Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Providence


August 19, 2012 was my half marathon debut.  Providence, Rhode Island.  It was fortuitous that the race was happening to close to my 30th birthday.  Greg and I decided to make a little road trip out of it.

We set out the afternoon before and got to the hotel and checked in.  It was raining which was making me nervous even though the forecast for race day was sunny.  We stayed at the Providence Biltmore and it was this funky, old school hotel that was right in the center of the city.  A few blocks away was the race expo and we made our way over there through the rain.  That's when I began to get nervous.  Now it was real.  I picked up my packet, and wandered around.  I did not make too many purchases, though I did get talked into some fancy insoles that I haven't used much since.  Rookie mistake.

I was conscious of not wanting to do too much walking, but also reluctant to get in the car.  So we wandered the city a bit.  We grabbed dinner at the Union Station Brewery.  I can't remember what I ate - pizza or pasta more than likely and I had this delicious chocolate stout that I wish I could remember the name of.  After that we headed back to the hotel but not before we checked out Waterfire that was going on.  It was beautiful and so different from anything I'd seen before!  We also hit the mall to grab a jacket because it was chilly!

Back to the hotel for an early to bed.  I don't think I slept super well, and I was up bright and early for race day.  I had set out my outfit the night before and off to the start I went!  Greg walked with me and kept me company until I had to actually get into the corral.
Pre Race!
 I'd been exchanging tweets with a fellow runner who I'd connected with, but we never managed to find one another.  I did end up seeing her in the race, but she did not see me.  We've since fallen out of touch but it made me feel a little better "knowing" someone on the course.

The course...I had studied it a bit and knew it was hilly.  I was not prepared for just how hilly.  But I trusted my training, took it easy and walked when I had to.  The best compliment I got all day was "Your form is great! You look like you could run all day."  That was from two ladies nearby as we were charging up a hill.

The aid stations were great, and the bands were often a welcome distraction.  I did have my own music with me, with a very carefully curated playlist.  Nothing too fast at the start and all the power at the end.  And I would need it!

I don't remember ever feeling like I couldn't do it.  I stopped to stretch a few times, and took some pictures.  And then we were almost there.  It was hot, the sun was brutal when you were out from under the trees and I was ready to be done.  The last two hundred feet or so were uphill.  How CRUEL.

At this point my goal was not to walk, and not to throw up.  I wanted to do both.  And then I heard Greg.  I couldn't see him, but I could hear him.  And there it was, my surge of energy.  I threw everything I had into it and kept going.  I crossed the finish line and grabbed a banana, some water and got my medal.  Greg and I reunited and I got to tell him all about it.  He was, and is my biggest fan and supporter.  I could not do any of this without him.  I thought my time was 2:46 and I was a little disappointed because I thought I'd be a bit faster.

AND THEN I REMEMBERED.  That the clock started when the race started, but my corral was at the back! My official time was : 2:36:04.  I was super pumped.  We hung out for a bit after the race.   Ultimately we decided to pack up and head home that day.  I was tired, and there was no way I'd be up for walking around much.  The hotel was kind enough to refund our rate for that next night and off we went! It was a long ride home, and I was sore the next day but something started after that race...something I continue to work hard at, even now.  I've raced three more half marathons and have my sights set on a Fall 2016 marathon.  This blog will be where I track that journey.

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