Some people celebrate Independence Day with sparklers and hot dogs…and some of us prefer to dress up in sparkles and run races.
I decided to run two this year and make my own 19.3 Challenge – the Stars & Stripes. Sure there was no bonus medal like at Disney, but it was still a totally awesome experience.
It consisted of the Independence Half in Bristol, RI and the Finish at the 50 10k in Foxboro, MA.
I’d never run Bristol before, but I totally would again. Despite it being insanely humid it was an absolute blast.
The course is rolling hills and mostly water views and Bristol really goes all out for the 4th (events and a parade) so the town is draped in flags and bunting. Plus a lot of the route is within Colt State Park, one of my favorites places by the water and where I spent 12 hours last summer at the Anchor Down ultra. 😀
Some highlights of my race:
- Meeting a Facebook friend in person finally (hi Sarah!) and another member of my team runDisney fb group
- Making it all the way up the longest hill to mile 8. It wasn’t steep but it took forever
- Finding the “Road Rage” sign
- Taking a selfie with Potato Head Uncle Sam
- Knowing that water on the back of your neck does more good than in your mouth. Lol
- Having the courage to walk at mile 10. (It was too humid. I couldn’t make myself slow down. So I knew I had to start the walk breaks)
- Finding out later that despite taking those walk-breaks I was still sub 10:30 pace for those miles.
- Finding my fierce at the end – to rally and run solid the last 1/3 of a mile. With one heck of a finishing kick!
Overall? I finished in just over 2:07. Not my best, not my worst. And I worked hard for that. It’s been a long time since a half-marathon felt that hard. Sometimes, the reward is in the struggle.
The Finish at the 50? That one I’ve run a few times before.
It’s always hot. And I always wonder why I insist on running it. And then I remember…it’s all about the finish. I will never get tired of the chance to run through the inflatable helmet and out onto the field at Gillette Stadium.
The whole day is like a giant party. They have a kids race, 5k and 10k. There’s a dj and people hang out before. Plus there are fireworks after the races, so you get a lot of spectators the last mile of the race.
I headed over a couple hours early to meet up with some more members of my runDisney group. Such a fun buncha people. A couple of them were running the 5k so I got to watch them start and cheer on all the 5k runners (Trust me, no one is as enthusiastic as a spectator as another runner. Lol) before getting ready for the 10k.
And there were a lot of 5k runners! Love seeing everyone dressed up and patriotic.
Hanging out with my group before the race the question came up of goal times. And as I had hoped to do okay but not great (it was 80 – and heat is not my friend) I laughed that the goal was to finish. And hopefully under 1:10.
Another responded “you know how the Disney training plans say – use this one if you want to finish in the upright position?” That’s my goal. To finish in the upright position. Yes!! 😁
We lined up, and after the national anthem (yeah, watching a flag wave in the breeze on independence eve will get ya right there…) headed off.
I started purposely easy. And spent the next 3 miles trying to hold myself back.
I chatted with a few other runners here and there.
I ran through a LOT of sprinklers (you foxboro residents are so awesome!).
And I never looked at my watch.
Just watched the mile signs pass by. And passed the people who dropped to walk. And suddenly knew that was my goal.
That unlike Bristol where I couldn’t go slow enough to not walk, I was going to run easy enough to not need to. Wonder Woman doesn’t walk.
Suddenly mile 4 clicked by and I was having fun. And then we turned to see the stadium in front of us. Knowing we hadn’t hit mile 5 yet it felt like a joke…so close and yet so far.
And at mile 5, there was an ugly hill. And I think I passed 7 people on it. And I grinned at the cheers. Because Wonder Woman never gives up.
As we looped through the parking lot of tailgaters I high fived SO many kids I lost count. I couldn’t stop smiling.
Finally, we headed to the stadium. And down the ramps to the lowest level. Just before we entered, I spotted the first of the photographers. And picked up the pace.
(Note:The next photos to follow – credit to Capstone. I will be buying them, but snagged these watermarked versions for the blog…)
I reached the middle, turned toward the finish line and watched for myself on the big screen (this is the first year I’ve actually seen it!!!!)
Where I finally looked at my watch.
A 1:01:34 finish. Sweet!!!! A fairly typical 10k time for me. Especially for this race. And way better than I expected.
That. Was. So. Much. Fun!!
Overall? I definitely enjoyed myself more at the 10k than the half. But I would run both again in a heartbeat. And even both the same weekend again. 😀❤🏃🏻♀️🇺🇸
Hope everyone had a great 4th!!