Race recap: Naraganssett Half Marathon

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The morning of the race was gorgeous. As I left my house, I was actually wishing that I had a sweatshirt on. The sky was clear, and the sun was shining beautifully.

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.
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After arriving, I immediately hit the porta potties and was happy to see this:

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After last weeks race where there were way too few-this was a welcome sight.

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!
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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:
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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☺️
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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:

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If you average in the temperatures, I would’ve been 1:05-1:45 minutes quicker per a mile..so that does help me feel a little better…

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!!

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Again, thank you all for your kind words and well wishes! You guys ROCK and really made my day!

Ever run a hot race?

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31 thoughts on “Race recap: Naraganssett Half Marathon

  1. This sounds like a pretty poorly organized race. We can train perfectly for our goal race but there are always the known unknowns – hot/humid weather and bad organization (cops stopping a race to let a car pass is pretty crappy) – that we can’t plan for. You did a great job – and you are only going to get faster. Find the next race and plan for it all coming together.

  2. It is a reminder of how much there is to organizing a race – on a FB group someone was complaining because a couple of local areas were capping races through the year. The issue was available volunteers, times for shutting roads, and so on.

    Others chimed in and reminded him that there are reasons that make sense … and I think all of the mistakes you encountered are part of that! I have been lucky that the Wineglass Marathon group has a hand in most of the races in my area, so they end up well organized and staffed (except my first half, where they had to delay the start 10 minutes and open up the school where the race started/ended due to too few porta-potties!

    And I love the Stonehill campus and area … grew up around the corner in Stoughton so always like thatregion.

    • Capping is key for larger races that have smaller roads!
      Most of my local races like Baystate Marathon, or the Nashua races are very well organized.
      Stonehill was so lovely… The campus was so large that I couldn’t find my car
      For awhile! At least it gave me
      Exploring time!:)

  3. Chica you look strong in the finishing photo and you friend is right time focus on the next race where I KNOW you’ll hit your time goal! And you’ll also hit that time goal that gets you huz to join the darkside and run with you as well haha lol πŸ™‚ I have run a hot and steamy race the Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K a few years back. What usually is a race with temps in the mid 70’s ended up having temps in the 80’s with wicked high humidity. Pardon the pun but I had a total meltdown in that race despite a strong training cycle. By mile three my legs where cramping and I had to make a porta-potty stop and by miles 6-7 I was needing walk breaks. But you live and learn

    • Thanks my friend! And yes that is fantastic motivation for me to get a 1:23…I would LOVE to run with him!!!:)
      That race sounds just terrible. Humidity is really a killer! I’ve had races with porta potty breaks too-they are so stinky!(haha literally!!) thanks for your positivity-it’s much needed and always appreciated!!:)

  4. Sorry you didn’t meat your goal but Congrats on finishing in hard conditions.
    I just wrote a blog post about nude races that are supposed to be the latest fad in beating the heat. After running (fully clothed) in hot weather, what do you think about that? My blog at http://runwright.net

  5. Ahhhh.. I can see why you were so upset: delays, unkept promises, things you weren’t in control of like embulances, etc. THat being said, I think you did great. Your friend is awesome and she gave you a really valuable advice. You should definitely hold on to her, but you already know that πŸ˜‰ I ran a hot race in the mountains, I really thought I was gonna faint. And I’m pretty sure that’s the same what’s gonna happen during my Spartan Beast in a week and a half. All I can do is to come ready: camelpak, protection and plenty of gels hehe πŸ˜€ ❀ xoxo

  6. Hey dude, you’re allowed to have a bad race! You’re running a race in the dead heat of summer, and that is gonna be slower, and it sounds like a couple of things during this race may have knocked you off your game! You will do great next time!

  7. Summer races can be so tough- especially when you can’t get fluids the way you are used to. But I do think that tough runs like that will only make you a stronger runner and you will be able to hit your goal time for a fall race!

  8. I am getting back into running. I love 13.1. I hope to run a 1:45 in the near future. My best is 1:56. I am just doing 5K’s for now. After two kiddos, it has been tough “bouncing” back. Totally related, and unrelated and personal, what sports bra do you wear and LOVE? I do not look like a “typical” runner (as you have mentioned in your posts) and I need some support (for the ladies!).
    Thanks for any info and I love reading your blog. It is inspirational to us getting back on our feet.
    Lisa

    • I honestly have a hard time with sports bras-they always end up chafing me and it drives me insane. I have a few moving comfort ones that are pretty good, and an under armour one that I Like…none that I LOVE though. I hate spending money on a sports bra so I always try to get them on sale!! I think I might bite the bullet and try a lululemon or a fancy cwx…both are sooo expensive!!
      You’re welcome and thanks so much for your kind words!!:)

  9. Yuck – that doesn’t sound like a great race. I wouldn’t like the open roads and having to stop. The heat and humidity is such a killer too. I don’t know about you last night, but it was 88% humidity when I ran. I called it after 2.5 miles out of my scheduled 4 because I just couldn’t breathe!

  10. I know I told you already, but I will say it again–you did awesome! Honestly heat+humidity is the absolute worst combo for running a race. I had a similar experience in my current PR half. Yes, I got a PR, but I didn’t hit my goal time and felt sick sick sick from the heat+humidity+dehydration. And you should see my finish line photo! lol It just looks painful!

    Your friend is so right, focus on your next race! There is just no use for dwelling in the past, learn from it and move on. πŸ™‚ Also, definitely keep in mind the effect heat/humidity has on your performance and maybe aim for your September half to be your goal half! Oh and for the record, I think your legs look great πŸ™‚

  11. I ran the same race and I gotta say it was the worst race experience ever!

    We entered the campus around 7am! Nice and early only to get stuck in traffic waiting to park our car. We sat in line for over 30 minutes waiting in a never ending line. I was disappointed to see that the parking lot was behind the starting line! I don’t think they were ready to handle the traffic for parking.

    When we were lining up for the start of the half they didn’t have the pace markers like I am used to seeing. I sort of guessed where the 8:30 min people were and well I was wrong! By the time we hit the dirt path I realized I was behind a large group of walkers! There was no way around them and everyone behind me was trying to pass. It became very frustrating! I felt like I was in rush hour traffic! Horrible!

    By the time we got off the dirt path and people started to thin out I decided to just enjoy the run and not worry about breaking any records. I kept my pace around 8:40 – 9 which is pretty slow for me but I knew it would be hot and I didn’t want to push myself too much. Most of the race was on shady back roads and it was a pleasant experience.

    Then we hit the campus again and the shade was gone! The last 3 miles were awful! The sun was killing me and I suffered the rest of the way to the finish line. I finished just under 2 hours! Slowest half ever! I was expecting 1:40 to 1:45 but given the slow start and the heat towards the end I guess it wasn’t so bad.

    We got back in our car to leave and sat in traffic again waiting to get out. Horrible..

    • You know hag, I was driving to the race and wondered if they would have pace markers-I completely forgot about that until now. Also, they didn’t have clear markings of what mile you were at-unless I missed EVERY SIMGLE one of them…I didn’t see any besides #10!!

      Did you see the GU? I’m really curious to see if anybody got it!

      I didn’t get stuck in traffic coming in or out, but if saw the traffic when I came in-I came via another side road instead of cutting across campus like a lot people did, I’m thinking this is where you got stuck at!!

      I can’t believe there was a group of walkers!! I’ve never seen that a running race!! That’s crazy! I also wish the starting line was NOT where cars have to pass through. Cool concept of having it on campus, but perhaps they should look at moving it on a main road instead.

      • I saw mile markers along the way! I don’t remember if there was one at every mile but I saw them.. Most of the time I prefer not to see them.

        GU I don’t use those products I like to stay natural πŸ™‚ But I did see a couple of water stations that had some sort of glucose supplement. I think it was the powerbar brand, but I dont remember exactly.

        Well I don’t think they intended to walk πŸ™‚ They were running but slowed down and walked for a while.

      • I just realized how un-spellchecked my response to you was…dam auto correct!!
        I have a love/hate with mile markers. In half’s I don’t mind them, but in fulls-they can bother me! I need some sort of fuel to keep me going during runs, what do you use instead?
        Yes, I did see a couple water stops that had the “Gatorade” looking liquids in the cups, but I never saw the packets of GU.

  12. In heat like that people just can’t race well I think, or really most people. My last 10k was hot and although it was disappointing, I also realized I had done the best I could. I agree that direct sunlight makes heat a million times worse. Summer races for me need adjusted expectations! This is also why I picked a late nov marathon! You really did great considering everything. 10 degrees cooler and some shade and you would have more than met your goal.

    • Thanks Michele! You give great pep talks and I always love your responses!:)
      November is usually a great month to race! I did a nov race last year and I froze! It happened to be the coldest day of the month with raging winds and a severe temp drop!

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