Sunday, October 16, 2011

Newport Half Marathon Oct 16 2011

This is how it broke down:
Chip time 1:56:42 = first half below 2 hours,
Average mile split 8:55,
296 of 1475 females in the race,
98 of 514 females in my age group.

So this race I was flying solo, totally unsupported. I had to go gear check and everything for the first time ever.

I woke up at 5:20 and was out the door at 5:50 on my way to Newport. I knew where I was going to park within 2 or so miles. My plan was to look at the map and directions for the final approach. This might have worked if it was not dark outside and if the race guys had printed it on something other than dark purple. Anyway I was able to "feel" my way to the approved parking lot and catch the shuttle to the start area with no wrong turns.

The wind and the sand were blowing down at the beach front start. I went through my regular routine. The temps were in the high 50s and I thought I might need a long sleeve over my short sleeve. I checked my bag with my post-race fuel and a jacket in case it never warmed up. I kept the long sleeve on and needed it until we were all pressed together at the start.  Then off went the long sleeve and around my waist it went.  That left my pink 2011 runDisney Mickey shirt in full view.  I was hoping Mickey would give me a boost.  I thought I heard a couple of nice shirt comments, but no go Mickey's.

I had lined up pretty far forward. It was a mass start that headed up the hill into town at about the 1/3 mile mark. I had been warned about the mob pushing its way up the hill. I managed just fine and hung with the speed of the pack, although it was faster than I would run the rest of the race.

The first 6 or so miles were into the wind which was blowing between 15 to 30 miles an hour. I just kept  telling myself that it was better for it to be in our faces for the first half rather than the second half. A lady at the warm-up area had sand gators on over her shoes.  She knew something that very few of the rest of us seemed to know. There is sand at the beach! Blowing sand, drifting sand, sand that wants to get in your shoes...
One of the reasons that I was drawn to the Newport race was the beauty of the route. Well I did not spend much time looking around. I was focussed on getting to the next mile marker.  When we got out to the 2 miles along the ocean's edge the wind was whipping up whitecaps. It was a little windy to truly enjoy running along the water. Although it was beautiful.

The funniest thing I saw along the route was a Segway tour of the Newport Mansions. We were all chugging along around the 8-9 mile mark and a group of five Segways came along in the other direction clearly on a tour. I know I was not the only one who thought about jumping on one. At that point I was really focused on just getting back to the beach and the finish line.

"The Marble House is just one of the Bellevue Avenue "Summer Cottages" featured on the course."  Yah...I missed the mansions.  All I saw was the driveways!

When we finally made the last turn headed back down the start hill and along the beach I was thrilled to be finished!

Check out the hair!  Still windy at the finish.  Mickey really wants my medal!

This was the view beyond the half finish.
The full racers headed off to the east to the beaches beyond this hill.
I tried hanging to the side and watching for a co-worker who was continuing on to do the full marathon. But my body would only tolerate that for so long and she might have been ahead of me. So I grabbed some food and beverage and went to stand in the bag check line. This was my first race that offered chicken noodle soup at the finish, which was amazing. The bag check line was not. It took at least 20-30 minutes to get my bag back. Then it was a quick shuttle ride back to my car. Standing in line for my bag killed me. I was doing okay up until that point. When I got back to the car I could really feel that my back was tight. I got on the road and made my way home in about 45 minutes. I was in no mood for a difficult drive and luckily I was able to make it without too much pain.

I will probably race this race again next year, although there were alot of other great races this weekend this year.  That's a year away so who knows!

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