Monday, October 12, 2015

Ocean State Rhode Race 1/2 Marathon and Jamestown Classic Gran Fondo

It's October! I haven't posted in awhile because this summer was so hot and humid that I was too sweaty to type! I don't know why it hit me so hard, I've trained for marathons in the Caribbean after all, but the humidity here in Rhode Island was a struggle for me this summer. There were times that I seriously doubted my ability to hydrate and rehydrate after relatively short distances. Needless to say I am very happy with the arrival of fall and all that comes with it! The changing season brings a new energy to running and training. I don't know if it's the need for long sleeves, the great excuse to wear neon, or the Facebook feed full of marathon news, I just know that I get a bounce in my step every year around this time.

A few months ago I decided to curb my training towards pushing my half marathon pace, instead of going for another full. I have never been a particularly fast runner and finally decided to get out of my comfort zone and see what happens with more focus on speed and tempo training.

My brother in law signed up for the Rhode Island Triple Crown half marathon series this summer and the Narragansett race was the last in the series. I was out of town for the Jamestown Half so I didn't qualify for the Triple Crown but wanted to run Narragansett with him. Sunday morning arrived with perfect weather for a run. The course was windy and up and down, which is my favorite type of course, there's always something to focus on and I never get bored. For all the little ups there was a good down and there were plenty of turns to keep me entertained. The pack was small, just over 450 runners, and the front group was just my style. I had a goal time of 1:38, knowing that holding onto a 7:30 pace for that distance was going to be uncomfortable but hopefully doable. From the start I had a pair of leggy guys behind me that I wanted to stay in front of. We did some leap frogging and I put some distance on them when one of them stopped for the Porto at mile 7. (Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go). As I approached mile 10 they caught back up and we exchanged the running equivalent to a passive aggressive high five.

Me- "Oh, you're back."
Them- "Yea we are, you're motivating the shit out of us."
Me- "Yea, ditto, but I think I'm about to get passed!"
Them-"Keep it up, we'll see you at the end."

They took off and I churned through the next couple of miles trying to push negative thoughts out of my head and fatigue out of my legs.
Inner dialog went something like this;
Challenge to overtake people in front. Focus on passing one at a time. Focus on the girl. Ok, not catching that girl, passed another one though. Breath. 25 Mile marker for the marathon, that's 1 and a bit for me, go. 1 to go, push. There's always more left. PUSH. Hey! The fam! Finish strong.

I glanced up at the finish clock as I approached the finish and for a quick oxygen deprived moment I couldn't figure out what it said. 13.820? huh? It wasn't until after I crossed and got through the tent did I process what the clock said. My watch was set to pace and distance, not elapsed time. I finished in 1:38:17 and it felt pretty good. And by pretty good I mean uncomfortable and hard the whole way, just what I wanted.

My brother in law finished, completed his Triple Crown and knocked 10+ minutes off his previous time!

This morning was the 40th Annual Jamestown Classic Bike Race and Gran Fondo. One lap around Conanicut Island, 19 miles. It was my first bike race in a big crowd. Being a runner and just a little stubborn I struggled with the concept of not riding my hardest the whole time. The fast pack pulled away very quickly and I ended up with some stragglers in the second group. I picked up a girl happy to have a free ride around mile 4 and carried her for longer than I was psyched about. We broke apart and I pushed the rest of the ride with two very tall men in orange jerseys. It's completely foreign to me to allow someone else to work hard and push past them at the end. I knew that I should slow down and hang on someone's hip but couldn't figure out how to do it, especially with my pride in the way! I'm sure I worked a hell of a lot harder but beat both guys at the end, and the girl from the beginning of the ride. I finished in 57 minutes and a new game to learn!

All in all it was a beautiful fall weekend and now it is time to enjoy one of the other perks of fall, Pumpkin Beer!!