This week’s Tuesday Topic: How do you stay fit with at home workouts? You can write about this or any running related blog post. Remember to Link-up with Kim and Zenaida and the bottom of this post!
I’m deviating from this week’s topic to recap my experience at the Surftown Half Marathon this weekend.
On Sunday I ran the Surftown Half Marathon in Westerly, Rhode Island. This was half marathon #41 and state #14. The race offered a 5K, half marathon and half marathon relay.
Westerly is about 2-2.5 hours from where I live so I decided to stay in town overnight versus driving there on race morning (I just didn’t want a super early wake up time on race morning). I had enough Amtrak Rewards points for a free round trip ticket so I decided to take the train there. It was an easy peasy ride, just how I like it! Luckily there were also a few hotels within walking distance from the race start/finish. I selected the Pleasant View Inn which was less than a mile from the race start/finish. If you’re thinking of doing this race and want to stay overnight, I would highly recommend this hotel. It was clean and the customer service was great. They offer free parking, provide you with bottles of water for your room and each guest gets a free “signature drink” from their bar (it was a delicious rum punch).
Since I’m training for the Chicago Marathon, I thought this race would be a great training run. As luck would have it, I had 13 miles on the schedule. Last month I asked Michelle if she would be interested in doing this race since she’s also training for Chicago and she agreed! I arrived at the hotel pretty early (around 10:30am), so I dropped my suitcase off at the front desk in the hotel lobby and walked around the town. After I grabbed a light lunch, I was able to check into our room. Once Michelle arrived, we chatted for a little while before getting our bibs and race shirts. The pick-up was super easy – no lines – and then we went back to the room. For dinner, we ended up splitting a margarita pizza from Providence Coal Fired Pizza and it was absolutely delicious! Just what we needed to power through the half marathon the next day!
Race Morning arrived quickly – as it always does! While getting ready I ate my new standard pre-long run breakfast – a piece of wheat bread and peanut butter. I’ve been eating this for the past month before my long runs and it’s been good so far. We left the hotel around 7am (race start was 7:30). Michelle went off to do a pre-race warmup and I walked down to race start to meet up with Darlene. Michelle joined us shortly thereafter and we grabbed a pre-race photo. I was so happy to finally meet Darlene!
Also, Michelle and I noticed that we were twinning. And no, we didn’t plan this!
The race starts right outside of Misquamicut State Beach on Atlantic Avenue. This part of the course was on paved roads and near the coastline. The first 3 miles were in direct sunlight so it was a little rough, but luckily we got cloud cover very soon after mile 3.
Around mile 4 is where we started to get the “rolling inclines” as I like to call them. Definitely not big enough to be considered a hill, but not flat! During miles 5-6 we headed back toward the start on Atlantic Avenue which was nice because more people were out cheering on the runners.
The runners that were doing the half marathon relay had their switch point a little after mile 6. As I was running by I thought “Should I have done the relay?”, lol. During this part of the run we were treated to views of absolutely beautiful homes..like stunningly beautiful. It took my mind off the fact that my right IT band was starting to go crazy.
Mile 10 saw us running through the village of Watch Hill. We were also greeted with a pretty steep hill as well. We also ran by a gold club and then turned down Atlantic Avenue for the last part of the race. While I could see the finish line, it felt oh so far away! There were also more “rolling inclines” during the last 3 miles.
I crossed the finish line feeling pretty good!
I also used this race as my NYRR Virtual Halfway There 13.1 race. I really like this concept because it’s nice to connect with other runners on Strava that are training for Fall races, and it’s free! Bonus – if you show your Strava badge of completion at the TCS New York City Marathon Expo, you’ll get a free gift. I’m hoping to claim mine when I volunteer at the Expo.
NYRR offers a few different virtual races every year. It’s free to join so make sure to sign up if you’re interested!
If you’re looking for a half marathon in Rhode Island I would recommend this race. The course was just challenging enough to where it keeps you on your toes (you definitely won’t get bored, that’s for sure!) and it’s very pretty as well.
Before the race, I set a finish time range for myself and I’m happy to say that I hit it (actually on the faster side of the time range). This was a great confidence boosting run for me because I actually ran the whole race (except for the hill at the beginning of mile 10). This is a big win for me because oftentimes once I start getting tired I just stop and take a walk break but I really wanted to power through the race. I think that going to OrangeTheory Fitness has definitely helped with my endurance. Just 5 more weeks until race day and I’m hoping to ride this wave of positivity until then!
As with any race, there are always pros and cons:
Fluid Stations – There were water/Nuun stations every 2 miles. In addition they offered GU at mile 7. I don’t use Nuun or GU (I use water and my SiS gels) but it was nice that both were offered on the course.
Pace Groups – The race offered pacers ranging from 1:30 – 3:00. I never use pace groups during a race because my paces are usually all over the place, but I think it’s always a bonus when races offer them.
Pre-Race Communications – The race sent out a few emails the week before and the week of the race. They were very well detailed with information about when/where we could get our bibs and race shirts, parking for the morning of the race, etc. I felt very well informed before going there.
Race Medals – The race medals were very unique. I don’t have anything like it in my medal collection which is always a good thing! The 5K medals were cute surfboards!
Race Size – This wasn’t a big race (950 finishers). The course never felt crowded and I also never felt alone out on the course. I could always see a group of people in front of me.
Visible Mile Markers – I saw all of the mile markers and timing clocks on the race course. I appreciate that it was very well marked.
Volunteers – Every single one of the volunteers on the course greeted me with a smile and words of encouragement. Literally the nicest race volunteers I’ve ever encountered!
Post-Race Food – They offered New England clam chowder after the race…I’m not really sure who would want to eat that after running 13.1 miles? They also had bananas, some weird dark chocolate granola and oyster crackers (for the chowder). They also had chocolate milk but I didn’t see it. I basically just grabbed a bottle of water and the banana. It was just a weird mix of items.
Race Course – It’s described as “fast and flat” but in my opinion that’s not 100& accurate. There were definitely some “rolling inclines” and a hill at mile 10.
Race Shirts – I was not a fan of the race shirt. The color wasn’t appealing and I didn’t like the graphic. On the plus side, it’s very soft so it will make a nice sleeping shirt 🙂
Tell me: Have you had a good race experience lately?
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Topic for next week – Taper time – Love it or hate it? Feel free to write about this or any running related topic. We hope you’ll link up with us!