I am so glad I signed up for this race! I had a fantastic time and I got my PR!
On Saturday I picked up Kim and we drove up to Providence talking all the way, as usual. We ran next-door to the convention center once we arrive in Providence and picked up our bibs then as girls love to do we hit the Providence mall for a little shopping. Non-running related for a change. After shopping we checked into our hotel and Kim turned on the TV for the Kentucky Derby pre-race shows. The excitement about the Derby was starting to build! The hotel was great! It is right across the street from the Convention Center and the starting line so we could walk wherever we needed to. The rooms were very large! We got the junior suite with 2 king beds and it was awesome. They were running a special for the race weekend, too so I highly recommend this hotel for next year.
We heard from Gail and then she picked us up at our hotel and we headed over to the Red Striper restaurant. This is where we watched the Kentucky Derby. That was a fun 2 minutes! I wish our race was that short! The food at the restaurant was great. I ordered the beet salad and a Grilled Pizza Margherita. This was definitely a great choice of restaurants for a pre-race dinner. Warning: if you eat the beet salad before a race, your pee will be red the next day, it’s not that your bladder got irritated from the marathon. (Runners, this is good information to know ahead of time because it could leave you with quite a scare!)
After dinner we brought Gail up to the room and dropped off her things, then we decided to head out to a bar that her husband recommended called the The Dorrance (Dorchester to us). The concierge didn’t know what we were talking about so we took a walk down the street and found it on our own. It was a gorgeous building. The inside was spectacular, but it was closed off for a private wedding. So we walked back to our hotel and grabbed a drink in the bar downstairs. Then it was time to head up and call it a night. Staying at the Biltmore was great. The beds were big and comfortable, and because the location was right across the street from the starting line, we didn’t have to get up extra early to drive anywhere. The only downside was that because the building was so old, it was hot in the rooms because the heating system is set to hot for winter and cold for summer and we were in the season in the middle. If we had know that maybe we could have opened our window. But it was also not our own beds so we didn’t have the greatest night’s sleep but that happens usually prior to a race.
When the alarm went off at 6:00, that’s when I was really sleeping well. I was grumpy. I honestly didn’t want to run the race at that moment! At this point I was having so much fun having a girls weekend I really didn’t feel like running the full marathon that I have been training for. But once I had my tea and oatmeal and got myself ready it was okay. The girls made fun of me because I put on full makeup and earrings! It was a spectacular morning for a race. The starting line was set up across the street and the music was playing.
I wasn’t feeling nervous, but I wasn’t all that revved up for it yet either. I reviewed my notes from my coach, Jeff Galloway about the paces that I should be doing for each mile. He said to use whichever intervals that I was comfortable with because I trained with different ones to see what I liked. I decided I wanted to do 20/20 and see how I do with that. This is what he told me to do:
- Miles 1-5 12:45 – 12:50 per mile.
- Miles 6-13 12:35 – 12:45 per mile
- Miles 14-20 12:25 – 12:35 per mile
When I was reviewing that with Gail and Kim I was a little nervous. That seemed fast to me. When I did my training at home, I was going slower per Jeff’s advice. So to know that I had to go faster seemed intimidating.
At 7:10 we decided it was time to head over to the start line. We went downstairs I’ve powered up my Garmin watch to find out it was dead so I ran back upstairs grab my other watch and my gym boss timer and we started back downstairs again. Then we walked over to the starting line where we waited about 20 minutes because the race got off to a late start. It was a beautiful crystal-clear morning with brisk air perfect weather for running a marathon. The plan was to do 20/20 intervals and see how we feel throughout the race.
Miles 1-5 we were going at a consistent pace of around 12 mins per mile. I took a Gu at mile 5 because I wanted to stay ahead on my fuel.
Miles 6-10 were also similar. We passed Janice around mile 9. There were bananas at mile 8. I took a few bites and that was good. Since we had a banana, I held off on Gu at mile 10.
Miles 11-15 were good. There were a few rolling hills, but they were comfortable to run. We ran past a beautiful Country Club and golf course. I had a few bites of a banana at mile 15. I had to remember to start drinking more of my Nuun as well.
Miles 16-18 were harder. Because we were doing the 20/20 intervals it was beginning to take a toll on Gail. She is used to doing longer intervals so the start and stop was starting to bother her hip. At mile 18 she needed to sit down at a bench and really stretch out.
Miles 19-22 were very challenging for both of us. I was worried about the discomfort Gail was in and also concerned about our finish time. But I kept doing the math in my head and it seemed like we were still in pretty good pace to get in around 5:30. At that point we were around the 4 hour mark. Gail and I were talking and trying to figure out which intervals would work best for her so she wouldn’t be so sore. So we tried 1:00/30. I did that for a few reps but found it was harder for me to go longer because I didn’t train with that interval. So then I had her continue on with that and I would try 20/20 and see if we could keep up with each other.
We did that for about a half of a mile. Meanwhile we were in a very open area of the course on the water so the winds were howling and pushing against us from the side. I was feeling spray from the ocean coming up on me. Our pace slowed down to around 13 and 14 minutes. I caught up to her and we both decided to try 45/30 and see how that felt. But we would walk for a little bit to give our legs a little rest. We did pose for a picture with the official photographers so I can’t wait to see that picture. At mile 21 I had 2 bites of banana and that was the last of the food I had during the race.
Miles 22-26 we PUSHED to get to the finish. We walked more frequently but we kept pushing forward and our pace was 13/14 minutes per mile. There were a few hills towards the end (one very steep, one to an overpass, and one through town). We walked the hills and ran the downhills. The wind felt like it was getting stronger and stronger the closer we got to town.
During mile 23 we had to walk up a hill so we were talking about what the time was and I told Gail we were still on track for getting in just over 5:30. I think she was relieved at that because she wasn’t aware of what pace we were going and what our time was. She thought that because she had to take a stretch break and we slower our pace a little around 19-22 that we were not going to make a decent finish time. I’m glad she felt that relief. I didn’t want her to feel bad and I felt so bad that she was hurting because of the intervals I said I wanted to use.
At mile 24 we were walking through a park along the water and there were cobblestones… that was interesting for a race! Then we went under an overpass and the winds felt like they were blasting at us at 100 mph!!! We had to bend over and hold our hats so we wouldn’t get sandblasted on our faces! We recorded a video of the wind blasting us as we were at mile 25.5. We got a dermabrasion facial while finishing this marathon!
Mile 26 we ran into Janice. She told us she was very sick during the race and had a hard time from a little while after we saw her in the beginning to the end. We rounded the last corner and the finish line was right there. I was so relieved! I was afraid we’d have a far distance after we got around the corner. Gail saw the clock was 5:39 and said if we hurry we could get in under 5:40! I really pushed but I crossed at 5:40:03. The good news is, that was the clock time. Our actual finish time was 5:38:24.
As much as I wanted 5:30 my backup plan in my head was 5:45. I had no idea I had the potential to do a 5:30. If we didn’t have the wind to contend with I think we would have made it. I am so thankful Our consistency in the beginning really helped because we had put some time in the bank for the issues we faced at the end.
After some post race photos we headed back to our room, showered, checked out and Gail took us to an awesome Chinese restaurant called China Inn! It was sooo delicious! Then she brought us back to our car and said our goodbyes and Kim and I headed back to CT. The rain was just starting to come towards Providence so the timing for everything was perfect!
I really enjoyed this race. The girls said they would do it again. Kim said she wants to run this full. This race was my first non-Disney marathon and it was much different. The support on the course for this race was good. They had sufficient water and food breaks. They did not have medical tents, which surprised me. I would have liked to have one because I was getting chaffing on my arms. But there was a woman on a bike helping someone and she had lip balm so I used that and it took the edge off for me. But overall, the organization of the race was great, the expo was very small, the hotel rates were great (especially when splitting it between 3 people). For my next marathon (Philadelphia in November), I am going to use it as a training run towards Dopey. I won’t do the 26 mile long run prior to the race.
Thanks for joining me for this race Gail and Kim! I had a great time! I am also thankful to my husband for his support while I take on these crazy adventures!
View a video from the starting line!