The blessing of the fleet is the premier 10 miler in Rhode Island. No offense to the folks who put it on but if someone tries to tell you its the Newport 10 miler, slap em. Real Rhode Islanders know, its the Blessing. I've done this awesome race a bunch of time and thought I'd share a few tips for those who plan to race this Friday!
Take a Sick Day
It may not be in the cards for some folks but if you can take the day. With a 6pm start time a day on your feet or cooped up in the office could take that PR off the table. You could maybe catch that summer cold that's going around or have eaten something terrible the night before...anyway...if you can, take that sick day!
Plan for Traffic!
Another factor of the 6pm start time is the traffic getting down to Narragansett. Plan on leaving the house a little earlier than you would typically. It's beach season and you most likely will run into some beach traffic. Believe me there have been a few times when I've run out of number pick up and right into the race!
Grab your Number Early
The folks from the Blessing hold their early Packet pick up on July 22nd so if you were able to do that you are ahead of the game for sure. For everyone else make sure to get to the event well in advance of the start. Give yourself time to grab your number and avoid my usual sprint to the starting line!
Hydrate Hydrate Hydrate
Its July. Let's be honest it's most likely going to be quite sticky out there. It's not the heat, it's the humidity. It may dawn on you at around 5pm oh crap! I haven't had anything to drink! Be sure to avoid this and start drinking (water that is) throughout the day. Whether you're at home (cause you're sick remember?!) or at work make sure to chuck back some water so when the race starts up you're ready to rock.
Be Prepared for Wacky Weather
Heat and Humidity are not the only two factors that affect this race. This time of year Scattered Thunderstorms are par for the course and the Blessing is no different. Be prepared, even if you check the forecast and it looks sunny and clear be prepared for a downpour at mile 5. It's inevitable.
Take it easy the first few miles
The first mile specifically. It's down hill. And Fast. You can get a bit carried away at the start and forget that there are nine more miles. It's a long race and for a lot of folks it's their longest race of the year. Go out conservatively and you will not regret it.
Grab some water (or beer) along the way
RUNNING + BEER =
There are some water stops along the way so be sure to take advantage. Try to grab a drink on the regular if it's real steamy out. Maybe do every waterstop or every other waterstop depending on how you're feeling. If you see a beer...snag it. Why not?
If you see an ice bag grab it!
Same goes for ice bags. They show up intermittently during the race and if it's a hot one you'll see a few more than usual. A few of the water stops have them and folks will be handing them out along the way. If you see one grab it cause you may not see one again.
108 is not really that long
Yeah it is. No it's not. It feels like forever. Really it's like 2 miles. In a 10 mile race it's not that long. Yes it is. Don't do this to yourself. Get out of your own head. You'll feel like 108 goes on forever (it does) STOP! No it does not, it's only 2 miles you can get through 2 miles you're one tough cookie. Put your head down and run.
The Blessing is popular for one reason, its a big ol party! From the folks blasting music at the start to the frat boys handing out beers at mile 4 you'll have a good time if you let yourself. You should let yourself. It's down in Narragansett you're running by the beach, relax enjoy yourself...
Bonus points if you can name the orange speck in the background of the picture at the top of this blog post.
See you on the Rhode!
Eric aka Emoney aka The Orange Speck.