

Mile 7 – 8:20
Mile 8 – 8:18
Mile 9 – 7:59

Sure enough, when we hit the mile nine mark, I chugged along (after taking a photo-on-the-go of Optis getting ready to sail — that’s what I used to sail as a kid) and charged for the finish. I alllllmost picked off blue tank girl, but she got me at the end. Nothing kills me quite like getting passed at the finish, but then again, we can only prepare and push ourselves, right? As Meb says, we don’t have any control over anyone else’s preparation. We can only control how we show up at the start.

Mile 10 – 7:22

So, I crossed the finish line and stopped my app and was pumped to have run 1:21:25 — 8:09 pace! Only then I went to check the posted results and I was posted at 1:22:25. WEIRD. It’s the silliest thing to be sore about an 8:14 instead of an 8:09, but I have to be honest… I kind of am. Where did that minute go?! I’m mystified.

10 miles, 1:22:25, 8:14 pace. ALSO: 19th of 242 in my age group and 111th female of 1521. Top 7% in both, which were pretty awesome numbers in my book. This race might just become a tradition. A beautiful course, lots of waterfront options for celebratory beverages after. Win-win.