Sunday was race #5 for my #14in2014 – the Newport 10 Miler. This was also the longest distance I’ve ever run in my life and my first attempt at it. Prior to the race, I’d only run 7 miles as part of my training plan.
Going in to this race, I had no time aspirations. My endurance has suffered a lot over the last 6-8 months due to constant injuries. I haven’t been able to run 3 days a week, every week, for at least 3 miles like I was last summer. I’ve been doing a run/walk plan of 4 min run/2 min walk for a while now and was really just going in to this to cover the distance and finish, not win any awards. I’ve still got a massive competitive streak though, so I really just aim not to finish dead last so I don’t beat myself up.
On Saturday, I got a message from a friend of mine I’ve known since college. We’re Facebook friends, but hadn’t seen each other in probably 12 years. Since we were both doing the race, she wanted to meet up before the race so we made plans. It was really great to see her and nice that she finally got to meet Tara. We hung out pre-race and chatted, warmed up, made our portapotty runs and then lined up to start together. This is where that story ends because she is MUCH faster than I am! She got a new PR of 1:22:50. See? Speedy!
All week long I had watched the weather for this race. Normally I don’t obsess this much for a race, but when I knew I’d be out there for more than 2 hours, I reallllly didn’t want it to be in pouring rain. At the beginning of last week it showed somewhere around 60* and 0% chance of rain. By Saturday morning, it showed 30-40% chance of rain straight through 6pm Sunday! We ended up lucking out with the weather, for the most part. At the race start, it was chilly, but not super windy and no rain – just clouds. Around the halfway point of the race the sun even peeked through for maybe 15 minutes or so. It then got cloudier and cloudier, plus the wind started picking up something fierce. By the last mile, the wind was so bad right next to the water that it was almost pushing me backwards! The sprinkles didn’t start until we were leaving, but never really amounted to any rain of any sort until long after we’d gotten home.
Now let’s get down to the meat of the race – the running itself. I went in with my 4/2 plan, but didn’t end up paying attention to it. I decided watching my Garmin for my intervals would cause me to look at my overall time too much, so I decided to try doing a song for song interval (run one whole song, walk one whole song). This worked out pretty well and allowed me to not focus solely on my overall time. Sometimes I did a little less or a little more depending on if there was an uphill or downhill and used it to my advantage.
The course itself was gorgeous. We started out in the parking lot at Fort Adams, headed out onto Ocean Ave and just kept following that beautiful coastline. Once we’d run out the coast, we ended up on Bellevue Ave where the famous mansions are located. After we cruised through some side streets, we finished back inside the actual Fort, which was pretty cool.
They started the race by firing a “cannon”. The DJ then started by playing Follow The Yellow Brick Road as the lead-off song, which I thought was hysterical! I started out OK, but the first mile was almost all uphill which was a quick energy zapper. I wasn’t sure how my stomach would react with this type of distance (plus nerves), so I had only an English muffin with PB and jam, plus a banana and coffee around 4:30am (race start was 8am). I brought my handheld water bottle, which has a small pouch attached, so I stuffed some Shot Bloks in there to use throughout the race. I didn’t really know how to fuel myself properly during the race, so my plan was just to wing it based on various things I’ve read online, plus I knew there would be Gatorade at the mile 6 and 8 water stops.
They had water stops every 2 miles which I thought was great, too. I definitely didn’t drink enough because I never even finished my handheld and it’s not all that big (8 oz maybe?). I had two half cups of Gatorade and 4 of the 6 Shot Bloks. I ended up stopping at the portapotties at miles 4 and 8 so I definitely appreciated that they had them out at all the stops. I’ll definitely need to figure out fueling in the next few weeks considering how fast Tough Mudder is coming up and that it’s probably 10-12 miles (on a mountain!). That will be a big issue if I don’t figure it out.
I definitely enjoyed the scenery on this run. It’s really hard to have a tough run with views like this:
I felt pretty strong through about mile 7 and then sort of hit a wall. Each step seemed tougher and each time I ran seemed shorter and shorter. I think the last 2 miles took more out of me than the whole previous 8 did. The last mile was VERY hard due to the wind pushing us backwards for almost a mile, but then we got to round that corner and finish inside the Fort and it was like heaven being able to just stop moving for a minute. I had been nervous if I slowed too much or quit walking for a few minutes that I wouldn’t beat the 3 hour time limit. As it turns out, my official time was 2:19:52 so I was pretty happy with that.
- Early packet pick-up Friday and Saturday
- A nice quality tshirt, along with a sticker and a few snacks as part of the swag
- Beautiful course
- Water/portapotty stops every 2 miles that remained fully manned and stocked until us slow pokes ran through
- Parking. It’s not really the fault of the organizers, but there is limited parking space at the Fort, so the parking started ½ mile from the start and just kept getting further back the later people got there until people were parking on the streets! Luckily we followed instructions and showed up early so we weren’t terribly far away.
- Vendors/food table at finish. This was a BIG disappointment for me personally. I don’t know if they ran out of food, or didn’t feel like sitting around in the cold wind, but when I finished multiple vendors were already packed up and leaving and there was NO food in sight except some guy selling kettle corn (which I hate). There was not a bagel in sight! Tara told me while she was waiting she saw people getting food and giving it to their kids and stuff. I was so exhausted and emotional that I burst into tears because my legs were cramping as soon as I stood still and I couldn’t even get a freakin’ banana!!
- Disorganized start. They had us all milling around inside the Fort for registrations/packet pick-up as well as portapotties. The start, however, was outside in the Fort parking lot. There was no signage about this so when someone randomly starting shouting through a (not loud enough) megaphone, we all sort of just walked out of the fort, but didn’t know where to go for the start line. Once we got out there you could hear better because the DJ used the PA system to line us up, but it was a slight bit confusing.
- Age groups. Both myself and at least one other person I know were put in the wrong age group because they changed our age. I’m 34, but I was put in the 35-39 age group. I don’t care that the age is wrong, but what if I was a serious competitor and wanted to really see how I did against my peers? I would have no idea because they put me in the wrong bracket. This is really just a minor thing, but still worth mentioning I think.
I would definitely do this race again in the future simply because of how awesome the course was, but I will definitely be working on my fueling procedure and my training.