Monday, March 28, 2016

Brrr-lingame 10-Mile Trail Race

Saturday was the next race in the South County Race Series in Rhode Island. I had enjoyed Belleville Pond so much that I decided to go back for the Brrr-lingame 10 mile trail race. It was a toss-up between this race and Eastern States 20-miler that I ran last year, but when I thought about how difficult it would be logistically with John, I decided ES was out. Plus, I would much rather run a 10-mile trail race any day over a 20-mile road race right now. It just seemed appealing. A new-to-me trail race. Perfect! The only thing I forgot was that it was 4.5 hours away! That would have meant getting up at 3am on Saturday morning to make the drive down. I had no desire to do that, so on Thursday, I searched around for places to stay. Having the 3 dogs with us meant a dog-friendly place. There wasn't much in the area near the race, so I ended up with the La Quinta near the airport in Warwick.

John came home two hours early, so I let him get his video game time in before we left. The drive ended up going very smoothly with zero traffic. That was surprising since we went right through Massachusetts during rush hour time. Trillium Brewing Company seems to be all the rage right now, so I decided to make a quick stop in their Canton brewery which was just 5 minutes off I-95. A quick stop it was not. I ended up in a very slowly moving line. It didn't really matter, though. I was able to grab two of both of the beers I was hoping they would have. I can't vouch for them yet since I haven't cracked them open. They have a lot of hype. Can they live up to that? We'll see.

John, the dogs and I made it to the La Quinta and checked in fine. Then I walked across the parking lot to Doherty's Ale House which was right next door for some dinner and beers.
Proclamation Broze at Doherty's
I have trouble falling asleep in hotel rooms because they are so stuffy, and this night was no exception. I didn't fall asleep until almost 1am. The bed was way more comfortable than mine, though; I'll give it that.

I was up at 6am so that I could shower, take the dogs out and basically just take my time getting ready. The hotel had a continental breakfast, but there wasn't a single thing there that looked even remotely appealing, so I just took some creamers for my in-room coffee and a bowl of corn flakes for John. I figured I could make do with what I brought from home and would stop at Starbucks on the way down to the race to get John a breakfast sandwich.

The drive down to Burlingame was nice and SHORT. Less than an hour. I was really happy with my decision to stay over the night before. I didn't get a lot of sleep, but it definitely beat out the 4.5 hour drive that morning. We ended up getting to the race so early that I had no idea where to go, but I eventually found it. I took the dogs in the woods to use the bathroom first and then got ready for a warm up. I joined Bob, Muddy, Jonny Hammett and Jeff Walker for a 2-mile run half trail/half road. I actually felt really good on the warm up and was pretty psyched to be trail racing. The course looked fun, and I was feeling it. When we were done, I got ready for the race, and Eric Narcisi came over. He pointed a college girl whom he said was fast but only doing the 5-miler. Goal #1: Beat college girl through the first 5. :)

The weather was a little chilly, but I opted for short sleeves and a skirt. I started with gloves but ditched them after the first loop. We lined up and then Mike Galoob started us off. The course heads through a field for just long enough to get in a good position for the single track. The college girl started off super fast and entered the woods pretty far ahead of me. I got stuck behind someone briefly that I really needed to get around. Jeff Walker was behind me and made a move. I waited a few more seconds then went around and focused on catching this girl. She was running with another guy, and Jeff fell in behind them and talked for a bit just before going by them. I hung back just enough through the last climb just before the road crossing, then made my move passing those two right around the mile mark. I continued to pull away from them and hung on to Jeff for nearly the entire race until mile 8.

I was really enjoying these trails. Not super technical, a lot of rolling hills. Reminded me of the trails on the South Shore in Mass where I've lived. I loved it. I was still running very hard, since I still wanted to be the first woman through the 5, but I found it fairly easy to maintain this pace. The course seemed to wind all around, so that I had no idea where I was. I kept my sights on Jeff to keep pulling me along. Right after mile 4, I realized where we were and that we were almost back at the start/finish for the end of loop 1. Goal #1 accomplished. I came through around 35:45. My next goal was to attempt to maintain this pace. I wasn't so sure I could at this point, but now that I knew the course, I thought maybe it was possible. I was surprised at how easy this second loop felt. And how I was getting my trail legs back. Even though I wouldn't consider this a technical course, it still had its obstacles. Rocks, boulders, bog bridges. But I'm good at this stuff and felt at home gliding along the course. Before I knew it, we were at mile 8, and Jeff began to slow considerably. I passed him. He said he was starting to lose steam. I asked him how many miles he ran before the race; he said 11. That would do it. I continued on past him and made my way for the finish. I was hoping to come in under 1:12 and was psyched to hear Mike yell out 1:11:54. Video that Brenna took of me finishing. My second loop ended up being only about 20 seconds slower than the first which also made me happy. It was such a good race for me. I needed that after my ass-whooping at New Bedford. Plus, it was a really good tune-up for Merrimack coming up in 2-weeks.

I got John to come out of his "cave", i.e. the car, for a little bit while I got ready for the cool down. Then, Bob, Muddy, Eric Narcisi and I went out for 2 miles. I brought Chill along so that he could use the bathroom and get some exercise. I was definitely a hurting puppy for that one. That 2 miles was harder than the 10!

We got back just before the awards. I won more beer for winning first female. Yay! Haha. I also finished 10th overall.

From there, John and I joined Bob, Eric, Brenna (Eric's wife) and Eric's dad for lunch at Mew's Pub before our drive back to New Hampshire. That was a pretty cool place. The food and beer were great. A discussion about the sketchiness of Central Falls, RI came up over lunch. So on the way up I-95, just as I got close to Pawtucket, I decided to take a detour and visit this wonderful place. From the very little of it I saw, it lived up to its reputation. The people and the place looked rough. My attempts at a sign selfie failed, due to the sun behind the sign, but you can see my Kia Soul in the background perfectly fitting in like a local.

The drive home was long but not that bad since it wasn't late. I was once again glad I made the trip down for this one. I want to come down for the Big River Half, but that will depend on how I feel after Boston.

Next up.................NO RACE WEEKEND! Not only do I need it, but so does John. We'll enjoy the break until it starts all up again the following weekend at the Merrimack Trail Race.

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