Chilly & hilly…Gansett Fall Half recap

Yep, we’re runners. We get up in the dark on a fall morning with a gorgeous full moon to go play in the leaves for a couple of hours. And we love it. πŸ˜€

Sunday morning I ran the Narragansett Fall Half. 

Back when I registered for this I had no idea how unprepared I’d be. I’m used to knocking out 12-14 mile runs with ease.  And it was far enough out from anchor down that I thought it would just be a fun fall race. 

Little did I know that that ultra would tweak my knee and exhaust me for days. Or that I’d be really struggling to get in long runs.  And going into this I had no expectations faster than a 2:10 finish. Because even that was faster than I’ve been training. 

But like I always say, the second I pin on a bib, my mentality changes. And despite what I said to my friend Bonnie in the start corral, apparently I did have some “killer instinct” in me that morning. 

I arrived nice and early as I always do, and was greeted by the race director, who happened to be the same one as Anchor Down, and he recognized me from it (ego boost).  We had a nice conversation about the ultra and while I know it won’t fit into next year’s training plans (I have my eye on Adirondack), it makes me kind of want to volunteer at it. We’ll see…

I was also dressed Fall-themed with as much sparkle as I could. πŸ™‚ and armed with my trusty running buddy to hold my phone (and later my arm sleeves). And my buddy clips to keep my bib secured (and my shirt hole free). πŸ™‚

The race started with a cannon blast fired by men in period costume (so cool) and with a quick good luck to my friends Jenn & Bonnie, we headed off. 

I purposely reined myself in going up the early and ginormous hill and saw my friends ahead. I knew in time I’d catch them…but enjoyed just cruising for a bit. Soaking in the gorgeous fall foliage and listening to other runners chat. 

By about mile 2 I came along Bonnie. We were both great at that point, but I’d lost Jenn. 

Spotted her a little later and trailed her until mile 4 when I caught up. It was shades of the day I met her…during another half when I’d been following her for almost two miles, and finally catching up to her, introduced myself. That day we paced each other and gabbed for a couple miles before splitting off. And we’ve been friends since. (Runners are such awesome people!!) 

I could tell today she was struggling some, and wishing her well – and with a warning to pace herself – continued on. 

The next several miles were a roller coaster of hills and scenery. 

  • The giant (20′) Santa statue at the Christmas tree farm (that reminded me of the one I see at the Edaville Rail Run)
  • The giant wooden daisy in someone’s front yard
  • The liberty tree (this one I googled after. It’s cool!)
  • And tons of really cool Halloween displays throughout town 

You wouldn’t expect Rehoboth to be so full of both scenery and history. And this half was a great way to experience it. 

I totally want to go back at drive it to see everything again when I’m not under a time constraint. πŸ˜‰

And about mile 10, I was starting to droop. Hit the water stop, walked for a bit to drink and then said literally out loud “okay. Let’s do this” and the man just behind me said “yep. Let’s go” 

And a smidge later, the course Marshall who had been cheering us on about every 5k or so stood at the top a hill yelling out “you get a downhill. And you get a downhill” and I yelled back “everybody gets a downhill” and she repeated it. πŸ™‚  what I didn’t get realize was that this was a long magical downhill that was exactly what my tired legs needed. And gave me that boost over “the wall”. 

About mile 11 the course loop came back on itself, so the last 2 miles matched the first two.  And I knew that I just had to keep moving and that the remaining rolling hills weren’t too bad. And that I’d have that great downhill coming up to mile 13. 

But at mile 12…I was toast. My hips hurt. My glutes hurt. I was hungry. I was tired. And I wanted it over.  I just told myself “You are a warrior. You do not quit. I know this is tough, but you are tougher. Just do not walk.”

And I hunched. And I slowed down (or so I thought until I saw the garmin readout – how was that a 9:37 mile) and I just kept moving. And then the turn towards the finish…and the steep “holy crud don’t let me trip I can’t control my legs so just ride the gravity” downhill towards the finish chute. 

And seeing that big inflatable arched I grinned, and high fived a pair of little girls, and kicked it home. 

And as I stopped my watch, I smiled again. Because I was faster than expected. A 2:06:55 finish.  A fairly average time for me. And one I’m quite pleased with as I know I gave it absolutely everything I had it there. πŸ˜€

Side note…the elevation chart on the race website totally lied. Because when you see this…

You don’t expect this…

And I would totally run this again next year if it fits my plan. 

It was scenic, it was fun, it had great course support, it had cool shirts,  it had cider (and beer and pie) at the end, and it was just full of awesome fun people. (I even got to meet a runner from my rundisney Facebook group! #networking lol)

But now…I’ve got just one race left for the year – a thanksgiving 5k. And then we get Goofy!  So…time for a couple weeks of off season before we get serious. I’m looking forward to it. 

Happy Tuesday my friends. And happy running!!

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One thought on “Chilly & hilly…Gansett Fall Half recap

  1. Jennifer Salomons says:

    Awwww! I love your blog, Thank you for including me. Seeing you was the highlight of that half for me. Life is about the journey. We will all get to the finish! Thanks for being part of mine.

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