Monday, May 03, 2010

Providence Half

So Noel and I had a great marathon / half marathon weekend up in Providence. Most importantly, we had a great time hanging out together enjoying each other's company and poking around Providence.

A couple quick observations about Providence.

  1. There are "Hot Wieners" (NY or Conney Island System) everywhere.
  2. The city seems to have a higher than average share of strip clubs.
  3. There are alot of psychics; and
  4. Everyone must be getting tattoos.
That aside though, we did have a nice time in Providence.  I think we covered a fair portion of the city in our 4 day weekend up there.  We hit the Italian section of town for lunch one day (yum handmade gnocchi), had goat with some friends in the Latino part of town another night, and did a little bit of shopping here and there the other days.  We stayed at the Johnson and Wales Inn and enjoyed the hospitality of the students.  

A couple times we were able to head over to the James V. Turner Reservoir down the street from the hotel and do some trail running around the reservoir.  The community has done a great job preserving the area around the reservoir and the trails were in great shape (in spite of the recent flooding).  The first night we got there and hit the trail as the sun was setting and were able to watch the sun set through pines around the water.  We were also able to have a nice stretch out run on Saturday morning the day before the race.  Both very enjoyable and a running treat.  I truly enjoyed the trail running and might have to find some good trails back home.  

The race itself was excellent.  We were blessed with some really great weather.  It was lightly overcast with temperatures right around 70 at the start of the race.   Other than the promoters putting the port-a-johns in the same space as the starting corrals, the start came off without a hitch.  (BTW: I think the announcer might have been phil liggett, but that' just speculation)

The first couple miles were nice, snaking out of the downtown core and through the area around Brown and RISD.  Beautiful communities and the only real hill on the course.  I didn't feel great at the beginning, but I think I am finding it takes my legs a little while to open up.

By about mile four I really started to feel strong.  I had my garmin with me so I could tell that I was doing a 6 mph pace keeping myself right at my 10 min pace.  This was feeling good on a long stretch out along what looks like a municipal park of some sort (that we would come back along later).

In the mid miles I largely continued to feel good, pushing myself a bit, but not so hard that I'd be out of gas at mile 10.   I started to feel a bit rough around mile 8 / 9 but was able to chug through it and felt better after we did a short downhill and got along the water around mile 10.

I don't know that there was any point where I knew I was going to do really well, but when I hit mile 10 I remember the timing sign saying 1:40.  Knowing that it took me a couple minutes to cross the start line and that I had to take my shoe off at mile two to clear a rock, I knew I was running well below my goal and if I could keep on trucking along at the pace that I had been I would beat my goal.  

Miles 11 through the end were pretty uneventful and were just a matter of slogging things out and getting to the end.  I would note though that you're ever cheering on a race, never ever tell someone that they're "almost there."  Especially not at mile 11.5.  Until you cross the line you still have a ways to go.  Clap and yell.  I suspect most folks either know what mile they're at or are doing their best to be wilfully ignorant and are in their happy place.  Shouting that "you only have a mile and half to go" at mile 11.5 is just mean.

I finished strong (although not as strong as the guy next to me who dipped into the suitcase of courage and sprinted across the finish line.)   I was able to get cleaned up and go cheer for the marathoners and wait for Noel as she came across with a really strong time.

I feel really good about my performance.  I think the training is working and my body is handling the runs better.  I will say though that I could have put another mile or two in after the race, but my body still has a ways to go until it can get to 20....but I've got a couple months and alot of training miles.  

All in all a great success all around.

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