We started at 8am at Easton's Beach as the sun just poked over a bank of low cloud that had obscured it at sunrise. Just after mile 2 we were at the southern end of Newport Harbor and the course carried on past Ida Lewis and Newport Yacht Clubs before taking a detour down to Brenton Cove at Fort Adams for another splendid view of the harbor. At mile 6 we passed Castle Hill and were treated with breathtaking views across Narragansett Bay to Point Judith. The next 3 or 4 miles snaked along Ocean Drive, surely one of the most magnificent ocean roads in the country. Then it was up Bellevue Avenue past all the Newport mansions and down the back roads through Salve Regina University before a most welcome downhill jog down Memorial Boulevard to the finish back at Easton's Beach. Wow!
The course was wonderful. My performance... not so wonderful, mainly because I hadn't properly trained for this event. My first half marathon in 2007 was only about a month after I ran the London Marathon so 13.1 miles was a piece of cake after doing over 26+ miles so recently. Then when I did two half marathons in the spring of last year I had religiously followed a half-marathon training program doing long runs of successively 8,10,12,14 miles on alternate weeks prior to the first half-marathon.
This summer my training was a bit more sporadic and a lot more random, partly because I let sailing interfere with running. If I did a hard 3-day Laser regatta at the weekend I didn't feel up to a long training run only a few days later... and then the next week I had the same excuse... and the next week... and so on. I did complete a 12 mile and a 13 mile run during the summer but I fear that any training effect from those runs has long worn off by now. Then I only did a few short runs during our recent 3-week trip to Europe (see terrible warning about old dudes avoiding over-exertion on sailing holidays.) I have done one 10-mile run since that vacation (and a few shorter ones.) I feared it wouldn't be enough for me to run yesterday's half marathon at anything near the pace of any of my other efforts... and I was right.
Things were going good for the first 8 or 9 miles. I was relaxed and running a slightly slower pace than my last half-marathon. But mile 9 was hard... and mile 10 was even tougher. Then I totally lost it. I just couldn't run more than 2 or 3 minutes at a time, and I must have walked as much as I ran during the last 3 miles.
Oh well. I guess it just proves that the recommended training programs really do work. As Sam Chapin might have said RUNNERS TRAIN.
This morning I have a few aches and pains and was feeling a bit sorry for myself until I read this story about a 100-year-old guy who finished a marathon in Toronto yesterday. Yikes!