Saturday, May 6, 2017

13.1 +.75 Miles (Blackstone Valley Half Marathon Review)

Do I understand your question, man? Is it hopeless and forlorn?
"Come in," she said, "I'll give you shelter from the storm."

--Bob Dylan, Shelter from the Storm

I'm a bit late on this one, but I ran the Blackstone Valley Half Marathon back on April 23. I'd gotten a bunch of emails about the race, and the Narragansett Bay Half, and decided to run both for the offered discount.

Blackstone Valley Half had absolutely gorgeous weather this year. Sunny, mild temps, with not too much wind. Couldn't ask for a better day to race. My Aunt and her boyfriend were back in town, so we ran the race together (on the one year anniversary of our running the Big Sur International Marathon!)

The race has some hills. Starts in Pawtucket near city hall and climbs up through Central Falls and into Lincoln before coming back down the Blackstone River bike path (greenway? Who knows.) Honestly the rolling hills didn't bother me terribly in the first half, but the gradual climb back up the bike path took a toll on me and I was feeling beat at mile 12. That said, my gps also seemed to be adding a mile to every mile, so I'd come through about three quarters of a mile ahead of the marker. Thought that was weird, but focused on getting to the end.

There were a lot of aid stops, as I know from previous years running races with this company. Lots of volunteers.

I came through the finish with 2:04 on the clock, which was pretty close to my target (I was aiming for an even 2.) I grabbed a couple of slices of pizza, a banana, and set in to watch my Aunt finish.

Turns out that several of us had taken a wrong turn on the course (an arrow had been put down by mistake) which added almost three quarters of a mile to the course. Some folks were really upset, the race directors offered free admission to the Narragansett Bay Half (of no use to me as I'd already signed up for it.) Honestly? Stuff happens.

I was in shape to cover more than thirteen miles anyway, so that didn't bother me, and it isn't like I'm going for the Olympics. I totally understand people being upset, but once you look down at your watch you can figure out the mistake, dial it in as an extra long run, and then race another time. These guys griping who finished around me, they still did a half marathon in two hours. I get that that's a big barrier for people, and a big deal to break. But it isn't the end of the world.

Also I've never had something like that happen in a race before. I'm willing to let that go. I got home, checked the pre-registered list for NB Half, and found that I wasn't on it. That DID set me off a bit, so I fired off an email to the reg company to see what was up. They emailed back (really quick, they were awesome) and took care of me, so I'm all set for that race on the 28th of May. I'm just saying, I get that things are frustrating, but it isn't the end of the world.

That said, I'm inspired to start adding more miles to my legs. I know if I can do that I'll shed some weight easily and be able to get in fighting trim over the summer, and hopefully have a good showing in my fall races. I'll be running the Providence Half Marathon tomorrow morning, which was the first HM I ever ran. I'm excited to see if the course is changed, as well as how I'll ease into the hills now that I have more experience. I don't expect to beat my previous time on the course, but that isn't the point. The point is in the doing of the thing.

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