When they dropped us off, the lines for the port-a-potties were so long, I figured "forget it," but as time wore on, I decided I should try anyway (I had already "gone" twice that morning) - runner's stomach. When I got into the port-a-potty, no toilet paper! Another lesson learned...I guess I should always have some on me in case. I ended up not going to the bathroom, didn't want to get in another line, but I ended up being okay in the intestinal department. Despite this setback, the sunrise was beautiful.
The National Anthem played and soon enough, we were off. The beginning of the course was through a wooded, residential (I use that term loosely...it was like where I live, a house every 200 yards) area, but that soon opened up to waterfront running. I snapped a photo here with my dying phone, but I guess it didn't save it because I couldn't find it later. That was unfortunate, because it was gorgeous - lots of boats and then the bridge - you should've been there.
I kept running through more residential areas, a few people cheering here and there, including a man in a Viking helmet. I was anticipating the curve in the course, and the long, long, long straightaway ahead of that (see course map to the right). It eventually appeared...and so did the Viking (again! and again! and again!). I figured out what he was doing...driving ahead, getting out of his car, flipping his sign over (it was a large "notepad") with oft-seen-at-a-race, inspiring messages like: WORST PARADE EVER - Run now. Beer later. - and more that I forget. I was running about a 10 minute mile pace at this point, and I was very proud of myself. Unfortunately, I must have stopped the timer after checking my time at mile 5, because at mile 6, it still read "50:33." Oh well, I soldiered on...vowing to remember to add about 12 minutes (to be safe) onto the time displayed.
This was my first race with earphones all the whole time. There was not as much to see as London, and not as much to "do" as Disney, and I was glad to have the music. It definitely kept me going. For not much training, I did surprisingly well. I never once felt like stopping. I would grab the water as I ran by; I ate my gels every 45 minutes; and I was keeping about a 10:30 minute pace. I learned my lesson from London (finally, a lesson I had already learned!) and brought my own water (belt). I was thankful to have this, because I felt well hydrated the whole race, and after it as well. Just before mile 8, I did a double take on my watch, I calculated my time at about 75 minutes, but I had not seen a mile 7 marker. There wasn't one - a fact I confirmed at the finish line when I explained not seeing it to my parents and another runner said there wasn't one. Good, I wasn't hallucinating.
Around mile 9, I started to feel a little tired. And then, a lovely person decided to set up a sprinkler in her front yard that sprayed on the road! There was another one at mile 11...and they both felt magnificent. At this point, the morning "chill" of 60 degrees had worn off and it was definitely approaching 70 at 9am. I checked my time again and realized with three miles left that I was on pace to possibly beat my PR...if I calculated that missing mile's time correctly.
I had a lovely little jaunt with my parents down to Rhode Island, and can add it to the list of states where I've run a half marathon. My new (life) goal is to run a half marathon in every state. That's kind of how I ended up running this one in the first place. I decided the half marathon was the ideal distance to still be a challenge, but not wreck my body...and since I don't love swimming or biking, triathlons were out. So...a half in every state, here I come.