So I already gushed about this in Monday’s post, but I wanted to dive a little further into the wonderful day I had at the Providence Marathon and Half Marathon this past Sunday.
As usual, I took almost no pictures all day because I am a low-key failure at this whole blogging thing but continue to kind of like having a reason to write on a semi-regular basis so HERE WE ARE FOLKS. Also, though, I actually took lots of photos of my students, but as a personal rule I do not post pictures of students on any form of social media, even if they are over 18 and spend all day posting selfies of themselves on the snapstagram.
SO. I woke up at 4:15 am on the morning of the Providence Half Marathon. I was headed to bib-pickup and a team breakfast before my race began at 8am, and I had a 45 minute drive to get there. I woke up with a sinus headache, so I had some advil and a tiny cup of coffee to ease the tension. Then I ate a small bowl of plain cheerios with unsweetened vanilla almond milk and few sliced strawberries on top. Forecasts were saying high 50s and cloudy but bright, so I dressed in crop leggings and a tank. I mixed some electrolyte drink mix into my waterbottle and headed out the door.
Is there anything so beautiful as and empty I-95 at 5am on a Sunday morning? I think not.
Once I arrived, I headed to the hotel where my students were meeting and where I could pick up my bib. Bib number pick-up was super smooth, and soon I was chatting with my students, eating a piece of gluten free toast with jam and a banana.
At this point I was still unsure of how I was going to be running this race. See, the Dreamfar program pairs students with a mentor adult runner who they’s done all long runs with and were set to run with on race day. But because I had my own charity team to run with for Saturdays, I wasn’t able to be a full-on mentor. I was just kind of an unofficial weekday helper, so I didn’t really have a place to be.
But everyone was SO friendly. The mentors and student runners who were doing the half event all told me what their time goals were and invited me to run with them if I wanted. One of my students had just gotten over an injury, and had just as much reason to take this race at a conservative pace as I did. So we sort of wordlessly decided to stick together!
We all saw off the full Marathoners at 7:30am, and then took our final porta-potty visits and got our gels all tucked into our fuel belts and before we knew it WE WERE OFF.
The weather was pretty good. It was 60 degrees and overcast, but humidity was at 75%, which wasn’t that fun. But after freezing my booty off running Boston three weeks ago, these conditions were darn near ideal.
I stuck with a small group of student runners and mentors for a while, then my student and I dropped back a little. I’d been kind of planning for a 10:30 pace, and that was exactly what my student’s recently-healed and tightly-taped leg was ready for.
By mile 4, she and I were having a blast comparing and contrasting high school life now vs. 10 years ago when I did it. I told her how I feel that the crop top trend of today is FAR superior to that low-rise jeans of my day. She told me about prom drama and her running goals. We admired every cute dog along the way and decided that while a husky would be a great dog to run with, the fur is just a lot to clean up after. And we high-fived every little girl we saw and talked about watching races as little girls ourselves and how that made us both want to become runners.
I took a gels at Miles 4, 8, and 11.5, along with some water. Water stations were every 2 miles, which was perfect in that humid weather.
Before we even knew it we were at mile 9 and I was like “Oh my gosh I have taken no pictures!”so I grabbed my phone and started snapping some pictures of the unexpectedly beautiful industrial waterfront in Providence.
There was a lot more art and history to look at along the way than I’d ever anticipated.
The course was mostly flat with some rolling hills in the middle, but my legs are still really hill-ready, so it was nothing I couldn’t handle. I actually felt awesome throughout the entire race, and didn’t feel at all achy until after I drove home for an hour and got stiff.
Then we got to the finish. As soon as the finish line was in sight, my kid turned on the SPEED. I tried to keep up. I did. But dear god that girl is fast. She took off during the final stretch, and there was legit nothing I could do to keep up with her.
So instead I took this instastory.
And then we were done! …with the running portion of the day, that is. Out official time was a 2:17; this is a full 20 minutes slower than my last half, and it was exactly what my body needed to be running at that particular moment in time.
I guzzled a bottle of water w/ electrolyte powder, and then a second bottle of plain water as I waited at the finish for a few other half-marathoners to come through. After a LOT of hugs and high-5s and selfies and congratulations, I snuck back into the hotel to freshen up and change in the bathroom. I ditched my sweaty clothes in my car and set off to find my teacher friend who was cheering kids on about a block from the finish. I munched on a protein bar on my way to get a little nourishment going to my muscles.
I spent the next 3 hours cheering my butt off, cowbells, signs, and all. I saw so many amazing finishes, and so many goals accomplished. My friend and I were some of the last spectators left cheering towards the end, and so many runners voiced their appreciation for our enthusiasm.
Once all the kids had passed our spot, my friend and I ran up to the finish line in time to see the final Dreamfar team member come through. The program facilitator had seen everyone off, then jumped on the course herself. As she came through, the kids made a tunnel with their arms and cheered her on.
That was pretty darn cool to see.
More hugs, high-5s, and congratulations were exchanged. I was smiling ear to ear the whole time. It was amazing. It was all, SO AMAZING.
This race was super well-run, super well- located, and pretty affordable, too. It wasn’t too big, so I never felt crowded on the course. But there was also enough staff and volunteer power to have more than enough aid stations along the way. I liked both the medal and the shirt I was given, as well!
I hope you all enjoyed this long, sometimes rambling, always positive account of my first race with Dreamfar!!
Thanks for reading!