March 5, 2016
After approximately eight years in Matunuck, this year the race moved to Misquamicut State Beach. This fit well not only for the proximity, but also as a tune up race for my spring marathon. I'll give an abbreviated version here, especially as I'm over a week late in posting.
The start: The race listed a 9:15am start, so when runners started walking en masse to the start at 9:04am, I wasn't sure if this was really the start or runners just lining up early. I asked an official standing nearby, who said it was going to start any minute and I better rush to get to the starting line (about 100 yards from where I was). Quickly shed my running jacket and long pants to Jana, and hustled to the start. Kathy (RD) told me it would be at least another 5 minutes, so rather than shiver in my shorts and thin shirt (it was 28 and cloudy with a light breeze), I did a few strides and short jogs. After what seemed like an inordinate wait, we were off.
|A number of WTAC runners in attendance. Notably absent is the ailing Seth.|
What is Tom pointing to, and where is his WTAC garb?
(mix of pics from Jana and TRIMOM FB posting)
Miles 1 - 5: The start was very odd, where you immediately take a 90-degree right turn right off the starting line. I was chatting with Chris Fox briefly and after about 1/10 of a mile, you take a 180-degree turn in the complete opposite direction (that's how 180 degree turns work), plus you're confined between metal guardrails. Chris was clearly not impressed. Hopefully that part of the race can be removed in future years. I saw the gap of runners ahead of me growing, with Matthew out front (running the 4-miler) and Muddy and FiveK about 3 runners ahead of me.
|Unusual 90-degree turn right at the start.|
|... put us next into tight turns and runs between guardrails.|
|After already running a race in Mystic an hour ago,|
Matthew leads the pack out en route to his 4-mile win.
I passed two people on Shore Road, and next up ahead of me was "Headphones Boy", a guy in his 20s who made two major faux pas (my blog, my rules) of 1) shorts over white tights, and 2) huge headphones. Headphones Boy missed the marked right turn off of Shore Road onto Uzzi, a dirt road. I yelled to him, but he wasn't hearing anything except whatever was in his headphones. The guy that I just passed asked me if the turn I made was for the 4-miler or half, and I said both. When I approached the waterstop on Uzzi, one of the volunteers yelled out "Here come the 1st and 2nd runners!" to me and the guy on my heels. Uh oh; something went wrong. When I got onto Atlantic Ave and saw Muddy and Tommy turning off a different road ahead of me, I figured the lead runners went off, but seemingly on a parallel road.
|Mile 4 - headed to Weekapaug|
For my race, I was hoping for a 6:05 pace, and came pretty close on the first five miles: 5:53, 6:03, 5:55, 6:07, 6:13.
Miles 6 - 10: This section was Misquamicut down to Weekapaug, with a slight breeze in my face and running as an island. From here on I slowed quite a bit. At mile 7, after rounding the breachway bridge, there he was! I was slowing, but Headphones Boy was slowing even more. As I went to pass him, he latched on and ran astride me. OK, whatever, just running my race here. That went on for only a 1/4 mile or so, and then he dropped back. My feet are getting painful; what's going on there? Next I saw Crutch at mile 8 at the corner of Shore and Noyes Neck, and it was good to see a familiar face and get some encouragement.
|Mile 8 |
(pic by Beth)
While breeze, minor hills, and isolation had some factor, I realized I was slowing in these miles: 6:11, 6:16, 6:23, 6:11, 6:17.
I finished mile 10 by running up the hill from the ocean on Noyes Neck Road against the wind with increasing foot pain, and was mentally defeated and ready for the race to be over.
Miles 11 - Finish: The last three miles of the course are nearly identical to the Clamdigger finish (other than finish at state beach versus town). I'm finally out of the wind, but I'm running out of gas as I pass Matthew at the Town Beach, who is long done with his own race and cheering on runners in the half. The feet are really hurting! I give what I have left and as I get to the finish with 13.1 on my watch, and am distraught to see that I have another 0.2 each way out to the far western-most gate entrance and back.
Am I bloated? And where did my neck go?
|1st place in my age group!|
(and yes, there were other finishers
in my age group, Mikey)
I cross the line in 1:23:05, which later shows me as 7th place. However, Headphones Boy has already finished ahead of me! How is that possible? Someone must have cut the course. I am going to have to ignore my watch-recorded distance, as well as my finishing place, and focus on what I came here for: a tune-up run to gauge my own fitness (6:10 actual pace vs 6:05 target - not terrible, but some work to do) and race with friends and frenemies in a beautiful oceanside setting. From that vantage point, success!