Monday, July 15, 2013

United HealthCare Jamestown Half Marathon Review

We arrived in Newport at 5:30pm Friday evening.  If I had to describe in one word the traffic on I-95 from New York to New England on a Friday during the summer, it would be difficult.  There are so many to choose from:  gridlocked, stagnant, abysmal are just a few.  I think I will go with crap.  Add four separate potty and hunger stops for the kids, and suddenly a three hour tour turns into four  seasons on Gilligan's Island.

Our first stop in Rhode Island was the Newport Grand.  This is a large casino.  I know this because instead of a sign reading "Newport Grand" on the outside of the building, there are just large red neon lettering spelling "SLOTS".  Packet pickup was in the back corner of the large parking lot.  There was a tent and a few racks of running clothes.  It was cool and misting.  The setup looked pretty stark.  There were only a handful of fellow runners.  I was in and out in two minutes.

We stayed at my brother-in-law's house on Kay Street.  Originally, my whole family (minus the eldest who is at sleepaway camp) was going to tent it in the backyard.  The more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I needed to sleep with my telephone charging next to me so that my alarm will go off at 5am the next morning (what?).  This means I will need to sleep next to an outlet.  Translation:  I am sleeping in the guest room!  A couch bed below a window fan among a few cobwebs (shiver) in the tiny TV room trumps a hot tent with mosquitoes and excited children rolling around on a race night always.  

I was up and out the door by 5:25am.  No cars were allowed in Jamestown on race morning.  Parking is limited.  My sister-in-law was nice enough to lend me her car to take back to the Newport Grand to meet the shuttle buses in case Pete and the kids decided to meet up with me after the race.  People were starting to arrive at the casino, but not too many.  There were a handful of buses, but only one was halfway full.  I parked the car and realized my sister-in-law's set of keys were enormous.  Not something I want to be carrying for 13.1 miles.  I took the ignition key off the ring and tied it onto my shoelace.  The rest of the keys I locked in the car.  Now this was interesting.  I was able to manually lock the door with the ignition key.  When I tried to unlock it, nada.  I wasn't going to worry about it at that moment and boarded the bus.

We were dropped off at the foot of the Jamestown Bridge.  Thankfully, there was a row of unoccupied, pristine port-a-potties to welcome us.  I read that last year the port-a-potties didn't arrive until 5 minutes before the start which caused some distress for many people.  After the Stratton-Faxon start debacle, I wanted to make sure I was not late for this race.  Instead, I was too early.  I stood around for what seemed like forever.  The skies were gray and the temperature was a chilly 66.  I passed time by watching people's warm-up routines.  Some people stretch, some loosen up with a jog, some do short sprints, some run backwards (This one always makes me chuckle).  Today the award for best warm-up goes to the Jennifer Lawrence lookalike.  She was an attractive, young, tall, slender pony-tailed blonde who looked like she enjoyed being the center of attention.  She was marching with her arms outstretched in front and would lift her knees up to her hands.  Nothing special, right?  Until she added in some cartwheels.  Now that was fun!

Finally, people started lining up at the pace markers.  I stood toward the end of the 8 minute mile pace group.  6:15am.  6:25am.  6:30am....  hello?  The announcer told us in his best Charlie Brown teacher voice that we were going to wait for all the buses to arrive before starting (waa wuh waa waa wuh).  I was about to be very pissed, but having been on the opposite end of this situation in Fairfield, I refrained from exhibiting my usual disgust.

The gun went off kind of without warning.  There was no countdown.  Surprise!  I hit the first mile at 8:27 which is exactly where I wanted to be.  The course basically ran up and down the length of the island, 4 miles north, 6 miles south, and then 3 miles north again back to the base of the bridge.  The houses were gorgeous (Always a race perk).  I brought my cell phone to take pictures, but chose not to take my earbuds.  I also forgot my Gu.  I just had my watch to keep track of my time.  Around Mile 7, I was running alongside a guy whose phone was announcing the mileage and pace aloud.  This was perfect!  I stayed with him for a couple of miles.  The Gu or lack of Gu never became an issue.  There was enough Gatorade at the water stops to psychologically compensate.  Oh, and did I mention the hills?  If you look up "rolling hills" in the dictionary, I am sure this course will be pictured.  They weren't as steep as the ones last summer at the Mad Half Marathon in Vermont, but they were long and never seemed to stop.  Even still, I felt good throughout the race.  The cool, damp weather was perfect for chugging along.  There was a woman about twenty years my senior who was ahead of me for the last two miles.  I decided I had to pass her.  The last few hundred yards were all downhill which made for a nice fast finish at 1:47:47, an 8:14 pace.  This was a PR for me.  About two minutes faster than the Long Island Half last year.  Considering the hills, I was very pleased.  I finished 13th out of 152 in my age group (top 8%), 74th out of 759 females (top 9%), and 214th out of 1292 overall (top 16%).

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500 m
2000 ft
Elevation Profile
 Powered by RunningAHEAD.comElevation: +1051.2 ft / -1051.2 ft / net: 0 ft


  1. Just catching up on posts after a 9 day vacation hiatus, sans laptop (my own fault for that). Congratulations on a great race. The race report was superb and, as usual, hilarious.