Today I ran my first ever beach/trail race – the Resolution 5K Beach & Trail Race. To say it was a true test of my fitness would be an understatement. Not only have I not run regularly for probably 2 months due to injuries (outside of a couple of seasonal races), but I’ve never run in that type of environment. I’ve definitely lost a lot of my breathing fitness/endurance. It was an absolute ego check!
This was also the smallest 5K I’ve ever participated in. I don’t know how many runners there were this year, but I looked at the results from last year and there was somewhere around only 130 runners. It definitely felt that small, too.
It was a gorgeous, sunny winter day in Narragansett, RI. The race was to be held at Scarborough State Beach and then we ran through the trails around the Black Point Fishing Area. Let’s remember though, regardless of the sun, that it’s January in Rhode Island. It was a super windy, very chilly day. The wind shows 11mph, but I’m pretty sure there were gusts close to 20mph at times. I got pushed back a time or two when we were running into the wind.
The start time was 10am. I think we got there around 9:15am. I wanted to make sure I had enough time to register because this was literally a last minute decision for me. I didn’t pre-register (as I have for every other race I’ve ever run) but figured at $15 for on-site registration it wasn’t a bad price to pay to be able to decide the night before. Even as I was watching the Patriots destroy the Colts I wasn’t sure I still wanted to do it, but I packed all my stuff up the night before anyway.
We timed it perfectly because we got there just before the larger groups of people arrived and started lining up for their bibs. I was signed up, bibbed and on the way to the porta-pottie in 5 minutes. They seemed to be really organized for a smaller race. I told Tara after the race that it felt a bit like we were crashing a family reunion. Everyone there seemed to know everybody else and we didn’t know anybody!
I got my stretching done about 15 min prior to the start and then 10:00 came and I was curious why we weren’t even lining up on the beach yet. Then a man with a megaphone ended up telling us to follow him and we went down on the beach finally. We had to do a straight run down the beach to the rocks on one end, turn around and come back down the beach past the start, keep going up through the trail to the main road (maybe 100 yards of blessed pavement!!) and then back through the trail until we reached the end and ran back along the beach back to the start/finish.
It was a little difficult being at the back of the pack with not too many people around trying to figure out where to go. I had to pay careful attention to the little orange flags they had planted in the beach and trail. It was enough, though, that I didn’t get lost. Once we got to the trail, it was a muddy nightmare. It had poured here all day yesterday and had been rainy on and off on Friday as well. You could definitely tell it had rained recently because we had to run through ankle deep puddles that went the entire span across the trail in some areas. Who knew we had signed up for a mud run?!? Luckily, I had worn my brand spanking new trail shoes and they worked wonders on keeping me stable in the mud. No sliding around and great grip on these puppies!
Let me tell you, my feet were awfully cold and wet for about the last 1.5 miles. Not good times, but the shoes definitely helped. They didn’t seem to retain the water and make my feet really heavy which I appreciated, because my legs already felt like lead.
Trail running is definitely not easy as you have to be hyperaware of where you’re stepping. We had the same issue on the beach too, because it was littered with rocks throughout the majority of it.
I had to do a walk/run approach to the race, so it definitely took me longer to finish than normal road racing. I don’t know my “official” time (if there is one – no chips), but my Garmin came in at 44:23. Not terrible considering that I did a good amount of walking…more than I had wanted to unfortunately.
I’m proud of myself for going WAY out of my comfort zone. I did something I’ve never done, with a risk of coming in dead last due to the lack of people, and I did it in possibly one of the worst months to run a race in New England. Race 1 of my #14in2014 is on the books!