Monday, April 7, 2014

Big River Half Marathon

West Greenwich, RI
Saturday, April 5, 2014

1:35:05.  7th place overall.  2nd place in age group for race; 1st for series.  Full results here.  

A few days earlier I was actually considering skipping this race.  I know, sacrilege!  But I still feel weak on the mend from a nasty stomach virus and hadn’t run more than 5 miles at a shot in the past 2+ weeks.  I knew I would have been miserable and sulking if I skipped the series finale, so just make the best of it.
Cool customized bib that I picked up at registration.

Miles 1 - 4:  After helping Muddy and Matthew setup the first water stop, followed by a very short warm-up, it was time to go.  Lined up about the 3rd row back, and consciously told myself not to run out after the leaders like I did at Brrr-lingame.  The siren went off, and I had a momentarily panicked moment as seemingly scads of people were passing me.  It's OK, R-E-L-A-X.  Entered the woods and single-track about 20th place and gradually started passing runners.  Most of the runners were easy enough to get around; just wait for a straight stretch and go for it.  However, about 1+ miles in, it took me a while to get around a train of about 6-7 runners being led by Sandals; had to do it 1-2 runners at a time.  There were some serious rivers and puddles to cross here!  Any early pussy-footing around them soon gave in to a "full speed ahead" mentality.
Did I mention some of the trails were a tad WET?!
(Photo by Scott Mason)
At maybe 2 miles in, I had passed about 10 runners total and could occasionally see Seth up ahead in the distance, just past "Green Scarf" (who after the race introduced himself as Brandon).  I had the urge to speed up to try to catch Seth, but kept reminding myself to run my own race lest I run out of steam early.  Another mile or so, just after I passed Brandon, I see Seth stopped in the trail ahead.  No trail markers, and three possible routes.  Seth went straight, I went left, and we vowed to yell to each other.  Turns out left and straight merged after an uphill, and Seth was now confident the course was correct.  Thanks to Seth, as I was lost.  I entered the first water station just behind Seth and Brandon, took some Gatorade from Matthew, got a GU and was off.

Miles 5 - 8:  Leaving the water station, we had a long downhill which I gazelled past Brandon and Seth, but told Seth he'd catch up with me again soon.  A number of good climbs and fast downhills here, still peppered with river and puddle crossings and plenty of muck.  I led most of the 4 or so miles here, but I could hear Seth and Brandon just behind me most of the way.  I pulled in first to the second water stop (unmanned), but took the longest time there (reminiscent of how slow my transitions are in tris) as I got another GU and plenty to drink.
Can't understand how my singlet got so muddy today! :)
Not sure if Jana was thrilled with me throwing this in the hamper.

Miles 9 - Finish:  Leaving the second water stop, I followed pretty close behind Seth, but it seemed that Brandon was putting some distance on us.  What goes around comes around and as the two of us caught back up to Brandon, he took a slight wrong turn, Seth yelled to him and Brandon rejoined the correct trail between the two of us, with Seth now leading again.  Seth was the one opening up the gap now, and I considered passing Brandon but then hesitated.  Finally at another muddy puddle crossing, I went right into the water and passed Brandon.  By the time we crossed New London Turnpike, I couldn't see Seth anymore and was momentarily confused at the first unmarked trail intersection just after NLT.  I guessed correctly to go left and only saw Seth from time to time, as he threw on the afterburners.  I was getting really tired now on the final few twisty miles, and was afraid Brandon would re-take me any minute, but I somehow held on to the end for a 7th place finish.
FiveK and "B":  see what awesome prizes you missed out on!
(One was Matthew's; one mine)
No cooldown for me.  I was spent.  Good catching up with all of the rest of the WTAC gang, and a really nice finale to the series.  While WTAC won the series, the kudos go to Mike G and his family for all his efforts in staging this series.


  1. Great race considering you're still on the mend! Thanks for pulling me along for the middle miles - I imagine it would have been a very different race if I didn't have anyone else to push me.

  2. Sounds like you had an exciting race. Glad you felt well enough to give it a shot. You did awesome!!

  3. Well done!! Glad you sucked it up and dug into the 'stamina of old people' and ended the series with a great race AND a sweet pint glass!

  4. Congrats on winning the series and running a great finale! Now on to tri season!