Sunday, May 4, 2014

Providence 1/2 Marathon - May the Course be With You - Recap

Going into this I was decidedly indifferent about this race.  It was more an opportunity to run with Nicole, since she is the one who texted me eons (Sept '13) ago saying there is a discount for signing up for the RI Triple Crown, lets do it.  This was also way back when that drunk woman kept stealing my credit card and signing me up for races and before the race we don't talk about.  I even bought the insurance, well unless you have a doctors note it is worthless...  so lost seven bucks or something, and not to mention I can't run the 2nd race, which made even doing the series unappealing...

Friday Nicole and I went to Providence to pick up our bibs.  What a cool number! I was a little less indifferent.

Saturday Nicole had a pasta dinner for three of us running, she and I the half and Sarah, running the full, and families.   Talking about past races, the good the bad and the ugly, over dinner.  I was kind of looking forward to it, a little iffy about the weather and the slight possibility of rain and not so keen on the predicted wind gusts (in the 30MPH) coming towards us the last 3 miles of the race course. My indifference was starting to wan a bit more. 

Nicole doesn't like to drive past Warwick and I was completely content to drive.  I also made sure I didn't over sleep like I did for the last race Nicole and I were supposed to meet up for and car pool. A bit of redemption for me in that aspect too.

Ok so enough of the blather already Beth tell us about the race.  This is the view from the middle of the pack, a different view for those of you used to being in the front of the pack.

The last time I ran this I was 2:18 ('11), my 1/2 PR is 2:09 (Newport '12).  This is the first time Nicole ran this course and her 1/2 PR is 2:27 (Newport '13) I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to better her PR just a little bit. She asked I emphatically denied having any plans of such a thing. She is a strong runner and accepts being pushed way more than I do.   We went into this with a 2:30 race in mind, I went in with a 2:20.  A nice training run for me and a good pace for Nicole.

We were able to see Sarah cross the start line for her Marathon.  Very exciting!!   It is different seeing people cross the start line.  At this point I was significantly less indifferent about this race. 

Miles 1 - 3  - the fun miles!

Once we were off, I saw a familiar face standing on the traffic island, the quickly mentally trying to put it all in context.  CHRIS!  Hi! 

Phil runs up, always so over dressed, how do you NOT melt!  We ran together a bit, introduced Nicole.  Apparently he drafted us for about half the race, a FB post noted the wheels fell off about 1/2, insufficient training and he would be better trained for Surftown.  I thought he sped off!  

Then I see Amy (of the pointy elbows) and her guy Joe trotting along.  Took me a minute to get her attention.  "Hey Blondie" I yelled and eventually had to slug her in the shoulder.  We wished each other well exchanged introductions and they also sped off.  We caught up again about mile 8.  Still waiting on her finish line story!

This was getting fun, I knew people!  People knew me!  It truly is the simple things.

We went out a bit fast.  I knew we were, I was so caught up in the vibe and the beautiful running weather, it was hard to back off.

The first hill was a bit of a struggle, and they became something for Nicole to bust my chops about! swear this is the last hill!!!

Miles 4 - 11 - the not so fun miles

The middle chunk of the race always plays mind games with me.  Mostly, why am I doing this.  It wasn't as bad this time, but there were moments and the distractions helped quell the voices.

A gal approaches us saying, you two are running about a 10:30 can I run with you? I'm just not feeling this race.  Sure, no problem, doubtful we will hold a 10:30, probably closer to an 11.  Nancy was fine with that and we exchanged stories.  It really is helpful to have someone to talk to when running, or for me listen to.  I seriously lack in topics of conversation unless you want to talk about dogs, knitting, or what ever book I'm reading about the holocaust and/or WWII (or running).  The mommies talked about kids and I learn SO much about parenthood and motherhood, I'd never pass on the chance to listen in on these conversations, so thank you ladies! 

This part of the course is also very beautiful running up and down Blackstone Boulevard, beautiful homes and lawns.  There are parts more city, I think the pretty parts make up for the iffy ones.

Hills 2 - 6.  Every time we'd see a hill I'd say, "I think this is the last one"  By the 4th hill Nicole said, "Are you sure? I'm thinking I need to stop believing you."  

We settled in to a nice respectable pace, walking water stops and enjoying ourselves.  I was really enjoying this run, oh wait, race.  The weather was perfect even the wind came around at the right times.   Just a beautiful day to enjoy a nice run.  Have I said enjoy enough?

Once we got past mile 7 I really started to feel in a grove, looking forward to that down hill after mile 9 and then the long flat (seriously I THOUGHT it was flat) until the end.

The down hill took everyone but me by surprise.  Didn't I emphasize it was steep?  Perhaps not...  no one fell so that was a good thing.

Miles 11 - 13.1 - the fun miles!

Nancy sped off as we climbed the last hill (#7) at mile 11, we never did see her again.  Nicole had pretty much had it at mile 10 so I was gently tugging her along, and SWORE that was THE LAST hill, but there maybe one more bump!  HA HA HA

My usually full repertoire of dog stories completely left me and I couldn't even think of a story to tell to get her mind off of the pain and frustration.  I'll have to remember the Diesel locking himself in the UHaul.  That one usually gets a laugh.

We were also running into the wind, the gusty wonderful wind, it was tough and it felt so good.  Usually the wind feels awful and brutal running into it, this wind didn't feel that bad. I felt good and really wanted to go a little faster.  I wasn't going to leave Nicole behind.

At the 13 mile sign, Nicole said, "Go just go." I wasn't going to be told twice and upped it up a few gears and ran like a bear was chasing me (Chris, thanks for the comments, I felt great, glad I didn't look like a hot mess) to the finish line (hoping Nicole would find another gear - and she did, she said "Once you took off I thought, no don't leave me.").  I backed off a little bit so I didn't totally chick a guy over the finish mat.  I could have just kept running many more blocks, I felt so good and so freaking comfortable with what I've accomplished in my training and how I feel, I uber positive for the Ice Age 50 50K on the 10th.  I absolutely needed this boost to my confidence.  Thank you Nicole for not letting me wimp out and not run it.

2:24:46 for me and 2:24:58 for Nicole.  Sarah 4:33:03 - this was a vendetta race for her, her first full (Hartford '13) was a disaster, this race restored her faith in herself and her training - ALWAYS a good thing!!  Full results here.  You can see the run on my Strava feed on the right.  I can't get the HTML to load the picture.  

All in all a good race, the roads in parts are a disaster, on the positive you aren't shoulder to shoulder with other runners!  2,000 1/2 marathon finishers and 1,333 marathon finishers, not a teeny tiny race, small though and very well done.

We hung around for a little bit after our finish and saw Monica finish and we were getting chilled and it was just time to go home, so we did.  Hoping Nicole enjoyed her beer in the shower and a nice nap in the afternoon!  I took Giz and Gus for a walk, seriously I'm going to go bazonkers with all this energy stored up...

Beth, ready for the 50K on the 10th!  Eternally grateful for everyone's support and encouragement!!  Thank you!!!!


  1. So proud of your training, staying on schedule, and getting confident about tearing it up at the Ice Age race! Great job pacing/harassing Nicole today, haha (is that a shared custody thing? If it's working, I suggest we stick with it! She's doing great!), she did awesome and you had a hand in that! For now, I'll be slinking around the trails in the woods, trying to get my head wrapped around a NoSto to Prov run and back, but with hills...piece of cake, right?

    1. Thank you! I feel ready for the 50K like I felt ready for my first Marathon just not as nervous, I'm surprisingly less grumbly than Dave expected... We can share pacing Nicole! Eventually we should take her out to Bluff Point, I don't think she will enjoy trails very much, however that is a nice one to just give it one solid try. Enjoy your trail runs! 50 miles is daunting, I know tell you something you don't already know. You'll figure it out get through the other side with a smile, or well what ever passes for a smile for you (ha ha).

  2. I always enjoy the stories of camaraderie from your races, and this was no exception. I don't think I've ever shared more than a few grunts with fellow runners in the middle of a race, but you seem to know and talk to everyone. Very impressive!

    Also impressive is that you spotted and recognized me so quickly. I was specifically looking for you, yet you found me first. Great job, Beth.

  3. Extra kudos for making it a point to look for me! Well you were the only person standing on a traffic island it was a little hard NOT to notice you! I enjoy the front of the pack stories, perhaps there is a little less camaraderie during the race seeing as you are trying to out run someone, after the race totally different story! For sure, it is a different kind of race experience in the middle, some are working on their PR or helping a friend meet theirs or supporting someone on their first race or raising money and awareness for their cause. It has taken me a while to get comfortable with the fact we are all runners and everyone appreciate everyone's perspective and experiences. I am glad I've reached this place, otherwise I'd be missing out on a whole other side of the running culture and sub-culture!

  4. Nice job. Kudos on the confidence for the upcoming Ice Age Battle!

    1. Thanks! Battle, like that. It will be one with mental and physical challenges, looking forward to this test.

  5. Ah Beth, such a great post! I love that you secretly wanted to get me to 2:20. Just four minutes faster and I would of been there. LOL You are the best and I really did love every minute. thank you for sticking with me! You are not doubt trained and ready for Ice Age. I know you will enjoy it and have a fantastic race!

    Michael C, I need some one to pace me Saturday at the Narrow River 5k. Up for it?

    1. Thanks! We will get you there, you push me to go faster far more than you realize! It was fun and I am enjoying more and more the jibber jabbering and running, those middle dreaded miles went by so quickly. Now to get you through those last three!!!

  6. Wow, SO fun to read this! It was great to meet you and thanks for mentioning me in your blog! I can't wait to hear all about the 50K!