Race weekend was finally here!
I am going to warn you- this is long. If you read the whole thing, I love you. Don't worry there are lots of pictures.
We started our trip down to RI at about noon on Friday and arrived about 3:30.
There was a little bit of time to check-in, check out the hotel and hang out.
Then I had a team meeting to go to. We got our bibs, race t-shirts, fundraising completion certificates, got details about the rest of the weekend and tips for race day. I told all of my friends about the huge hill I saw on the MapMyRun graph of the course.
After the team meeting we all went back to our rooms for a few short minutes before going to the carb load dinner called the Inspirational Pasta Party for all of the Team Challenge teams from across the country.
Walking in was kind of crazy!
Besides loading up on carbs there were speeches by Team Challenge corporate leaders and alumni to remind us all why we were fundraising and huge impact we make. The top fundraisers in the country were recognized and the top 2 were both from New England. Go TCNE!
After dinner and all of the speeches we headed outside for a few more pictures and a little more exploring.
When we got back to our room I wrote my name on purple duct tape to stick on my singlet so people could cheer for me, then used bubble paint over the Sharpie so people could really see it. My friend Ashleigh made me a sign to cheer with. I'm a do-er... but a do-doer to tie in the Crohn's & Colitis theme. haha I also suggested she draw a sneaker. Way to pick something hard, Jessie!
Then it was time to try to sleep. We had to meet as a team at 4:45am. Holy hell is that early. I wanted to get to bed as early as I could so at 10:00 I turned in. I wore my shorts to bed so that I was one less thing I had to do to get ready in the morning. I was already nervous and knew it would be hard to sleep because of that.
This was a good plan until our friend started snoring. My husband and I both tried waking him up, turning up the TV, and I tried putting in headphones and blasting music over it. The snoring won. I was mad at first and discouraged thinking I trained all this time and I am going to be too tired to even run. I am going to have to walk. Then after a little longer, probably at like midnight, I just accepted it. I wasn't going to get any sleep! And it was going to be even more impressive that I ran my first half marathon on no sleep! I ended up with probably 2-3 hours of sleep when I add up all those little bits of sleeping. I woke up 10 minutes before my alarm at 3:50 and got up to get ready for the race.
I had gotten my singlet ready before going to RI, but when I put on my fuel belt it covered the names I had pinned to the back.
So I spend a lot of my time moving around my 2 patches of names on the bottom, putting the shirt on and seeing how it looked...then doing it again. I don't know why I cared so much! Barely anyone was going to look at it anyway! I was really there for me.
Then I ripped off my name tag that I made last night. Because why not!
I made sure to lube up my toes to prevent blisters, cover myself in sunblock (and inhale lots of fumes/sunblock particles) and tie and re-tie my shoelaces 100 times until they were perfect.
Crap, it's 4:43. I need to go down to the lobby. Apparently this was on my door, but I didn't see it until after the race:
I'm not sure who put it there either. I'm guessing my mentor Chris. Thanks for posting the most attractive picture of me ever on my hotel room door! It was really nice though and cool to see a ton of doors around the hotel with encouraging signs like this on them.
All of the Team Challenge teams were meeting in the lobby at the same time. So it was packed with orange singlets.
One last sunrise team photo:
We had to take 2 shuttles to get to the starting line that was probably only 3 miles away. It was a bit of a mess. It would have been much easier if the Team Challenge shuttles were allowed to bring us right to the starting line. Instead we had to wait in line to get on Team Challenge shuttles at our hotel where were bussed to the race parking lot. (At least I was able to get pins for my bib here!) Then we had to wait in more lines to get on the race shuttle to the starting line. I was lucky and didn't have to wait long at all. Some people weren't even up to the starting line yet though when the race started, even with delaying it by about 10 minutes. So the transportation could have definitely been more organized. Once we were dropped off by the race shuttle we walked up a hill and found a bunch of people and a line of portopotties, so we must be in the right place!
But we still didn't know where the actual start was. We all hung around, waiting to see more teammates, go to the bathroom, stretch out, etc.
When the team decided to start stretching together I felt so rushed, so a few of us headed to find to actual starting line. We didn't find any pace markers or gates so just stood in a random place and waited to get going.
One last minute pro tip from TC my friend, Meri: tuck your shoe lace loops into your laces so they don't come untied. Check!
Then we were off!
I started out running with Meri but she was settling into a faster pace so I let her go ahead and continued at my own pace.
I saw a bunch of my teammates around mile 1: Adriana, Lisa, Andy. The roads in the beginning of the course were really small with no traffic. Some areas weren't very smooth, so you had to watch your footing, but it was really nice and peaceful.
Mile 1 was also the first spot where there were a bunch of spectators cheering. That always gives you such a boost of energy! Here is the TCNE manager cheering us on with the pompom and tutu!
Before I knew it I was at mile 2, which was the first water stop. There were TCNE members working this water station and my friend Danean yelled from across the street "Go Jessie!" before I even saw her. That was so awesome to hear!
Miles 3 & 4 were all small roads, weaving through wooded roads. Here I noticed I was running right with the 2:15 pacer and was maintaining around a 10:15 pace per mile, which was a little bit faster than my average pace for my 10 mile training run. I I think this was also the first time I saw the man dressed as in a Viking hat who I would see every other mile for the rest of the race. He tons of different signs written on this giant notepad and was the best 1 man cheering section ever.
At this point, we were on more of a main road and it wasn't shut down. There wasn't a ton of traffic, but people were trying to drive in both directions with only one half of the road open. They could have used more traffic control, either closing the roads completely or having police direct drivers.
Mile 6 came...this was when I was expecting the huge hill I saw on MapMyRun. There was a big hill right around mile 6, but I was still running strong and made it up the whole way. I was still with the 2:15 pacer. I crested the top and see another hill. What...the....?!
Run up another hill...see another huge hill coming again! WHY?!! They were lonnggg, sloping hills, not just a short little incline. I needed an #embracethehill shirt from Run Far Girl!
Every mile alternated between a water station (where I got Gatorade at almost every one, which is different for me) and seeing the Viking man cheering. I made it until between 8 and 9 miles feeling strong.
Then my feet really hurt. Slamming into the ground.
Then my leg muscles felt completely drained.
We passed a few houses where people sprayed us with hoses and sprinklers which was amazing. Thank you to those people!
The only pictures I took during the race:
Between miles 9-12 I walked once each mile. Enough time to dump some water on myself and eat a peanut butter cracker. I actually thought the walking just just as tiring, so I figured I should keep running as much as possible. I ran for a few minutes with an 11 year old boy who was part of Team Challenge too. It was his first half marathon as well and I recognized him from the Pasta Party because his dad was a speaker and had him stand up in front of everyone. He was doing awesome! A half marathon at 11 years old is impressive! I also ran for a little bit with a woman who started talking to me about the hills and how she was pacing more slowly than usual because of them. Made me wonder how I would do for time on another course! My mentor ran by some time during this group of miles, telling me I was doing great and to keep going.
At mile 12 I joined 2 other Team Challenge people that I didn't know and said I would hang with them until the finish. Then I saw one of my TCNE coaches. He saw me and jumped in running with me, said I was looking good, seemed relaxed and just keep going, I was almost there! I ran the rest of the way into the finish with my fastest mile of the race! Running the last half mile there were so many people lining the streets cheering, yelling "Go Team Challenge #1!" I rounded the corner to the finish line and saw my husband and friends cheering for me. I waved at them as they snapped pictures and I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon!!
I saw a TC friend Lisa after the race then plopped myself on the ground to stretch. My husband and friends found me a few minutes later. I didn't even think to take pictures with my medal or husband or anything! I was just so happy to have finished the race and consumed with stretching out my achy muscles. Here is my post-arriving-home picture with my medal:
The Team Challenge tent was giving all members 13.1 TC pins to add to our medals when we checked in with them. Which I completely forgot to do at first.
After we took the shuttles back to the hotel, I scarfed down some more food then hopped right in the shower. I wanted to put on my BioSkin calf sleeves to start recovering, but they were nowhere to be found! I must have left them at home! Nooooooo
Until I got home and looked for them and they were in my bag the whole time. -_-
I could have used those!
There was one more Team Challenge event, the post-race cook-out. It was delicious and a great last hurrah to the TC weekend.
The whole Team Challenge aspect really made this race and weekend for me! Check out their website & program here. I don't get anything for posting this, it was just so fun so I think you should check it out!
Formal Race Review:
Parking: Parking was at the Newport Grand and there were shuttles to the starting line. The shuttles didn't get everyone to the starting line by the time the race started, so some people were undoubtedly disappointed by that.
Registration/Timing: Team Challenge picked up my bib beforehand so I did not interact with registration or bib pick up. I did stop by bib pick up the morning of the race to grab some pins. There was a pop-up store with all sorts of gear for sale, which
I thought was really cool and I have never seen before. They promoted an app RaceJoy to track runners, but it didn't post any times beside starting and finishing.
Facilities: There were plenty Porta Potties in the parking lot, at the start/finish and one at each water stop. I know CCFA/Team Challenge got the race officials to add more at the last minute since Crohn's & Colitis patients need to have bathrooms available at all times and many of the Team Challenge members are also patients. Much appreciated CCFA!
Course: The course was loop, which I like. It was described as moderately hilly but I would choose an adjective a little more aggressive than moderate. The water stops were set up well with water, Gatorade and some with gel. People were able to cruise through quickly.
Post-Race: Race staff was passing out drinks and medals right as you crossed the finish line. There was water, Gatorade, watermelon and raisin bagels with peanut butter immediately following. I loved this post race food! Much better than pizza in my opinion.
Overall Review: I loved this race since it was my first half marathon and being there with Team Challenge just made it awesome! If I had just driven down to do this race on my own I think I would be less happy with it. Especially if I hadn't made it to the starting line on time from the shuttles. The whole starting line area, including shuttles, just seemed very unorganized and could have been much better. Same with the traffic control on the busier roads. The water stops and post-race refreshments were all great, as well as the the medal. Having to wait in line in the hot sun right after running to take a shuttle back to the parking area sucked. Once we got back to the Team Challenge bus at least I was in a nice air conditioned bus so I wasn't dying of heat, thinking I was about to puke. One more positive thing about the Jamestown Half: free race pictures. They haven't all been posted yet, but a sneak peak has been and they look great!
Final Verdict: I don't think I would go back to this race on my own, but I probably would with Team Challenge.
Hi, I'm Jessie!
I live in NH with my husband and our pups. My favorite things are coaching Girls on the Run, eating good food that I didn't have to cook, helping other people work on their health, volunteering for and running races, watching tv, doing yoga, and spending too much time on social media. #Balance