Friday, August 19, 2016

Blessing of the Fleet 2016

Narragansett, RI
Friday, July 27, 2016

My 14th straight Blessing would be a less than optimal race due to heat and humidity.  The morning of the race it was raining with a temp in the 60s, but alas it would not last.  On the drive to Narragansett the temp in the car showed 82F, even approaching 5pm.

Start to Mile 4:  After a short warm-up with Mike, Aaron, and Matthew, I am already dripping sweat and my pessimism about the race increased.  This race has a nice feature of a separate corral for the first 100 runners, and it really helps reduces the clog in the first mile.  My first mile was the only one on target pace, with a split of 5:51.  Felt good thus far.  By the end of the 2nd mile, I sensed the gig was up, as my pace had slowed to a 6:07 and I felt like I was struggling to maintain that.  The final two miles on Ocean Road came in at 6:04 and 6:18.

Warm up with a few of Team WTAC.
(Lions Club complimentary pic)

Turning onto Ocean Road,
near end of Mile 1.
Form still looking good.
Miles 5 to 8:  As I turned into the direct sunlight on my least favorite part of the course, Route 108, I made a conscious decision to slow the pace a little before I wilt and completely run out of steam anyway.  Running on a busy highway is never any fun to me, but in the heat and sun just makes it worse.  As we finally turned off 108 into the shaded neighborhood, I was passed by Clay Howland, who is about my age.  I figured I would end up 10th or worse in my age group, but had no fight to give.  At the mile 7 mark, I often feel good and get a 2nd wind.  Yeah, not this time.  5-to-8 splits:  6:32, 6:49, 6:35, 6:47.  Yikes.  I'm running 30-40 seconds per mile slower than last year.
Final mile.  Trying and failing to hold off a
Chariho young runner, who looks like he's taking it easy.
My form is completely gone.  Am I leaning backwards?
(Pic by Jana)

Finish:  Please end this sweaty sufferfest.  I take advantage of every remaining sprinkler and water stop, but otherwise it's a blur.  As I cross the finish line, I am feeling really weak.  I barely acknowledge Tom and Matthew (sorry, guys).  Matthew hands me a full Gatorade bottle, which I take with my bottle of water to walk it off and try to regain my composure.

Finally, it's over.

Final results:  1:04:58.  81st overall out of 2,438.  1st in age group.  Full results here.

Well, well, it turns out so many other runners had heat / slowness issues as well, and taking a first in my age group at Blessing is a first for me.  It comes with a $75 gift certificate to the Wakefield Running Company (previously Camire's).  None of my speedy sub-hour WTAC teammates are able to break an hour today.  Well, that is with the exception of Matthew, who dropped a 57:42 in 12th overall!  Congrats to all who survived Blessing '16.  Will I be back next year?  Of course!  Will I whine about it?  I'm getting my excuses ready now.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Whine away, that race is a bitch, bitch seems kind... well you can extrapolate from there. I'm happily sitting out this c u next Tuesday (ha) of a summer on my bike... can't actually believe I'm saying that. Glad you survived and will be on to tackle Blessing '17. Congrats on the age group win!!