Race Recap: Rock N Roll Providence Half Marathon

On Sunday, I completed Half Marathon #5!

Saturday night, my cousin Jen slept over. She would also be running the race. We enjoyed a nice pasta dinner with meat sauce and garlic bread washed down with a couple of Blue Moons. (the beer, we have decided is key to a good race!)

I woke up around 5:30 am which left me plenty of time to get ready and eat breakfast before leaving. The race had a start time of 7 am and would only take us about 15 minutes to get there. We met my aunt (yes, the inspirational one I mentioned in “Why I Run“) over by the corrals at 6:45, wished each other luck and got ready to run.

I was in corral 9 and planned on running with the 2:30 pace group. My PR had been 2:31 and I had been trying to get under 2:30 every race. The pacer was the same women that had paced 2:30 the previous year. Being my first half, I was able to keep with her until about mile 9 and then I fell behind. I was happy to see her because I remember she kept a nice steady pace that allowed for a little forgiveness on the hills and a quick walk through water stops. I also knew they went on to finish in 2:29 while I lost a lot of time and finished in 2:40:22.

The race ended up starting about 10 minutes late and by the time I crossed the start, it was ~7:21. The race starts on with a little uphill followed by a downhill, flat for about a mile and then a long steady climb up Benefit Street to North Main Street that brings you to mile 3 and then flattens out again.

Mile 1-  11:03

Mile 2- 11:05

Mile 3- 10:57

We were running slightly faster than pace to create a buffer for any hills. The first one would be just after mile 4 and its a doozy!! As you turn off North Main Street and head towards the East Side, you climb “the hill”. It starts off easy and then all of a sudden becomes steeper. It’s over quick but your pace definitely takes a hit. According to my watch, I dropped to a 15:15 pace but overall for the split was 11:44.

Mile 4- 11:14

My Aunt Mary surprised me us by coming out to spectate. I saw her right before turning off N. Main St. and again on Blackstone Blvd.

Mile 5- 11:44

Mile 6- 11:01

There was another water stop up ahead so I got my Gu ready to go. At this point I was feeling great – I decided to pick it up a notch. I didn’t make a big deal of it with the pace group, I just ran what felt good. I thought, worst case scenario, they’d catch up to me and I’d continue to run with them. But, that never happened.

run

I continued feeling great. The cool weather was definitely a factor and I was just enjoying the run.

Just after Mile marker 7, there is a steep decline. It’s really tough on the knees, something I had remembered from the year prior. I kind of just let myself fly down the hill because anytime I started to hold back, I could feel my knees tighten. Luckily, I didn’t end up tumbling down the hill (lol).

This part of the course was really breathtaking. We ran along the water and there was a dense fog cover. In the distance you could see an old railroad bridge. The view was very enjoyable.

feeling good

As I continued to gain distance from the 2:30 group, I spotted my cousin up ahead. She had started in corral 8 I couldn’t believe I had caught up to her. I ran up beside her and said hi. We chatted for a minute and I continued on. Again, I wasn’t determined to run ahead of everyone but I felt so good, I didn’t want to stop for anything.

At mile 8 they were handing out Gu. I grabbed one to take in a few miles. Right after this, you have a gradual climb up Pitman street. I passed a lady with a 50 states challenge shirt on so I asked how many states she had done. This was #24 and she was from California. How cool is that?? The we took a left onto Gano St and had a nice downhill and until it flattened out just after mile 9.

Mile 7- 11:03

Mile 8- 10:45

Mile 9- 10:46

At mile 10, you cross over a bridge and head out for a quick loop, the runners passing by on the other side are at ~ mile 11.5. It’s a quick, flat loop down to Kennedy Plaza and back to the bridge. It brings you pretty close to the finish but not within sight of it. I took my final Gu at mile 11 because I knew it would be the last water station.

rock on

After crossing over the bridge for the second time, you turn left onto South Water St and head back towards the finish. I saw my aunt as she was coming over the bridge at mile 10. She said she was still feeling OK but knew this would be one of her slowest races. I yelled out quickly that I was feeling good and I would see her soon.

At this point I looked at my Garmin and thought “I might be able to come in under 2:25”. A time I didn’t think I’d be seeing for a while. (Remember – 2:30 was my goal) I said to myself, don’t walk and you’ll have a great finishing time. Funny thing is, I didn’t even want to walk. For the entire 13.1, with the exception of water stations, I ran. (oh, and that one hill after mile 4)

Mile 10- 10:33

Mile 11- 10:32

Mile 12- 11:00

Coming up towards the finish is flat until you turn the last corner and hit the final hill. I think that’s where the saying THIRTEEN POINT FRICKIN ONE comes from because the final point 1, in this race, is uphill! I turned the corner took it easy until it leveled out slightly and I threw in my final kick.

I love a strong finish and I try to pass everyone that looks like they may be in my age division. (Even though I know we probably started at different times)

Mile 13- 11:01

Mile 0.19 – 1:41 (8:51/mi pace)

For the first time ever, my second half was faster than the first half (negative splits baby!!)

results

!!! NEW PERSONAL RECORD !!!

So in the end, I took SEVEN minutes off of my previous best time. And ran this course SIXTEEN minutes faster than the year before!! I was on cloud nine and I still felt great.

finish

It was a perfect race all in all. Rock N Roll came through again with a great finish line. I just didn’t like that once you left, you couldn’t find anymore water anywhere and you couldn’t get back in the finishers chute. The bands on the course were good but I wish there were more. And only one group of cheerleaders. (There were a lot more last year)

My cousin, ME, my aunt and my cousin in-law (who also set a new PR)
My cousin, ME, my aunt and my cousin in-law (who also set a new PR)

Unfortunately, rumor has it that they Competitor may not run RnR in Providence again because the numbers just aren’t there. It sucks to lose such a big race so close by.

Hopefully, they come back…..

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10 thoughts on “Race Recap: Rock N Roll Providence Half Marathon

  1. It was a great race for you. So exciting for everyone involved. I was so glad I could be there to encourage you and our family participating in this great race. I’m so proud of you in ALL that you do but especially your running goals. Keep up the challenge and reach to do your best always. Love you.

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