Sunday, September 22, 2013

Surftown Half Marathon in Misquamicut, RI

Oh boy, Surftown, I have waited for you. The first year it just never happened due to lack of training and funding. I had just started AmeriCorps VISTA and was 100% broke and sick off of a summer of full-time waitressing. Last year, I was told by my physical therapist a week before the race that I had to sit it out, after forking over the $50 or whatever to register. This year? Oh.....Kimmy  and I conquered this race. FINALLY.

This half marathon takes place at Misquamicut State Beach in Westerly, RI and winds along the beachfront properties, out to Watch Hill, and back. It is a fast and flat course that offers beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean and has been on my list for a couple years now. My Nana lives in Mystic, CT so this course is accessible because I can sleep over 30 minutes away while visiting family!

The most remarkable part of the race was the start - and it was not good. In fact, this was the very worst start to a race I have ever had. There were 1,800 runners registered for the 13.1 and another 400 registered for the 5K. There aren't too many paths leading to the ocean, and our commute took twice as long as it should have. By the time we found parking we had to run 1/2 a mile to the registration tables, run 1/2 a mile back to the car, then 1/2 a mile back to the starting line. The race start had been pushed back 15 minutes and we still crossed the start line 4 1/2 minutes late! We actually had to walk the first bit because the 5K runners were already lined up our course and would not move out of our way when we tried to jogged through. Never, ever, have I had to travel so far from parking to packet pick-up, never have I encountered such disorganized parking, and never have I missed the start gun.

Lucky for us, our goal was to have fun and enjoy the race - how disappointed we would have been if we were planning on running for time! We grabbed our iPods as the course passed the car and decided to be obnoxious and talk over our music the entire way through. Looking back, we were probably very annoying to all those we passed. Considering that we started so far back, we passed many other runners and didn't shut up for a second of the over two hours of running. One man remarked, "Man you guys make this look so easy, I can't believe you're still talking!" We smiled and laughed - it was a nice reminder of how far we have come since our first half marathon in 2010.

Despite our goal to "take it easy" we still finished in 2:06:16 - faster than our first, and faster than I wanted to go! We went a little crazy with a sprint that made me want to vomit for the last .1 or .2 but it was well worth the fun. Our morning ended with free beer on the beach of an inlet. The race directors won our favor with all the SWAG - awesome ladies tech tee, fun medal, and HMF bag to boot!

After consuming our calories, we moved over to the ocean and did some yoga and gentle stretching. Oh man - if you have never done yoga IN the ocean after a race, you are missing out! It was such an incredible healing feeling and I felt so whole.

Next week: Rugged Maniac! I must be crazy.....

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Bridge of Flowers 10K Race Recap (8/10/13)

So some of you may have noticed that I have been absent in the blog world lately....especially my running bud! But with the abrupt decision to move into a new place for September 1st, my writing was definitely been put on the back burner. Since my last update I am now an unemployed Mount Holyoke student living in a beautiful new place and am only 19 days away from my first marathon. Wow!

Now - excuse me while I time travel and share a brief recap from the 2013 Bridge of Flowers 10K.  

My running friend and I decided to run this race in a very relaxed manner. This race is only run for tradition's sake, because nobody would run a 10K up a mountain in early August because it's fun. Ok, maybe that's an exaggeration - only 90% of the runners are seen walking up the hill. The atmosphere is intoxicatingly friendly and the beauty of Shelburne Falls is awe-inspiring. I mean, look at this view!

Kimmy and I have each done this race three times now. The monster hill comes in around mile 2.5(ish) and last year she ran all the way up the ridiculous hill. I hated her for it and decided it would always be impossible for me. As we approached the beast, I noticed that I was feeling a little confident. Cocky, maybe? But I set my one goal for the race: conquer the hill. I'm happy to say that I ran the entire way up! It must have to do with marathon training, as KB was not too keen on my brilliant idea this year. This was old news for my marathon veteran running partner.

Heading down, we talked, laughed, and coasted together - reminiscing about years past. We were serious about taking the race easy....or so we thought. Turns out we ran this 10K course in 1:00:44 - a course PR for me. Whaaat?! Crazy things happen when you have fun with friends. It's fun to dream of what may have happened if we actually aimed for time. Here's a finish line photo to prove that we did indeed run this course. As usual, we sprinted the last tenth of a mile. We changed things up and agreed to hold our arms up in victory as we crossed the finish. We ran so fast, this is all the photographers caught...

Look at that stance, man was I into that sprint! We had so much fun, and I know that I felt a renewal in my running energy. I feel like there is a learning curve that all runners must go through - especially when you start as an adult. I have just passed the anniversary of my first ever race (Smith Fall Fit 5K in September 2009) and have learned so much in the past four years. It has taken me FOUR YEARS to understand how to have fun in a competitive world. Better late than never!

Next up: Race Recap of the Surftown Half Marathon ... my white whale.