This was my third year and it did not disappoint!
Saturday was packet pick up at Camire's in Wakefield. I got there just a little after 12 and so did a few of my friends who were running with me. This is super easy pick up, just check off your name, get your number and then head into the store for your shirt. However, this year, we had a choice of a long sleeve tech shirt or pull over fleece jacket! This was a no brainer for me. I have plenty of tech shirts and love to run in them, but how often do you get a fleece jacket! It is so soft and comfy and I will be sporting it until it is too warm here in RI.
A good group of friends were picking up at the same time and it was so fun to chat with them. It was a 50 degree day and I think we were all just so happy to be outside.
Leading up to the race, I got a cold that really slowed me down. I had a sore throat, and really bad headache. I am usually a good sleeper but was up most of the night. I remember looking at the clock at 5am and thinking, "wow, my headache is finally gone." I fell asleep after that and my alarm went off at 6:45.
I got up right away. I knew if I laid there too long, I was not going to move. I gave myself an hour before I had to pick up Elaine.
It seemed chillier than I had expected and went back and forth with whether or not I should change into longer pants. I was wearing capris. After some weather watching, I stuck to what I had on and left.
Parking was easy and as soon as I was out of the truck, Michael was there with a big hug and hello. The last time I saw him was October!
We chatted a few minutes and then headed to the bus. Waiting for the bus, I was wishing I had long pants on. "Oh no" was all I could think.
Once we got to the race start, we saw Michelle and Beth right away. It was so nice to see more familiar faces.
I used the potty, stretched, ate a banana and had some water. Finally my crew was all together and we snapped a couple pics.
Bag drop was the last thing I did. The sun was coming out and I was feeling warmer. I decide to not wear my jacket and hoped for the best.
We all lined up together, but once the gun went off, Elaine, Jenn and Stephanie took off at a faster pace then Mary, Susie and I.
The start of the race was a little chilly and I was happy I kept my gloves. There are a couple of hills in mile one and two, but nothing killer.
There is a water stop at every mile on this course and my friend MB was at the first one. It was nice to see a friendly face.
This is also a turn around, so we were able to see the leaders and our speedier friends pass us by. I really loved that!
At about mile 3, we saw Beth. She was a flagger and telling us to turn right. Again, so awesome to see friends on the course.
We were all feeling pretty good, but I should of used the potty one more time before we started to run. Mary was feeling the same way. Bummer...
Susie, is Mary's sister and I was meeting her for the first time. It was so nice to get to know her. She has been a runner for 35 years and this was her first half marathon. It was Mary's first too. To my surprise, I learned that they both put their names into the NYC marathon lottery. If they get in, it will be their first marathons. I got so excited about the news and I am really hoping they both get in!
We were moving at a pretty easy pace. My legs were feeling a little heavy, and I think my cold and lack of sleep was catching up to me. Somewhere between miles five and six, Mary and I stopped to use the PP. I hated that we had to do this. Susie said she was going to keep moving. We said we would catch up. The next time we saw her was at the finish line. She rocked her first half marathon!
This course is beautiful and the weather was perfect. I was so happy that I stuck with my original outfit. I was not cold or too warm. It was nice to not have layers or a heavy hat. This race is so well supported that you don't even need to bring stuff with you.
Water at every mile and starting at mile six, snacks, gels, and gatorade. On top of that, the wonderful people of NBX were riding around on bikes with baskets full of water and gels. You want for nothing on this course and that is a beautiful thing.
Somewhere in mile nine, I was hitting a wall. In mile ten, I wanted a ride home. I have to thank Mary for keeping me going. She was a star out there and I am so happy I have her to run with. Mile eleven, I knew I was going to make it and I found my groove again. Soon after that, Mary said, "Is that Jenn up ahead?' Wow, it was and I suggested we catch her.
Yeah, that didn't happen.
We were both so happy to see the cones and flagger turning us onto the grass and into the finish. Up ahead of us, we saw our husbands and kids, plus a few friends who finished before us. My Gracie was jumping up and down and then ran out towards me. I grabbed her hand, then George was next to us. I heard so much noise behind us and knew at least one of Mary's kids was with her. We crossed the finish line and I turned around to see that all the kids had followed us into the finish! It was like a mini Rocky Run and it was one of the best moments ever!
I have to say, that I cannot wait until the professional pictures come out. Beth and Susie said they had chills and teared up watching us run in. Those will be pics to buy for sure!
Tell me this doesn't get you every time!
So, I did not have any real goals for this race. Coming off an injury, I basically trained to finish. I was pretty sure I could do it between 2:15 and 2:30. At the Newport Half, I ended up with a new PR of 2:29:15. I am happy to say we ran in with a time of 2:27:31 which is a 2:24 PR for me. (someone check my math) I am happy with this time considering I wasn't really on top of my game. I am also so proud of Mary. She did a great job and I think she really enjoyed her first half marathon. It was a thrill to run it with her!
Overall, this was a great race. It was my first half marathon three years ago and still my most favorite. The bar is set high with this one and not too many people can compete with it. I will be back next year for sure!
Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole