Navigant Blackstone Valley Half Marathon Race Recap 5/5/13

If you ever ask me what my worst half marathon was, this was it. It wasn’t the first time I had knee pain in a race, but it was the first time that it was so bad for months afterward that I didn’t think I would be able to do another half marathon.

But let’s start at the beginning . . .

Packet Pickup
I actually don’t remember packet pickup at all. I don’t remember there being any problems with it, though.

My Race Plan
Seriously? I think I was hoping to just not be in pain, which obviously didn’t happen.

  1. 12:12
  2. 12:02
  3. 12:03
  4. 12:20
  5. 13:12
  6. 13:39
  7. 12:59
  8. 13:11
  9. 14:10
  10. 15:37
  11. 16:36
  12. 18:45
  13. 17:09
  14. 13.27 (.16 mile)

3:05:43 –Official Time
14:08 Average Pace

You can pretty much see exactly where the pain really got to me.

Blackstone Valley
Blackstone Valley – well, the start was good

The weather & dressing
It may just have been the most beautiful weather I ever had for a half marathon — just perfect. And for a change, I actually feel that I dressed pretty appropriately.

Was the race well run?
Very well run, extremely enthusiastic volunteers — even at the finish line, where I was actually pretty close to DFL. They were still partying and had plenty of everything.

Not a whole lot of spectator support, but the ones that were there were enthusiastic. I especially remember some guy sitting on a porch not to far from the start — and he was still there cheering on what few runners were heading back as I came back towards the finish.

So here’s what I wrote later in the day after the race:

Run as if you stole something

What a beautiful day to run . . . sunny, 40s to 50s, a slight wind. A small, mostly well organized HM.

Unfortunately it did not go well for me. I am not over my runner’s knee – but I did finish, painful as it was. Nowhere near a PR or the time I thought I’d finish in . . . but still just a tad faster than my very first HM; 3:05:44; 526 out of 551.

Well, I met 2 of my running criteria: I finished & I wasn’t last. Unfortunately not only was I in pain, for the first time in my short running career I had to walk the end.

But let’s back up a bit. The race started off well – I didn’t go out too fast, mostly a 12:00 mm, which was about where I wanted to be. The first few miles went great. Around mile 4 I felt my left knee begin to tighten up. In retrospect I probably should have walked up the really big hill at mile 4 1/2 but I didn’t.

I stop to sip one water or Nuun & take a walk break every mile & I did some knee raises & some butt kicks every time I stopped to walk, but they simply weren’t helping. I slowed down: a bit at first, pretty significantly as the pain set in. By mile 10 1/2 I simply could not run anymore; I’ve never had that happen before (or since, thankfully) – not in training, not in a race. So I walked it in til that last tenth of a mile.

It was disappointing, to say the least, but I did finish. And I wasn’t last.

DH actually came with me to the start, which he rarely does (actually, he’s come to the start of all but two halfs), as he’s rarely up at that time in the morning. Pawtucket seemed kind of iffy, so I think that’s why, but it was nice to have him there. And it was chilly, so I was able to hand him my sweatshirt rather than throwing it away.

It was my first small HM, but as the previous year’s reviews indicated, it’s well run & has great volunteers. It’s not real scenic overall, altho certain parts are & quite frankly most of the second half passed in a pain filled blur for me (I kept telling myself it was just another 5k but it was tough).

There aren’t many spectators except at the start & finish, so if you need crowd support this isn’t the HM for you. If you need friendly, encouraging volunteers, this could be the HM for you.

I liked the one tshirt that said “run as if you stole something”.

We stopped in Fall River at Pattis Pierogis & I got sweet potato pierogis & 1 peanut butter cup & 1 chocolate chip cookie dough pierogi. Yum-mo. I still have a few of the sweet potato pierogi left over & there were only 6, but as sometimes happens with a long run (& I did run hard for most of it, even with that sucky time), my appetite is a bit suppressed.

Well, 47 (states, that is) to go (39 as of 8/16) .

What I learned
I can’t stop running due to an injury a couple of weeks before a race and expect the race to go well. In fact, now I would definitely seek out the help of a chiropractor or physical therapist (or both) if I “ran” into something like this.

Sometimes DNF is better than gutting it out.

Final Thoughts
This race was the flattest race I have run in New England. Training went so well — or so I thought.The weather was so perfect. If I knew then what I know now, this race definitely should have been a PR.

The knee pain started out of the blue during the taper. To this day, I am not sure why. Did I push my pace too much during training?  Did I run too many hilly routes? Was I simply running at a pace that my tendons were not ready for yet?

I don’t know. I’ll never know. In many ways I wish I’d saved this race for later, so I could have potentially met my FB friend Connie.

One thing I definitely still remember? Those dessert pierogis. They were awesome.

I’m linking up with with MCM Mama Runs, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and My No Guilt Life for the Tuesdays on the Run linkup.

Tuesdays on the Run

30 thoughts on “Navigant Blackstone Valley Half Marathon Race Recap 5/5/13

    1. Well, it’s not completely flat, but it would probably feel that way to you.

      There are probably better races in RI; more scenic, but I decided to try a smaller race & we were able to bring the dogs.

      I think there was a full but I couldn’t swear to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Have you had pain like that since ? My knee did that in my first 20K but it was cold, windy & pouring rain. And I hadn’t trained properly.
    How do you remember all those details ?

    And BTW, I mention you in my blog today but for the life of me, wordpress won’t link back to your site. Its crazy, I am still having the problem we spoke about in June. I thought with the updated wordpress it would be fine, but nope. It links to Darlene’s but not yours. Sorry!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never had pain as bad since, but my it is still a weak spot. Since I discovered taping, though, I can usually work through it.

      Thanks for the mention! Don’t worry about the link. I haven’t had as much time to read blogs as I thought. . . you’d think spending hours everyday in a hospital I would, but I’m also trying to take care of both my elderly parents and talk with all the Drs and cajole my mom into eating & drinking. . .


  2. I smiled as I got to the end of your story; I had the same idea, “Gee, I wish I knew Judy then. We could have met!”
    Patti’s pierogis are famous. So glad you got to try them. On my Bucket List, and Tony works in Fall River.

    I’m sorry that your first half was so difficult for you physically, but many lessons learned. Wishing you luck as you move forward on your journey of a half in every state.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I’ve had knee issues for many years as I’ve been running for 30 years. I’ve just learned to always cherish the good runs, because often times there are aches and pains associated with my running. I think taking this year off from distance running will be a blessing in disguise no matter how much I miss it!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow. In hindsight, I bet you wished that when you had knee pain during the taper that you DNSed that race. That way you would have avoided all that pain during and after your race.

    But we can’t predict the future.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It is interesting looking back at old races. Sorry to hear about having runner’s knee…I went through that a few years ago and it took a long time to bounce back. But congrats on finishing despite the pain!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This brought back terrible memories of my first marathon. I should have DNFed but stupidly and stubbornly didn’t. I was in horrendous pain for 24 miles. Why do we do stupid things??!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s