Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Race Weekend Part Two

George and I were up at 6am on Saturday, and we were exhausted by the afternoon.  However, we were invited to a birthday party for our friends son who was turning 5.  Mr. RWM and Gracie were already there, and we thought about skipping it, but in the end we went.  It was fun, but we were the first to leave.

Once we got home and finally showered, we sat a little bit, had dinner and he was asleep before his head hit the pillow.  Me, thinking it was 9pm announced to Mr. RWM that I was going to bed as I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.  It was only 8:30 but I didn't care.  I slept great!

I did not have to be at the Firm Man until 10am.  Judy, our swimmer was hoping to finish in 30 minutes and Alan, our cyclist, was hoping to finish in about 3 hours.  He thought he would be in by 11am.

Because this was a local race, and not too early in the morning, I had the family drop me off.  They had planned to be at the finish anyway.  No sense in having two cars at the same spot or making the lady who just ran 13 miles drive herself home.
Leaving the house and ready to go!

I was a little nervous about the transition and where I needed to be.  All was settled when I got there and saw just how small this race was.  No cyclists were in yet but other relay runners were there and ready to go.  I talked to a couple of them who were all pretty energized.  The music and excitement was fantastic and the crowd was pretty good at this area.

It was so cool to see the first guy ride on in.  There was no one even near him and I am pretty sure he took the whole thing.  I also got to see the first women, which was just as cool.  The first couple relays started to come in and this is what I really wanted to see.

I was unsure how the hand off of our timing chip would go, and as easy as it all was, I was still happy to see it go down before it was my turn.

While waiting, the sun was beating down on us.  It was hot and not much of a breeze.  I was really hoping for cooler conditions, but it was not meant to be.

I saw Alan waving at me and bam he was here!  I grabbed the timing chip and took off.  I was feeling pretty good.  I was well rested and nothing was hurting me.

In the first two miles, people who had swam and biked passed me.  I felt a little discourage by that.  I know I shouldn't be. They trained hard to get to where they were.  I am sure, way more than me, but I was the one who slept in and got a ride there.  No swim, no bike, just a nice 13.1 mile run.

It was easy for negative thoughts to creep into my head and so early on, because the FirmMan has a strict no head phones policy.  Now, I don't always run with music, in fact, I ran the Nike Half Marathon without any music at all.  But there were a few difference.

First, I had my music with me at Nike, just didn't use it.  There were 25,000 runners, bands, a choir, DJ, a chocolate mile, etc.  Never a dull moment!

With less than 400 participants, I knew I would be running alone for most of this race.

Somewhere between the end of mile two and the beginning of mile three, I was approaching a flagger showing us where to turn.  What caught my attention was the fact that he did not have a flag.  He was directing us with a tennis racket. This cracked me up!

As I got closer, I realize I knew him.  His name is Herb and he is about 85 years old.  I know him from my gym but have not seen him the whole summer, as I just kept my workouts to outside.

I stopped, of course, and said, "I know you!" and he said, "Luxe Gym!" He asked if I was doing the whole thing and I said, for the first time of the day, "No, I am JUST running,"  He pointed out that I wasn't "just" doing anything.  I so enjoyed seeing him and I am pretty sure I smiled for at least the next mile.  I also lost about 2 minutes there.

This race as really well supported.  Which is one of the reasons I decided to sign up for a race as opposed to doing my 13 miles on my own.  Plus, when you run that far, it is nice to walk away with a shirt or medal.  Right?  I plan to map out some races to go along with my long runs.  I am sure that will be better for me.

So, around mile 4, there was a turn around.  At this spot, the woman who directed us, was hula hooping!  It was so cool to see.  I don't know how long she was able to keep it up, but as far as I could tell, she was doing it for every person that passed by.  I told her thanks because I really needed that pick me up.  I was questioning my 2:30 goal at this point.

In mile five, a man came up to me and asked why I was so dressed up?  What?  Really?  He liked my skirt but especially liked my earrings. He made me laugh.  I told him that I wasn't going to win anything so I might as well look cute coming across the finish line.  He said I looked good and moved on.  I'll take it!

Now, I don't think my earrings were too big.  They certainty weren't heavy, but he was not the only one to make a comment.  I was definitely being entertained.  Who needs music?

From here the route took us to Middle Bridge Road.  There was a nice down hill.  This was also, to me, the longest stretch of road.  It seemed to go on forever and at some point there would be a turn around and we would have to come back the same way.

It was also the most crowded.  I even saw people I knew.  The first was Kyra the owner of Women Run.  You know, based on my pictures, I love this company. We said hi to each other but we were going in opposite directions and she looked great!  No time to talk.
My and Kyra!  Wish I was standing up straight but still love this picture.

I also ran into Dave from my running club.  He was doing the whole tri.  Amazing.  I am guessing he is late 50's.  He encouraged me, which I loved and then he moved on. Passed again!

Right before I saw Kyra, I noticed my arm was hurting.  I was chafing for the first time ever!  I tried to ignore it, but that didn't work. I had chap stick with me and tried to turn that into body glide, but no, it did not work.  I went back to ignoring it.
Yeah, that's my arm. Gross, I know.

From across the road, coming up the other direction, I heard, "Hey Earrings! Looking good!"  Same guy I saw in mile five.  Made me smile again.

At the turn around, finally, there were two women working this water stop.  They were full of energy and smiles.  As I was approaching, they were yelling out what they had to offer.  I was ecstatic when they said vaseline!  I stopped put some on my arm, they handed me a tissue to wipe my hands and M and M's. Best water stop ever!

Back up was much faster, or so it seemed.  I was way past the half way point now and the last 3 miles I just ran, were shady.  Not cool, but no sun beating down on me.

However, once I hit the last 5k point, the sun was back out.  Looking at my watch, which I started late in all the excitement, I wasn't sure if I was going to make my 2:30 goal.  I ran on.

For all the issues I had with my back leading up to this race, I have to say, I felt great.  I knew I was going to finish and when I crossed over 1A, I was smiling.

Now the end of this race was less than a quarter mile run on the beach.  I was not happy about this, as I knew it would be hard. I just didn't know how hard.

Once my feet hit the sand, I was unsteady. I kept running at what had to be my slowest pace in the whole race.  This was disappointing as I usually like to run in strong.  I definitely lost a minute or two here.

The crowd was good on the beach and as I ran by everyone, I was looking for Mr. RWM and the kids. I told them I would be in at 1:30 and, well, it was 1:30.  I never saw them.  I did see, my team though and that was awesome.  They hung around, basically all day to see me in and congratulate each other.  They held out their hands for high-fives and I ran into the finish.

The clock showed total time, including the swim and the bike, so I wasn't sure if I met my goal or hit a PR.  Did I mention my Garmin froze up and it was stuck on the real time.  Yeah, that happened.

I sat and talked to Alan and Judy for a while. They had good races. Judy finished in 36:12 and Alan in 3:05:04.  They had fun and will do it again.  I thanked them for hanging around and seeing me in.  Judy, swam in the morning and then volunteered and Alan was there early, saw Judy swim, then he biked 56 miles and then waited for me. They had a very long day and I really appreciated seeing them.

After about 10 minutes, Mr. RWM and the kids were there.  You could tell, Mr. RWM was surprised to see me.  When I told him 1:30, he thought a few minutes here or there would be fine. It wasn't and you could tell he felt really bad.  No worries, this won't be the last race.

I said my good-by's to my team and headed to the food. It was an awesome spread.  From there, I had a quick 10 minute massage.  Nice!

Before leaving, I checked my time.  I didn't even come close to 2:30 but I did get a one minute PR. My finish time was 2:36:39.  Not only did I not hit my goal, but if I am reading the results right, I was the last runner of a relay to come in.  Let me clarify, I was not the last to leave the transition area, just the last to come into the finish.   I'm not gonna lie.  I am disappointed, still am.

I have said a million times since talking with new runners and runners who call themselves slow, that the odds of you being last are pretty slim. There is always someone slower.  Well, on Sunday, that someone was me.  It's not my last race so I will just learn from it and move on. And, I am not discounting my PR. I am proud of it and it is a step in the right direction.  I will get that 2:30!

I felt good. I was happy that I was able to do this and I would love to be part of a relay team again. I also had a nice compliment from Mr. RWM.  He said I didn't look as bad as he thought I would. Ahh, honey, you say the sweetest things.

All in all, it was a great weekend.  I loved both of my races and the people I ran them with.  I saw some amazing people on Sunday that truly inspired me.  Anyone who can swim, bike and run that distance is a rock star to me.  Especially the ones who passed me on the run course.

I am about to embark on miles over 13.  A first for me.  I am not gonna lie, I am a little freaked out but I will do it!

I hope you are enjoying your week. Any advice for really long runs and how you stayed fueled and hydrated?

Run Strong, Think Big! ~ Nicole


  1. 2:36 is still a respectable time! Especially considering you ran the day before (which is totally impressive, BTW). Good luck with your marathon training!

    1. Thanks, yeah, I don't usually run before a big race like that.

      Thank you!

  2. Way to PR!! Sounds like a nice event:)

  3. That's still a really great time! I understand your disappointment, though. Hang in there, and you'll get it next time! Good luck with your continued training!

  4. You are amazing!! 2:30 willcome. Til then, enjoy your success... millions of people wish they could go a mile and you're kicking 13.1 miles in the butt!

    1. Thanks! You are so right! I am out there and doing my best. It can only get better from here.

  5. Hi! I just found your blog through Sweat Pink. I am interested in meeting people from RI and nearby. I understand your dissapointment but sounds like you ran a great race. I am also striving for a sub 2:30 half. My PR is 2:31:21 (so close!) Hopefully the Surftown half marathon this weekend brings me a new PR!

    1. Hi, so great to "meet" you! I not doing Surftown but really wanted to! I would love to meet you at race! If you are interested in a fun obstacle course race I am putting a team together for the Women's Run race at Fort Adams on October 6. Head to their web site and check it out and let me know. I will give you all the info you need to join our team and a code for $10 off. What other races do you have coming up?