Monday, April 17, 2017

Race Report: Newport Rhode Race

Disclaimer: I received a free entry to the Newport Rhode Race as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out to review find and write race reviews!

Not my medal.
My first DNF.  Yep, you read that right.   

Did Not (effing) Finish.

I went to Newport optimistic.  I was really looking forward to going with my dad and seeing my coworker Eric in his BQ attempt.  Training since Miami had been going well.  I ran some solid long runs and got back to speed work and strength training.  The goal was never to race Newport but to use it as a training run with some tempo miles at half marathon goal pace.

Then a dull ache started creeping up on me in training.  It was never enough to make me stop running and by the end of the run I usually forgot all about it.  That dull ache lasted about two weeks before turning to sharp pain on a easy run day.  The sharp pain had me stop immediately and start bugging my PT coworkers for advice.  At first we were thinking bursitis but decided on tendinitis.  Either way the recommendation was to cease the activities that cause pain.  I rested.  I stretched.  I iced.  I took ibuprofen.  For a week it hurt so bad I couldn’t even sleep.

Race week it was feeling better.  I wasn’t very confident but I had hopes that I could still get in some good miles at the race.  I had told myself if it hurt, I would stop.  I asked Eric what I should do and he confirmed—stop if it hurts.  He’s a PT.

So what was the worst part about race day?  My 4am wake up call!

Dad picked me up at about 4:50am and we were off to Newport.  I’m not going to lie—sitting in the car was really aggravating my hip/glute.  My whole leg became numb and I was so happy to get out of the car… before sitting again on the shuttle bus to the start.  Luckily, it wasn’t a long ride.  And there was a cute pup on our bus.

We grabbed our numbers and met up with Eric.  He was running the marathon, which started a half hour before the half.  He needed to run a 3:15 to qualify for Boston.  He was either going to play it safe to get the BQ or try to break 3 hours.  He ran Boston two years ago in pain then went in for abdominal surgery a few days later so he’s had his eye on qualifying again and actually running well.

Even though it was 50 degrees, it felt cold.  The race started at the beach and the course lined the coast with a ton of water views—so we knew it could potentially be windy, which it was.  Walking and standing around before the race definitely helped loosen things up so I was feeling pretty good when the gun went off.

The course started with a wind in your face uphill climb.  I put my head down and tucked in with some taller runners and cruised up.  I had started right at the front so there were only a small number of girls around me.  I went through the first mile in 7:36.  It felt very easy and smooth.  I could see the lead girl not far away and the second place girl was only a few strides ahead of me.

About a mile and a half in I noticed that dull ache.  The rolling hills of Newport were a challenge and with every uphill and downhill that ache ached a little more.  My watch beeped 7:08 for mile 2 and 7:08 again for mile 3.  Right where I want to be in Buffalo.  In terms of cardiovascular fitness, I felt great.  Those comfortable 7:08s gave me confidence.  I knew I had a long way to the finish line but I was relaxed and comfortable.  My mind on the other hand was all over the place.  I was running with the second place girl thinking about pushing through the pain and seeing if I could maintain this pace to a good finish and PR.  At the same time I was looking for the next water station or medical support crew.  I remembered a blog post I wrote last week about “Is it worth it?”  I knew what I needed to do.  My watch read 6:52 for mile 4 and 0.13 miles later I came to a quick halt when I saw an aid station.

The volunteers at the mile 4 aid station were awesome.  I later found out they were from the Rhode Island Galloway group.  I asked if there was a shortcut back to the start line and they immediately called for a ride and offered me food, blankets and a warm place to wait.  I was all for the ride but declined the other offers because I wanted to see if my dad would run by while I was waiting!

My dad set up GPS tracking with his RoadId app so I knew when he was getting close.  He was in the zone listening to his music and almost missed me jumping up and down yelling his name.  I later found out something happened to his “Houston Marathon Running Playlist” and it was playing the same three Bruce Springsteen songs on repeat.  He said it was horrible!

I actually picked a good spot to stop because a few minutes later he circled back on the other side of the road.  I was able to tell him I was ok and to keep running.  Right after he passed my ride showed up.  The driver was Susan—who I found out later in the ride is co-owner of Rhode Races and the one in charge of Social Media for the company.  It was fun to meet her and chat about running and racing in Rhode Island.

4.13 miles – 29:41

Average pace – 7:11

Susan dropped me off near the finish.  I grabbed my bag from bag check, threw on my sweats and headed up the hill along the course to the Cliff Walk entrance.  If you’ve never been to Newport, the Cliff Walk is awesome and you get to see all the famous mansions.  I found a bench to sit on and hung out for about an hour watching the runners go by, admiring the pretty daffodils and listening to the waves.

When I knew my dad was getting close to finishing, I went back down the hill to all the action.  I got a slice of pizza and found a spot right next to the finish line to wait.  It seemed like my dad’s tracking was slowing down so I started to get worried that he was not having a good day.  He finished but it wasn’t pretty.  He was having stomach issues and hurt himself when he took a misstep in a pothole around mile 9 but he finished—and it was his 10th half marathon finish!

Not long after my dad finished, Eric came blazing in and crossed the line in 3:02:58.  He was pumped.  It was awesome to watch and he looked great.

Did you run the Newport Rhode Race? Head on over to and post your race review!

Up next:

Piggy Trot
Osterville, MA
May 21, 2017

Buffalo Half Marathon
Buffalo, NY
May 28, 2017
Use code 2017-BibRave-JS for $5 off registration!

Until then, I’m going to get in the pool and try to kick this injury.

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