Thursday, May 24, 2012

Blackstone Valley Half Marathon Pawtucket RI

Start/Finish line photo pre-race - Blackstone Valley Half Marathon

On Sunday May 20th I ran my sixth half marathon, if I have not forgotten any along the way.  It was 15-20 degrees warmer than it had been just two weeks prior for my first marathon.  Boy am I glad that day was cooler.  I set out to run this race with a new plan and a new weapon, my Garmin watch given to me by my family as a Mother’s Day present.  My plan was to watch my heart rate and my pace splits, not every other stride, but occasionally.  I was going to try and be more consistent and not overextend early and die later.  I did a fairly good job at this.

We started near the river by Slater Mill.

The sun was strong!

The course was beautiful!  The first 2.5 miles were through downtown and into the warehouse district.  They had placed ribbon cherry blossoms in the trees.  It took me I don’t know how many trees to realize that that was what the pink ribbon was all about.  Then we headed into a residential zone west of the river valley.  After about mile 5 we were down along the river still headed north before dashing across the river for the haul back south to the city.  As the sun moved further overhead, and the temps climbed, we were protected by the tree cover and the river valley itself.  But let me tell you when we left the valley and headed back onto the city streets with 2.5 miles to go the heat was brutal.  We were running from one side of the street to the other just to run in the shadow of the warehouses.  The final turn with about a mile to go put us straight into the wind with the finish line off in the distance.  It was a test in how am I going to get there?  I made it one foot after the other and crossed that line in front of city hall!  With my water and Poweraid in hand I headed for a short wall in the shade to rehydrate and recover. 

The organizers did a phenomenal job.  The only thing I wish could have been different was the start time given the heat.  Half an hour or an hour earlier would have made a huge difference.  It started at 8 am.  Maybe races in late May just should start earlier.  I felt sorry for the 5K runners who were going off at 11 am.  I was glad to be in my car on the way home at that point.  My husband said the thermometer in the sun was reading 82 degrees when I finished.   I figure that is pretty much what it was out there on the asphalt of the city streets although it might have been warmer.  There weren’t any clouds in the sky!

Bling around my neck and my new Garmin on my wrist!
It was a great day and I gave it all I had!

I did manage to PR but only by a minute.  I finished in 1:55.  I was the 17th woman in my age group (40s).  There were 85 women in their 40s preregistered out of a field of 600 men & woman.  I thought that was an impressive number of women in their 40s!  The course support was great.  There were plenty of aid stations.  I only took water on the course choosing to carry my own Clif Shot Blocks.  I was the 153 person to cross the line so I hope the supplies lasted for everyone, but based on what I saw I would say it was a grand success!  I love it when a local race organizer succeeds with flying colors. 

I love being able to scan my bib and get my results right there on site!

I had really wanted to do this race last year, but passed because it was so close to the Cox Providence race.  This year I decided I was doing both and registered early.  I find that if I don’t register early I often skip races all together.  Note to race organizers give me the race discount incentives to register early or don’t get me at all.  Last year I volunteered at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence because I did not think I wanted to do it one week after a local 10 miler and once I decided I wanted to there was no way I was paying the expo price so volunteering it was.  Which is something that I recommend all racers do to give a little back and gain the perspective that comes with being on the other side of the race.  

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