Don't blink. Just run.

Where training meets fandom. And everything in between.

Newport 10 Mile Race Recap

on April 29, 2014

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!

 

The two of us heading out of the Fort to line up

 

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.

 

From race website

 

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.

 

 

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.

 

 

 

 

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27 responses to “Newport 10 Mile Race Recap

  1. amyc08 says:

    Great recap! It is hard to have a tough run on a course like that! I saw that my age was wrong on my results, but didn’t think much of it since it didn’t change my group. I hadn’t thought about it, so that’s a bummer. I hope you filled out the survey because you have a lot of good feedback for the organizers and what they CAN control. 🙂

    • Courtney says:

      I did fill out the survey. I was glad they sent it so I had a chance to let them know about those things. I find it weird so many ages were wrong. LOL

  2. What a beautiful course! I will have to consider this race for next year. 🙂

    Glad to see you had a good race, despite the less than stellar accommodations at the end. I think the same group that organizes this race is doing the Pell Bridge too. I feel like that one has gotten better over the years, though. I hope to see you there!

    • Courtney says:

      You definitely should! It was so gorgeous, I can’t even imagine how nice it would be in better weather.

      I’m 90% that I’m signing up for the Pell Bridge run. It will be great to see you again!

  3. Congrats, girl! Tackling new distances – especially on race day – can be tough, but it sounds like you did awesome!

  4. Nice recap and beautiful course! Maybe they’ll be more organized next year! And you set a distance PR to boot! Great job and you can only improve from here!

  5. Congrats on finishing your first ten-mile race! It’s great that you want to run the race again despite the number of cons. Hopefully the organizers read the recaps and make improvements accordingly. About the post race food… It’s just not right for parents to feed their kids breakfast using the food that is there for runners that haven’t crossed the finish line yet!

  6. piratebobcat says:

    Looks like a cool place to run! Scenic and historic! Congrats on your first 10 miler!!!!!!

    • Courtney says:

      Definitely historic. We went on a tour of the actual Fort last fall and it was totally awesome. I love Newport. It’s such an amazing, old, beautiful city to just wander around for hours.

      Thanks!!

  7. Wow love that course! It would definitely take away from the pain of running. I’m terrible at hill running so I would’ve struggled, but you did awesome!!

    • Courtney says:

      It definitely does help! I can’t even imagine how nice it would have been on a sunny, warmer day! The hills were tough, but luckily the majority of the course was flat.

  8. Nice race and good job adding a new distance! I had a similar struggle with the threat of rain and fueling issues at my race, too. I guess it all comes down to experience, right? Glad your weather held out but that’s a bummer about no food at the end. I would be frustrated to see spectators taking the food, unless it was specifically mentioned they were welcome to it – but really, who wants a stale 1/4 bagel anyway?

    • Courtney says:

      Thanks! And yes, you can only get better with more experience. Everyone reacts differently depending on their body, so you can’t really just read up on stuff and expect the same results which is why I just kind of winged it.

  9. Kerrie says:

    Congrats! 🙂 Looks lovely, and glad you caught up with your friend!

  10. Congrats on your first 10-miler! I found the fueling thing takes a little playing around with to figure (honestly I’m still working on it!). I’ll definitely see you there next year 🙂

  11. Congrats on your race! New distances rock! Fueling is weird and so different for everyone. I can barely eat anything before a race and I usually use candy corns or swedish fish. Shot blocks have a weird consistency to me.

    • Courtney says:

      I don’t mind the consistency of the Bloks (which is good for me because I have a texture “thing” with food). I love those two things, so maybe I could try those in the future.

  12. Congrats on finishing the race, and doing the 10 miles! It sounds awesome!

  13. Great report! Though I have to say, i’m a bit jealous, I picked up bibs on Friday and didn’t get snacks OR stickers?! And definitely agree about hitting that wall – I felt great through mile 7. Then it was like I had been hit by a truck for the last couple miles! That headwind in the final mile made me want to cry!

  14. The race looks gorgeous, but I read on another blog that parking was a pain too.

  15. Thanks for the vicarious experience, loved the recap! And I would have burst into tears at the snack situation too, and the age group thing sound really hosed. Guess they have a few things to work on! But glad you finished and did well and came in well under the time limit!

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