The Naragansett summer running festival was held at Stonehill College in Easton, MA. There was a 5k, 10k, and half marathon option. It took me about 70 minutes to get to the start. The race directors urged everyone to be there an hour before their respective gun times because the road restrictions would make racers unable to make it on time, so I was there, parked and ready for the day by 7 am. The race starts were located on the same road that you had to drive through to get to the parking lot. In the future, I would suggest moving the start to make the flow of traffic and people easier. There was a lot of commotion and confusion because of this.
After arriving, I immediately hit the porta potties and was happy to see this:
The emails that runners had received over the weeks listed the starts as follows:
5k Race Start: 8:00 AM
Half Marathon Race Start: 8:15 AM
10k Race Start: 8:30 AM
So imagine my surprise when the announcer said the half marathon wouldn’t be starting until 8:25? All race starts were actually a 10 minute difference than what was listed on the email. I mean. I get it. People are late to races. But I listened to the directions, and got there an hour in advance…so did a lot of people. What didn’t happen is the roads weren’t closed off, at all, and people were still driving in right before the starts of the races. This annoyed me, a lot. Not specifically that people were late but, that there wasn’t any reason runners couldn’t have arrived slightly later. I would have much rather gotten there at 8 (or even 7:30) and hung out for 25 minutes vs 90 minutes. Not cool. I felt like I was duped.
The race itself did start on time (at least mine did…I didn’t pay any attention to the 5k start)There were no pace group signs, either: I don’t see these in every race, but this was a crowded half on a narrow road, so it would’ve been appreciated. It was insanely crowded for the first few miles. Midway through mile 1-a police officer stopped the runners into a dead stop because we had to let an ambulance go by. This happened once more -me having to come to a dead stop to allow a car to pass. I truly get stopping for the ambulance, but it was understandably frustrating. The first 2-3 miles were so ridiculously overcrowded that I couldn’t get by other runners to stretch my legs until about mile 4 when it finally started to thin out. Since the roads were open,I was constantly looking both ways before crossing the street…and there were a couple times that a car passed me and I did NOT appreciate it’s proximity..Move over, buddy!!
My first 7 miles I had all splits in the low 7 minute range. The heat started to hit me around then and I slowed down to miles in the 8’s for the rest of the course. Every time I stopped to take a drink, I slowed even more. I don’t like stopping during my long runs, even for my GU. I just drink/eat on the fly because otherwise, it slows me down considerably, and my legs just do not want to move. If I had taken my Camelbak, I’m 100% sure I wouldn’t have been as slow. I needed more water than what I was taking in, and the fact is-I haven’t run more than 10 miles all summer long without having it on my back. I shouldn’t have worried that I hadn’t run goal paces with it and I should have thought about how awesome I am with hydration during my runs because of it. And let’s be real: during a race, it is NOT easy to drink from a cup!
The course itself was hilly. I was honestly fine with them, i was just hot. Like can-I-take-my-clothes-off-and-jump-in-your-pool-right-now-HOT. I checked the forecast from the day and the humidity ranged from 69%-87%. Just about every other mile had a cooling station set up by some really nice folks who were willing to rack up their water bills to cool us poor runners down….for once, all the sprinklers were pointed AT the runners! I think I ran through every single one to get a little relief.
One pretty big detail bothered me about the water stops-it was advertised in the emails that at miles 3.5 and 7.6 there would be GU offered… I never saw it and believe me I was looking because I LOVE GU and I love when a race has that and not Powerbar. Powerbar Gel is the worst invention, ever. So two different stops-no GU. I had even debated leaving my GU at home that morning because I figured I would get the two I needed along the course. So glad I took them with me because when I ate them, I really needed it. Also a bothersome detail: I saw only one mile marker- Mile 10. I had my Garmin so I knew where I was- but i didn’t notice a single other sign.. if you ran this: please let me know if you did.
By mile 10- I started to feel queasy. You know the feeling, right? The one where you’re not sure if you will make it through to the end without hitting a bathroom? Yeah, that fun feeling…The finish line could not come soon enough. The last 2 or 3 ( I apologize…things are hazy from this point and I also have zero desire to research and let you know exactly how much distance was run on the trail) miles were done along a trail, which was a nice touch. We also ran around the Stonehill College track for a bit: it was gorgeous.
All three races were intertwined during the end and that annoyed me. I had to always pay attention to which direction to head in and I didn’t want to. I just wanted it to be done. In my opinion, having the three options starting so close to one another is a lot for both the directors, and the runners. Signs, course directions, confusion…it’s alot to process. Just my own opinion…one or two races: thats fine..but having the 3 is too much. (disclaimer: race directors DID make it crystal clear via email that the races intertwined..I just personally didn’t like it)
When I finally finished, I was annoyed, disappointed, and disgusted with myself. I plopped down and texted my husband that I didn’t hit my goal time or his goal time for me. (He randomly made a deal with me on Saturday that if I hit a 1:23 half-he would run a 5k, & then a half marathon with me. This is the man who never runs!) His reply was “that’s ok, at least I don’t have to run.” #Someday… After that, I had to immediately text Kristina to tell her how I did, and how mad/sad/feelin bad I was and she sent me this text. It was exactly what I needed to hear:
And she is RIGHT. Obviously, in that moment after reading that text I did not think so, but, by the end of Sunday night I could conceivably wrap my head around moving on.
After finishing, I realized that if I had brought my Camelbak, it would have gone better for me. I made the decision to leave it at home because I had never run “goal pace” with it on. Had I brought it along, it probably would have saved me. It’s not that I was so overwhelmingly thirsty-it was more that I felt like I needed constant hydration to deal with the heat and the amount I was sweating because of it. I also figured out that I haven’t done a single run in direct sunlight for a while, and that’s something I guess I unfortunately need to practice for my next half marathon on August 3. Every tempo and speed workout this summer has been done nearer to the 6 am hour, or on my treadmill.
I knew I had way more I could have given to this race because even though I was sore-i woke up the next day feeling like I had just run a normal long run. I kind of like the feeling that comes the morning after a ridiculously hard run-like the ‘kick your ass types of run, and I didn’t have that so much from this race…it was heat exhaustion over muscle fatigue.
It’s hard to explain your own disappointment for not hitting your goal without a little self doubt and anger creeping in . I really really thought I was going to break 1:40, I truly did. I didn’t have even one doubt in my mind. No one can be more disappointed and angry than me. When it comes to bad races, unfortunately, I really am my own worst enemy and harshest critic. When you don’t perform as you think you should…it is devastating. So what do you do when this happens to you? You have to pick up the pieces and move on. Dwelling will only get you down, not make you faster. I know that every race still deserves to be celebrated, whether it’s good or bad, so I broke out a new pair of Pureflows☺️
I know that one “bad” run does not a runner make, and in truth, I realized that if I had done that run out around my house on Sunday? I would have been PSYCHED to have had an average of 8:04 for my overall time. It was freaking HOT. The leading woman finished in 1:31…good for her for winning and all, but truly, I bet she would’ve done better on a 50 degree day. It is what it is and every run and race is a learning experience. I know what I need to do for my August half, and I know that race is STILL going to be deadly hot, so maybe I won’t hang my hopes so high on it! I have my eye on a lovely September half already and to be truthful, that’s where it’s usually at for PRs for runners anyway-a day that isn’t 900 degrees and 1,000,000,000.% humidity that makes you think you are actually running ON the freaking sun.#nobodylikesthat #nearlyimpossibletobefast
I also remind myself of this:
The post race party looked great-beer, lobster rolls ( I’m assuming you had to buy them) free samples of frozen Greek yogurt pops, and other goodies. I didn’t stick around because I had a hot date with a 7 year old and I was NOT feeling too great. I grabbed a sea salt caramel Greek pop, waited to see my placement, then hit the road. Hot runs are just draining on my body, and when I finally got home, I was sick in the batroom for a couple hours due to the terrific side effects that often accompany running in the heat.. Booooo.
I don’t know if I would do this race again. There aren’t really many races in July, so that was one of the reasons I picked it. I found myself more annoyed than happy with it, and I read somewhere on one of their emails that they were planning on increasing the field next year. It was already TOO big at the start, so unless they actually have the roads completely closed off, I don’t think I would do it.
They DID give free race pics to the runners. And even though I’m not crazy about them(please note my finish line face-this chic is clearly SPENT, & why do my legs always look terrible in race pics??)..at least they were free!!
Again, thank you all for your kind words and well wishes! You guys ROCK and really made my day!
Ever run a hot race?