I was really excited to finally check-off the last New England state for my 50-state journey, Rhode Island. This was my 47th state and my 59th lifetime marathon. There was a race in February in Newport that I considered, but it was the same weekend as a nor-Easter, and the race wasn’t cancelled, so I chose wisely. I was also hoping to be over my “Boston PTSD” from the most horrific weather conditions I have ever run in—I just needed a good race.
We decided to use points and take Amtrak to Providence. Our train left on Friday night around 5 p.m. and we arrived around 9 p.m. We arrived, and the train station was walking distance from our hotel, the Marriott Providence. This hotel was packed to the rim with travel teams (aka, KIDS). We settled into our room and went straight to bed.
When we woke, we found a local coffee shop then hit the expo. The expo consisted of a bib pick up table. :-\ We were there all of five minutes and left. No freebies for Reilly. It’s usually his favorite part of the race, the goodies at the expo. From there, we hit Whole Foods where I picked up all my pre-race requirements (bagels for breakfast and greenish bananas to carry for 20 miles, etc.). We headed back to the hotel and spent the afternoon by the pool. Reilly made some friends, so we were good to go.
For dinner, Andino’s came recommended. We made a reservation, thank god. There were about 3,000 people running the full and the half, so we didn’t want to risk an hour wait for dinner. It was delicious.
We headed back to the hotel and we hit the sack nice and early by 10 a.m. This is where the meyham started with the travel teams. Apparently, parents don’t watch their kids in hotels–maybe a few. There were a few rooms around us stuffed with kids (young and teens), and no adults. It became sleepover, romper room, knock-and-run, etc., any horror you can think of when you’re trying to fall asleep. This went on until around midnight. At that point, it was my third phone call to the front desk asking to send someone up to yell at these kids. To no avail, I finally opened the door and yelled at the hooligans, “seriously.” Not very effective, but I felt better. Another security guard came up and yelled as well.
Alarm at 6:00 a.m., snooze twice and out of bed by 6:20. I was cutting it close for a 7:30 a.m. race, but it was a quick Uber to the hotel. I got ready and quietly exited the room, including tightened up the blackout curtains so Nish and Reilly could sleep late.
I swing by the front desk and speak to the staff about the meyham travel-team kids. They were the ones that told me these kids were in a room by themselves. Who does that? I order an Uber. He pulls up, I hop in, close the door and he pulls away. This dude–seriously–smoked a pack of cigarettes with the windows closed. I immediately start gagging, coughing and gasping for air. Like, I’m going to vomit if this dude doesn’t open the windows. He asks what’s wrong (there ain’t no hiding what’s going on), and I tell him, “I’m extremely sensitive to the cigarette smoke” (I was trying to be pollite). I couldn’t take it anymore, so I asked him to pull over and I got out and walked. UGH.
Get to the race and I am eladed to find out that the half marathoners start 30 minutes later and they have a completely different course! HOORAY! I lined up and I was super excited that the rain was going to hold off until after 2 p.m., the wind was only about 2-3 MPH and the temperature was only going to get to 60 degrees. Perfect conditions (becasue the sun was hiding behind clouds the whole time).
My first observation was, “not flat.” This is advertised as a fast, flat BQ?! My handy-dandy Garmin tells me this was a 603 foot gain and a 615 foot elevation loss. That, is not flat. I drank a water in the corral, so I decided to skip the first water stop. This is where my second observation becomes relevant, “not enough fluids on this course.” There was another water station right before the fourth mile, but they only had water and watered down Nuun, so I ran right on by. Bad idea. The next time we saw a water station was mile 11. I don’t know if it was poor planning or people didn’t show up to do the ONE thing they committed to that day, but there were no other aid stations. UGH UGH. My mouth became really dry. My lips became really dry, and all I could think of is ice cubes. I started thinking maybe I missed a water station and wasn’t paying attention. I had to be wrong that there wasn’t one!? Nope. I turned off my tunes (12/11/98), and started to listen to the chatter and complaints around me. Sure enough, not enough water. These two chicks were next to me complaining about leg cramps. We were just approaching mile 10. I offered one salt pill. That’s all I could spare because I knew I’d have a hard time recovering from lack of liquids. They were grateful and took it.
By the time we got to 11.5, we saw a water station and of course, the tables were empty because the volunteers couldn’t keep up and fill the cups fast enough. Mile 11.5 and I haven’t had my banana yet, I’ve had no liquid and no salt tabs. UGH UGH UGH. I decided to drink two full glasses at each water station from that point forward, ate my first banana at 13 (usually 10), and second one at 23 (usually 20), and took salt tabs at 11.5, 16, 20, 22. UGH. The damage was already done. My dehydration headache set in at mile 15, and when I hit mile 20, I ended up with a side-stitch on BOTH SIDES through the end of the race. Brutal. It was so hard to breath with the side-stitches. That is what happens when you don’t hydrate properly (at least to me, anyway).
Minus feeling like death for the better part of the race, this truly was a beautiful course. I am, of course, really disappointed with my finish time. With the amount of training I am able to do during the week, it’s nearly impossible to squeeze out a 4:30ish (my desired time). My schedule should let up a little in May so that I can put more quality into my base runs and training. With every single finish, Nish and Reilly are there and I say the same thing, “babe…I’m not kidding you, it’s getting harder and harder to run faster–the older I get.” Reilly drew a note for me reminding me that I’m not old (above). Thanks, buddy. Feel like a fossil though. 🙂