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.
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.
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.
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!!)
!!! 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.
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)
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…..