Monday, October 14, 2013

RACE REPORT: Newport Marathon

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Back in January, I ran the Goofy Challenge as a coach.  In February, I ran my own version of the challenge (Colchester Half & Hyannis Full).  Since then, I have debated the idea of doing two full marathons.  Choosing the races I would do was easy.  After this weekend, the execution of the races was... well, not so easy.

After my less than stellar performance at the Hartford Marathon on Saturday, I found myself with very tight calves, what felt like bursas in each hip from my ITB movements which hindered my movement, and stiff knees.  I did my best to recover Saturday evening by taking a rather lengthy ice bath, kept my feet elevated as much as possible, and stretched/rolled/massaged my muscles as much as I could stand the pain.  I would be amiss to admit, however, that it did not cross my mind to bail out on Sunday's race.

As a coach, my first inclination would be to suggest NOT completing the double out of fear of causing an injury.  However, despite my possibly better judgement, I woke up on Sunday at 3:45am, had my breakfast (4 eggs, 1 bowl of steel cut oatmeal, 1 banana with pb, and 2 pieces of toast). and headed to Newport.

Given that Hartford was my BQ attempt, Newport has always been planned as simply a finish.  In order to help me stick to that goal, I carried my camera with me the entire race.  From this point on, I would like to let the pictures do the majority of the story telling for me.

Up at 3:45a and off to Newport by 4:45a.  It was roughly a two hour drive.  

 I arrived on site by 6:45a, parking at Sachuest Beast. 

The parking was off-site, so we had shuttles (aka. school buses) that took us to the race site about 1.5 miles away. 

Once we arrived, I headed straight to registration.

While in line, I met someone who was doing the double half.  They were astonished that someone would do a double full.  At this point in the day, I was wondering about that myself.  

If you love the beach, this is the race for you!!  I'm not a beach person myself, but it was hard not to appreciate the awesome views.  

Here I am, pre-race ready (aka. sore hips, tight calves, cold, and weary about the 26.2 miles to come).

Everyone in line for bathrooms, baggage check, and walking to the start line. 

The start line with all the fast runners doing striders to keep loose. 

Once in line, they announced that we would have to wait another 10 minutes because buses were still bringing people to the race.  While waiting, I met my 2nd doubler, a marathon maniac.  And there were a LOT of doublers out on course!  Some you could spot with the Hartford shirt.  Others I'd start chatting with and they'd just mention it - "Hey, me too!"  We're a crazy breed!

The start line looking back.

The start line looking ahead.  The American flag was carried by a runner the entire race.  We'll see him again later. 

And we're off!!  I immediately realized I was shuffling.  I had a LOOONG day ahead of me!  My hips were already not too happy. 

This angle comes thanks to Lisa, a friend of mine who came to spectate. 

Lots of sailboats!

And more boats.  At about this point (maybe 1.5 miles in), I noticed that my hips had loosened up and no longer hurt.  Hooray!!  My biggest fear turned out to simply need a little run to ease itself out.  I was very happy!

Such a cool stone wall. 

Beautiful scenery!

Plenty of big houses.

At first I was amazed by the roof tiles on this building.  But then as we ran by, the lady in the car hopped out and asked "Is there any chance of us getting out?"  We all laughed and about 6 of us simultaneously said "Nope!"  There were at least 2-3 cars behind her too.  I felt bad for them, but they were stuck for at least another 1.5 hours unless there came a break in the stream of runners. 

Me running down Ocean Drive.

Ocean Drive is a very windy road that snakes right along the edge of the water for quite a ways. 

I've never seen so many castle-looking houses with gates.  They felt like gated communities of one. 

Rounding the last corner.

Headed back down the first hill we came up.  The half marathoners are almost done!

Running down the boardwalk. 

Hello and Goodbye finish line!  We shall meet again in another 13.1 miles. 

13.1 miles
1:55:21 (8:48 pace)

So many houses! 

This is me running towards Lisa at roughly mile 15. 

This is me headed away from Lisa yelling back "I will never do another double!"  I wasn't exactly a fan at this point. 

The sand certainly kept creeping up onto the road.

Now THIS was a really cool shot!  Just at the end of the first out & back, the beach became rocks.  Very scenic!

At the end of the first out & back (roughly mile 16.5). 

These shots reminded me of the beaches in Wilmington!

Ok.  The short (and flat) out & back was done.  Now time for the long (and hilly) out & back. 

And the wind started picking up at times!

One of the first hills. 

I told you he'd be back!  He was at roughly mile 23 at this point.  Looking strong!

I have no idea what this is. 

What a COOL front door!!  I could spend a lot of time looking at all the architecture. 

Yay!!  I finally made it to the end of the long out & back.  I seriously thought it would never end. 

However, this was their idea of a turn around.  No timing system to be sure you didn't cheat.  No volunteer to make sure you make it around the very end.  An interesting choice by the race crew.

Kristen, a fellow HEAT member caught up to me around mile 21.  She was having some trouble with her foot, but wasn't letting it stop her.  She was such a trooper!!

As much as I hated climbing up the hills, I was looking forward even less to going back down!  My right calf was really bothering me on the downhills. 

And then I see this guy at his mile 19 wearing sandals!!  Impressive!

More cool houses!

Back to the water!!

The never ending out & back finally has ended.

Time to walk up the final hill!  Thanks Lisa for catching this moment of weakness.  While yes, I was tired, it was actually chafing that stopped me.  This was probably one of my worst chafing races.  Ugh!! 

And thanks to Phil, a fellow doubler and multiple ultra runner, I picked up the pace and made it the final 1.2 miles at the pace I ran the first half at.  Crazy!!

The glorious finish line!  The Newport Marathon and my double marathon is finished!!

Wouldn't you know, they collected the throw away clothes from the start line and set them out for people to reclaim.  How cool!!

Time for food!!  Nothing great, but plenty of pizza, water, Gatorade, and soup. 

Me post-race!!  I'm a triathlete, a marathoner, an Ironman, and now a double-marathoner.  I can't wait to be an ultra runner!!  Seriously.  The double kinda sucked, but I think putting it all on one day will be much better!

Time to do some quick recovery!  The sand felt AWESOME on my feet.  I was surprised!

And the water felt even better!

I walked up and down the coast for about 15 minutes cooling my legs off. 

The official times!  I finished in 4:27:35, a speedy 10:13 pace.  Haha. 

26.2 miles
4:27:35 (10:13 pace)

Headed back to the parking lot!  When we got back to the lot, the bus driver stopped and announced "Hey guys.  I just want to say a big "Congratulations" to each and every one of you.  What you did today was inspirational.  Thank you.!"  I won't lie, it brought tears to my eyes.  But we all quickly said "No.  Thank YOU!"  I added "Thank you for not making today an extra 1.5 miles long!"  Haha.  What amazing volunteers!!

Time to head back home! 

About an hour into the two hour drive, I stopped to get some ginger ale and wake myself back up.  I was starting to get pretty tired. 

And it turns out Mystic is halfway between home and Newport.  So I walked around for an hour. 

Today's swag!! 

And another piece of bling to add to my collection!!

I hope you enjoyed my pictoral review of the Newport Marathon.  This was my first trip to Newport and therefore my own 26.2 mile tour of the famed city.  I wouldn't exactly recommend this tour group for those who aren't running lovers.  But for those who are, and especially those who love the beach, this was great!! 

As far as nutrition, I carried my handheld the entire time filled with strawberry HEED and didn't start taking water on course until mile 14 or so.  At that point, the HEED was not quenching my thirst enough and I was getting very thirsty.  I did take three gels throughout the race, but noticed that it would be half a mile before my stomach settled again.  I don't seem to be a fan of gels while running.  However, my stomach doesn't handle large volumes of liquid thus far either.  I'm a finicky runner I guess.  Also, I have some serious work to do on avoiding chafing.  I don't know what it is about this year, but it seems to get me at EVERY race! 

  • Great time of year.
  • You have a half marathon and full marathon to choose from.  
  • Plenty of parking.
  • Amazing volunteers!  From the bus drivers, to the high school teams at the aid stations, to the registration table, and baggage check.  Every single volunteer looked happy to be there and speedy in getting things done. 
  • Plenty of bathrooms along the course and at the start (I've never seen so many!)
  • If you're a beach person, you will LOVE the views!
  • If you're an architecture lover, you will LOVE the houses you run by.
  • LOTS of runners, so unless you're off the front, you'll never find yourself alone.
  • You have the beach at the finish for a natural ice bath.
  • Great looking swag shirts!
  • Separate half and full marathon medals.  Some races give the same medal and I find that odd.

  • If you hate the beach, this is going to be torturous.  But then why would you do Newport?!
  • You do run by the finish line at the half way point (for the marathon).  Mental games!
  • The second out & back is hilly and never seems to end (roughly miles 17.5-24.5).
  • The hills are at the end of the course; very challenging mentally and physically.  
  • No timing mats at the end of the out-and-back.  I've almost come to think of them as requirements.  Maybe that's just me. 
  • The gathering area at the finish is outdoors and at the beach.  You need to make sure you have warm clothes to change into.


1.  Have you ever run a double marathon weekend?
If so, which ones and where?

2.  What is your favorite marathon?
I heard a lot of great things about the Big Sur marathon yesterday.  

3.  Have you ever gone against your better self-preservation judgement?  How did it turn out?
Thankfully, I was not injured or harmed in Newport despite my expectations.  The run actually helped loosen aches from Hartford and I feel much better today for having gone.  Thank you whoever is looking out for me up there!



Christine said...

Congrats, Kurt! Double-marathoner, ow ow. Is the Fatass in Dec your first scheduled ultra?

ajh said...

Congrats on the two! I read a different report but I think that person did two halves. I ran in Newport on Ocean Drive last summer and took pictures of a lot of doors. I remember being fascinated by them.

Run with Jess said...

Congrats on an impressive double!! You know that guy with the flag... I was standing right next to him in the starting corral!!! Which means you passed right by me at some point... :) You're a beast - wish we could have met. :(