Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Nooseneck 18K Recap

I am not really sure what the history of the Nooseneck 18K is.  All I know is it's about seven years old and organized by members of my running group, The Narragansett Running Association. NRA for short.  It also is full of crazy hills that go on for 11.18 miles.

When you hear stories from this race, it does not sound fun.  In fact, I never thought twice about it.  That is, until this year.

BRF#1 and BRF#2 were planning on doing it. They convinced me that it would be fun.  Of course when we are together, we always have fun so what the heck. I'll do it!

The race is held the day after Christmas at 1pm.  You pay $10, which is a donation that becomes prize money and you can participate in a gift exchange if you want also.

There were 100 people running and we knew we would be very close to coming in last.  We asked if we could start about ten minutes early and got the OK.  It just gave us a little piece of mind that we would not be out there at midnight still running and more time at the pub and party after the race.

We walked to the start, hit our Garmin's at the exact same time, and were on our way down a very big hill. The girls informed me that we had to come back up this hill to finish.  Awesome...

The weather was really great for this time of year and I was in a skirt with a short sleeve shirt and light jacket. I knew pretty early on, I would not be needing the jacket for too long.

About a mile in, we saw a man and women with shot guns heading into the woods to go hunting.  They asked if there were more runners coming and we gave the the scoop. That didn't scare me at all... Should have worn neon.

About fifteen minutes after we started running, the lead man passed us. It was Matt Pelletier who would continue to lead and finish in 59:09.

BRF#2 joked with everyone who passed us saying we were in an elite wave.  It was cool to see the leaders for that split second.
Before the start.

We knew mile five was the toughest part of the race. It was up hill a little more than half a mile, on dirt, rocks, roots, basically trail. Not my favorite.

Before we got to that hill, one of us said, "Remember, this is fun!", so I sang, "The hills are alive with the sound of music!"  Of course, that is the only part I know but said we would have to sing it at the top.
Mastering the art of Selfie While Running.

BRF#2 and I ran and walked a bit. BRF#1 ran up the whole way but waited for us at the top.  We sang in our best voices and twirled our running skirts just like Julie Andrews did in the movie.  I wish I had it on video.
Going up...

And up...

Whew, half way!

Once up that hill, it flattened out a bit and it was the easiest part of the race.  People were still coming up behind us and we chatted with each one until they moved on.  Most of the people we knew and that is always nice.

Coming out of the loop and back to the road we started on, I braced myself for the uphill finish.  I have to say, I was tired and sorta felt good in a I know I can finish but when will this misery be over kind of way.  I did feel a little bad because BRF#1 could have been finished already, but we decided to run it together, for fun and that is exactly what we did.

We finished together in 2:06:40. That is an 11:19 pace and we weren't last. I am pretty happy with my splits. You can see where the hills were and the one water stop.

Once back to the car, we freshened up a bit and headed into the pub for some food and a couple drinks.  My Yankee Swap gift is something I will never use and may bring it back next year.

This was one of the toughest races I have ever run but honestly, the girls and I had fun and I am pretty sure I would run anywhere with them.  The next couple days, my legs hurt like hell. Felt like I ran another marathon. Took a few days off while we visited my family in New Jersey.

It was a great way to end the year, although I will get one more run in.  I hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year! I look forward to hearing what you have planned for 2016. I am still working on my goals but will share them once I get it all figured out.

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole