Sunday, May 21, 2017

Providence Half Marathon Review, Angry Unicorn Half Marathon Review, and HALF FANATICISM

It has been awhile, so I wanted to put up an update.

The Providence Rhode Races series was where I ran my first half back in 2013. I'd intended to run the full in 2014, but an injury prevented me from taking to the streets. It's a neat course with some hills, and I enjoyed the race a good deal.

As I'd run Fighting Seabees earlier pacing a friend, and set/met a goal of two hours at Blackstone Valley, I figured I'd use providence to see what I could do comfortably. I managed a 1:50 time there. No PR, but certainly finding my way back.

I also killed a pair of shoes in Providence! About mile eight or nine I felt like I was being stabbed in the foot, only to find at the end of the race that the sole of my shoe had a massive hole in it. At least I'm getting my money's worth out of them.

After running Providence I talked to my wife about a goal I'd always wanted. I've got friends on Strava who are in the Half Fanatics/Marathon Maniacs club, and I thought that would be a neat thing to do in 2017 (my year of the half marathon.) I qualified with that race at the entry level, and I'm well on my way to moving up a level if I complete two more marathons over the next couple of months. It's a neat little club with fun gear, deals on races, and I have always found the half fanatics so nice to meet at races.

After doing the dues form, my wife found the Angry Unicorn Running Festival stuff online, and encouraged me to sign up. I hadn't really planned on a half marathon today, but I love the logo, and Ocean State Multi Sport always puts on a fun event. Once again packet pickup was Saturday, and about five minutes from my house. Super convenient.

Woke up about 5am, made some eggs, took my vitamins. I arrived about a half hour before start time, being that the race is only about a half hour from me. Baby girl didn't sleep well, so my wife opted to stay home and catch up on sleep. The elementary school that hosts it has a massive field where we parked, which makes me think next year it would be a really nice place to hang out and picnic after the race.

The course is nice, scenic through some country roads and along the beach. The downfall of that, of course, is that in New England we have some seriously rolling hills. It's also an out-and-back course, which means that every downhill you run on the way out you eat on the way back. Nice tree shade along most of the course, though, and the weather was truly perfect: sunny with a high in the mid-60s.

At the end the timing company gives out a little receipt with times, place, etc.  A neat feature to be sure, and the folks all along the course and at the end were super friendly. I came in 5th place in my age group, 25th overall! Time of 1:51:37. A tad bit behind my Providence pace, but there were some more hills, plus running on sand, etc. Overall a challenging but fun race.

Next week: running the Narragansett Bay Half Marathon, which starts a mile from my house. I'd like to run to the start as I did the first year I ran it, but we'll see how things shake out.

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