Friday was the 44th Blessing of the Fleet, here in Narragansett. The weekend kicks off with a ten mile road race. This was my fourth year running it.
Pretty much every one of my friends runs this race and those that don't, are on the course cheering on the runners. No better way to spend a Friday night than with 3900 of your closest friends.
We have friends that live on the course and they have a Blessing Party every year. We got to their house about four and that is where my kids and Mr. RWM stayed while I ran. Their house is also the last water stop on the course.
I had to walk to the start which was just under a mile away. I picked Mary up on the way and we headed to the start. My friend KB was waiting for me at the school and then we eventually saw all of our friends. I wished my speedier friends a good race and then I lined up with Mary, Elaine, KB and her friend Jen.
The gun went off and it took about two minutes to get to the starting mat. I felt good. This part of the race is crazy crowded. I was focusing on not losing my friends. KB and her friend are pretty speedy and they were gone before we hit the first half mile. I am so proud of how far she has come. She finished her first Blessing in a fantastic time of 1:37:31. Way to go KB!
Before we hit the first mile, I started to get a burning pain in my stomach. I was also struggling to keep up with Mary and Elaine, I am pretty sure because of the pain I was feeling. Around mile two I stopped for water but that didn't really help.
In mile three I really fell behind the girls but knew I was just not feeling good. Off to the right, the clouds looked angry. I knew the rain was coming and soon. We saw lighting and heard thunder.
Running up Knowlesway, a friend of mine said hi and ran with me a bit. It was nice to see a friendly face. We hit mile four and the rain started. I was actually happy about it. It cooled me off and about a half mile later, my stomach pain was gone. Just like that. Gone. I was finally running happy.
I checked my watch and was pretty sure my goal of 1:50 was still doable with a little work. Once you turn off 108, we hit some of my favorite roads to run. I knew I could do well here.
Back on S. Pier Road with only about two miles to go, I slowed down to grab a water. I heard a women yell out to me about following me on FB. I caught up to her when she slowed to a walk and I asked if she was ok. We chatted about marathons (she ran Boston) and ran together. She was very nice and I was thrilled to meet her in person.
A few minutes later, a spectator yelled out, "Nice skirt!". I said thank you and so did the women next to me. We looked at each other and laughed. We were both, not only in skirts, but Skirt Sports skirts. Turns out it was Jess of The Silvah Lining. We had been following each other for a long time and finally, we met, by chance, in person. She was lovely. We talked about our families and running. She is now training for her first marathon, MCM, and I am excited for her.
Before I knew it, I saw my son holding two cups of water and running toward me. I was so happy to see him. He told me he was running with me and off we went. I waved and said hi to all my friends as I ran by but there was no sign of Mr. RWM or Gracie. That is, until I turned the corner. Mr. RWM was running to catch up to me. I pulled over and gave him a kiss.
As George and I were running, he told me about all the fun he was having at the party. He was so excited telling me about how fast the winner, (Matt Pelletier), was when he went by the water stop. He also told me how he got to hand water to BRF#1. He knew that would make me happy. I was thrilled that he enjoyed handing out water to all the runners even in the rain.
I heard my name and saw my neighbors cheering me on. I see them in this spot every year and I look forward to that. The next thing I knew, I was running next to Beth. It was a surprise to see her knowing what her goal was. We chatted a few seconds but I had to pull away. I knew I could make my goal so George and I took off and headed straight to the finish line. When I stopped my watch, it read, 1:50:00. My official time is 1:49:59! Goal met and my first really good race of the year!
I turned around to see Beth coming in behind me. We chatted quickly and then George and I started to walk back up to the party. At this time, he handed me a ring pop. This race does not give medals, so that was my medal. My heart melted.
We ran into KB and her family and I was so happy to see her and hear how awesome her race was.
Back at the party, I put on warm clothes and ate a fantastic cheeseburger. It was so nice to see the last runners rounding the corner for the last half mile and be with so many of my friends. It was a fantastic night and I can't wait until next year. Well, easy to say that now, haahaaha.
I was disappointed that I did not see BRF#1 at the finish line to congratulate her. She got herself a shiny new PR of 1:26;18! Way to go my friend!
The volunteers and spectators were once again fantastic. It is much harder to stand in the rain then run in the rain and I give them a lot of credit for staying out there. I may be a little partial, but the last water stop was my favorite with the cutest kids around.
Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole