Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon

3 May

Yesterday I ran my third, that was supposed to be my first half marathon. It was a beautiful day for a race, the sun was shining but it wasn’t too hot (I think the temp maxed out about 60ish…).

Before I get to all that though, let me make a suggestion.  Always check your calendar before doing things like, oh I don’t know, buying concert tickets?! Up until a few weeks ago I was totally stoked to go see Rise Against. Then, I thought, what day is the concert? APRIL 30TH? WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT? Well by this point it was too late, I was registered for the race and I had already bought the ticket to the show.  Doors were at 5:30, how late could it possibly get out (lets also consider it was at House of Blues in Boston, directly behind Fenway Park, where the Red Sox just happened to be playing a home game that night…whoops.). I was in bed at 1:45 a.m. after a long night of driving, trying to not fall down on the subway (You really have to have good balance – or hang on!), walking, rocking out, walking some more…, driving some more…you get the picture. So much for my plan to get up at 5 a.m. and wake up slowly, drink coffee, eat….and not rush (I hate rushing). I got up at 5:45 – thank goodness for coffee and 5-hour energy drinks. 4 hours of sleep just doesn’t seem like enough to run a half and PR does it? Given it was my one year race-iversary I really REALLY wanted to PR.

My mom picked me up about 6:45ish – I was fueled and coffee’d. And kinda ready to go, it’s a damn good thing I layed my clothes, and all my running stuff out the day before. We decided to park at the State House, because really, is there anything better than free parking in the city?  Plus it’s a decent walk to the start line, so I can get the blood flowing in my still sleepy legs. 

Thanks to my bro for this awesome pic!

We met up with a couple friends, Kathy and Jess.  Kathy was running her first half-marathon, and Jess was there to support her. I was also meeting a new friend I had met online, but not in person yet.  It dawned on me as I walked to our meeting point, that neither of us had given a description of what we look like or at least what we’d be wearing! OOPS! A group of runners was standing around where we were supposed to meet and we quickly figured it out! I met 5 new runner friends! YAY! Hopefully we all get the opportunity to run together! (They’re all faster than me right now). We did run the first 2 miles together, but I told her to go on ahead, I knew I’d be slower than her just from e-mail conversations we had over the weeks leading up to the race.

Madness, right?
Over 7000 people ran this race – about 2/3 ran the half, 1/3 ran the full. It was so crowded at the start but it opened up pretty quickly.  I started out feeling good and strong, my lungs were cooperating (I think it had something to do with the 5 hour energy – apparently caffeine helps with breathing), my legs felt awesome (complete shock considering the abuse I put them through at the concert).  I ran my heart out for as long as I could stand it, throwing all pace caution to the wind.  I kept saying to myself, slow down, you’re never going to hold this pace for 13 miles, but I kept feeling awesome.

Then I saw Jess at Mile 8.  I was riding high on myself at this point, I yelled to her “2 1/2 minutes ahead of where I want to be!”. 

Mile 9 I saw my mom and brother.  YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! I’m so glad they came out to support me, and take some really fun pictures. I was still 2 1/2 minutes ahead of where I wanted to be at that point, so I shared that with them too! 

WOOHOO! 9 miles in, still feeling strong!
Back to business!
And I was off again, it was so nice to have people there to cheer me on since this is the first half I’ve run without a wicked awesome paysah (that’s Rhode Islandese for pacer) Now is where I mention Jim and Don – Don paced me to better than a 2:15 {this, BTW was my first half} in Charleston, thank you thank Don, you ROCK – He even pack muled for me, carrying my fuel pouch, helping me with Clif Blocks, and sharing his water. Jim seriously had to kick my butt in Charlottesville – what a mother that course was… I had a hard time with this race.  Lack of sleep, poor pre-race fuel timing, and just general troubles breathing, combined with hellacious hills {797 feet of elevation gain OMG} made me a whiny little runner. Jim was AWESOME pushing my whiny butt along the course, encouraging me all the way, and also pack muling for me, carrying my fuel pouch and my sunglasses since the sun decided not to shine.  THANKS GUYS – YOU’RE THE BEST.  I missed you both yesterday!

Mile 10 I saw Martha & Kevin – great friends for driving an hour to see me run by them and wave.  At least we got to have lunch together too!

Hi Martha & Kevin!
I still felt pretty strong at Mile 10 (9:47 mile, at Mile 10 – go me!).  Well, Mile 10 seems to be my breaking point.  I know this, and I need to train to push that out further and further.  Then there were the hills.  Yeah, hills at Mile 11 (62′ elevation gain), and I was dying of thirst. So I slowed considerably at Mile 11 water stop.  Clif Blocks are not for me I decided.  Everytime I’ve used them the back of my throat ends up feeling too gooey, for lack of a better word, and then I have a hard time swallowing.  That does not help breathing AT ALL.  I was thirsty and wanted that nasty feeling out of my mouth.  I slowed too much apparently because I had a hard time making it back up. Mile 12 had 48 more feet of elevation gain (ugh – by this point I am SICK TO DEATH of hills – the total elevation gain of the race was 432 feet, not as bad as Charlottesville but I was running a helluva lot faster yesterday too). Mile 13 was my worst mile @ 10:42. I felt like hell, I just wanted it to be done, I was tired, my feet hurt, and I was bummed that I broke my awesome 9:30ish pace. I managed to rally for the last 1/4 mile (according to my Garmin anyway – the course was long maybe?) with an 8:32 pace. I started hauling ass, and I hear the announcer say “Look at that sprint for the finish line!” I felt AWESOME at that point – that gave me that confidence boost I needed to feel good about my finish. My official time is 2:10:13 – a 2 minute and 29 second personal record. YAY!!!!

I got this wicked sweet medal, and a fabulous tidbit of encouragement from my brother “Oh, is this one of those races where there are no losers?” To which I replied, “No losers, unless you don’t finish!”

This thing is HEAVY!

After the race I HAD to have my free post-race beer.

Who knew Narragansett made a porter? It’s delish!
And of course it was just cool enough that I found myself needing one of these foil thingys (if anyone knows the actual name of these things, please, inform me).
Sexy huh?

Then we finally (according to everyone that was with me) headed to lunch at Union Station Brewery where I indulged myself in a delicious Imperial IPA and equally delicious pizza.
Either I was really thirsty, or this is one hella beer!

Delicious – chicken, bacon, gorgonzola, scallions…OMG 
It was a great one-year race-iversary celebration.  Thanks again to my wonderful support team:
And HUGE CONGRATS again to Kathy, for finishing her first half marathon:


4 Responses to “Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon”

  1. Kat Thomas May 3, 2011 at 2:28 am #

    LOVE it and Congrats to Jess for her first 9 mile run 🙂
    Sam, You inspire me and i will def keep running, maybe eventually catch up with you 😛
    Lunch was great and PS…my legs are killing me today!!!

  2. p_salisbury May 4, 2011 at 12:53 am #

    Awesome job Sam – it really is amazing how far you've come in one year!!!! 🙂


  1. 2011 Races (Year in Review) « Running and Cupcakes - January 2, 2012

    […] Cox Rhode Races Half Marathon – May 1:  My one year race-iversary. I love this race series and will continue to run it as long as I live close enough! I had a great time running this race, and it is when I ran my current half marathon PR: 2:10:13. […]

  2. Marathon #4 Excitement! « Running and Cupcakes - January 13, 2012

    […] 2011 I ran the half-marathon – and it is still the race that I hold my half PR in. (Which will hopefully change on February […]

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