Rewind to the weekend of April 30-May 1 when I ran the Providence Marathon. This was my second road marathon, but third marathon overall (first was the Leadville Trail Marathon in June 2015).
I began training for this marathon in mid-February after dealing with an IT band injury. Because I had been planning to begin in January, my training was cut short about a month. When I started running again, I made sure to listen to my body and not push too much because I didn’t want to re-injure myself.
Kyle and I drove from Boston to Providence on Saturday, 4/30. We headed straight to packet pickup to get my racing bib and participant t-shirt.
After the expo, we headed to the hotel to meet up with my parents who had also just arrived. We decided it would be smart to walk from our hotel to the starting line so we would know where to go the next morning. This was also my first time in Providence, so I was excited to explore!
We had a mini birthday celebration for me on Saturday night, but kept everything low key because we’d all be getting up very early on Sunday.
Eating dinner at the hotel restaurant. Pre-race dinner. I ate 2 rolls, about 2/3 of the burger and just a few fries.
Flat Elizabeth all set to go!
I set my alarm for 5:20am on Sunday morning. I made myself a peanut butter bagel in the hotel room for breakfast (I brought my own food in case the hotel breakfast was opening later). I sometimes get a queasy stomach before races and long runs because of nerves, so I didn’t eat the entire bagel. When I get nervous before races I remind myself to zone out all other runners, and that the only person I’m racing against is myself.
We checked out of the hotel and headed to the starting line at about 6:45am. Runners were encouraged to be on the starting line by 7:15 so the race could start promptly at 7:30am.
Pre-race photos at the starting line.
And before I knew it, the run began! The weather was overcast and low 50s – perfect. Overall, the course was pretty flat, but not as flat as I had expected. There were some rolling hills and a few steep hills, some of which we ran down in the beginning of the race only to run back up them at the end (aka mile 23!).
The course took runners south along the water. It was pretty looking over the water as we ran – I tried using the scenery to take my mind off of how many miles I had left…didn’t really work 🙂
This was taken somewhere between miles 6-10.
I felt great the first twelve miles. I wore a Garmin watch so I could track my splits, which I was aiming to keep around 9:00-9:05 min/mile.
One of my goals was to not start out fast (like I did in the Richmond Marathon). Most runners start too quickly in the beginning because they are rested and excited, but it drains your energy quickly. My game plan was to start slower with consistent mile splits and finish faster – this is something I will be practicing when my training begins again this summer.
I wore a FlipBelt around my waist that held my phone and a bunch of Gu energy gels. I ate one every 4 miles, and drank Gatorade at the water stations. For the first 15 miles I was able to drink the Gatorade while running, but after that I stopped to drink it – this is another thing I want to get better at.
After passing the halfway mark (13.1 miles) at 2:02 hours, I thought to myself, “Ok, so I have to run that all over again but now faster.” (My goal time was to break 4:00 hours). I think I psyched myself out mentally thinking about that, because some of my mile splits in the second half of the run were slower than I would’ve liked – plus I was getting tired.
I saw my parents and Kyle a lot while I was running. Seeing them made me super happy, and they were holding neon colored signs for me so I could always pick them out of the crowds. They even drove past me a few times on roads that were still open to cars. I love my support system!
It started raining at around mile 18 until mile 21. If anything the rain felt nice because it cooled me off, but I honestly didn’t even notice it that much.
Passing the mile 26 marker with a popped blister and finally spotting the FINISH line! Run run run!!
I did it!
I finished with a time of 4:16:43, so I didn’t hit my goal of breaking 4 hours. I was a little disappointed but have reminded myself that this is my journey to qualify for the Boston Marathon. If I reached it on my first attempt, then it wouldn’t really be the journey I’ve set out for.
As soon as I crossed the finish line my legs got super tight and I didn’t want to move.
Because it was in the low 50s, I got cold soon after finishing. We walked (I hobbled) to the car and found a delicious spot for burgers.
Completely exhausted but very proud.
I ate this in about three bites.
I am taking it easy with running for a little bit. If I want to go for a run, I will, but since the marathon was last weekend, I won’t aim for a certain pace or distance. I’ll just run to run.
I’ve been foam rolling a lot, which has really helped my legs recover.
Reppin’ the Providence Marathon shirt!
Next up is Boston’s Run to Remember half marathon over Memorial Day weekend, followed by the Leadville Trail Marathon on June 18th. I’m training for that by running hill repeats and “climbing” on the treadmill.
Thank you to everyone who sent well wishes for the run!