Thursday, January 1, 2015

Day 2, race 2, Rhode Island. Dining out and race day

We continued our direct/non-direct course to Newport on the winding roads of the northeastern states.

One of the few 'state' signs I managed to see and photograph. It's amazing how fast those signs come up and disappear when on the interstate system.

The first view as we arrive near/in Newport. Up and over one large bridge (on the left) only to see the one on the right in the distance we'll be on shortly. 
Once we got to the lodging location (RV parking spot with a great star rating) where there was maybe three feet between RVs in their system, we got bundled back up and headed out to the registration site to pick up the packets, and then find food. The packet pickup was at "second beach" I suppose to not be confused with the first or third beaches in Middleton as well, ha ha. 

Registration pickup was close to the Atlantic ocean, in the party tent (below).  It looks huge from here, but the line was stretched out for about fifty yards in the nice brisk ocean breeze. Brrrr. 
While we meandered through tables to the registration line inside, our fellow vacationers took part in the sand and surf. 

We had the option of three colors for the official race shirt, Black, blue or green, and they were all short sleeve shirts, with the race name on it. I didn't get one, on purpose. 

This is the shirt I picked---it's not even the official race shirt!  
Wait--why did I pick this one, you ask?  This shirt, for their Triple Crown event, has the main sponsor's name on it "United Healthcare". I figured if my health care premiums were going in for main advertising for a race, I wanted a shirt that advertised for the healthcare company!  Strange logic sure, but this is also a pretty sea/ocean blue color that just screamed "Atlantic Ocean" to me. 

Protected sand dune
Gorgeous view of the unending ocean.
After we got our friends from the surf and tracked down a runaway three year old --who was having fun playing hide and seek with the adults who weren't playing--we loaded up the car and went 'downtown' to Smoke House Cafe which we found on the Find ME Gluten Free app (which you can also use on a computer).
Reviews called it 'family friendly'. 'know their gluten free', 'large menu'. and more.  

Boy, were we shocked when we got to the place, 5:30/6pm.  The part near the street is one large bar with pull down clear tarps.  We weren't sure where the 'family friendly' part was until one of our party went in and found a complete lower room, with real doors to close out the bar noise.  

We decided to stay. 

The gluten free menu: 
Did you see how much was on this menu? WOW.  

We were there as the afternoon drinking crowd was winding down (there were a few people in the dining section, waiting for the restroom, who looked like they thought it was 2am on a Friday night). 

The 11th was a long day for the feet. Ready to repeat it all in the morning! 
Race morning came and we drove to a bank parking lot to ride a bus to the race start.  The race starts on a small strip of land between Newport and Middletown and there is no parking there race day---as its staged in the parking lot of Easton's Beach.

I watched the marathoners and those half marathoners who wanted more course time take off, and then walked around by the beach.  

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I was not going to take any photos, I was going to run/walk this race to the best of my abilities. No matter how sore I was when I awoke, by the time we got to the race start, my muscles were relaxed, or the adrenaline was pumping again. . .whichever way you want to view it!  

Run/Walk I did.  The course starts out fairly flat, but by half a mile you're going up a hill and warming up the body. Then it was up down and around some intersections to a point where we turned right, went up and up a boulevard street to reach Ft. Adams' State Park, where we looped around--there was a bathroom in the park as well for those who needed it--and then ran back down the boulevard entrance  where we had a car trying to pass all of us runners. Not the smartest driver!  
I kept up the running on the level areas, but did stop to take a photo of this gorgeous  Coast Guard building Castle Rock.   

A bit more of running and I passed the halfway marker and decided I'd given it a good run, but needed the loo and to stretch the legs for a bit. 

I was surprised to see this monument to the Portuguese--not really knowing much about discovery of this nation.   It is a gorgeous monument and highlighted on the course. 

Around this bend, I caught up with my event mate, who started with the 26.2 folks. She was walking with another competitor and I decided to walk with them for a bit. . . and then it turned into the 'I don't want to run again' mentality.

Great views at relatively modern homes along the ocean front.
A sign I hadn't seen since Hawai'i. 

And then the race course dumped us into the historic home section of Newport:  Gorgeous homes, it was a pleasure to go past at a walk and not a run, and not in a car. 

The Breakers.  The guard let us dash inside the metal fence just to snap an unobscured photo. Beautiful place. Wish I'd had time to visit it later in the day. 

The Breakers 

There were other houses being renovated, some completely--save the street facing.

Then, knowing the finish was near, my body was wanting to run again.  I took off, and my race friend took off as well. The 26.2 walker stayed steady.

We came down to the finish at Easton Beach the same way we started, so down a hill land then a straight away for about half a mile. It really messes with a person to know the finish is "RIGHT THERE" and the downhill pull is working to make you want to run that downhill faster than you should, but knowing that you have to still preserve enough energy to run that flatland ahead.  

While the race folks do as much as they can, it was still a bit of shouting "runner coming through" "racer coming up" to adults and adults with children who decided to cross the path without looking as to why it was partitioned off to start. 

I went through the finish chute and had to ask for a medal--although there were plenty of young adults standing with them on their forearms. Perhaps I don't look like a racer in a running skirt, tank top and **race number** on my person????  

I got a bottle of water and made it to the racer finisher/food area and found this: 
water, water and water, bagels and that was it. No fruit, no milk.  Apparently there was pizza coming, but as a gluten free, soy free runner, that wasn't necessary for me.  

We were getting ready to head back to the bus area when my race friend noticed my medal was different from hers. . . I managed to be given a 26.2 instead of a 13.1 medal. The difference was the fabric loop and the medal itself was slightly larger. Back to the medal folks I went.  
Back home, it took my 'rarely drinks a beer' hubby The Mike, to point out that the medal was also a beer bottle opener!   
The dune vegetation: 
It was sad to see people walking over this dune instead of making time to walk around the edge. Erosion happens in many forms. 
The sea wall markers.
The buildings at Easton Beach, same day race entry was occurring in the parking area under these buildings, as was same day bib pickup, and people who wanted to avoid the wind.  
Pre-race hanging around was a choice of being in the shade out of the wind,  or being out in the sun and getting *some* warmth, but being in the wind from the Atlantic Ocean. 

After the race, we rode the bus to the car/parking lot which was greatly cleaned out, changed our clothes, stopped at Wendys for the drive-thru and headed out of town. 

Baked potato and cheese, plus milk and a frosty!  
Heading back to Mass state, we stopped in Providence RI for the Brighton store, so I could add a few more charms to my race bracelet. 
Providence, RI bridge. 
34505 yesterday, 35745 to day. 

End of the weekend. . .but wait! There's more!  A 10K tomorrow in Boston, or is there? 

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