So this past weekend, I completed the eighth state of my 50 state half-marathon bucket list. It took me to the Ocean State, Rhode Island! I ran in the Ocean State Multisport CoffeeMilk Running Festival. I am glad to say the weather conditions were great comparatively to what it could have been when I checked a week ago. It was suppose to be 25 degrees with snow and snow the night before (5″) and heavy winds at 20 mph. But, conditions were in the 32 degrees with 8 mph winds and no snow or rain. So I lucked out there.
It was a really fun race. I felt strong throughout the entire race and based off my pacing I think I only had three splits that were over 7 minute miles but most were sub 7 minute miles. But this race wasn’t without a few issues. I use an Apple Watch to run and track my mileage and well it was tracking fast, in terms of mileage (although I don’t ever think Apple and Nike are that accurate) and it stopped working at different parts of the race so it shorted me over 4 miles! My watch only logged 9.90 miles! It was giving me my pace and splits up until mile eight, stopped for two miles and then picked up at mile 11 and told me I was at mile 9 and then just stopped work. So I got fairly annoyed because my Apple Watch sucks and it has officially prompted me to look into a different running watch. So if you have any suggestions please leave me a message!
And another issue that presented itself at the end of the race. So I’m behind three people, two gentlemen and a woman. I had every intention to past the woman but she just had a 50 meter lead and I couldn’t close the gap. But when were on the latter half of Mile 12, there was a junction point where an volunteer with a flag and a cop would direct the runners on whether to go straight or turn. They told me to go straight and as I passed them and ventured about 30 feet away from them I saw the two gentlemen that were ahead of me start running back towards me (and I’m thinking they are finished and doing a cooldown) and the lady turned around with them. I had asked them if that was not the direction of the finish and they had said no, there was nothing remotely resembling the finish line so they had turned around. It turns out the volunteer and cop had told the runners to go straight instead of turn. Which isn’t a good thing if you were going for a qualifying time (marathoners) or on the verge of setting a course record (the one individual) or on the verge of setting a new personal best (myself…). So the two guys ended up running 14 miles and the lady and myself ran closer to 13.5 miles. Oh well it happens!
Expo Review: There wasn’t one. Just two tents for people to pick up their race bib and t-shirt. For these smaller races, I don’t think it’s necessary. They had numerous people sign-up the day off, two of which finished in the top 3!
Sneaker Review: Not much needs to be said here. I love the Vaporfly 4% by Nike. It’s the shoe I”ll continue to run in. It had great energy return and the shoe felt the same at Mile 13 compared to Mile 1. They’re lightweight and they are breathable. I wish I could get my hands on more of them, but $250 is steep!
Course Review: The course was FLAT. Very Very flat. It’s not everyday you see the course hand-drawn and then sent to all the participants. There were a few different turnaround points and if it wasn’t for the volunteers, you could have gotten lost. The course was really neat though being on the Air Force base. You got to run by the Harbor, a golf course, the air force base, and I did kid you not, over 100s and 100s of factory brand new Audi’s. That just took me by surprise.
Closing Thoughts: CoffeeMilk, the drink of the Rhode Island, is very sweet. I thought I was drinking sweetner. But I thought the course was fantastic. It was a fast course. I know every race can’t have hundreds and hundreds or upwards of a thousand runners, it’s not a Rock N’ Roll Series nor is it a not a holiday run but it was a fun course. It was cool with it being on an active Air Force Base.
The organizers of the race were great too. He was very interactive, he drove in a UHaul to different checkpoints to cheer you on. It was well run. There were cones and markers and volunteers at every turn telling you where to go. Fantastic!
I would consider running the full-marathon course for a potential Boston Qualifier in the future. I really did have a great time with the course. I felt strong throughout the race and aside from the minor hiccup at the end I felt as though I would have run a new personal best.
The post-race food was awesome too. There was pizza, pretzels, and cookies for all participants. I wish I had final splits and times but I just don’t. But I truly believe I would have a set a new personal best. I felt strong at the beginning, middle, and end of the race. And so for right now, I’ll have a brief hiatus of running some half-marathons because the schedule gets a tad busier but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop running.