Winter Running

This winter has been particularly difficult for running (although we may say that every year).  Record cold, snow bombs, ice – Mother Nature is giving us lots of reasons to stay inside.  fullsizeoutput_5acc

But for some of us – the weather doesn’t stop us, not running outside is not an option.  Whether you are training for a spring marathon, streaking (run streaking, not naked streaking – that would be crazy in this weather) or just trying to keep up with your NY’s resolution, you just layer up and head outside.  For the most twisted – the rougher the weather, the more we embrace the badass-ness.

Personally – I LOVE winter running!  Give me a 30 degree snowy day any time and I will take it over any August morning with 90% humidity.  I love the way the cold makes you feel alive, the clean fresh air, the way everything is so peaceful and quiet.  You can always get warm in your winter running but you can never get cooler in your summer runs.  Last winter, I was injured and couldn’t run outside and it was KILLING me.  My PT kept telling me how I would be ready to go just as the weather was going to improve but every time it snowed and I couldn’t be out there in it, I was heartbroken. When it snows, every thing in nature seems so pristine and white, and it is almost as if it provides an insulating layer.

The first few minutes can be tough – the shock of the cold air as it hits your lungs, the way you are a bit stiff in the joints, how you feel a bit heavy in all your clothes – but then you warm up and you breathe in that fresh air and you notice the beauty around you.  I believe the cold actually helps you zone out a bit and allows you to focus on other things – numbs your body but heightens your brain.

For those of you training for Spring marathons – like our Newport or Providence races (!!!), it can be tough to get in those miles in winter weather – but if you embrace it, and start to appreciate the beautiful snowy days, the sharp cold days and all the days in between that can be a bit of a challenge, this will help you in the latter miles of your race.  You trained through the worst, nothing will stop you in your marathon quest! fullsizeoutput_5abb.jpeg

For those of you still looking to kick off those resolutions – it is never too late. Find a friend who will help you get out that door.  I guarantee that you will feel better running in the cold than if you skipped it and sat on the warm couch.  But a friend can help hold you accountable to that plan – you can both be crazy together.  When one of you isn’t feeling it, the other can drag you out – and vice versa.  If you need a bit of help – check out our Corporate Fitness Challenge.  Talk to your employer about starting a team and go all in together!

Enjoy winter’s beauty (but be careful out there!)

#optoutside

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2018 Rhode Masters

We are so excited to announce our registration is open for the 2018 Rhode Races Series. We had such a phenomenal  response from this year’s Series that we are going to operate under the auspices of “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it….”

Our Rhode Masters are a very special group to us – because we get to interact with them in a number of ways, they become a close and important group to us.  Not only are they at a number of our events, but we have our private FaceBook group, more email communication, the VIP bib pick up for face to face interaction, and more.  The feedback, advice and insights from them are so important to us.  As a result, we want to treat our Rhode Masters to some extra special rewards.

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So what is included in the program?  Here is a not-quite-complete list:

  • Discount when you sign up for 3 or more races at the same time.
  • Awesome Series Medal that will be awarded after completion of your first race
  • Top of the Industry BocoGear running hat exclusive to the Series, awarded after completion of your 3rd race.
  • Exclusive to the Series L/S Rhode Master shirt, awarded after completion of 4 races
  • Rhode Master Jacket for completing ALL 5 RACES!
  • VIP bib pick up at all races
  • VIP Parking in Newport (no shuttles!)
  • Reserved race day bib pick up in Providence, if you so choose
  • Private Facebook group
  • Chance to be named Rhode Master Champion in the Series Age Group Awards.

We are currently working with our medal provider, Ashworth Awards, to finalize the 2018 medal but we will providing a Series medal in a similar style to this year’s – a center Series medal “hub,” which this year will be an anchor instead of a Ship’s Wheel (because we LOVE anchors!).  The individual race medals will reflect the specific race locations again but will encircle the Series hub with a system that will not impact the individual race medals.  We have kept all the parts that people loved this past year, and improved upon certain elements to create six AWESOME medals!

Narraganset-1726.jpgIn order to be a part of the program, you must have your race registrations in the Rhode Master platform for each race to be part of these perks. If you have any questions at all as to what this means, please don’t hesitate to ask. It is always easier for us to make the adjustments in advance of the race, rather than race day.   If you registered for the races individually, we can always move them into the Rhode Master platform on the back end.

 

Prices increase on 12/31 so register today for the lowest prices! Click here to register.
Hope you can join us!

A Month of Thanks – Two Year Anniversary!

November is not only when we close out our racing season and start planning the next one, it is also a time of thanks AND our anniversary.  It is a time for us to reflect on what went right this year, how we can improve next year but also – to be grateful for what you, our participants, allow us to do.

Before we begin the nuts and bolts of planning the next season, it is a time of reflection; to sit and take a breath and unwind from the pace of the races.  As we have stated before, producing road races is very similar to actually running in them.  You plan out your racing strategies, you focus on your strengths, you do research and you train. But also – you ask yourself – “What are my race goals?  Why am I doing this?”

fist pump finishRunning a half marathon or marathon takes a lot of time, and it can physically hurt.  It requires a good amount of dedication – so you need to have your goals and priorities in place to put yourself, and often times your families, through this.

We recognize the sacrifices that you and your families go through to get to that finish line.  Our goal is to always give you the best race experience possible because of this dedication.  You have done the work, and we should too.  Proposal-4935

So in November, we look at “hardware” – registration pages, websites, sponsors, etc – as well as “software” – what amenities can we add, how can we improve our race day experience, what are our goals this coming season.

But mostly we are grateful – grateful that we are able to do this, happy to call so many of our participants and vendors our friends, honored that you have raced wiliz_2015th us again this year.

As a thank you – anyone that signs up for the Newport or Providence race before Thanksgiving weekend is over will receive a free sticker.  Use code “GRATEFUL” in the coupon code box for the $5 sticker to be discounted to $0.

Hope you all can join us in 2018 for YEAR 3!

 

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Volunteers make the race!

In order to execute a race with a small full time staff, we have to rely heavily on our strong corp of volunteers.  We know these groups and individuals are the “face” of the company that you will encounter throughout your race day, and they can make or break the race experience.  Luckily, we have some incredible groups and volunteer chairs – we receive a great many compliments about our volunteers and we feel we have some of the best people around. We are so grateful to them for giving our participants the type of race that we work all year towards. 
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We try to use the same groups from race to race for a number of reasons – they know the courses, the volunteer protocols and the standards to which we like to adhere.  Plus, we know they are happy, smiling and fun – just what a runner needs when they are fighting through the grueling miles!

There are two groups that go above and beyond that we would like to formally recognize – Portsmouth HS Cross Country, lead by Coach Shawn Horgan and Mt Hope HS Lacrosse, lead by Coach Jay Spina.  These two groups are at nearly EVERY race we execushort arms cooldrink.JPGte, often in multiple roles.  We know that if we need a spot filled, we can always count on Jay and Shawn. They are generally the first to arrive and the last to leave, they have high standards, have employed their own family members if need be and are just genuinely nice guys who surround themselves with a great team of high school students.  We know that if we need anything – we can always count on these guys to help.  We are truly in their debt.

At the Ocean State Rhode Races – we have a volunteer contest going on in celebration of Halloween being right around the corner:  The Volunteer group that is the MOST fun, as voted by our participants, will be given an additional donation to their charity.  This allows us to give back to YOU, our participants, by providing a great race experience – as well as our volunteers – who go over and above!

 

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Why Do You Run?

I have been coaching a Girl’s HS team and in hopes of inspiring the team – it has given me a reason to pause and look into why I run, why we run?  What is our motivation and reason for pushing ourselves in every race that we do – to get out of the comfort zone and willingly experience a bit of pain?  I asked the girls why did they join XC, why are they running – what makes them show up every day to do something potentially uncomfortable.  Their reasons at 14, 15, 16 years old are probably not that different from yours.

I started running in High School and I did it because my friends were there, to be social, to be part of a HS team.  But I did not like running, I couldn’t even run a mile at the first practice.  If you had told me then that not only would I still be running, but I have made a career as a runner (certainly not as an elite runner, but in the community) – I never would have believed it.  I am sure there are many of you that never would have thought yourselves a runner.  There might be some of you that still don’t – but you are!

fist pump finishCoaching running is less about the running skills and more about the mental tricks, tips and strategies you can use in a race.  It is about teaching mental strength and the reasons for putting yourself through the pain that is associated with running.  These are skills that we all will need at some point in life.  I talk to the team about “embracing the suck,” – how not only will it make them physically stronger but mentally as well.  When everything else around you feels a bit out of control, running is something that we can use to get back control – the pace, the route, the attitude – the feeling of success after each run.

In coaching, I often use the stories of those that are in our races and how they inspire me to run – because it is a privilege.  We get to hear these amazing stories of why people are running – they lost weight, they beat cancer, they just got out a destructive relationship – they are amazing stories.  One of our runner’s motto is “Because I can now!”  That is incredibly inspiring.

Not only does it help us stay in shape (although that is much harder than it used to be for me!) – it helps many of us stay sane.  I do my best thinking
Providence-6431when I am running – figure out some problems that have plagued me or helps me organize my thoughts and conquer some battle that is ahead.  

But sometimes it is just to be with friends, and to have that feeling of flying when you are “in the zone,” to be outside, to have that epic story, and to feel better. 

Every person has a different reason for running – what is your story?  We would love to hear them! Please share in the comments.

Taking It Off Road

This summer I have reinvigorated my running a bit: Going left when I normally go right, listening to new “curated” playlists rather than my tried, true and tired playlist – but mostly taking to the trails instead of the roads. It has been just what I needed to reignite the love, awe and enjoyment of running.

We have a place near Gunstock Mtn in NH so I have been running on the cross country ski trails and along hiking trails in the area. Also, I have been enjoying the cross country courses in Colt State Park and City Park in Warwick and finally, setting the course for the Wine Run in the Vineyards of Greenvale. There is something about running through the woods, either alone or in a group – that is so raw and natural that it reminds us that we were meant to run.

Some of my favorite things about running off road:

  • Not knowing what to expect – rather than see the same house and the same car on my same routes, I come upon gurgling streams, peek at amazing and unexpected water views, see nature in its truest form.
  • Taking the focus off the pain that can be part of running when you know the route by heart and have nothing better to think about. I am focusing more on watching my footsteps and deciding which trail to go.
  • Being just slightly afraid of running into a bear or a Fischer cat or a coyote but loving when I come upon a bunny or gecko or some cool rock wall or marking.
  • Strengthening all those little muscles and tendons in my feet, ankles and knees that are needed for trail running but not for the repetitiveness of the roads.

I love that every run is an adventure and that I feel like I am discovering it for the first time. I am seeing things that can only be seen by someone on foot, to take time out of my over-processed world to get back to our roots.

So if you if you have never run off road, or especially if you have – I invite you to join us at Greenvale Vineyards on August 27th and experience a different kind of running. The course is completely on the property of Greenvale and you will be running in and around the different vines of grape varieties. You will be forced to slow down, watch your step and focus on your path, but be awakened by the rawness of this type of running. You will come upon sneaky peeks of farms, historic homes and views of the bay, all while running through vines of wine grapes! And as if this wasn’t enough – we will reward you afterwards with food and wine! 

Register today at this link!  Hope to see you there!

Rising Above Cancer

Next weekend, we are working with Lifespan Cancer Institute to help execute their fundraising 5k.  This is the 2nd annual family fun day with nearly 600 participants across the various distances. The event includes a USATF certified 5k, a 1 mile walk, kids races and loads of vendors and health care professionals providing free screenings, advice and more.

As race directors, we get to hear amazing stories as to why people are running – they have overcome disease, fought obesity, come out of abusive relationships, beat addictions – they are all so inspiring.  But having been personally touched by cancer – losing two of my closest friends and helping my husband fight his battle, this race hits close to home.

We are excited to be a part of this event, knowing the money raised stays locally and helps families that are going through what we went through – to have that support when you need it most, when you aren’t able to think clearly and you are just focused on putting one foot in front of the other, to get through the battle.

We will be there to help those patients, families, friends and supporters raise funds so that the battle can still be waged.  We are excited to watch you put one foot in front of the other again, but in the best way possible.  Maybe you thought you would never be able to run again, maybe you used running to get through your cancer treatment, maybe you are running because you now can – whatever your reason, it is the best reason of all.

We have all been touched by cancer in some form. Please consider joining us on Saturday, July 22nd in City Park, Warwick – and come join the race.  It is sure to be a day filled with some amazing emotions!

Register now

2017 Independence Rhode Race

The 3rd annual Independence Rhode Race kicked off on Saturday, July 1st, from Independence Park in Bristol, RI.  The half marathon started on Thames St.  before winding through the quintessential downtown, past the America’s Cup Museum, followed part of the parade route and then headed out along Poppasquash Rd to the trails at Colt State Park and returning to the waterfront for the finish. 

The year’s event had nearly 600 finishers in its sold out race.  Eric Lonegan of  N. Kingstown easily won the race, with a time of 1:14, beating the second place finishers by nearly 6 mins. The first Bristol resident to finish was Bryce O’Brien, a recent Mt Hope graduate who runs for his college team of Bates, finishing in 1:23 for 3rd place overall. 

On the women’s side, Molly Schultz of Howell, MI was the first place female with a time of 1:29.  Catherine Webb of Bristol was our first local female finisher.

While participants represented 28 states and 4 countries, the race was really a chance for the East Bay community to show off with volunteers from Mt Hope and Portsmouth sports teams and clubs as well as a strong representation from our running community.  Lisa Brown from Walpole, MA commented, “The Bristol Independence Half Marathon was the most beautiful race I have ever done. Most of the course traversed through  Colt State Park on bike trails. Pretty ocean views prevailed and running with this group was a blast!! Nice 6:30 AM start helped beat the heat, although the humidity had us soaked by the end of mile 1! Great support during and after the race. The Rhode Races are awesome. Can’t wait for the next one in September.”

The race benefits the Bristol 4th of July Celebration as well as other local charities, including the Bristol Warren Education Foundation, Mt Hope High School Boosters and the Angie K Dolan Memorial Foundation.

The Bristol Independence Rhode Race is part of the Rhode Race Series; 5 half marathons in the scenic towns of Newport, Providence, Bristol, Jamestown and Narragansett.  Learn more at #RunRI

Who we are:  Rhode Races & Events is a full service, sports events marketing company providing turn key event management.  We are a RI Benefit Corporation and execute over 10 events a year in Rhode Island.  Our most notable events are the , Newport Rhode Race, Providence Marathon and the Ocean State Rhode Race but our portfolio  includes a charity 5ks, a Wine Run and a non-profit family fun race.

A Family Affair

After a long off-season of planning, we have just wrapped up our 1st race of the year and have a short turn around time before the mack-daddy of Rhode Island races – The Providence Rhode Races.

The Newport race was so important to Karen and I – to start off the year on the right foot, for redemption anProposal-4935d just for the love of it.  We ended
up having a beautiful race day, we saw quite a few PRs and BQs and we even had TWO marriage proposals at the finish line.

It was so humbling to us to be a part of someone’s BIG moment like this, even some small part.   And as Proposal-4982is often the case, we get a bit introspective at the end of each race because we get to see so many emotions in our racers: struggle, determination and joy throughout the day. The finish line really is such a happy place.

We often say that for us, hosting a race is like inviting guests over to our home.  We want to throw a great party, have everything go perfectly and provide you a great memory.  We know that it took an awful lot of work for you to get to the starting line and we hope to give you the experience that reflects that work.

A race is a personal journey and it often requires the support of your family with the time and emotional work that it takes.  Our families support us in a different but similar way in helping us all enjoy the same event.  What you may nofunny finisht know is that we are truly a Mom and Pop show, well – more like Mom and Mom.  But we have our husbands, kids, friends and family all working behind the scenes to help us give you that memorable experience.

We would like to thank them – for supporting us, working with us, ENDURING us and allowing us to continue to be a part of this combined journey with you.fist pump finish

And thank you for allowing us to be a small part of your journey to the finish line.  We are all family now.

Ready to Launch

As I have said before – “running” a road race requires the same amount of pre-race prep, as does actually running the race.  We spend our off-season doing the unglamorous work of planning our race strategies, making tweaks to what went wrong last year and learning to improve and grow for this year.

Sound a lot like your running off-season?

Sometimes during your training, you may be struck by injury and incur a set back and have to redefine your plan.  This off-season, I have been struggling with my own inability to run.  Dealing with two different concurrent injuries, I have been sidelined since January – the longest time I have gone without running since High School (I won’t say how long that is)

Like many of you, I define myself by being a runner.  I would plan my whole week around a weather forecast, getting my run in each day was just as rote as brushing my teeth or taking a shower – it was just part of my daily routine.  After experiencing some serious injuries in ramping up for Boston in previous years, I had decided that I would give up LONG distance running so that I could continue to run into my later years.  I was perfectly happy with a 6-8 mi run each day with an occasional half marathon race to keep me feeling like I could still do the “endurance” stuff.

But now I can’t imagine what it will ever feel like to run pain-free. And I know I did this to myself as I didn’t listen to the experts – I sidelined yoga, I have never been much of a pre-run stretcher and it was just easier to go out and run each day – 6 days a week.  When I started to feel pain in my hips, I kept running through it.  And that led to the second injury in my Achilles – which was the run-stopper.

I have listened to Mike Silva from Foundation Performance enough to know I did everything wrong.  Now I am trying a variety of PT, dry needling, laser, Alter G treadmill runs – all in the hopes of getting back on the road.  I am not myself without being able to run outside.  I am sure many of you feel the same and have experienced the same disappointment from an injury.  We can all learn to be better runners, to listen to our bodies and not think we are infallible.

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Alter G Treadmill at Foundation Performance

So – in our efforts to provide a better overall race experience and as part of our mission to promote health and wellness – we are presenting our 2nd Annual RunStrong Clinic.  Mike Silva from Foundation Performance is back, as is Pete Russo from Russo Racing.  They will both cover training tips and strategies to get you to the starting line and have the best race you can plan for. Both Mike and Pete are leaders in Rhode Island for training and racing in their respective fields with years of experience and a top end client list.

And this time – when you are ready to launch, we will have learned from our mistakes and have some amazing tools to prevent a recurrence of injuries and strategies for running that we can use into our later years!

Hope you can join us.