Just six days after running The San Francisco Marathon, it was time to run the Providence Half Marathon! I flew to Boston straight from San Francisco (yay long flight!) a few days before hand, then headed down to Providence, R.I., on Friday. If you don't know about the FIT Project, I am attempting to run all 20 Rock n' Roll Half Marathons in 2011. I am also attempting to get at least 100 kids sponsored for World Vision. If you want to sponsor a child and make a difference in the world, primarily Africa, contact me to get a child sponsorship packet from World Vision!
So because I am writing this a month-plus post-race, I can share with you that race day was a monsoon. And that meant no race photos during the race. Sad panda. Thankfully, I was able to take some photos the day before the race so you can at least see the city!
So there you have it. Photos around downtown Providence. Hope you enjoyed it, because the race recap has NO photos! Thanks to rain of course.
Race morning came quickly. Like 2 a.m. quickly. Once again I woke up and, for the life of me, could not go back to sleep. And it was also raining quite heavily. I was staying just outside of downtown and didn't have a car so I knew it was going to be a wet walk to the race! Finally, I rolled out of bed at 5 a.m., got ready and prayed for a break in the rain clouds. Or a ride to come along :).
I started walking in the drizzle. I heard a car approaching and I quickly tried to wave it down. It drove right past me giving me a good soak. Sweet. I kept on walking and never gave up the faith that I would find another soul up at 5:30 a.m.! About 20 minutes later, I saw a car turning onto the street and I went over and flagged it down. The driver rolled down the window and I asked him for a ride. And guess who it was? An off-duty officer! He said he wasn't expecting to pick someone up that early in the morning :). I had my race number on, so he could see I was heading to the race. He was actually heading to a roll call meeting for the race and said he could get me close to the race start. I said awesome and thank you! And with that I made it to the race start somewhat dry.
Met up with friends and we all shivered under the tent as the rain clouds (the cause of the rain was due to a tropical depression) broke loose and soaked everyone and everything in sight. (Side note: 2011 is the year of rainy races! L.A. Marathon was another monsoon!) I love running in warm, gentle rain, but downpours are quite another story. We all waited to the very last minute to head to the start line. And then the race start was delayed by 15 minutes. And those 15 minutes felt pretty long. But soon me and 7000 other runners were on our way! In our goulash's, ponchos and umbrellas. Kidding. Running shoes and garbage bags were our rainy day apparel :).
Within the first hundred feet all
hell clouds burst loose and we were drenched soaked. I tore off my garbage bag at that point. It was slightly humid and I didn't want to keep the sweat trapped.
I started out relativity slow - while I felt fine, my legs had felt heavy all week. My goals for this race became four-fold:
1) Not die
3) Sub-two hours
4) STAY HEALTHY (injury free)
I have a lot of races (plus training) left and there is no sense in pushing it and then being injured during the races throughout the rest of the year.
The other thing that I quickly found out (as I had in walking the previous day and half) that Providence is a pretty hilly town. In fact when I would finish, I would say that I though that Providence hills were worse than the San Francisco Marathon hills!
As each mile wore on, I kept my thoughts focused on the finish line, a warm shower and dry clothes. I should also mention that this was the first time a large race graced the streets of Providence. I wasn't sure how many spectators would be out, but I was pleasantly surprised that at certain sections crowds had gathered to cheer us on! And it was very welcome.
The hills came early and often and I just kept my head up and kept running. As did the rain. Neither of us would give up. Some of the bands decided to not even show up! Guess they didn't know us runners now did they? :)
I remember mile 8. Or was it 9. I don't remember at the time of this writing. Regardless, the real river was on our left and we were running in our own river. And then up another hill. I wanted to be done now. The miles seemed to drag on. My legs were feeling quite heavy. But I kept running anyway because the finish line would come that much sooner! And that was a happy thought.
Toward the end of the course it got a little disheartening. The course weaved into downtown and I could hear the faint distance of the finish line. But the race course had us running in and then back out and then in again. If I wanted to be done at mile 9, I REALLY wanted to be done at mile 12. Or whatever the hell it was at this point. And in case you forgot- it was STILL pouring rain. Maybe even cats and dogs.
But finally I could hear, smell and see - no not really, you had to make a sharp right and run UP A HILL to see the finish line. Finally, the finish line was in sight and I just hauled myself over it. So, so, so happy to be done. It was my worst time. EVER. But I reminded myself it's not about the time, it's about starting AND finishing. And that I did.
I quickly made a bee line for the tent and warm clothes. I didn't linger long. My friend gave me a ride back and we walked in the rain. So much for dry clothes!
I was tired, hungry and drenched. And at a crossroads. Eat? Take a hot shower? Or nap? I opted for a hot shower and then nap. I think food came sometime later. As well as doing a quick load of wash.
And then it was time to pack up and head on down to New York City. Via the train. Not running. :)
Next race: Chicago. In 6 days.