***I entered my photo in a facebook contest to win an entry to the Disney Marathon. I would love for your vote if you have a chance, so please click here!
I woke up at 3:30 the next morning after only four hours of sleep and somehow was pretty wide awake. My hips were still pretty tight but they didn't hurt so I figured I would go to the race and see what I could do. I made breakfast, woke up my girls, and we hopped in the car for an hour and a half ride down to Providence.
We made it to the race with an hour until the start. It wasn't crowded yet so using the porta potties was still pretty easy and my husband was able to get some pictures taken.
As I mentioned before, the goal of this race was to pace my friend, Maggie, from work to a sub-1:50 half. I knew based on her training that she was more than capable of this time which scared my tired legs. I didn't let on that I was sore and basically said, lets go. And we were off.
The first few miles, Maggie was on fire and we were running 7:45 or so pace. Ahhh!! I felt fine but I was afraid I was going to blow up but didn't want to slow her down so just went with it. We were able to see Eric and my girls twice within the first three miles which was a welcome distraction.
After those initial three fast miles and the hills that came with them, I started gaining confidence. My legs weren't dead and seemed to be doing pretty good. My focus then turned to making sure Maggie felt comfortable running and encouraging her as much as I could.
One of my favorite things about pacing someone in a race is the ability to shut out any pain you may be in and focus on the runner next to you. After I knew my legs were OK, I didn't let a faster mile split scare me or a steep hill. I felt great and was having fun out there.
The next five or so miles went by pretty quickly and we were averaging between an 8 minute to 8:10 pace, including a monster hill at mile 4.5. I really love this race, but if you plan on doing it in the future and plan on running hard, know there are a few tough hills out there. Right at mile 6 we even stopped to take a gu and take in water. This mile was around a minute slower than the rest but it was nice to refuel.
My favorite part of the Providence RNR race begins at mile 10, though some people may disagree with me. At mile 10 you start circling the downtown area and get to pass by the people that are mile 12. I love out and back courses, especially seeing people that are doing amazing. I started cheering for the other runners and congratulating them on an awesome race.
This is also when I told Maggie that I was going to run a step in front of her in order to push her pace a bit in order to avoid the normal end of race slow down. She didn't talk much during our run, but I could see she was focused and had more left in her. I also apologized for being an annoying pacer but with three miles to go, I knew she could go well beyond her goal.
I was all smiles those last three miles. I was having fun and running hard. We came toward the finish line and saw the crowd. There is a final hill in the last quarter of a mile and Maggie picked it up for her fastest pace of the day. We crossed the finish line with an official time of 1:47:08.
My long weekend of training was done and I had a medal to reward myself! I had so much fun running the RNR Providence Half Marathon for the second year in a row. I know the RNR series gets a lot of negative feedback from some of their races, but I have had two years in a row of a great race.
After the race, we headed to the beer tent for our free beer and then I found Colleen and Dani who had had also run an amazing race.
It was nice catching up with my friends and enjoying that after race adrenaline/happy feeling. My hips were starting to get tight again and my hunger kicked in so after a while we headed back to find breakfast and head home.
I had so much fun on Sunday and am so happy I trusted my body and was able to see what it could handle.