Huge happenings over here in my world! On Friday July 25th I ran my longest race to date! There is a local race called The Blessing of the Fleet. It’s a 10 miler through the beach town of Narragansett. The road race draws in thousands from all over New England. As a local, I could never understand the fascination of this race. Why on earth did people love this race so much? And how could 10 miles be fun whether running or walking? I was about to find out this year!
I felt like I was completely ready for this race through my current half marathon training. I had completed a 9 miler, two 10 milers, and an 11 miler. I had even run much of the course through some of my training runs. I knew what was ahead of me. I knew it was huge but not more then what I could do. I looked over the previous years race times and had confirmed I would not be the last one. I had a good enough pace that I could get through the sub 2 hour mark. It was all me; it was time for me to dive into another challenge. God help me, I was going to do it!
The race allows the walkers to start a hour earlier than the runners. This particular road race is a Friday evening. Also, not something I have experienced. All my races have been in the early morning hours; this race time played my mind BIG time. The walkers would start at 5pm and the runners at 6pm. I didn’t get there early enough to see how many walkers there were but I heard it was around 500. The runners were more populated with over 3000. The timing was done with a bib chip, which I heard was new for this race. My husband dropped me off about 1/2 a mile from the start because of the heavy traffic. He was off to get the kids some dinner and secure a spot to cheer me on somewhere in the course. I had arrived and was looking for people I knew would be there. My friends from boot camp, my FB friends Nicole from www.facebook.com/runningwhilemommy and Michelle from www.facebook.com/fortheloveofrunningri. I was also looking for my friend Heather who had last minute decided to run the race. I saw a few people I knew but didn’t see Nicole or Heather. Nicole had offered to run with me and I knew that Heather ran at my pace so I figured I could start with either of them but was hesitant to commit to run the whole time. I have never run a race with anyone and have major anxiety about holding someone back. I know lots of people love running together but I have grown accustomed to running being a solo sport for me, so I just need to dive in and do it. Sure enough, Heather found me at the starting line!! I was so happy to see her and was going to try and stick it out with her. The starting line was really crowded and knew it’d be a slow start. Once I crossed the starting mat, I began my watch and we were off! There was loud party music blasting from houses on the street. Neighbors were out partying and celebrating our run. THIS WAS WHAT PEOPLE WERE TALKING ABOUT!!! How fun! There were people screaming and cheering all the way down the street. I saw people I knew right from the beginning. It was awesome. Before I knew it we were at mile marker number 1. The clock read 11:02; my watch read 10:00. The crowd was so big we were a whole minute behind the start mat! Whoa! I kept up with the pace and the crowds continued to line the streets. People in chairs of all ages, kids looking for high fives, elderly calling out praises, people raising their beer cans in celebrating our determination. Around mile 2-3, someone called my name and complimented my fancy running skirt, it was Beth from www.facebook.com/bethrunsri . I had such a great time seeing people everywhere! Once I made my way to mile 4, I popped in my PLOW ON gum and kept pushing through. This was where we run by the state beach. I saw a few of my boot camp peeps and they were thrilled to see me too and cheered me on (thank you Peg B, and Krista Z). I wish they knew how awesome that was for me. Once I turned the corner onto mile 4-4.5 (Knowles Way) I saw my mom and step father. That was pretty awesome. They had their cameras out and I knew they’d snap some cool pics:
Meanwhile, Heather is holding it out with me and I am loving it! Once I made the corner of Knowles Way, I saw my boot camp trainer. Her screams for me were so full of love and encouragement(thank you Danielle). Heather was laughing with all the people I had out on the course. She commented how if this is how it is, she will always want to run with me. You truly get such an adrenaline rush from seeing all your friends. I continued down Point Judith road for miles 5 and 6. It was not too bad, this being the most long, visually boring stretch of the race. Towards the end of mile 6 I saw two more friends who were out looking for me and ready to cheer me on, (thank you Cathy M. and Carol K). Once we turned onto Kinney, this was another slightly stretch of the course. Much woods and not too many spectators compared to the rest of the race. At the end of Kinney we were at mile 7 and onto Gibson court. This may have been my favorite part of the race. They parties that happened on Gibson gave me the desire to push through. These parties were no joke. Loud speakers blaring music; Some had catered food, some with beer pong tables and such. There was even a local celebrity, “The dancing cop”. He was in his uniform in the middle of the street dancing to What Does the Fox Say? It was so fun I didn’t have time to recognize this was typically the point in my run when I hit the proverbial wall. As I turned onto South Pier road I realized it was almost done! Just another 3 miles and we were there. We passed another water station being distributed by a fellow friend and boot camper (thanks Gail K) and her praise made me smile. We passed the same crazy party house from the starting line again but the crowd wasn’t as lively. Haha, I guess they got tired. As we passed the point at which we started, I informed Heather we were about to hit a hill. I told her how I had done the hill on Wednesday and we totally had it. Nothing like a little confidence booster 😉 Once we tackled the hill we were onto Avice St. More crowds and energy coming our way! People with hoses and water guns and music, cheers everywhere. Heather really needed to use the bathroom so a kind family led her inside their home and I went ahead. I didn’t want to leave her; we had come so far together, but she said to go ahead. I kept going knowing the most important people were on the next street, my family ❤ I ran down Kingstown road, thinking how I had told them to look for me starting at 7:40 and it was about that time. I saw them standing by this tall Indian head but they hadn’t seen me just yet. Once I got closer, my kids were jumping up and down screaming for me. They even made a banner!
It was so special to me, I shouted I love you a few times and made the final turn to the finish line. I was so overwhelmed from seeing them I had stopped for a breather and I heard my name. It was Heather!! She caught up to me and we made the last stretch together. This street was lined with people happy to push us to the end. I saw a group of boot campers on the left (thank you Donna L, Lisa B, Anne D, and Joan H) and my friend, Dot on the right. Dot had already finished the run; she’s speedy! She was jumping up and down screaming for me; she has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders ❤ I was so happy, I couldn’t stop now if I had wanted to! As I approached the finish I heard Michelle yelling for me and before I knew it, it was over. We made it! I was on cloud 9! Heather and I snapped a pic right after we finished and gave a well deserved hug. We did it! The clock said 1:56:48 but it didn’t matter. My goal was to finish it and I did just that! I cannot describe how great I felt. I will for sure run this race again! It is a race everyone local should put on their bucket list!
NO RACE BLING! So I will proudly wear the semi-ugly tech tee!
This race was a BIG BIG deal to me for many reasons. It was my longest race distance, it was in my hometown, and above all it was the first race my kids and husband saw me run. It meant the world to me. The amount of people that came out to support & cheer that night brings tears to my eyes. YOU ALL TOUCHED MY HEART ❤
A special thank you to Heather! You rock my friend! I would love to run with you again! How about August 10th? (hint, hint)
I know this was long but I’m still REALLY excited! LOL, LOL
~ Emily XOXO
My mom was so proud!