Race Recap: Surftown Half Marathon

Rhode Island   (10 STATES COMPLETE)

What an extremely special group of people I was surrounded by this weekend.  Two special people in my life ran their first half marathon, both of them creating their goals.  I am so proud and happy that they had such a great race .. me on the other hand .. no such luck.

THE Night Before:

After working my weekend job I headed down to Connecticut to meet Katelyn and her amazing grandparents – after getting caught up in great conversation with them we headed towards Rhode Island to meet Kelly and her cousin for a pre race meal and lots of water.

Kelly’s aunt was an amazing host and let us stay over her house as it was just a short drive away from the start.  In talking with her aunt I found out that one of her very best friends is currently undergoing treatment of Multiple Myeloma, which is the charity I am running the New York City Marathon for.  I find so much inspiration in stories of fight and courage such as hers.  I will be adding her to the people I am running for on November 1st!

Before heading to bed I drank my rehydrate and played out my clothes for the morning.

Race Morning:

  • 5:15 wake up
  • Bathroom
  • Sipped on water
  • Rehydrate packet
  • PB Nature Valley Bar
  • Omegaplex

We puttered around a little bit and got all of our stuff together, naturally I went to the bathroom one last time before heading out the door.

Gem was away in Boston with his friends so this was my first half without my biggest support system, but he made sure to text me on of his little inspirational blurbs as soon as he got up.

Good Morning Rhode Island!
Good Morning Rhode Island!

There was no actual expo, there was a 2 hour time slot for packet pick up the day before, but there was no way Katelyn and I could have made it in time for that, so we arrived a little earlier than usual on the morning of.

Parking at Misquamicut State Beach was no problem at all for us, we actually were almost from row steps away from the starting line (which was a complete saving grace for me afterwards).

Packet pickup was also a breeze, no line at that time and it was extremely organized. There were a handful of vendors there with a DJ to play music and assist in getting us all pumped up.  I was excited to see that there was a chocolate milk tent there so I could grab some post race, as it seemed to work for me after Virginia Beach (but they did not stay very long afterwards and I missed them).

This being Katelyn’s first race we wandered around and took it all in, there were definitely some nerves running through her, but she was so excited and it made me even more excited.

Katelyn!!!!! Words cannot even describe how proud of you I am - the mental strength this girl has is so inspirational to me. Running has helped her to overcome some pretty Sh*tty times!
Katelyn!!!!! Words cannot even describe how proud of you I am – the mental strength this girl has is so inspirational to me. Running has helped her to overcome some pretty Sh*tty times! (keep your eyes out for her new blog coming soon!)

I took my 02 Gold and drank my spark while we waited for Shannon and Emily.

Emily, Shannon, Myself I am so grateful to have these two in my life! I am so proud of all you both have accomplished.
Emily, Shannon, Myself
I am so grateful to have these two in my life! I am so proud of all you both have accomplished.

Before heading to the start we took one last Port-o potty stop – they used the same set-up that I just wrote about in Virginia.  I really hope ll races are going to catch on to this, things go much smoother!


Before we all set off the race director warned of very puddle-y conditions and offered free deferment to next years are if runners wanted to. As we experienced there were some VERY wet areas and some VERY large puddles with only a path for one person to get through at points.

I was pumped up, ready to go and secretly setting out for a PR.  I left Shannon and Emily at their pace group, Katelyn started back with me (a much slower pace than she normally does, but she didn’t want to start too strong and get caught up in the moment-SMARTY!).

We headed down Atlantic ave, I was too busy looking out for pot holes and puddles to notice what was around me.  The second mile curved around the shore line with some gorgeous views and adorable little houses.  We looped through the back roads dodging a few cars who clearly missed the race day memo.

Pretty ironic of all signs and views there were I chose this sign.
Pretty ironic of all signs and views there were I chose this sign.

I was feeling and running so strong, the miles honestly flew by as I kept a steady 9:30 pace. I took 2 Gu chomps at Mile 4.


We looped back and ran by the finish, crowds already cheering and motivating runners.

6.5 Mile Split 1:17:34

Turning up the residential road, I didn’t feel right something was off..

The beauty before chaos
The beauty before chaos


Oh how wonderful, mother nature’s precious monthly gift decided to come twice this month, and decided right this very moment would be the perfect time.

I was so annoyed, frustrated, confused, embarrassed – I panicked.  and of course there were not port-o-potties along this section of the course.  I ran on, my pace slowing significantly as I let the situation take over my mind.

What the heck do you do in this situation? Obviously I wasn’t expecting it so I didn’t prepare for it. I tried to stick close behind other runners incase anything was showing on my pants – of course I didn’t wear a dark color.  I hid from the camera men and women just in case.

FINALLY there was a porto – I sprinted to it and rinsed my pants – pulled together a temporary fix – and tried to quickly get back out there.

Now I don’t know about you, but I am a sweater – does not matter the temperature or the situation I sweat, a lot. SO, trying to get some yoga/running tights up over sweaty legs .. goodlaaaawd could things get worse?! haha.

There were some beautiful views when you could see through the gaps in the houses.

I was so distracted it was absolutely awful, but I somehow remembered to take 2 GU Chomps at mile 8.

I do remember there were some talented musicians along the way providing some race support.

There was another porto and I fixed myself another temporary solution to get me across the finish line.

MILES 10-12

Alright, I am not sure who said this race was FLAT, but I think they were a little confused as to what FLAT means.  For the most part, yes there are some flat straight aways and perhaps dodging potholes/craters and mini ponds was causing the elevation changes, but there were definitely some hills here.

I was mentally drained already when I approached the big hill, my pace significantly  slowed having to stop so much, and I wasn’t able to push myself through some of the mental walls I ran into.

Photo courtesy of Katelyn
Photo courtesy of Katelyn

I texted Katelyn congratulating her, because she would have definitely finished, and spilled my current situation to her.

This wasn’t my race, I watched my PR tick by, and I cried. Yup, tears… and then I wanted the 2:45 pacer run by.

Katelyn texted me back with a beautiful heartfelt message.

At that moment I decided that was it.

This beautiful moment is my life, and I need to embrace it.
This beautiful moment is my life, and I need to embrace it.

I decided I needed to own this last mile.  I needed to practice what I preach and what I always want for myself.  I pulled myself together and stopped thinking about what could have been, because it was now in the past and I can’t go back and change it.

There was an amazing small group of women and I turned around a corner one of them ran right up to me and gave me the pep talk I needed.  She said something and finished with “there is no turning back, you are doing it, you are doing it!” Bless your heart woman I don’t know.  I pushed on and heard her yell “2 stop signs and a straight away THAT’S IT”  I loved that!

I used the markers she told me to get me through, and pushed hard through the straight away where the streets were still lined with people cheering.

THe Finish

I saw Shannon, Emily, and Katelyn with their medals and I was so proud of them, I am so proud to be their friend.  What champion women they are, such great people and athletes.

“I am so mad” I yelled to them (Shannon knew I really wanted to PR today)

Not happy Jillian.
Not happy Jillian.

I crossed that finish line – I did it – I wanted to give up, but I did it – stopping was NOT an  option, especially for this stupid reason.

Chip Time 2:50:56

The medal was so cool – it was definitely part of the reason I chose this race.

The Blinggggggg
The Blinggggggg


I went STRAIGHT to Katelyn’s car to get my bag, change, and attempt to not feel so disgusting anymore. I quickly went over to a port o potty where I checked 10 before finding one with toilet paper.

My goobies <3
My goobies ❤

By the time I was changed and ready to go back to the venders, the chocolate milk one was gone.

We got a bunch of free samples and headed over to Paddy’s Beach Club where we cashed in our “free beer” ticket.  I was so excited they actually had ciders too since I can’t have beer.

The bar was in a really nice spot overlooking the beach, but the seating was predominately closed off and they did not start serving food until 11.

Kelly is an athletic trainer – it was a HUGE bonus to have her stretch out my quads and hamstrings before she left (THNAK YOU!) Perhaps the Gem should take a class in massage therapy or athletic stretching? hmmmmmm.. this may be something to think about!

Shannon and Emily stayed to wait to eat and Katelyn and I headed back to her house where I had a two-hour ride ahead of me.

I definitely think all of the driving later had something to do with my IT band syndrome flare up this week.

My Advosister, I love you!
My Advosister, I love you!

This was definitely a beautiful course, and I would recommend this race to anyone who asked me about it, the personal issues for me really took over and this absolutely proves how mental running is.  Looking at race photos and from trusting what my friends told me – you could not even tell and there was absolutely nothing on the outside of my pants. When you lose your mental grip and your confidence, your performance declines.  Perhaps I will revisit this race again for redemption! 

Positive mind, positive results – LIVE IT!

Run happy,


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