Providence Half Marathon Recap from Running & Cupcakes!

Contributed By Samantha Zeigler, Author of Running & Cupcakes
If you’re friends with me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or keep up with my training on Daily Mile then you already know how this story ends… for the rest of you, strap in and enjoy the ride.
This weekend was the second annual Rock N Roll Providence Half Marathon. It was much more special to me this year because I was sharing it with lots of local blogger friends – Janine (and her AWESOME mom, Kathi), Dani (and her wife, Tori), and Amy (and her hubby, Chris). I also, of course, had the BEST support team ever made up of Kevin and Lexi.
Okay Lexi didn’t do much, but she sure is cute. 
The Before…
Saturday afternoon I met up with Janine, Kathy, Dani, Tori, Amy, and Chris, at the expo. The girls had a little bit of fun with the photo booth section…
The expo itself was, unfortunately, a bit sad. It was a lot smaller than last year, and the running joke of the weekend was that there were more headband booths than anything else. Nonetheless, it was a blast catching up with these ladies.
Later on in the evening we all met on Federal Hill here in Providence for dinner at Café Dolce Vita. Funniest thing ever (okay maybe not ever, maybe just for the day?) – Dani and Tori were staying at the hotel attached to Café Dolce Vita, and I did not know that when I chose the restaurant…great minds, I say.
What a great crew!
We all got carbed up and proteined (that is so a word) up on bread, pasta, and adult beverages.
Post-dinner, Dani and Tori decided to be the grown ups of the group (teehee) and turn in for an early bed time. I can’t blame them – my 4:00 a.m. alarm was less than pleasant…
Janine, Kathi, Kevin, and I, decided one more drink would be fun. So we headed on over toProvidence Oyster Bar. Lo and behold – Kathy and Janine have never had oysters from the raw bar. The hilarity ensued shortly thereafter – but not until Mom Kathi had a glass of wine, and the rest of us each had a pint of  Belfast Bay Brewing Co. Lobster Ale. This was a fantastic choice – perfectly hopped – not too strong, not too wimpy. Just delicious!
Cheers to good beer, good friends, and good running!
It took a bit of convincing to get Mom Kathi to try an oyster but she was a good sport and did it anyway!
We probably had a bit too much fun with these oysters…
We bid Janine and Kathie adieu around 10:30 and headed home. They were meeting us at 5:15 the next morning and I had yet to get anything ready for the race – talk about procrastination…
We finally got to bed around 11ish, a tad too late for a 4 a.m. wake up call, but hey, I’ve run with less sleep… I slept like a rock thanks to the glass of prosecco and two beers I had… and yes, I hydrated a ton before bed.
Fast forward to 4 a.m. – then 4:10, 4:20, and 4:30 before I finally decided I had better get up if I wanted to be ready when Janine and Kathi showed up. Luckily all I had to do was shower, create some breakfast, and get dressed.
And we’re off – the 4 of us walked to the hotel to meet with Dani and Tori, then we headed downtown. I gotta say, I love being within walking distance of Downtown Providence.
Our crew of 7 looked a little silly roaming the streets of Providence at 5:30 a.m. until we got closer to downtown, but of course we had some great early morning laughs!
Once we got downtown we met up with Robin and Colleen. It was so nice to finally meet Colleen – I feel like I’ve known her for such a long time, yet we had never met!
I love Janine and Kathi’s matching outfits! I think I’m going to have to ask Janine for her services for a tutu for Zooma in September!
Next thing you know we’re in the corrals and WE’RE OFF! I wanted to stay with Dani and Colleen but let me tell you – these girls are FAST. I knew if I tried to stay with them I was going to flame out, so I immediately pulled back and ran my own race.
The weather was perfect – it felt like an early fall day. Low humidity, cooler temps, and bright sunshine. Mile 1, Mile 2, Mile 3 – all sub 9. I started thinking that the sub 2 half was definitely within reach. Mile 4 threw me a bit – it dropped my pace from 8:45 to 9:25 with a bad ass hill – 65 feet in less than a quarter mile! Thankfully, I saw Erin at that point and I knew she had run the course, so I asked her if this was the worst hill and she assured me that it was. Phew. I recovered from that hill immediately and that’s when I KNEW. I knew this was going to be my race.
Mile 5 was the transition area for the relay so as I approached I started looking for Janine. I didn’t see her until it was almost too late but she still managed to get a pretty good action shot!
Then I saw Kevin! He didn’t see me at first – so all I could do was yell at him “I’m on target!” and keep going. I heard his shouts of support and enthusiasm and that fueled me up for the long straight shot down Blackstone Boulevard. I was so pumped up that it was 50 minutes before I even had fuel, I almost forgot!
Next thing I know it’s mile 10 – no joke. This race flew by and I think the only reason I remember mile 10 and the miles to follow is because my left hip started to hurt. My sciatic nerve on that side has been giving me a lot of trouble lately – I consider myself extremely lucky that it took 10 miles to start hurting. I stayed on target through mile 10, but had to slow. I could feel the hip wanting to give, and the last thing I wanted to do was blow my chances at my “A Goal”. I did some quick “running math” and knew exactly what pace I needed to keep in order to still reach that “A Goal.” So I slowed down. Mile 11 was my first mile over a 9 minute mile. And not by much – 9:08 to be exact.
Mile 12 was my slowest mile – and I knew it before I even checked my Garmin data. I was thirsty and really hoping for that one final water stop before the finish line – but it wasn’t there. And I’m now grateful for that…
Before I know it, I’m rounding the final turn toward the finish. I pulled my ear buds out, hoping for some crazy crowd noise to fuel me to the finish. I don’t know if the crowd noise was less than I expected, or if I was just in that much of a zone, because it didn’t seem like much. Then again – I really shouldn’t have missed Kevin waiting patiently for me so he could get some finish line pictures – but I did. I was in a mega zone, knowing that one misstep was going to screw up the chances of making the goal I have been wanting to reach so badly.
Next thing I know I’m crossing the finish line – and before I even hit the line, I knew I had done it.
Official Time: 1:59:30. I just made it, but I freakin’ did it. This is the 4th half that I tried to break 2 in – and I finally did it! Now, this time is not only a PR for me – but I also had another personal record I was going for. I’ve never completed a half marathon without some walking. This race theonly time I walked was through the water stops, and those were very brief. Woohoo!
I was overwhelmed with emotion when I crossed, I even cried a little – I grabbed my medal (which I had promised myself I would have engraved if I broke two, and I kept my promise to myself!), water, Gatorade, popsicles, and a cold wet towel. In a daze I dragged myself over to the designated meeting spot and plopped myself down in the grass. That race was hard, but honestly, not as hard as I had thought it was going to be. I’m crediting the fact that I’ve been running in disgusting heat and humidity, and yesterday was nothing short of perfect.
Super happy, post-race, with the best supporter a girl could ask for!
A few minutes later, Janine and Kathi came my way, they were done with the relay. They finished in 2:03! Such an amazing relay time, they make a great team.
The post-race concert was Karmin. I only knew one song prior to yesterday by them, and although I like it, I wasn’t looking forward to the show. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a great show! And of course a race is never complete without post-race free beer. Even if it’s just okay beer.
Post-race, Janine, Kathi, Kevin, and I went to Union Station Brewery for lunch. We were FAMISHED! More beer was consumed (of course), as well as some seriously awesome food.
Kevin’s is the meatloaf, mine is the sandwich. And because I know he’ll hate that I’m posting this pic, I’m doing it anyway. The man cracks me up with silly antics like this all the time…never a dull moment 
A couple of beers and a full belly and it was time to go home. We said goodbye to Janine and Kathi with promises that it would not be 6 months again before we saw each other!
Without a doubt this was one of the best weekends of my summer. Time with my amazing boyfriend, great friends, great food, great running, and of course, an 11 minute and 33 second PR (But who’s counting?).
I hope your weekend was just as amazing as mine was!
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