Yesterday I ran the Narragansett Bay Half Marathon.
I ran the inaugural running of this race back in 2014. That year the race was held in August, and it was mostly because Rock and Roll had pulled it's race series out of Providence, so the organizers wanted to give people another half to run. Funny to imagine that now, that there are half marathons everywhere in this tiny little state.
The race starts early, at about 7 am. It starts one mile from my house, so I run to the start line. I get up early, have breakfast, say to myself "You ain't no Dean Karnazes, kid." and head off at a lope towards the start. Dean runs from his house to the start of Big Sur, and I remember seeing him back when I ran that race last year. The guy is incredible. It's my little homage to him that I run to the start of this half, haha.
The race starts by heading down along the Veteran's Memorial Parkway, parallel to the East Bay Bike Path. That means there is a huge drop and then a steady hill to climb back up. Always have to pace myself up that hill, where the first aid station is at about a mile and a half. Slowly chip away at the hill before heading back down along Pawtucket ave and towards the Crescent Part Looff Carousel.
After the turn around and a bit of easy neighborhood running the course turns back up the bike path for another six miles or so, back towards the stadium where the race starts. There are some gnarly hills on that bike path, and I curse them as we run past volunteers. Previously I'd run 1:41 on this course, but that wasn't really in the cards for yesterday. I'd had too many halves too close together, so I just wanted a nice sub-2 pace.
I ended up walking two of the steeper hills in the last two miles, and then jogged in for an easy finish inside the stadium. Once inside I saw my wife and the baby, ringing the cowbell. I came through the chute at 1:51:51 on the clock (1:51:33 chip) which was faster than the half I'd run last week by a matter of seconds. Pretty cool stuff.
So I like that race, and I'll probably try to run the next one on this course in August. It's a miserable time to run that course, but a lot of fun. That race brought me to five half marathons in 2017, and bumped me up to Level 3 on my Half Fanatics qualifications. I'm not so interested in doing 50 states, but I'm looking to do New England as I only have Connecticut and Maine left, so I'll be thinking about that heading into next winter.
I just went through and mapped out my races for summer, and it is looking like a pretty full calendar. Some fun novelties at shorter distances, and another half in July. Additionally I'll try to return to the BAA Half this fall to see if I can PR, and tune up for the New York Marathon.