Miles and Smiles…Providence marathon recap

If the Boston marathon is my frenemy, then Providence is my BFF. 
I loved running Boston – but we just never got along very well. Providence, however, three years at the half and now two years of the marathon, we go together really well. 🙂
Sunday, my 10th marathon, will go down as one of my favorites.  

Since I had set my PR (4:23) last year, and since I ran the Goofy Challenge in January, I wasn’t speed focused for this. Instead, I set a goal to finally run a marathon without any walk breaks. 

Nailed it!! And, got one of my 4th fastest time to boot. A 4:35:37. (Only 20 seconds off the 3rd)
So let’s recap this amazing day!!
The weather was perfect – high 40’s at the start, overcast and no wind. Yes, please!
I stuck to my plan and did NOT take off with the crowd. I ran my own race. Slow and steady from step one. Which totally paid off later. 🙂

I knew my sole sister was waiting at mile 5. As I got close I spotted her, a half second before she spotted me. Stopped for a quick hug and she ran alongside me for one of her infamous selfies. 

  Yep, always smiling. 

About a half mile later was a close-encounter of the Canadian Goose kind. A family with two babies started to cross our path. And the runner in front of me got a smidge too close to one of the babies. Eek! Sorry mama goose. No need to attack! Lol

By mile 7.5 I made a move. I had been trailing a pair of women who were a smidge slower than I wanted to be, but who had kept me from pushing on the rolling hills. Seeing the long downhill ahead I surged past and rode the hill to my fastest mile, then settled back in to easy. 

And the miles clicked by. 

The crowds at mile 9 (and 11) by the carousel park were loud and awesome. 

The guy out front of his house blaring “born to fly” on repeat a little before 13 was awesome. You could even hear the music later from the bike path after the turnaround. Thanks dude!

Mile 14 is THE most beautiful view of the entire course. Alongside Rhode Island Country Club is an open view of the ocean. I almost stopped there for a pic but I was in a groove and didn’t want to break it. 

Around mile 17 was another great group of spectators. One yelled as I went by “you know who’s proud of you? Beyoncé is proud of you” lol woohoo!

Mile 18ish? T-Rex. That…was photo op worthy.     

 Just hilarious. 

Yes, by now I had decided that since I was running so strong and still hadn’t walked that I was just going to enjoy the rest and take photo ops as needed. 

And at mile 19 when a group of bikers went by with a comment “I don’t think I’ve ever seen runners smiling. It can’t be fun” I yelled back “I’m smiling! And it IS fun” 

At mile 20, with still no walking, I was getting confident. And knowing I was in the “death march mile” of the bike path, used attitude over ability. Happy runners don’t walk. They do however take pictures of lighthouses.   

   

And just before mile 21 was the first of the three challenging hills I knew were left. 

The “bike path hill” is something I used to struggle with back when I used to bike on it. And I don’t remember if I walked it last year or not, but I refused to this year. Just floated slow and steady up it. 

And when the older running next to me started walking with a “oh it feels good to walk” I replied “I bet it does” and passed him. 

At mile 22, I still felt awesome and ready to tackle Providence’s version heartbreak hill. This I know I walked last year. But not this time. 

This hill is short but steep. And gets progressively steeper as you go. About five steps from the top feels like a 90 degree angle. It may not have looked like running by then. But it still was. And at the top I let out a war whoop. And knew the rest of the course was mine. 

A little past 23, back over the highway, my new fave volunteer called out, “around the corner, stay to the left of the cones, free high-five if ya want one” and of course I did. I never turn down a high-five. 

The second half of mile 24 is old old arch-enemy from my years running the half…Pittman Street. Pittman is a long slow uphill. But once you hit the end, you have the looong downhill of Gano Street to reward you. 

So, slow and steady, I trudged along, passing no less than 10 people, all the way to the top. And grinning, headed down. Past some photographers. (I bet I’ve never looked so good 24 miles in before)

At the bottom, around the corner through India Point Park where I almost took some Swedish fish from the adorable little girl with the bowl of them. And out of the park to mile 25. 

Stopped for a pic of the sign, which cracked up the volunteer standing there. I told him I was just letting my hubby know I was almost there. 🙂     

 
 And off I went. Feeling strong and confident and so amazed I was actually reaching my goal. 

And when I saw the mile 26 marker and knew it was just around the corner to victory…awesome. 

And there, just around the corner, my biggest fan. My hubby. And I couldn’t resist – I stopped and kissed him. 

Then with a big grin, sprinted to the finish line. 

That was the best I’ve ever felt at the finish – I must be finally getting better at this whole marathon thing. Lol

I also got in my usual traditions – bark at the doggie spectators and high-five all the little kids. 

And a shout out to DreamFar. An great organization helping high school students run their first marathon. I had the honor of being kept company by a small group of them (Tyler, Miles and two others whose names I can’t remember) for most of the race. You guys did an amazing job and should be SO proud of yourselves. Thanks for the smiles and miles. (We’re gonna win, win, win no matter what!)

And here…my victory photo! 🙂  

  
  
 

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