Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why the Providence Marathon?

So I know I made no mention of this race on the blog until it was over, and only a few hints to friends (heck, I didn't even tell my own mother until Saturday night, and my Dad found out after!).  The thing is, I wasn't exactly trained for this race, and I didn't think I was going to finish it, so I didn't want to make a big deal about it.

Let's backtrack a little bit...ok, ok...about two and a half weeks ago, to the Thursday after Boston...I received a text that my friend Chris (you know, the one I supported during Boston) was thinking of running the Cox Providence Marathon.  He wanted to run the race he trained for, the pace and conditions he trained for, the sub-4 marathon he trained for.  Boston's conditions robbed many of their dreams for that day, but left them with an amazing accomplishment nonetheless - to finish in those extreme conditions still holding their heads high and managing a finishing smile.
(source)

He asked if I might want a bib for Providence, for either the half or the full, through the United Health Care complimentary bibs (UHC was a big sponsor for the race and only had used about half of their comp bibs, so they were extending it to family and friends, within reason).  I knew I wasn't trained for the full, but I wanted to run with Chris, and the half started a half hour after the full and ran a separate course to boot! So I told him that I would run the full with him, well at least the miles I could run at his goal pace, and then I would drop out and meet his wife, Katie, to cheer him in.


I had two weeks to get in a 16-miler, and then taper...two weeks to try to test my legs without over-stressing them (let alone my ornery hip giving me pain around mile 5).  That Saturday I set out for my 16-miler, with gels and fuel belt in tow.  I was cruising and feeling good, hitting mid to low-8's for paces, but then around mile 7 the hip joined the party, so I turned around a little early and told myself I would do the two extra miles around my own neighborhood.  Then around mile 10, the hip decided it wanted to be the star of the party, and I was forced to stop for a good long stretch.  I still had 4 more miles to even get home, let alone tacking on those 2 extra miles to make it 16.  After a limp/jog home, I made it to my doorstep with some tears in my eyes, an 8:45 split, a killer blister and a painful hip.  I texted Chris immediately and told him I would try to make the first 10 miles with him, but that was all I would be able to muster (I had a week and a half to heel the toe and rest the hip).

Fast forward to this past week...I treated the taper and the fueling and the hydrating like I was going to run the full 26.2 miles on Sunday, but I couldn't get my mind to follow suit.  I was still convinced that I was going to run off the course around mile 16, not able to finish the final 10.2.  That is until Friday night, with only two days to go - I had a dream that I was across the finish line with Chris and the clock was still starting with a 3 hour time. I know that might sound dumb, but I had been trying to visualize the race, and staying on pace and even finishing, even though I didn't fully believe I would complete it.  I kept my activity low the days leading up to Sunday, and I fueled with good foods, hydrated, and got plenty hours of sleep.  I did indulge in a margarita on Saturday, but it was Cinco de Mayo, and the salt helps with hydration, right?!
I hear alcohol helps with pain...I figured I should start the painkillers early :)
After a carb-rich dinner at a great Italian place in the Federal Hill district of Providence, Mediterraneo , I met up with Chris and crashed at him and Katie's place for the evening (literally 15 minutes from the start).  After a stress-free, restful night/sleep, we woke up with an hour to fuel, dress, and prep and headed to downtown Providence with ten minutes to use the bathroom and get to the starting line.  One of the advantages of a small race, we were able to do this with time to spare!

So there is why I chose to run this marathon, chose to tell few people, chose to test my fitness and my mind...next up, race recap...

2 comments:

  1. So proud of you, congrats on your last minute marathon Danielle!!! That's the best kind. I hadn't signed up for mine until super last minute too (last Wednesday!) and it took some of the pressure off of it for me.

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  2. wow wow wow!!! yes you are incredible! what an amazing accomplishment! to make it to the end and to also be there to help a friend to a goal! i cant wait to read the recap. i felt largely the same about my race on saturday. i felt mostly ready mentally despite not being sure if i had physically done enough. so similarly i told few people and figured id just do my best! i agree with Katherine...sometimes last minute decisions are great and definitely take the pressure off! im so happy for you! congrats on #2! seriously an inspiration to me! now can you come pace me to a sub4 some day!?! the 3 on the clock is still holding out for me. dang it. ;)

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