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The Blessing Recap

Nicole finally partakes in a Narragansett tradition - The Blessing of the Fleet.

Do you get nervous before a race?  I do, but usually it is just the night before and the morning of.  

The race that I did on Friday, the Blessing of The Fleet, was at 6 p.m.  My nerves got the best of me starting Wednesday.

I am not really sure why.  Maybe the distance.  I had only run 10 miles once before. Maybe the crowd, since there were over 3000 of us.  I think a big part of it was that Mr. RWM was not going to be there and neither were the kids.

The Blessing of the Fleet has been a tradition in Narragansett for 35 years.  I have never run in this race before, but I have been to the festival and it has always been a good time.

Back to Wednesday, I did not sleep.  Thursday, I had an upset stomach all day. Thursday night, no sleep.  Friday morning, right off the bat, my stomach was queasy.  I had two cups of coffee and some water.  The thought of food made me sick.  This is not good, I need to eat.  Around 1, I had a chicken salad sandwich. It did not sit well, but at least I got some food in.  At 4 I was in the car driving to the race eating a banana.

I usually eat a banana before I run.  It didn't upset my stomach and I was feeling better now that I was on my way.

Parking and the shuttle to the start was easy and when I got there I found Bria.  I knew a few other people running but could not find any of them. 

We were supposed to start at 6 p.m., but at 5:20 p.m. the sky opened up and race officials said they were going to delay the race until the lighting and thunder passed. At 6:30, we were off.

I was told this race was fun, well-run and had great crowd support.  All of this was true.  

People had parties on their lawns with music and water for us and some with hoses.  They were all cheering and it was awesome.  The first couple houses had the theme from Rocky on and well, if you know me, I love anything Rocky.

When we hit the water, there was the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen.  I wish I took a picture, but I am sure someone else did and I hope they share it with me.

Half a mile in, I started to get cramping in my stomach.  Oh, no!  I am not sure why, I am guessing the lack of food, but it is too late now, I got to keep on trucking.

I was running with Bria and she told me to stand up straight and take deep breaths. I didn't realize I was leaning over a little.  Can you say bad form?  I did as she suggested and it helped a little.

One of the cool things I noticed was the little kids standing on the sidelines, cheering us on with their hands held out for a high five.  I was surprised to see so many people just pass these kids by without putting their hand out for them.  

I was wearing my Run Like a Mother tank and I thought to myself, what kind of mom would I be if I didn't play along with these kids?  I am not going to win so what if it takes a few seconds off my time.  I did my best to high five everyone who had a hand out, big and small.  I found motivation in that, which I really needed.

I had cramping for the first four miles.  I took some time to walk and got water at every stop.  I lost Bria somewhere around mile four and about 4.5 miles, I finally found my groove.  Better late than never.

It was here that we passed a house with a group of people playing bongo drums and cheering us on.  It was pretty cool.  

After that, I met Sam.  We chatted for about five minutes.  He has only be running for two years, and completed his first marathon last year.  We talked about my upcoming half and he was sure I would want to do a full when I was done.  Doubt it, Sam, but I never thought I would run a mile let alone 10, so I guess never say never, right?

Right after Sam moved on, I heard the siren of an ambulance.  It passed me and turned at our next turn, I prayed that it was not a runner.   As I rounded the corner, I saw the ambulance and as I got closer I could see the man on the stretcher.  He was indeed a runner and he looked to be about 27.  I do not know what happened, but I hope he is okay.

Speaking of praying, there were a group of runners wearing yellow shirts that read, Pray for Ali and a Cure.  I don't know who Ali is but every time I saw one of those shirts I said a prayer for her and her family.  Also, it was another source of motivation for me.  I ran for Ali because I am guessing, she can't.

Mile six and seven were uneventful.  More cheering and little kids.  I was surprised my knee and back were feeling so good and this made me happy.   Happy until mile eight. Right after I hit mile eight, I wanted to cry.  Not because I was in pain, but because I was exhausted and starving!

It was here, I realized I had Sport Beans with me and I was kicking myself for not eating them earlier.  I walked while I ate them and then had some water and off I went.  I felt better almost immediately, but I was still tired.  It was getting dark now too.

At the end of mile nine, the sign marker read, one mile to the beer tent.  That was my favorite sign!  This, I think, was my fastest mile.  I ran with out my GPS, so I can't say for sure, but I know I was moving faster than I had the whole race.

Somewhere in this last mile, I heard my name and saw my neighbors who were at a Blessing party.  It was so nice to see someone who knew me and cheer for me. Thank you neighbors!  To see the finish was beautiful. I couldn't get there fast enough and I was so happy to cross the finish line alive.  Bria was there waiting for me, she finished four minutes before me. Way to go Bria!

I had two goals for this race.  Have fun and finish.  But deep down, I knew I wanted to finish in two hours.  I thought with my issues in the first four miles that this would be impossible, but guess what?  I finished in 1:58:09!

However, I just checked the official results and noticed they have me as 39 years old.  We all know I am 40, so what do I do about that.  This messes with age group awards, not that you get an award for number 300, but you know what I mean, should I let someone know?

As soon as I was done, I hurt and I got cold.  It was dark and I just wanted to go home.  I skipped the beer tent that I was so looking forward to, because it was a warm shower and food that I really needed.

I met all of my goals.  I finished and did it under two hours and most importantly, I had a blast.  Would I do it again?  Probably.  Next year though, I will hope Mr. RWM and the kids can be there.  I will also eat better the day of the race and now that I know what to expect, I am sure I won't be as nervous.  Plus, I hope to make it to the beer tent!

I would like to thank everyone who posted comments on my FB page. When I finally sat down and put my feet up, I was surprised to see so many of you had been thinking of me and took the time to say so.  You are the best readers and supporters anywhere!  You all rock!

Run Strong, Think Big!

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