Monday, August 1, 2011

2011 Blessing of the Fleet 10 Mile Road Race

For the second consecutive year I ran the Blessing of the Fleet race in Narragansett, RI.  After learning a few things from last year, I was pretty excited to run it Friday.  Based on a hard training run in early May, I had a lofty goal of finishing under 64 minutes.  I ran 10 flat miles in 65:40.  I was confident I could run faster than that in a race situation.  I wasn't confident that I could do it in the summer heat however.  Regardless, I was feeling good by the time it was race time.  I found a parking spot right between Greg's truck and Bojo's friend Dave's car.  Greg, Jen, and I made our way to the starting area, but never met up with Justin or the other Rhody crew.  At the gun, I controlled my urge to go too fast, and was pleased with my 6:15 first mile.  I was afraid I would come in under 6 minutes, and suffer for it later.  I noticed that most runners were shying away from the crowds on the shoulder, but I stuck to the shortest distance and tried to look like I knew what I was doing.  I took water wherever it was available, usually just tossing it over my head and down my back.   Sometimes I would try to swallow a drop or two.  Mile two was a little slow, but it was uphill and into the wind.  Mile three was really windy, and I welcomed the change of direction heading towards mile 4.  I pointed at the kid with the hose to spray me, which felt wonderful.  Soon after turning the corner onto 108, I saw a local runner who had dropped out.  This inspired me to dig in, and I picked up my pace, and was passing more and more runners.  I couldn't hug the shoulder anymore as the course was littered with walkers, sometimes three or four side by side.  The wooded, dark side road during miles 6 and 7 was so much nicer than the exposed highway.  My mile splits were getting faster, even after I had to stop to tie my left shoe at mile 7, and then my right shoe at mile 8.  And yes, I double-knotted them (actually triple-knotted).  I think the high humidity and/or the water I was pouring over me somehow loosened them.  Each time I sprinted to catch the runners I had just recently passed.  After 8 miles, I noticed a local runner who traditionally finishes ahead of me.  Then I saw the biggest hill (not that big) in front of us.  I knew I would catch him.  We exchanged pleasantries as I chugged by.  I passed a lot of runners on this hill and felt confident about finishing strong.  The last mile is filled with spectators, cars, walkers, and I just tried to run as fast as my legs wanted to go.  My shoes felt really wet and annoying.  As I neared the finish line, I squinted to see that I was close to finishing under 66 minutes.  I stopped my watch at 65:58.  A five minute PR.  Not as fast as I had hoped, but I was happy that I ran as hard as my legs allowed.  Aerobically, I was fine.  I need more speedwork or 5K's to bring my legs up to speed with my lungs.  After finishing, I met up with Greg (8th place, 6 second PR), and Justin (huge 5 minute PR).  We watched our friends finish and then met up at Casey's after for a well deserved greasy meal and chromium replacement.  I was a little annoyed that my official time is listed at 66:00, but I'm not going to argue with the chip time and good science.