Friday, August 12, 2011

Rock 'n Roll Providence

On Sunday August 7, 2011, I completed my first half marathon.  Chris and I drove down to Providence, RI on Saturday to attend the Health & Fitness Expo where we checked in, picked up our goodie swag bags, had our pictures taken, and loaded up on lots of free stuff.  We got to see two cast members from The Biggest Loser who were also running and the start/finish area of the race. It was a beautiful Saturday in Providence, so we had dinner on the river walk at Water Place Restaurant.  Unfortunately the weather forecast for the Sunday morning race would not be as nice.

We were up at 5:00 AM and out the door by 5:30 headed to breakfast. A quick stop at DD and we were off to find a parking spot in the Providence Place Parking Garage.  Luckily we planned our times right and avoided most of the runner traffic. After making our way through the mall and out the doors, we wandered out into the cluster of runners getting ready in the pouring rain.

After checking our swag bag, we found some shelter to stretch and wait before heading over to our start corral for the 7 AM start.  I choose this race because it was only two hours away from home, a beautiful city, and featured live music along the course with a free concert at the finish by Sugar Ray.  In my head I had pictured bright blue sunny skies, warm summer weather, and light breezes coming off the river.  Looking around as we waited for start time, I felt bummed by the amount of rain and a little stressed about whether or not I could finish.  I knew I would be pushing my shin pain to the limit.

The 7 AM start actually became more like 7:30, after the delay in closing the course and the wave start, but once we started running, it was great.  The downpours were refreshing and helped keep our bodies comfortably cool throughout the 13.1 miles.  Despite the wet weather, live bands continued to play nearly every mile creating a party-like atmosphere among the runners. Family, friends, locals, and cheer squads lining the streets and sidewalks never stopped yelling words of encouragement from start to finish.  Most of the course was flat and easy running with only minor puddle jumping and dodging.  There were a couple of hills, but we pushed our way up and then down them.  The scenic water views of Seekonk River were amazing and the historical neighborhoods were filled with beautiful, massive, colonial homes.  It was especially fun running along India Point Park and right by our hotel.  With the help of well-placed port-a-potties, water stations, and GU stands, we were able to push our way to the finish line without running out of gas in 2:24:54.

Half Marathon - 2:24:54
Crossing the line with Chris beside me was one of the most fun things I have ever done. Chris and I stuck together for the entire run.  We trained together so it would have been weird to not complete the event side by side.  It was comforting to know that he was right there with me the whole way, to the finish.

Between the pouring rain and my painful shin and calf, we opted not to stay for the concert.  We had our medals, snapped a photo and grabbed a handful of post-race snacks and a bag of ice.  That was good enough for me, this time.