Well hello there strangers! As anticipated it’s been a hell of a week so I haven’t had any time to check in here let alone grocery shop, see friends, sleep – you name it, but thankfully we’re getting to the home stretch. Aside from the November Project, working, sleeping routine, I did have a great weekend running the Newport Half Marathon so let’s focus on the good stuff. I signed up for this race a few weeks ago because a number of my friends were running either their first full marathon or half marathon and I was planning on going to cheer regardless. I figured it would be a good way to get in a faster long run, and I love Newport, Rhode Island so it was a win-win.
Chris, Tony, Christine and I headed out Saturday afternoon and went straight to the “expo” to get our bibs. I’ve been spoiled with running mostly big city races where expos are in a full convention center, but this was a bare bones “pitch a tent in a parking lot” type of expo. Nothing wrong with that, just different, but you could still pick up the essential fuel or last minute race gear. We went straight from the expo to dinner in downtown Newport and of course made time for some family portraits with a beautiful backdrop.
We woke up around 6:00 a.m. Sunday to head for the parking lot where we’d take shuttles to the race start. Despite the gridlock traffic, they were really organized with the buses and we got to the start in plenty of time. I didn’t really have race day nerves but I did have an aggressive 1:38 goal in mind, which would be a 5 minute PR since the Run to Remember half last spring. I ran three miles to warm up and scooted right in to the corral with Tony.
A few minutes later the starting gun went off and we crossed the start just seconds later – one definite positive of a smaller race. The miles ticked off quickly, ranging from 7:20 – 7:40 per mile. Around mile three I started to lose feeling in my foot, something I’ve dealt with on and off since I started training to BQ. I haven’t found a better way to describe it other than my foot feels floppy as if I can’t press off from stable ground. I’ve read about foot strike hemolysis, which is the closest thing I’ve found to describe what I think might be happening, but basically this really impacts my foot turnover and speed since I don’t feel like I have full control over my feet. Weird, I know. So between that and an incredibly tight right calf, I had a feeling quickly that 1:38 wasn’t going to be in reach but I still wanted to PR and enjoy the race.
I’m thankful Tony stayed with me since I probably would have gotten down on myself quickly without him pointing things out along the beautiful course. Our miles slowed closer to 7:40 – 7:55 and I made it a goal not to let any mile go above 8:00 since I knew I could hold that pace and didn’t want to give in to something more comfortable. The middle miles went by quickly, and we picked up the pace for the last few with (what felt like) a full sprint to the finish, coming in at 1:41, a two minute PR.
We quickly chugged some water and made a game plan to find Chris, who was somewhere out on the marathon course. We promised him we would be between 20 – 24 to help support him through those tough miles, but there was no other way to get out on the course but run it. We ran about three miles to meet Chris and ended up running the rest of the race with him.
I’m so proud of him pushing through the wall and finishing with an incredible time, especially for his first marathon. Even though it didn’t go exactly the way he planned, he had a smile on his within minutes of finishing and I’m so thankful we were able to be there with him across the finish line. Congrats, Chris!
It was such a wonderful weekend doing the thing I love most with many of the people I love most. I’ll carry the good memories with me as I leave on Friday for a 10 day work trip whirlwind.
Thank god for running to keep me sane! Have a great night, friends.