The Citizen's Bank Pell Bridge Run has been on my calendar for the last four years. I starting running in 2011 and that was also the first year of this race. I knew I had to do it. I loved every minute of that first time and knew I would go back every year that I could. Sunday, I ran it for the fourth time.
You can read here about the first time I ran this race. I think I have come a long way as a runner and a blogger.
The race is early. I did not sleep great but got up with no trouble. I had coffee and headed out the door to meet Elaine, KB and Tyra. We carpooled over. As soon as we hit Newport, we were in a long line of traffic trying to park. We had plenty of time though and got a good space.
We got the first shuttle we saw. It was so nice and warm on the bus. We got dropped off at the same spot we have the last four years but they had the coffee and PP's in an access road to the left. We headed in there, saw some friends and then lined up. They had signs posted for your pace, including walkers.
Once everyone was lined up, they had us walk out of the access road, to the main road and line up again, no signs there. This, I feel did not work well. Once we finally got in what we thought was our pace group, we noticed that a women with a cane was in front of us. Obviously, the line up to line up again method did not work. Although I think it would have if they had us line up backwards in the first spot and had the walkers out of that area first, followed by the 12 minute mile pace people, then the 11, etc. Or, just had us line up on the main road with the signs there.
We were running for fun and it was pretty crowded, so we decided to stay where we were and just work our way around everyone. This took more work than we had anticipated.
It took us 2:19 to get to the mat and then we started running. Well, dodging walkers was more like it. This happened until we were through the tolls and heading up the hill. The first year I ran this race, I think there were just under 1000 people. This year, there were 3500. I am happy to see that a race I love has succeeded year after year.
Tyra lined up ahead of us and was running at a faster pace. Elaine, KB and I stayed together for the most part. KB has been dealing with a hamstring issue and it made an appearance during the race. It was fun to talk and laugh and watch the sun come up while we were running. Once we got up and over we pulled to the side for pictures and waited for KB to catch up. We got some great shots and started running again.
This is now a downhill followed by a pretty flat course. As we started approaching the exit ramp, I looked at my watch. My course PR for this race was 45:02. I wanted to get rid of that two seconds, but I was pretty sure I would be able to get more than that. I had five minutes to do it and asked Elaine if she thought it was possible. Not being able to see the finish, we had some doubts. However, one turn and there it was. I knew I would get a new course PR and maybe even a new PR for the distance.
I ran into the finish smiling, Tyra taking pictures and Elaine doing a jump-up, spin move that was just awesome!
KB was right behind us. We saw some friends and chatted. Got a bagel, snapped some more pictures and checked our times. My official time was 43:09, just 8 second off my PR. It was, in fact a course PR. Imagine what my time would have been if I did not stop on the bridge to take pictures! It's all good tough, this is my fun race of the year and I was just so happy to be there again and with such good friends.
I would like to thank the race directors and volunteers for putting together such a fantastic race once again. I will see you in 2015!
Now, for the first time in two years, I do not have a race on my calendar. I have an idea of what next year might look like but I am not registered for anything yet. I actually felt relived when I first realized this. In 2013, I ran 19 races including a marathon. This year, I ran 16 including a half ironman. My family is tired and I am tired. I plan to approach the next year with a smarter schedule and learn the word, "No."
Don't worry, I will race but I don't need one every month. I am going to think about what is most important to me and my family and put my schedule together based on that.
I am feeling confident that 2015 will be a fun and successful running year.
How far in advance do you plan out your races?
Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole
*most photos credited to Elaine