Narragansett Summer Running Festival Half Marathon Race recap

So. About Sunday.
I ran the Narragansett Summer Running Festival Half Marathon. I wasn’t crazy about this race last year. I actually think my blog post said “I HATE THIS RACE.” However…my major complaints of the delayed race start (by a half hour!), having to stop on the roads to allow traffic to pass, and a mid morning start time were all taken care of. They moved the start time to 7:30 am, and re-routed a few of the roads to alleviate police needing to stop runners for traffic. I was a little hesitant that something would happen again with the start time- last year, the race was advertised with a false start time and ended up actually starting a half hour later.

All that aside- There just aren’t a whole lot of races in the month of July at the 13.1 distance. My girlfriend S and I wanted to do a half together in July that we didn’t have to drive 2+ hours to get to and this one was actually the closest to us. It was about an hour away at the beautiful Stonehill College in Easton, MA. (Neither one of us felt like shelling out the extra $$ to venture further and stay overnight in a hotel)

This race also gave runners the option of running the 5k and the 10k. Runner’s could run the shorter distances on Saturday and the half on Sunday. They also did something that I thought was pretty cool- they let the runners pay to stay on campus in the dorm rooms! For those commuting from far away, that seemed like a pretty good option.

S and I have been working really hard all May/June together to hit our goal times. Tempos, 400’s, hills. BAM. We were going to nail it! And we were super excited because the half HAD PACERS. And…not only did they have “pacers”, but they had a 1:30 PACER!! It was planned perfection.

We got to the race really early- About 6:30. We wanted to be able to park, get our shirts, hitthe porta potties…you know the drill, right?
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(Happy smiles before the race!) 

At 7:15 they announced that the start would be delayed a few minutes. And Sunday was hot. The kind of humidity you can feel by 5 am. We were lining up in our corrals and I was sweating already. I had decided to bring the Camelbak because I didn’t know how much the temps were going to spike during the run and I wanted to be prepared. Any minute that it was delayed was putting us into hotter temps; i just wanted to GET GOING. The corrals were pretty well organized. The pacers stood out with their bright shirts and signs, and there were large signs for 6:00/7/8/9/10/11/12 so people could line up accordingly. We found the 1:40 pacer in the front, but no 1:30. Hmmm. We waited a few minutes, then S asked the 1:40 dude if they knew where Mr/Ms 1:30 was at. Mr 1:40 told us that the race never actually had a 1:30 pacer. At that point, I was Suuuuuuper annoyed : We received a BUTT LOAD of emails that clearly stated there would be a 1:30 pacer. S & I had counted on just having to hold someone else’s pace and now we knew we’d have to do it ourselves.

The national anthem was sung by the sweetest young ladies- I forget the name of the group-but they were amazing. I wish I had taken a picture of them because it was awesome! Finally, the race got going at 7:39. S was off like a rocket! I was a little ways behind her, but still felt really good. I felt very confident that I could hit a new PR. Miles 1-6 I was all “everything is awesome!” and “I can do this!”

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I was actually singing Emmett’s song in my damn head, too.

At mile 7 I started to slow. I didn’t think I could hit my goal. The Waaaahmbulance was in full effect. I was hot. there was no shade along the course. Full sun. Full JULY sun. High humidity. Air feeling thick and hard to breathe. I was severely chafing from my Camelbak and I could feel it with every step as the backpack bounced around. Every time I was passing a water station I would take a cup of water and dump it over my head. It helped to cool me down but my neck DID NOT like the water and it probably made the chafing situation worse. Later on, it made for the most painful shower of my entire life.

8-Where is the finish line? Why isn’t it NOW? My “B goal” was going to thrown out, too.

9. Yeah, there are no goals, at all, anymore. I kind of thought that in mile 7, but by 9 I knew that i had to keep chugging along to just freaking finish. I didn’t care that I wasn’t hitting a goal, I just wanted to stop freaking running. Or maybe get run over by a cyclist so that I could stop. (I kid)

10. WHY AM I DOING THIS? I HATE IT. I came up on Shannon and passed her. That was a bad sign that I had slowed so significantly and that my poor friend did too. This was not our day.

Miles 11/12/13.1 took longer than miles 1-10 combined. It included a lap on a track (which was pretty!), and lots of zig zagging along the campus sidewalks. It took so long to get to the finish…which was up a stupid hill. By the time I got there, my jello legs were not happy about a hill. Hills are dumb. Especially at the end of a race. Those hills are real dumb.

I crossed the finish line and was really happy to be freaking DONE. The race also gives you 2 Narragansett beers at the finish line tent, but I passed on that because it was 9:30 am (it felt weird to drink beer that early!) and call me crazy but I didn’t want to drink and drive! Especially after being particularly hot & sweaty…I didn’t want to dehydrate myself even further!

While I waited for my friend to finish, I got this text:

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I had won my AG! So weird. It goes to show you that there is always a silver lining! (Race Wire sends out the texts alerts as soon as you finish your run. The results above don’t disclose the full race finishers. I was the 64/695 overall finisher, 13/380 females, 1/105 AG)

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My poor friend ended up getting really sick from the heat, I felt so bad for her. I’m really glad we were there together. I kept thinking what I would do if I was there solo and I was too sick to get myself home…I would’ve had to call my husband to come and get me & he would also have to bring someone else along to help bring my car back! It made me very thankful that I run the majority of races with friends!

Final thoughts:
-Even if there had been a pacer- I don’t think I could’ve kept the pace on Sunday. It was ridiculously hot and I’m not a fantastic heat/humidity racer. I can’t believe I’m saying this -I would take the wind and rain from the 2015 Boston Marathon over Sunday’s 85-90 temps and air that I can’t breathe. I knew I was ready to hit a 1:30-1:33 time but hot weather racing isn’t easy for me.

-Last year, I ran this race and I was really disappointed with myself. Even though I knew I didn’t do well because of the heat, I was still bummed. This year I was hardly sad AT ALL. I’m really proud of myself for that: It’s very easy to dwell on the bad races, the failed goals, and missed PR’s. I have learned that even the bad races that I don’t meet my goals leave me stronger.  I learn something from every race and move on.  I took a few quiet minutes on Sunday to think about things I liked/disliked about the race, put the memories in a little compartment of my brain, and am moving forwards. Onwards and Upwards, my friends: Never go backwards.

Likes:
-I actually still ended up winning my AG. That’s pretty comical to me! I got a really cute little trophy that I may or may not have carried with me like a security blanket all day Sunday. #youbethejudge

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-I ran with my friend! Our first race of many together!

-My paces weren’t what I wanted, but it ended up being a faster paced long run.

-Race pictures /results were posted immediately. I’ve never run a race that has had the pics out the same day. That was pretty cool! And I love when Race Wire or IResultsLive does the race timing because they are always posted right away.0029568_7668a0be-8432-40e9-a058-b38327c96d85

Dislikes:
-9 minute starting delay

-The fact that I received many emails stating a 1:30 pacer and there wasn’t one. I don’t like false advertising.

-This sounds petty-the water at the finish line was as warm as the 80 degree day. I know it must be hard to chill alot of water..but some coolers or buckets to throw all of those waters in would’ve been a huge thing for a hot runner who needed a bottle of cold, cold water. I’m sure the beers in the beer tent were cool?!

-The mile markers were off. There have been a lot of races that had my splits off and I haven’t run the tangents-but at almost every mile marker, my watch buzzed anywhere from .30-.40 after I passed the mile sign. That’s quite the difference.

-It was hot. I know to expect heat in July. A 7:30 race start is too late. It should have been a 6am start.

I don’t know if I will do this race again. It wasn’t because of the course-I did like the course and all of the adjustments they made. I remembered it being a lot hillier last year. This year, there were a couple of very minor hills, but overall it was fairly flat. Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 11.29.01 AM

The reason that I probably wouldn’t run this one again is because it’s pretty silly to run a race in July. It’s just hard to do. I can do shorter races-but anything beyond a 5k/5 miler is a real challenge in the dead heat of July.

I’m still up in the air for what my next race will be! I have alot in mind but haven’t fully commited (re:registered) for anything besides the Baystate Marathon on October 18th. THAT race is going to be an amazing day, I already know!

Some time later in the week,I’m hoping to nail down a solid post with an update in training for my fall marathon!

Do you like longer races in the heat?
If so, have you hit a PR during one of them?

Last August, I PRd during a hot & hilly half! I was stunned!

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16 thoughts on “Narragansett Summer Running Festival Half Marathon Race recap

  1. Oof- I ran this race too and it was so hot. I had the exact same thought process as you- felt fine at my pace for about 5-6 miles, then the heat set in and I completely abandoned my goals by mile 8. I did not enjoy the last few miles at all. My biggest complaint though was the porto-potties! I waited 20mins for a bathroom for the start, they needed twice as many. I was there really early and waited so long that I would have missed the start if it wasn’t delayed. That said, I really liked the course and overall the race seemed decently organized. Not sure I’d sign up for a July half again either though! It’s a bit of a confidence killer, even though you know the slow time is due to the heat.

  2. Great job! Running in the heat and humidity is so hard, both mentally and physically, and you still managed to win for your age group! I hate race courses that zig zag a ton, especially at the end – so inefficient.

  3. Racing in the summer is never easy! I give you huge credit for doing so well despite the heat. I ran a half in the heat last Sept and it traumatized me I think! Of course I signed up for it again hoping that this time it will be cooler. As much as I hate standing in the cold, the nov-march races are more my style 🙂

  4. I don’t even bother signing up for races in the summer… June-August my race calendar is 100% empty. I despise summer running. It’s already a struggled doing my regular workouts in this heat/humidity, let alone racing! Great job on FINISHING! Honestly, just reading your recap made me feel exhausted… I can only imagine what a tough day it must have been for you!

  5. In the picture with your trophy (Congrats on that, BTW!) it looks like the girl in purple is in your cup. It looks like you won a trophy with a tiny girl in it. ah the heat and humidity! I hate it!

  6. UGH – ANNOYING about the nonexistant 1:30 pacer, and the race starting at that time given the summer heat and humidity. way to power through and still grab that 1st AG prize! i have smuttynose and seacoast halfs in the fall for me! but first, the hilly brewster brew-run (5.2 miles) that starts at 4pm – boy will i be broiling!

  7. Such an awesome job!! I hate late starts in the summer… I ran a half marathon the last weekend in June and they don’t start until 830… I finished around 10 and was DYING because of the heat and humidity. I don’t know how people were able to keep running past that. I don’t mind running in the heat if it’s dry… the humidity is what gets me. I don’t think I’ve actually ever PR’ed in the summer.. haha. Usually I’m too busy stopping mid race guzzling down Gatorade and water to care about my pace. Survival >>>> Everything else. Haha

  8. I think when its hot I am way more likely to give up mentally during a race. But you still did amazing- and an age group win is so awesome! And I love that you were able to stay positive post- race. I think we just need to realize and accept that most really hot races will suck-although you did PR last August so I guess you never know! Also, that is SO annoying that they advertised a 1:30 pacer and didnt have one.

  9. Great job!!! The heat alone was enough to slow you down that much. I’ve been using heat calculators to determine how “off” my pace is when I factor in the beta and it’s amazing how much it slows you down. You ran a great race and it sounds like there was a tough finish! And winning your age group never hurts 🙂

  10. I don’t think I”ve ever outright thought I HATE THIS RACE but I’ve definitely had several WTF races. RnR Chicago last year was one of them. I was like, well, this is anticlimactic! I’m glad you were careful–heat is nothing to play around with, and you still WON THE RACE ;D

  11. There have been a few races I have run where “I HATE THIS RACE” would have been my title. Way to endure! It just goes to show you that your A,B, C, or even Q goal is always better than you think it will be, Miss Age Group Winner on a miserable day! See you at Baystate!

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