Stars & Stripes – the recap

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. πŸ˜€

A lot of runners were all dressed up in red, white and blue and some really fun outfits. I was saving my really good one for the 10k, but still got into the spirit. 

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. 

And I got a cool medal. πŸ˜€

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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. 

Me? I went with Wonder Woman. Which was a huge hit with the spectators. 

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…)


And entering the stadium, let out a cheer 

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!!!!)

I heard my name announced as I approached the line (woohoo!) and sprinted across. 

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. 

So feeling like a total rockstar I got in the line for a photo with Pat… who high fived me. 😁 it’s always good to impress a mascot. Lol 

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. πŸ˜€β€πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ

Hope everyone had a great 4th!! 

We’re on to July

So…you just ran the Maine Coast Marathon. Now what?

Well, to paraphrase my favorite coach, we’re on to July!

Next up, is a little something i’m calling the “Stars & Stripes Challenge” – a half-marathon and 10k in the same weekend. A shame they aren’t back-to-back days like a good challenge should be, but other than Disney this will be the first time i’ve done multiple races in the same weekend and I think it will be fun.

So, what makes up this challenge?

The first part is the Independence Rhode Race in Bristol, RI on July 1st.

And the second part is the Finish at the 50 10-k in Foxboro, MA on the 3rd. I’ve never run Bristol, although I spent 12 hours on part of its course last summer (the Anchor Down Ultra – Colt State Park) and if you’re going to see downtown Bristol, July 4th weekend is the time to do it. Sure, the race starts “Disney Early”, but it should make it better for running temperature-wise.

Finish at the 50 i’ve done a few times. And there is just something SO magical about the stadium finish. Running up the field to the 50-year line will never not make me smile.

I already have half of my outfit picked. Can’t go wrong with a good sparkle skirt! 

 And I think I know what the tops will be – but that, i’ll share later.

Its going to be fun spending June rebuilding to race. I’ve got that 2:00 i’d love to hit for Disney corral POT and I want to PR the 10K (59:31 for a course PR or 58:28 overall 10K PR – I don’t run a lot of 10k’s and they are always summer. LOL)

Is anyone else running either of these? Would love to know who I might see out there. πŸ™‚ And wish me luck in training – but don’t worry, i’ll keep you posted how it goes!

I don’t sweat, I sparkleΒ 

And this weekend I oozed a TON of liquid sparkle. Lol πŸ™‚ which is fitting, what with July 4th and fireworks and all. 

The weekend started Friday with the Finish at the 50 10k in Foxboro, MA at Gillette Stadium.  With my sole sisters. πŸ™‚ 

It was the first time my two favorite runners met, and of course I totally forgot to take a group photo. 😦

For some reason at the pre-race festivities they had a variety of marvel superheroes. It was kind of odd seeing the guardians of the galaxy dance with the avengers and batman. Yet hilarious. I couldn’t resist a picture with Groot & Star Lord. πŸ™‚

   

Karen ran the 5k, so Lori and her daughter and I went into the stadium to watch her finish. Then Karen watched us three start the 10k. 

I hadn’t run this race in 4 years, and the two times I ran it they held it the morning of the 4th in crazy temps and blazing sun. And I didn’t do all that well either time. 

Considering that I’ve been ultra training (aka slower running),  hadn’t used my garmin in a couple weeks, it was 75 degrees and I don’t normally run at night, I had absolutely no idea how I would do. 

I ran the first two miles with Lori’s daughter (the next generation of superstar runners) and then with her permission, of course, took off and hit a groove. I refused to look at my watch, and was pleasantly surprised when I crossed the 5k mat at about 30 minutes. And started thinking hmmmm….wonder if I can pull out an hour finish. 

Due to the magic of some nice long downhills and some amazing spectators spraying us with hoses I was able to hang in and run strong. And when the last 1/2 mile led to the downhill ramps to the field, I flew (only partially terrified of wiping out on the turns. Lol) and whooped. 

And when we hit the landing and I saw the giant inflatable helmet (the one my Patriots run through at every home game) I paused for a moment (mainly to ensure the guys in front of me got out of my way) and headed through. 

I wasn’t originally gonna kick at the end. I wanted to make sure I looked up and saw myself on the big screen. But when I turned and faced that finish line on the 50-yard line, I ran like I had the ball and sprinted it out.  Boy was that fun!!!! And…I got my sub-hour. 59:32 πŸ™‚

Also – the medal was really cool, and when I realized the people on it moved (you can slide them across it. Neato!) it became even cooler. πŸ™‚

  
Saturday, Kevin & I took the bikes to a path in Rhode Island for some fun miles along the river.  And Saturday night we took the lawn chairs to the Attleboro high school for the fireworks. An amazing show. With a blinding finale. πŸ™‚

Sunday it got serious. And seriously fun! 

Sunday I trained at The Lake. You know – that one in Wakefield I’ll be spending several hours at in just under three weeks. πŸ™‚

I so needed that. I’m less nervous now that I’ve seen the start area and can visualize the tent village and timing mat. And have met the loop. 

It’s a nice loop. It’s pretty flat. And it’s very scenic. And it’s not very shady. 

But my amazingly awesome sole sister (who will be my Sherpa on race day) met me to run. And we ran four loops around. 

It was sunny and it was warm. And that is probably exactly what race day will be like.  Which had me making a mental list of sunscreen and ice (lots of ice) and my cooling towel and hat. 

I ran slow. And stopped for water. And on the last loop stopped at a tree for a minute of shade. And Lori noticed the marker on the ground next to us. 

The amazingly important 50k mark. My minimum distance goal. (Which by the way is a full mile from the finish line. Ha!)  It made me glad I’d chosen that spot to stop. Because now I know where to look for it on race day.   πŸ™‚

  
This morning I realized I am exhausted – can’t imagine why! Just because I ran three days straight (one a race), biked 15ish miles and then ran over 12?

It’s all just ultra training….and buckets of liquid sparkle. 

Happy Monday! And happy running!