Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Amica Half Marathon (Race Recap)

Newport, RI
Sunday, October 16
Half Marathon #45
State #37
Weather - Chilly and VERY windy at the start, mostly sunny

We actually arrived a few minutes early in Providence for the Amica half marathon in Newport. We met the other L outside (thank you so much for picking us up!) and we decided to have dinner in Providence before driving in to Newport, which was about 45 minutes away.

Yes, we did manage to find an Applebee’s. Usual dinner of Spinach dip and the three cheese chicken penne. But no dessert or beer this time. The long day was catching up to me and I was getting tired. The drive to the hotel was a bit confusing and I was happy to not be driving. We actually got a call from the hotel wanting to know if we were going to check in. It was only 9:30. Arrived at the hotel a few minutes later, and wow, the Pineapple Inn? So awesome.

L and I had to take quick showers before bed. I was too exhausted to really care about getting stuff ready for the morning, so I just set my alarm for a few minutes earlier and headed to be around 10:40. I slept awesome. And no, I did not have any weird race related dreams.

Didn’t take any extra time to get ready with a third person. The other L is pretty much on our level of expert traveledness (yes, it’s a word…) and we were out the door as planned at 6:15. We were only about 10 minutes from where we needed to park to catch the shuttles to get to the start line. What we didn’t know is how far the shuttles were taking us, so we figured we would rather get there earlier rather than later. It was only a few miles down the road, and we found the place to pick up our packets pretty easily.

Beach by the start/finish area
Got our bibs and shirts (FYI, a youth large is NOT the same as an adult small. I pretty much got a ¾ sleeve race shirt). We still had a few minutes until we were to meet up with Dave for our Maniac/Fanatic/50 Stater picture. Trip to the bathroom and then we wandered around (freezing) trying to find the meeting spot.

I finally saw someone in a Maniac shirt. Who recognized the other L from Hartford the day before. I tried texting Dave, but didn’t get an answer. We managed to find everyone and did some group shots on the beach. Sorta made up for missing the last 3-4 because I a). Can’t tell time and b). Can’t read a map.

Thanks Dave Mari for the picture! (Me, Tall L, L)
After the picture we went back inside to avoid the cold and wind. With 20 minutes to the start we figured we should drop our bag and use the bathroom. SUPER LONG LINES for both. We were actually crossing the line to the start about 10 minutes after the gun went off. Only an issue because the awesome Pineapple Inn refused to give us a late checkout and we were supposed to be out by 11:00 am…

Obviously one of the least congested starts I’ve ever been in, because not too many people start 10 minutes late. The other L immediately took off, and L and I started the run. I was anticipating a pretty tough hilly course similar to Baltimore. I was also hoping that once we started running that it wouldn’t be so cold.

Both L's heading toward the start
Eerily similar to yesterday, my calves tightened up to a frightening level and I found myself walking (on FLAT) less than 5 minutes into the race. Again, L hadn’t seen me pull over, but I simply couldn’t move fast enough to tell her. Stop on the side, do some calf stretching and quick thumb massage on my calves. Like yesterday, I start walking a few feet and it doesn’t feel any better. Stop. More stretching, and a little bit of cursing and annoyance. Walk again for about 2 minutes, and then I decide I need to at least do a slow jog up really the only big hill of the race. Especially since there were photographers RIGHT.THERE.

L was waiting for me at the top, and I briefly explained to her how I was feeling. Before we even hit the first mile marker I was already walking again because my calves were aching. I told L that she maybe wanted to consider running ahead and that her and the other L could go shower and come back and get me after since I was pretty sure I was going to have to walk the race and we wouldn’t be able to get back in time for check out.

Around mile 1

Decided to try a jog again after the mile marker, and was VERY relieved that it was not as bad as earlier, so maybe I would be ok after all. And yes, L stayed with me. (Isn’t she rad?) So the first part of the course is residential and wow, it was amazing. I was actually kinda happy to be moving slowly because I was able to get some good pictures. The first aid station was at about mile 2.5 and near the harbor. Longest aid station EVER with 5 tables of water but no Gatorade. Took my first GU. (I had forgotten my Luna bar and was already hungry).

We drove over that bridge, but luckily didn't have to run over it

Jogged a bit and saw Dave (struggling), he got some pictures of us:

Then we wished him luck and we were on our way. Small hill, and I found myself briefly walking again right before the 3rd mile marker. 

From about that point on, I felt pretty decent the rest of the race. Definitely not top notch, but also not in pain OR feeling like I was further injuring myself by continuing to run. The next section of the course was a weird loop near the marina through a parking lot. 

Just past mile 4
Aid stations on both sides (again, water only L) got us at 4.0 and about 4.5, where L stopped to use the bathroom. I didn’t stop but used the time to walk and stretch my legs a bit. 

Got a pretty good picture of her coming up behind me.

Miles 5-6 were on a winding road and a tour bus was driving right next to us. It was pretty annoying. 

Then, we get to the ocean views. SO amazing. Really reminded me a lot of the views in Bermuda. Only it was like 50 degrees and not 100. It was still really windy, but it was at our backs, so it pushed me a bit and I was feeling decent. Aid station around the halfway mark and I took my 2nd GU. I normally wouldn’t have done my GU so early, but on the course map it looked like there were 5 GU stations, so I figured I’d pick another one up later in the race. Not the case. Volunteers continually told me they didn’t have any, but maybe the next station had some? Sigh.

Check. Out. The. View.
I don’t remember too much about this section of the course (already), but there was constantly something to look at. Either the ocean or insanely huge homes or changing leaves. The course was one of the most beautiful I’ve ever run (and I’ve run quite a few). 

I thought more than once that I was pretty bummed I wasn’t feeling my best during this run and that I couldn’t concentrate more on the course. If I ever have the chance… I’d totally do this one again. Aid station somewhere around mile 8. They had tons of fun signs out:

Crowd support minimal for most of this section of the race, but most of the homes were on HUGE plots of land, so the Rhode Island version of “out in the country” I assume. Even though we had started so late, we were still in a decent sized field of runners, so I never felt alone or “off pace.” Excellent. Aid station around mile 9.5, and actually still feeling pretty good. I get to this point of a race and I’m usually pretty optimistic that I will, in fact, finish.

Run through MORE amazing neighborhoods with MORE amazing tree-lined streets with the leaves changing. Have I mentioned that the course was stunning (and definitely deserving of being ranked the 4th best marathon by “Runner’s World”)?

Unsure where this is on the course...
Nothing eventful during the last 5k of the race. Still never came across any GU, didn’t spill my Gatorade, didn’t lose my hat in the wind. And, most notably, did NOT have to stop and walk. Although L did stop somewhere around mile 11.5 to use the bathroom, so I will admit I did walk to wait for her to catch up, and took some non-blurry pictures:

I felt REALLY good with the slight downhill from that point on, and we met up with the starting part of the race around mile 12 and I knew it was literally, all downhill from there. Like yesterday, mile 12-13 was our fastest of the race, only this time I didn’t die in the chute and actually did a pretty decent push to the finish.

Extremely pleased and surprised that I finished faster than yesterday (and the course even measured slightly longer). I’m obviously WAY off from my times from last year (15-20 minutes on average). But honestly, speed no longer really matters all that much, and even if I am not “feeling” great, eliminating the pressure of a PR makes a race that much better. Well. That AND running with L.

The course profile is pretty intimidating, but it was not at all as bad as I expected. The hills were few and far between and definitely not the caliber of the ones that I experienced in Baltimore (or in April in New Hampshire or last Thanksgiving in Atlanta). The race? Seriously awesome. If you have the chance to do this one, DO IT.

Bib #4167
Official Time - 2:22:46
Official Pace - 10:54
Overall Place - 1856/2411
Gender Place - 1052/1475
Division Place - 367/514
Garmin Time - 2:22:49
Garmin Distance - 13.23 miles
Garmin Pace - 10:48
Mile 1 - 12:13 (boo)
Mile 2 - 10:18
Mile 3 - 11:02
Mile 4 - 10:47
Mile 5- 11:56 (bathroom)
Mile 6 - 10:22
Mile 7 - 10:41
Mile 8 - 10:03
Mile 9 - 10:30
Mile 10 - 10:58
Mile 11 - 10:21
Mile 12 - 11:52 (bathroom)
Mile 13 - 9:39
Mile 13.1 - 8:32 (!!!)

Bottle of water IMMEDIATELY after crossing the line (another +1 for this race), and get our awesome finisher medal complete with a fancy ribbon. Text L to find out where she is, she is in a stupid long line to get our bags, so we cycle through the food line, only they are out of pizza L We have to catch a shuttle BACK to the car. Only we get to the general vicinity and wander around for 5ish minutes because we can’t find the car…

We get a few miles from the hotel, already late for check out and realize none of us grabbed the room key. Oops. Front desk gives us a ridiculously hard time about getting a new key. We speed pack and are seriously out the door in TWO minutes. TWO. The other L is a brilliant mind and had me call the YMCA (minutes from the race finish). Anyone can use the showers for $3. Best $3 I ever spent. While there, managed to have a quick conversation with another woman (who also raced) who had previously stayed at the Pineapple Inn and had also had a less than stellar stay with them.

Leaving the Pineapple Inn...
Starving, we headed to Ruby Tuesday’s for lunch. Slowest server in the WORLD, but I had a delicious salad and burger sliders/fries for lunch. So tasty. We were really short on time, and I still needed to get J his souvenir, but we only had time to stop at a few places and I actually couldn’t find anything L

Leaving the Newport area
The drive to Hartford was over 2 hours and I really wish I had brought my Garmin. 25 different instructions from the iPhone just to get us there! Dropped off the rental car and parted ways with L so we could get our boarding passes. 80ish minutes until departure. (Again, L, you were a lifesaver! AND, it was super fun traveling with you, if you ever need to crash with us again, you know our schedule J). And PS to the other B… come with us next time!!

Security lines long and annoying. Still had an hour after getting through, so bathroom stop AND finally a chance to have a coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts. We don’t have them in Colorado but everyone else seems like them. And for good reason! I had a caramel coconut latte and it was cheaper than Sbux and they didn’t charge me for my additional flavors. Come to Colorado, DD.

Our flight was delayed a few minutes. Only an issue because it was too early to eat dinner and we only originally had an hour layover in Chicago. Mildly annoying. We push back about 25 minutes late, cutting our layover to about 30 minutes, which since we have A boarding on Southwest for the connection really means we have 5-10 minutes (at best) to use the bathroom, get food, AND get to the gate. L obviously managed to sit next to the only morbidly obese passenger and again, tried to sleep since she had to go to work right from the airport (I don’t know HOW she does it). I was once again super productive and finished the rest of my homework I had brought with me.


  1. Wow, what a beautiful course! Bummer on the stupid hotel and L having to sit next to an overlapper. Sweet outfits. I wonder how many skirts you and L have sold for RunningSkirts?

  2. woo- I'm going to be famous now with all this mentioning on the recap, jk. Glad to spend a race with you ladies- hopefully the next one is just as beautiful!

  3. Did you go over both the Newport and Jamestown bridges? Driving over the Newport Bridge is pretty awesome.

    I grew up 40 minutes east of Newport (in New Bedford, MA). Newport is really a beautiful area (New Bedford is just alright - we're a lower-middle class fishing town).

    That medal looks awesome and I love smallish races. I totally want to do this one.

  4. I am simply in awe of the race you run on top of all the traveling!

  5. looks like a beautiful course and the medal is awwesome!! and ya'll are too cute in your matching outfits!

  6. A back-to-back weekend? Been a while since one of those? Looks beautiful. So how many states do you have left?

  7. Great job and what a beautiful course!

    FYI, we have DD in Colorado Springs!

  8. That sounds like a great race! Love your pics too! New reader here but we are friends on dailymile :)

  9. Great job! Loved the new skirt! Especially loved the pic on the beach with the cool clouds. I am in a slump. You have inspired me to register for something...

  10. This race looks AWESOME!! I'm ready to have a second home over in Rhode Island, how pretty!

    Okay- the Pineapple Inn ... I am totally googling it right now!

  11. So cute to see the twins morph into triplets! Wouldn't it be fun to have a whole gaggle of runners wearing the same awsome running outfits?

    As always, looking forward to the next exciting adventure!

  12. Wow, congratulations on back-to-back racing. Very impressive.

    expert traveledness

    Loved that. So loved that. I've realized I have very little patience for people with no travel experience.


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