Race #4 of my #14in2014 was the Jamestown Bridge 10K in Jamestown, RI on 4/6/14. I couldn’t have asked for better weather for this race. It was a bit on the chilly side, but bright, bright sunshine and only a slight breeze – perfect for running on a bridge! This race was also the polar opposite of what I had experienced the weekend before in the Run The Reservoir 5K.
The race start was at 9:00am, but we planned on getting there around 7:30 because the only parking available was along Route 1A on the street. We didn’t want to have to park a mile away and walk that far after running 6 miles – which I had never attempted before.
Luckily, Tara knew the area where we needed to go, so we got there no problem and got a really close parking spot. Once we determined we were far enough away as not to get towed or ticketed, we headed over to the Park & Ride where the tents and portapotties were set up. We just people watched for a bit and tried to stay warm. It ended up that I dressed perfectly for my run, but unfortunately I was cold the whole time leading up to the race! I really need to be better about wearing more layers I can shed, or else we need to wait in the car sometimes.
About 15 minutes out from the start, I started warming up and hit the portapotty line one more time. There was a 5K starting at the same time as us, but on the opposite side of the bridge. They had been bused over by shuttles prior to us lining up. While we were waiting to start, they didn’t make any announcements or anything so people started wondering what was going on. Then they said the 5K had started. OK, but what about us? We didn’t end up starting until almost 9:15 according to my phone. By then, I’d lost my signal on my Garmin and was having trouble getting it back. I literally got it back right as they told us to start going.
I started out feeling strong. I decided I would run as long as I felt I could (lately I’ve been doing 4 min run/2 min walk). The MC had warned us to save energy because the first mile was downhill, so don’t burn ourselves out. I took his advice to heart and just kept a slow steady pace. I didn’t stop to walk until after I’d reached a mile (about 10:30 I believe). This was where we hit the huge incline leading to the top of the bridge. I tried to jog up it a little, but I wanted to conserve my energy to run when I could on flatter ground (or downhill). Once I hit the peak, I did speed up a bit on the downhill, but still not by much because I knew I still had a ways to go.
Once I reached the bottom of the bridge on the other side, we turned into the neighborhood portion of the run. It was really nice seeing people out on their lawns cheering us on. The volunteers did a great job with the water stops and pointing us in the right directions. This course was VERY well marked and I never had any instance where I thought I might get lost.
After a couple of miles through the town, we turned back on to the bridge for the second killer incline. I did the same thing as I did the first time – walked up to the peak, ran quickly downhill. The issue with this one was that nice downhill mile we had at the beginning was uphill for the last mile back! I ran as long and as often as I could, but I walked a substantial portion of the end of the race. I didn’t feel too bad though, because every single person in view in front of me was walking as well. It was a seriously killer ending to a very hilly race. I liked seeing Tara on the bridge overpass when I was coming in at the end. Lots of people were up there cheering either as spectators or walking back over to the food tent after finishing the race.
What I didn’t realize about this race, that Tara said she heard an announcement about before the start, was that it was a gun-timed race. I was kind of annoyed about this because I didn’t know. The bibs had timing chips on them. We also received numerous notifications that we could sign up for a website that would text real time updates about us to our friends or family. I had signed Tara up to receive texts by filling in my name and bib # and it said she was all set. I didn’t even notice when we started if there was a timing mat when we crossed, but I do remember one when we finished.
Unfortunately, I started towards the back of the pack because I’m slow and don’t want to get in the way, which means precious seconds were eaten up after the gun went off until I could start running. What sucks even more is I’m not 100% on my time because I forgot to stop BOTH my Garmin and Runkeeper app when I finished. So my “official” time is 1:20:16. I assume I probably could have been just under 1:20, but who knows. At least it’s an automatic PR since it’s my first 10K!
One last thing I have to point out is that they put out the biggest, most diverse food spread after the race. There was pizza, bagels, half a dozen different kind of little bags of chips, granola bars, cookies, peanuts and a bunch of other stuff I can’t even remember right now. I came in pretty close to the very last person and there was still TONS of food left and Tara said people were stuffing it in their coats, too. That’s pretty amazing. I’ve been to other races where I’m lucky if there is a banana left when I finish.
I would definitely recommend this race. They were highly organized, well marked and lots of super helpful volunteers directing us at every turn. I can’t say if I would do this race again because of those crazy hills, but I am a special type of crazy so I suppose I’d challenge myself to do it again just to beat my own time.