I should begin by saying that I won this race entry into the Newport 10k and am happy to write about it on my blog! My opinions are all my own and are my honest experience of the race and course.
Saturday morning came early but surprisingly beautiful. I expected to see dreary, cloudy weather, which was what was predicted all week (and storms later in the day!). However, upon waking up, the sun was shining and it was nearly warm enough to wear just my tank and shorts. I left my house at about 6:15 to drive up to Jersey City. I am a suburbia/shore girl: I’m not super comfortable driving into cities myself for the first time (which I was this morning). However, the directions on the race’s website were perfect and easy. The ride in was a breeze from the NJ turnpike, and I arrived in the deck just around 7am. The road leading into the parking deck was marked already for us runners, and it was easy to see where I should park. I wasn’t quite sure where I was supposed to go for packet pick up, but I hopped out of my car and followed the growing crowd of runners. Easy-peasy: everything was literally a block from the parking deck, just around the corner. It was also right next to a Path station.
Bib and T-shirt pick up were well-marked, and I was early enough that there were no lines. That can’t be said later on, though, as the race start came closer. This is what the t-shirt line looked like about 10 mins before the start.
It got pretty long. There was also a decent bank of port-o-potties right around the corner by the finish. I never had to wait in line to use them, either at the beginning or end, so obviously well-planned. I could see the finish was right by where I’d picked up my packet, which was nice to keep in the back of my mind.
The morning grew sunnier and sunnier – I was glad I hadn’t worn anything heavier than my tank and shorts!
The race start was scheduled for 8:30, and by 8:35 we were off. It wasn’t a huge crowd, but I was definitely at the back – the “corrals” were loose signage by miles. After 12, there was a sign for walkers, which made me happy. In a crowd I knew was fast, I was definitely worried I’d be a little bit alone at the back – but the walker sign made me feel a bit better.
This was the view behind me at the start (whew, a decent amount of folks)
And the bigger group in front of me:
Once we got started, it was pretty clear that this course was quite urban. The course, on paper looked like this:
In reality, this is weaving in and out of a residential urban area. Houses, some parking garages, some highway-ish looking stuff. Nothing to write home about, honestly – however, I should note there was only one tiny hill (not even really big enough to call a true “hill” – more of a bump) coming up to mile 2. Some of the houses were quite cute, but other areas were a little construction-y. At mile 4, however, you come up to this glorious view:
So that was pretty great. Especially because that is exactly where I felt incredibly thirsty. The sun had started beating down on me, and I kept hoping the next thing I would see was water. Thankfully, it came just before mile 5, and then we turned into this awesomeness, the best views of the whole race, for the last mile:
At this point I was hurting, so the view helped. This mile felt hot. I lost an entire minute per mile in pace here, just barely keeping myself under 12’s. I felt like toast. Bad planning on my part, but the view was good. To finish up, we weaved back up to Washington Street to end near the start and in the town center. The finish was well-organized – straight down and over to get Gatorade, water, nutrigrain bars, chips, and some delicious square bagels! Yum. Well stocked even by the time I got there at the back of the pack, which is not always the case. Afterward, the atmosphere was pleasant as everyone hung out around waiting for the raffle and awards. I wasn’t able to stay, but supposedly the raffle is always awesome. Thumbs up for the course being flat and well-marked, and for the great organization from packet pick up to finish refreshments. I was a liiiiiiittle sad that this isn’t a “finisher medal” race, because any time I run for more than an hour I’d like a medal to show for it (I’d take a finisher medal over a t-shirt any day!), buuuuut I can’t complain too much, that’s just me being bling-happy 😉 I would definitely sign up for this race again without hesitation. After initially feeling out of my comfort zone with the location, it turned out to be SO EASY and fun!
As for how I ran….
Personally, I felt great for the first 5k, and my miles were surprisingly all sneaking into the high 10’s – 10:50ish. Then I realized that this race was double a 5k, and around mile 4 started to worry. I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t sure how to race a 10k. I have gotten away with racing 5 milers just like I do a 5k, and still manage to hold up okay. This was not the same story. I completely bombed after the 5 mile marker, nearly hitting a 12 minute mile that last one. I felt like total crapola, and got passed by all the folks I’d been keeping pace with the whole time. Mentally, that was tough even though overall my race was quite good for me. It was also a bit hotter than I expected, the first race of the year where I really felt the heat and was sweaty after only a mile. I was pretty sad about my “crash” after the 5 mile marker, but tried to focus on the positive – averaging juuuuust under 11 minute miles! Above my expectations, for sure. Here are my totals/splits (would’ve been a beautiful 5k time for me, LOL). Clearly, I did a terrible job of running the tangents, because I went way over 6.2 miles!
Since this was my first 10k ever, this was, of course, a PR! Go team!
Looking forward, this means I have to keep my goal of keeping under 11 min/miles for the Spring Lake 5 coming up. I must! Unless something disastrous happens that day, I really think I can hold down some 10:50s. I felt great in this race up until that 5 mile marker, so I hope to keep that going until next weekend in Spring Lake!