Ocean Road 10k – Tale of a Rock & Roll Mermaid

So….do I bury the lead or not? Not…   Guess what?  I got a FREAKING PR!!!!!!!!!!!!

Not like i’m excited about it or anything.  LOL   But it was a total surprise and i’m so thrilled and i’m going to make you read all the way to the bottom to see what it is.  🙂

Anyhoo…. so Sunday was the Ocean Road 10k. A great little race in Narragansett, RI that is a point to point along – Ocean Road. 🙂  This was my third year doing it and I absolutely LOVE this little (well, about 2,000 people little) race.

This has become a girls weekend away for friends and we always have so much fun and dress in theme.  Last year was the Pirate Posse and this year was Team Mermaid.

Funny enough – you can dress 9 women as mermaids and get 9 completely different pairs of pants (skirt).  See? #obligatoryshoephoto

I am madly in love with my outfit.  The pants were a last minute choice.  I had the mermaid skirt from sparkle athletic but was worried about bib placement because i didn’t want to cover my shirt at all.  So i got the pants.  And SO glad i did.  They’re actually pretty comfortable and I LOVE the leg pockets (carried my phone and room key no problem).

So….wanna see my shirt?  This is if Ariel went to a rock concert and bought the t-shirt.  #ironmermaid

Epic right?  Of course…feeling the whole rock star mermaid vibe, my friend Cara convinced me I should do the rock & roll hair and sunglasses look.  So, I ran the whole race with my hair down because sometimes, its all about the photos.

Race morning was GORGEOUS.  Beautiful sunrise, a little chill in the air and just one of those days you can’t wait to go for a run.

We took the bus to the start (but forgot to do our singalong lol) and gathered as a group.  Some stretched, some snacked, I finished my coffee (this mermaid truly did run on dunkin) and we got ready to go.  

Cara asked if i was going to race it. I said yeah, I think so. I think I said something like “I’m shooting for 58 minutes.  I’m not in PR shape, but I think i can pull 58”  (Lesson here – you are often capable of more than you imagined)

I tucked into the start corral, found my friend Ashley and waited for the start signal (a rather half-hearted ‘go’ (really dude?  Want coffee??).  And off I went.  I darted and dashed and found room to go.   I knew I was going out a little hard but figured I could reign it back in later when needed.

Which wasn’t really needed until almost mile 4. 🙂 I followed the group and passed people where I needed to, and never looked at my watch. I heckled some spectators for not cheering and barked at some dogs (a race tradition).

Mile 5 was a long gorgeous downhill which I was grateful for. And as I hit the mile marker I smiled, thinking of Linda, Amanda and Nancy. And how we posed with every one of those makers last year.

Mile 6…is stunning. It’s wide open ocean views and yet also annoying because you can see the finish area. But know how far you still are from it. I let my head go blank. I soaked in the view and just stuck with the guy in front of me (thanks for pacing me even tho you didn’t know you were) and made the final turn knowing I only had a 1/2 mile left.

And when I finally saw the mile 6 mark I pulled my phone out of my pocket, said “Hey Siri, play ‘The Trooper'” and gunned it.

As I neared the finish line with a grin on my face and my hands in the air I looked at the clock and saw 59:31. And thought sweet – I’ve totally got 58 minutes.

Then I paused my Garmin (and my music) and just stared. I had a little trouble believing what I saw. I collected my medal and texted the hubs.

“Hey babe? Can you check the post-it in my bib binder with my PR list? I think I’m close.” The reply? I’m out with Mugsy. 😂

But I knew I had to find out. And I pulled up my photos. And flipped to the Camp Chingachook Challenge 10k from last year. My 3rd 10k PR of 2018 – and saw a 56:39 result.

So I stood along the fence – waiting for my mermaids to finish and just bouncing with excitement. For me…and for them. Because it’s a rare treat to cheer friends on.

And to witness Ashley cross with a PR and Cara finish strong and Rachel come cruising across in a ridiculous pair of shells just makes a great race even better.

Because my PR? It is now a 55:45.

Almost a freaking minute faster than the old one. And the fact that it came after a summer nursing a cranky hip – one that went out at mile 9 of my last half a month ago – makes it even better.

I’m writing this with a huge smile on my face. Because a sub 56 seemed like something I would never see. And yet, again, somehow shows I’m not getting older. I’m getting faster. (At least at 10ks). 😁

And this heavy medal is totally heavy metal mermaid appropriate.

Advertisements

Good, Better, Best – A tale of 3 races

Its hard to write a running blog when you aren’t running.  I just can’t seem to get my brain to want to create.  You don’t really realize how important running is to creativity until you can’t for a while.

Late August, during a long run something just went wrong in my ankle.  Turns out – it was, according to the doctor who didn’t seem to realize he had a marathoner in his office, peroneal tendonitis.  His advice?  Just bike for a few weeks.

I’m like ummmm yeah cuz you know, its not like I have fall races planned!  Especially the half-marathon that was roughly a month after I saw him.   But I took a deep breath, trusted that my body would remember….and got my butt on the bike.  And it helped.  And I slowly eased my way back into running.

Since late August I have iced and rolled and worn compression socks and tried biofreeze and tiger balm and anything that “doctor google” recommended.

I have also completed three races.  One good, one better, one best.

The first was a 5K – the Irish Cultural Center half-way to St. Patrick’s Day 5k.   I walked it. I walked it FAST…in sparkly green and white and my custom design “Irish as Heck” shirt. I played tag with a run/walker, who called me a leprechaun (but had a net time 2 seconds slower than me.  LOL) and I had a great post-race craic with my run posse.  IMG_9705.JPG

It was GOOD.

Then came a 10k – the Ocean Road 10k.  This I ran/walked with my pirate posse.  It was my friend Linda’s first 10k, and knowing I couldn’t race yet, I choose to party with the pirates.  There were four of us following a Galloway interval (a first for me in a race) and we had an absolute blast – plus looked Ah-dorable.  🙂

IMG_4435

That was even BETTER.

Then came the big one – the final leg of the BAA Distance Medley….the BAA Half Marathon.  I had 3 hours to finish this.  Which is about a 13:44/mile pace.  And I was terrified.  It had been 6 weeks since i’d run more than 8 minutes straight and I had no idea if I could pull this off.  I had to trust in muscle memory and willpower, and hope that I could most of the first few miles to give myself a cushion for when I inevitably imploded.

I started with friends…43308898_10156405380240239_7473871912611872768_n

And we all split off to run our own races.

I totally crushed the first mile – as it was all downhill.  The ankle held pretty well but I stopped myself 13 minute in to walk 2 minutes.  I didn’t trust it yet.  And didn’t want to do anything stupid.  For the next few miles I ran 8 minutes/walk 2 and was really surprised to see I was still averaging a great pace.

By mile 5 I pretty much knew I had this. By mile 7, I definitely knew.  I had banked myself enough time that I could walk the rest of the race and be sub-3.  But where’s the fun in that?

The intervals got shorter… down to 5 minutes running or walking longer than 2 minutes when needed.  Heck by the end I was convincing myself even 90 seconds of running was good because it was cutting down my overall time.

At mile 12, cruising through the zoo (yep, this race actually goes through a zoo – and I passed a warthog and a wildebeest (what is this the Lion King?) I realized I had a chance to go sub 2:30.  And suddenly, I REALLY wanted that.

We came out of the zoo and toward the stadium we were going to finish in.  It had a lot of downhill and I just cruised along to almost to the entrance.  I could see the 13 mile marker and I wanted to be able to finish strong.  So I walked for a smidge. Of course, the spectators were ALL over that “Go Kelly, come on, you got this, you look SO cute, you can totally do this” Awwww – my adoring fans!

I started running, though the gates onto the track and smiled.  Just a little jaunt around the turn and then kicked to the finish… every last drop. I crossed arms raised.IMG_4569

And then went to claim my unicorns.

I may have cried a little when they hung my Distance Medley medal around my neck.  Because I worked so hard for this one.  I gave it everything I had to finish, and finish well.  Its about giving 100% of what you have, even when you don’t have 100%.

This?  Well….this was the BEST!IMG_4482

 

Summer of the 10k

I don’t normally run 10k’s. I don’t even know why. But this year I’ve already run as many as the previous 8 years put together. lol

I should blame Disney…I had SO much fun running the 10k there in January that I got a new appreciation for them.

But really, I needed a change. I needed to regroup and refocus. I needed to not have to run 20 miles in the slime on a Sunday morning this summer.

So I went to the 10k. And it’s paid off in spades.

3 10k’s, 3 PR’s!!!

June was the BAA 10k. I wasn’t trying to PR, just to run my best. I finished in 58:22. Which broke a 9 year-old record by 6 seconds. 🙂

July was the Narragansett Summer 10k. That I one was trying. I was focused and I ran hard. I “owned” that course. Lol And I finished in 57:42. A new PR by 40 freaking seconds. And I figured that would stand for a while.

Then came August. And a little 10k in the mountains.

I joked a few weeks ago I was going to try to win my age group. But after “stalking” other registered runners to see their recorded finish times (athlinks rules!), and finding someone faster than me in there, I was like okay cool, pressure is off. I can just have fun.

And Saturday, driving up the course to the start, I saw the hills. And was like “oh hell no”. We are NOT racing this sucker. We are just gonna run it.

But we all know, when you pin on that race bib all bets are off. 😁 And apparently I keep forgetting I’m darn good at hills.

So we lined up to start. The director went over a few items and told us “it’s just straight out to the turn around, where the volunteer with the orange flag and cones are, and back. If you get lost, there’s nothing I can do for you” lol

We took off, I let the surge go by me, then passed a couple people up the first hill and fell into pace behind a man in a red shirt. I actually ended up following him for most of the first 3 miles.

At mile 1.55 (cuz I checked my watch so I’d remember), a handsome deer came out from the woods on the right side of the road and ran across m right in front of red shirt guy. Whoa!!! So cool. And a definite race first. Lol

The course rolled. We we either going up, or going down. We had an insanely long uphill and I was thinking “omg where is the top of this sucker??” And then a nice long downhill headed towards the turnaround. That we then had to come back up.

I think it was the hill around mile 4 that was the worst tho. It was just long enough and just steep enough that I spent the second half of it chanting “Don’t walk. Don’t walk” which, after cresting the top was quickly replaced by “Don’t throw up. Don’t throw up” as the heaving started.

I just tried to slow down, and let my heart rate recover. And when the watch beeped 4 I snuck a glance at my pace for the first time. Holy crow – a 9:17? No wonder I almost barfed. 😂

I told myself I’d hit the water stop and regroup, but by the time I came to it, I was feeling way better and opted to just keep going.

And I hit that nice long downhill that the super long uphill on the way out had become. And ooh that was steep. But great for recovery, and that let me finish strong. Plus I caught up to red shirt guy again!

The last mile was just little rolling hills and when the sweet older gentleman out on his driveway with his dog asked “how far do you have to go” I glanced and my watch and replied “just a half mile more” 🙂

And I got passed. By a woman who I had passed walking right after the turn around. And you know that sparked the fire…

Not that I thought I could catch her, but I wasn’t gonna let her get too far ahead.

As I approached the final turn, I saw the hubs standing there and waved and grinned.

And then I turned. And saw the clock. And saw the woman. And I kicked with absolutely everything I had. I flew past her and then stopped my watch, got my medal and a water.

Hearing the announcer go “and a PR for…(a name I didn’t catch)” I looked at the volunteer and said me too!! I just got a one minute PR! He congratulated me. I thanked him. And then I looked for my training partner/biggest fan.

Jumping up and down I was like “omg!!! I just got my third PR this summer. By a whole freaking minute. And a 2 minute course PR”

Cue happy dance of joy!!!!! Lol

As I waited for the results to see what that zippy little time got me, I ate about 4 wedges of watermelon (new fave post race food). And I found the woman I passed at the finish and thanked her. For pacing me at the end. And told her it helped me get my PR.

I saw the results get posted…and I walked over full of hope. I saw I was 22nd overall (woohoo!) and I started down the list looking for women in my age group.

I spotted her. The one I knew would beat me. And she did. By 3 minutes. Wow. I am so impressed!! But she was the only one who did. I got my very first 10k age group place. 2nd!

I was also the 6th female.

And as I write this I am still shaking my head. That 56:39 doesn’t look real. Nor does the 2nd AG/6th female/22nd finisher.

I am SO amazingly proud of myself.

And while I do have another 10k in September…I think I just wanna have fun at that one. I want this PR to stand a while.

Because I mean who gets this… On these! Me. That’s who. 😁

10k’s are hard…but worth it!

There is such a major difference between running and racing. Like, I run marathons…but I race 5k’s and 10k’s.

Honestly? It’s almost easier running marathons. lol I just start easy and try to stay there. 🙂

5k’s aren’t so bad. It’s just going as fast as you possibly can for 3.1 miles. But 10k’s? They require a little strategy. Because I can’t just go as fast as I possibly can for 6.2 miles. I run outta steam around mile 4.5 if I try that.

This weekend I ran my second 10k within a month – the Narragansett Summer Running Festival 10k.

It’s a great little race that’s part of a whole weekend – 5k & 10k Saturday, 13.1 on Sunday and beer, music & food after all of them. The shorter races are on a college campus – so no traffic and some pretty scenery.

When I ran the BAA 10k at the end of June I went in with no expectations. I wasn’t trying to get a PR and so it was a delightful surprise when I did. But that actually put the pressure on for this weekend. What could I accomplish if I tried?

The weather was gorgeous at 6am. But the race? It didn’t start until 8:30. And it got a little warmer and sunnier. But I was dressed for the heat…and prepared. <<
d as I waited to start and watched the 5k finishers come through looking hot and tired, I started to psych myself out.

I decided I would just seed myself with the 9 minute milers, go out fast with them and then just see what happens.

The 10k was a double loop of the 5k course. Which I actually liked, because it meant I could strategize in the second half – knowing where the water stop was, where the sprinklers were, and when I could push or hold back.

We took off, and I almost felt like an elite just sliding into a pack, staying with this group of women and letting them set the pace. It felt fast, but not "struggle fast" and when my watch beeped mile 1 I dared a glance. 9:10. Perfect!!

We cruised along and I let them go, dropping back a little because I know my habit of speeding up too much in my second mile would hurt me later and I wanted to try not to. Plus, it was nice having a little more room to run.

Mile 2 came as a 9:02. Okay, a little faster but not hideously so.

Mile 3 was the pretty mile, but also the hilly and narrower mile. I got boxed in a couple times, but chose to not try to get around. Instead I used it as a chance to cruise for a few seconds and catch my breath. Mile 3 was slower than the first 2, a 9:19. But still where I needed to be for a PR.

We hit the split for the second half and cruised down a great hill. Than back onto the gravel and grass section. Which I am apparently faster on. I think it's because I focus more on my feet and the ground. Because mile 4? Back to a 9:08.

Here, with 2 miles left I started "runner math". Trying to calculate the pace I needed to PR and if I could slow down. Because I was hitting a wall. I started being more aware of the tangents and trying to run efficiently.

As I neared the next water stop, I made a choice to risk the few seconds to take water. I was afraid if I didn't, I might pay for it the final mile. It's like, spend that time now, or spend it later. Plus I was SO hot! Tho I reminded myself, it was way hotter on July 3rd and I managed to survive that 5k. This, was nowhere hear as bad.

I made eye contact with a volunteer, grabbed the water and walking, went drink, some over the head, drink, more over the head, and back to running. 🙂

I think those seconds were well spent, as I still managed a 9:15 mile 5.

Mile 6 was a game of, you can go easy if you need to, but also, if you can push, you can get an even better PR. lol I came across the footbridge over the pond, angled across the winding path and passed a few people.

Then a few more as I got to the final hill, which really wasn't that long or that steep. But when you've been running hard for almost 6 miles, it amplified it.

I saw the mile 6 sign and started to both smile, and dry heave. Lol It happens in races when I really push. (I have pics from the Disney half this year that are hilariously hideous!) And I spent the next .1 yelling at myself to "slow the hell down". I got it under control, saw the turn to the finish and sped up.

I went into that finish chute in a full on sprint. Heard the announcer call out my name and saw the hubs standing next to the finish line grinning.

I crossed, with arms open wide, as if I was breaking the tape. Because I had, broken my record. To me that's winning. I beat myself. 😁 By a full 40 seconds. My new best 10k? A 57:42.

I think this one might stand for a bit. (Or at least longer than the 3 weeks the last one did. Lol)

BAA 10k – Unicorns and Legends

Sunday I ran the BAA 10k, the second leg of the Distance Medley. And it was…magical.

The weather was almost ideal. 60’s and overcast. More humid than I like, but well, we can’t have everything. 🙂

The hubs (acting as “coach” for the day) and I snagged a photo

We met up with my friend Cara pre-race and got our shirts, scoped out the distance medley participant “VIP tent” (thanks Infiniti for the portable charger with the unicorn on it!) and had fun checking out some of the costumes people chose to run in. (Lotta unicorns – lotta blue & yellow)

Then it was time to race.

Standing in the Corral I heard the announcer say it was a fast course and a good day for a PR, or a course PR. And I remember thinking “well, since it’s my first time on this course it’s definitely a course PR”.

This race is “Disney crowded” and I knew when I started that I’d spend some time jockeying for position and getting around people. My strava later labeled a chunk of the first mile on Comm Ave as “frogger”. Which cracked me up because it’s spot on.

I knew I wanted to hit a good pace early, one that I could fall into and stay at. I also knew that I was not going to look at my watch at all during the race, because I didn’t want to know. If I was slow, fine. If I was fast, sweet. And whatever it was and the end, was what it would be.

I don’t remember too much of what I saw on course, because there were a lot of construction areas and I was more concerned with watching the road in front of me.

But I do remember a few things:

  • The golden retrievers in the blue & yellow necklaces – awwww
  • Hearing the volunteer before mile 2 announce the lead male had come by the other way (well past mile 4 for him. Wow)
  • Seeing Cara on an out and back and waving.
  • Seeing the Boston Strong painted on the underside of the overpass and raising my arm to it. 💙💛
  • The car at mile 5 wth the 88.7 sticker. And thinking wow, that’s an odd distance to run. Oh wait…radio station. Lol
  • The cairn terrier shortly after. This was special. I was struggling at this point, and thinking about trying to slow down when I saw him. Head raised I sent a silent thank you to my angel Gus, and surged on.

I made it to mile 6 and started looking around more. The dogs, the people, the “go Kelly’s”. And I felt stronger. I made the turn to the finish and held my pace, just for a minute, before sprinting all out to cross.

Check out those “sprint arms” lol

I stopped my watch….saw the 58:22 and grinned. Mouthed “F-ck Yeah” and thought of how far I’ve come back this year.

I walked past Dave McGillivray and smiled. I got my medal, and then heard that Desi Linden was now high-fiving runners at the finish line.

And my first thought was “dammit, if I’d just been a minute slower”.

It wasn’t until later, when I got home and looked up my PR records, that I realized I’d not only gotten a course PR, but a real one.

I beat the 58:28 I set at my very first 10k in 2009. Finally, I can stop saying that my 1st remains my fastest. And also, it eased the sting of missing Desi. Cuz PR’s trump all. 😁

Plus I did still get to see her. After the race we were looking for a place for a good photo and wandered by the stage in time to hear Des and Meb speak. They are both so nice, and humble and amazing champions. And I was lucky enough to snag a photo of Des.

After the race we headed over to the Public Garden to meet other friends. And took some photos with the ducks.

I took a moment to pose my medal with one…the whole time thinking of my friend Lori. And the time we did the same with our blue & yellow Boston Strong scarves we were gifted in 2014. Some things just become forever a part of us. 💙💛🦄

And…I’ll leave you with this. There is nothing like a post race high, to lead you to climb aboard a duck. (If only there’d been a unicorn statue!)

Summer Fun

Who’s ready for summer?? Me!!!!

I’m ready for sunshine and Garmin tan lines and running in tank tops.

And I’m giving myself tons of opportunities to this summer.

Between now and the end of August I’ve got oh…2 10k’s, a 5k and a half-marathon. Plus two concerts and a wicked awesome vacation. 🙂

Races first…

  • BAA 10k – second leg of the distance medley and I’m ready for my next unicorn medal
  • Finish at the 50 5k – first time doing the 5 instead of the 10, but the hubs is running too (yay!). And I just love running out through the helmet onto the field.
  • Gansett Summer Run Festival 10k – one I’ve never done, but it looks SO fun. And my friend is running the 5k too. Plus I hear it’s a good after party.
  • Camp Chingachgook Challenge 1/2 – this was my first 10k ever. And I’m looking forward to trying the half – a gorgeous point to point race in the Adirondacks.

Race goals? Have fun. Run fast. Smile a lot 🙂

Concerts? I’m seeing Gov’t Mule and the Foo Fighters. First time for both and equally excited for both.

Vacation? Epic – Zion & Bryce National parks and Vegas, baby. Looking forward to hiking and running and relaxing. And warmth and sunshine and amazing scenery. (Don’t worry – I’m sure I’ll write a “vacation recap” blog. lol)

How about you all? Running anything good? Going anywhere Epic? Whatever you’ve got planned…I’m sure you’ll do great and have fun.

Sole Sister Stroll – Ocean Road 10k

So week one of Dopey Challenge training ended with me channeling my inner Ariel.

At the Ocean Road 10k in lovely Narragansett, RI.

Since I was supposed to be coming off a marathon (the one I ended up two-parting) and my sole sister had been having training issues, we decided to just fun run it. No time goal, just fun and sparkles and 6.2 miles of scenery – oceans and mansions and seaside charm.

When we pulled up to the parking lot facing the beach at SIX AM (eek!) there was the most spectacular sunrise. And we knew it would be a good day.

We got our bibs, took the bus to the start at Point Judith lighthouse and tried to stay warm. Because it was suddenly fall (well played, October) and I was a little underdressed (shorts were not my best idea), so I ended up wearing my fleece zipup for most of the race.

We dressed in full-on sparkle…me in mermaid on mermaid skirt & visor and her in blue & blue. And we were a total hit with the runners and spectators. LOL #itsallaboutthesparkle Both wearing our buddy pouches to carry our gear and buddy clips to keep our bibs secure against the ocean breeze we were ready.

I met lots of people from the Facebook group (for disney runners of course) i’m in at both the start and finish, and I always make new friends at races so we had lots of fun chatting while we waited. And then, off we went.

Slow and steady, with a run/walk plan we made our way along the course. Stopping for photos and water stops and just having fun. Swapping stories and catching up on each other’s lives.

We saw a cow driving a van….

And some cool rock cairns on the beach…

And this fairy-tale castle gate that just begged for a photo. 

The miles flew by and before we knew it we could see the finish. We entered the chute and I noticed that the person before us had crossed and we had it wide open. My sole sister looked over at me and said “wanna race?” Heck yeah! With a wide grin we sprinted to the finish. I can only imagine the sheer joy coming through in those pictures. 🙂

After the race we sat on the beach for a bit, just taking it all in, taking pictures and chatting with other runners.  

Took the “finisher photo” 🙂 

And then… I saw this mangy blonde terrier walking up the beach. And thought of how my Gus hated the beach (mama this smells funny, can we go yet). I walked over to say hi to the puppy, who, delighted with me, started running around in figure 8’s coming back to ‘play pose’ in front of me. I laughed and asked his name. It was Goose. My heart clenched for a moment but instead I said “you are one silly Goose” and with one more pat walked away.

Its been two weeks today and I still so very much miss my baby boy, but I know encounters like this are his way of saying he’s with me. Watching over me and making sure i’m okay. Thanks bubba. Love you.

We took the obligatory ‘sole sister shoe’ photo

and found someone had spelled 10k in rocks, which was perfect for a medal pic.

This ‘its not a race, its an adventure’ was exactly what I needed. Good friends and the sea? They both heal.