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Newport Liberty Half – spectator view

Since I joined RVRR (which is almost 6 years ago) I have run at the Newport Liberty Half Marathon every year (and have been lucky enough to be a partner blog for the last few years), until now.

Injury now means that I am not running at all, but this is a USATF Team Championship and a lot of RVRR members were running, so I took the opportunity to go along, cheer, and take photos.

It’s surprisingly emotional to be at an event and unable to take part – I found myself wishing that I was running with everyone else as they passed the 1 mile mark (there were over 2500 finishers). I’m not sure I felt entirely the same way by the end – the day was humid and you could tell people were suffering. The EMS staff seemed busy and the vehicles used along the boardwalk weren’t always ideal as there were points where the runners were held up, unable to pass them.

2nd place runner about a quarter of a mile from the finish

RVRR runners waving as they passed by

To see all the photos (of lead runners and RVRR members), visit the Facebook photo album

There will be another follow-up post from a runner’s perspective as Manil completed his first half marathon at this event.

Newport Liberty Half – still time to sign up

If you’ve thought about running a half marathon, or perhaps have worked up to running at least 8 or 9 miles and haven’t thought about it yet, there’s still time to register for the Newport Liberty Half Marathon taking place on September 17. I know this because someone I met through the Raritan Valley Road Runners just signed up.

One of the benefits of being a blog partner of the Newport races is a free entry, which I would typically use myself. Unfortunately when I run about 4 miles or so my calf/ankle/hip (take your pick because it could be any one or more of those on any given day) rudely let me know that I need to stop, so I decided that someone else should use it.

Manil is getting back into running after a 10 month break due to patellar tendinitis. Before the injury Manil was able to run 13 miles so is working back towards that goal. His longest run in the past month was 9 miles but he’s confident he will be able to finish and has a goal of less than 2 hours 30 minutes. This will be his first race too so I’m looking forward to cheering him on and hearing about his experience after the race (there will be a follow-up on this blog).

Good luck Manil!

Building up, and the Newport Half

Since my last post I have started to build up my mileage. That doesn’t mean my issues are gone. The Achilles Tendonitis is still there but improving, so much so that it is not felt during a run (well… mostly). My right ankle still swells up, but the stresses that cause that seem to not be running related (I started going to Bodypump again and that seems to cause it). My right hip does hurt a bit during longer runs, but massage is helping with that it seems.

So, now we’re up to date, it’s time to look ahead.

The Newport Liberty Half is coming up on September 17. I love that race and have done it every year since I started running more than just 5ks.

This year I’m not sure I’ll be able to run. I’m lucky enough to once again be a blog partner for the race and I will definitely be there, but more than likely it will be with my camera and not my running shoes.

Sign up for the race, and let the organizers know where you found out about it. Read some of my previous posts about the race here!

2016 Newport Liberty Half Marathon recap

Following the events on Saturday in Seaside Park, the day before the Newport Liberty Half Marathon, it was difficult to know how the organizers would respond. In the weeks after the Boston bombing there was a lot of security at the race, but they had time to prepare. On that occasion they set up a perimeter around the registration and finish line areas and you could not take bags through. That caused inconvenience and, in my mind at least, has no impact at all (it just moves anything that’s going to happen to a different place – you can’t block off an entire course). The organizers handled things very well for the race on Sunday. It was obvious there was more security, but it wasn’t intrusive. An announcement at the start informed us that the entire course had been swept, and I felt that everything was as relaxed as ever.

There didn’t seem to be an impact on numbers with over 2500 finishers. The number of finishers and pre-registered runners seems comparable to 2 years ago. Last year was much lower for both and that was the year when the price jumped from $35 to $50 so perhaps that was the issue – of course, this is still probably the cheapest half marathon around, and hopefully they can keep the prices low.

Out on the course I overheard the usual complaints about the potholes in the first couple of miles, but there were other areas where there seemed to be a definite improvement. The weather made it tough – the humidity was high and it was noticeable among the people I see regularly in NJ races with many of them slipping way down on last year’s performance (me included, but that was, at least in part, due to other factors). At least this year the wind wasn’t strong along the Liberty Park waterfront.

My lack of targeted training had an effect on my race, but my time was almost exactly where I expected it would be. I have had a swollen ankle for a couple of weeks, and running does not seem to make it worse, but just to be sure, I have run less to avoid aggravating anything. When it came to the race this meant that I was testing it out a little at first, which probably saved me in the long run. (Photo around the 2 mile mark.)

Party pace @ mile 2 😜 #newportlibertyhalfmarathon #rvrr

A post shared by Elaine Acosta (@cheeky.ninja.runner) on

My mile splits were fairly consistent but I was also able to pick up some speed later on and it was good to see, in a photo also taken by Ninja, that my form seemed to stay strong.

The humidity caused so much sweating that I could feel it in my shoe and somehow my right shoelace (double knotted) came undone around the 8.5 mile point (my best guess is that it loosened because of how wet it got?). The fix was easy and didn’t cost me too much time.

Did you run this race? How did you feel about it? Any feedback is great, for the last few years I have been lucky enough to be a blog partner of the race, for which I do get a free entry. My blog posts are not influenced by this – I’ve enjoyed this race, and blogged about it, before I became a blog partner. I hope that any feedback or criticism can only help make this race better.

With that said, is there a better way to handle the exit from the parking lot? Half an hour to get out is insane. I recall on a previous occasion (perhaps it was for the 10k) they opened up a different exit which probably made things better. That didn’t seem to be happening this time.

Getting back to full fitness for the Newport Liberty Half

It’s been a difficult year for me training-wise, and the summer is never an easy time to keep on track with a full training plan. All those summer parties, the heat, vacations, and so on, take their toll on your ability to keep your desired mileage, but if you have been able to maintain a good base, in theory, getting back to where you want to be in time for the Newport Liberty Half on Sunday September 18th is still possible.

I do have to admit I’ve somehow managed a couple of runs around 10 miles in the last month, but my weekly mileage has only been in the 20s for some of that, and there was one busy week with a shocking 7.3 mile total (over two runs – Monday and the following Sunday!).

This may look reasonable, but in past years the Newport Liberty Half has been a goal race – it was my Half Marathon PR course and likely would still be if I didn’t take part in a different Half Marathon the week before last year which became my new PR (my time in the 2015 Newport race was still faster than my previous PR despite that), and this year has had less mileage and less speed.

My goal now is just to see how fast I can run despite the reduction in training over last year. I’m putting together a plan for increasing my mileage, incorporating speed work by incorporating weekly track workout, strides, and progression runs over the coming weeks.

As with last year, I am excited to be a blog partner for the race for which the race organizers have provided a free entry. As I mentioned last year, I have blogged about this race before becoming a blog partner, and this has no influence over what I write about the race. For last year’s race review, click here. When you sign up, don’t forget to mention you read about the race here.