I came. I ran. I fell down.

If you want to get a workout, go for a run.
If you want to feel accomplished, run a marathon.
If you want to question your existence, run an ultra marathon.

Technically a 30K isn’t really an ultra marathon. An ultra marathon is anything over marathon distance (26.2 miles or 42.2k). So my race on Saturday wasn’t an ultra marathon, even though they had ultra distances. You could have fooled me. It was, hands down, the hardest race I ever ran. With more than 80 races under my belt including obstacle runs and actual ultra marathons, that is quite a statement.

Let’s start at the beginning. Wednesday of last week I boarded the plane and jetted off to Poland. 8.5 hours later we landed in Warsaw hopped into a cab and drove around seeing the city. Then back on a plane for a short ride to Krakow. We spent the night and explored a bit of the city the next day. Nothing crazy, just about 5 miles of exploring.

Friday we took off on a train to Rzeszów to meet with our contact and get all set for the race. He was an awesome guy, named Wojtekand explained to us that we were meeting with 4 Ukrainians who were also participating in the race. Apparently there is another sister city in the Ukraine. Together we walked about 2 miles to the sports complex for our numbers and final instructions. After listening to the race coordinator speak in Polish for half an hour I still had no idea what to expect from this race. Wojtek assured me that no matter what, I wouldn’t get lost and it would be fine. It would be roads and hilly meadows and I would be fine. Just in case, I stuck an extra map in my bag. It would be fine. FINE! My mother in law promised to get a car or taxi and meet me at some places on the course to check in. I should have guessed from how hard they tried to assure me that it would be fine, that it definitely wouldn’t.

Fast forward to race morning.

We walked the two miles back to the sports complex to get the bus to the start line. I am now alone with a bus full of strangers who don’t speak English. No problem. I’ll just run through my game plan. Start slow, walk hills, conserve water, pay close attention to trail markers. Pretty solid plan. We got off the bus, took care of the essentials (ahem porta potty), and toed the start line….at the back of the pack. I’m no dummy. Speed is not my thing. That is why I run long distances.

My watch decided as the gun went off that it was not going to track today. It just didn’t feel like it. Off to great start!

We started off going up and down 3 pretty severe hills through a little city. Then we took a turn to some cute little farm lands. Just like I expected the climb was up, Up, UP. It wasn’t so bad. Just some back fields and deep ruts from 4-wheelers. It was tough to get footing so I ended up walking quite a bit. Nothing worse then hurting yourself early in a race. All the other racers disappeared. I was sure I could catch up on the downhill later. It was quite pretty. Breathtaking even – but that could have been the hills.

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Beautiful view from the top (not my pic, my attempt at this photo sucked)
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Go into the creepy tunnel. Perfectly safe I swear.

I ran/walked along the rough trail and noticed we were skirting around some woods. Until the trail abruptly turned into something that looked like the beginning of every “Into the Woods” horror movie. Pay no attention to instinct and follow these little yellow banners into the deep dark woods.

Well it didn’t take long for me to get lost. The markers on the trees were pretty spread out and when the path forked into two directions with a marked tree in the middle I picked the wrong way. I made it about 2K before I realized I had to be on the wrong path. I got myself straightened out and spent the next 10K struggling up and down mud slicked, steep ledges covered in black beetles that made me think of the Mummy movies.

After stumbling through some weird chapel gathering in the woods (no blood stains anywhere, so I don’t think it was a horror movie set) I began a pretty steep climb to the top of a ledge. Reminded me of hiking trails, expect without ropes to help you up. And then a very dramatic fall down to the bottom. I can still feel these awesome bruises on my legs. I fell once more in the woods but less dramatically. There were only a few curse words uttered.

Eventually I left the woods to see a taxi hanging out on the side of the road. An angel in the form of my mother-in-law refilled my water bottle and told me I wasn’t far from the first checkpoint. Of course I had spilled most of my water during one of my falls. I checked in some time later and luckily one of the volunteers spoke English. I refueled and headed back out. It was downhill from here right? RIGHT?!

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Moo to you too.

Not so much. I ran down into a nice little valley and into some cool farm lands. I even saw this cute cow chillin’ on the side of the pasture near the road. I snapped a quick picture and yelled out “Hey cow!” as I trotted past. Because I talk to animals. Because I love animals. Because I am an idiot. Big mistake.

The cow got up and started walking over to me. I slowed down because I noticed it had horns. I REALLY didn’t want to be charged by a steer. Not on my to-do list. So I panicked and started walking super slow. This fella followed me for about half a kilometer, giving me mini heart attacks the whole way. Then it turned into a pasture on the right and left me be. It was nice to breathe again.

There was not much happening after that until I reached the river. Just more terrible terrain. For some reason every time we got on road and I felt comfortable picking up the pace, we managed to veer off into the woods again. At this point I started using swear words to make entire sentences. I could have given the Wolf of Wall Street a run for its money on swear words per minute. Especially as I scrambled through an ACTIVE QUARRY with construction workers and over these “bridges”. Needless to say my shoes got soaked and I didn’t have extra socks.

After crossing the last huge bridge that looked like the rope bridge in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I was checked in by medical staff that said something like 5KM. I was so excited! 5km and I was done!!! AWESOME!

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You did this on purpose. Jerks.

Just kidding. It was 5km to the real aid station. I still had 12km to go. So back onto my single track trail behind farms and around the river. I swore to myself that next time I would bring a horse. Then I ran smack into this 6 ft bull dozed wall. I was extremely unhappy to have to climb this monster because there was no way around it. The little yellow marker waved over it, mocking me.

Once I was over it, I ran into a few more interesting bits of wildlife. A black dog that scared the crap out of me and some really annoyed birds. Nothing too serious. I exited the woods and must have looked like hell. A little old lady blew me kisses from a bus stop and made me smile again as I headed back towards the city. I ran into the check in spot and only stopped for water. I was running close to the wire on time now and didn’t want to miss the cut off. Luckily the trail emptied me on to the river path which was paved and blissfully flat. Too bad I was so shot at that point I could barely appreciate it. I had felt the pull in my leg on the last fall I took and knew there was something not good going on in there (later discovered the groin pull, nothing serious, just enough to slow you down). I struggled to hit my stride for the last 5k, but a nice medic on a bike kept me company. He was enjoying practicing his English on me and asking me tons of questions about the states. Medical staff and volunteers are truly amazing under-appreciated gifts to runners.

Triumphantly I ran up the hill by my hotel and headed into the city’s square. I hit the mats at 1 minutes and 29 seconds over the cut off time. Not that anyone cared. There were still other runners on the course from the other distances. Luckily it wasn’t a strict cut off race.

For the first time in a long time I cried. Yup. At a race finish. I was so glad to be done. I took off my favorite Tifosi sunglasses (which I left on a bench and cried about losing later) and used baby wipes to try and make myself look human. Luckily they let me shower before the award ceremony. They brought the Sister Cities participants on stage to present them with trophies.

Funny enough, I do appreciate the local Sister Cities rep inviting me back for the “normal marathon” in three weeks. I wish I had ran that one to begin with! In parting, I would love to visit Poland again, and possibly run another race. But I will be finding someone who ran it first and find out what kind of race it REALLY is before I sign up.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?

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Thanks for reading this small novel! 

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“Stay home slowpokes”

8 hours.

In 8 hours I am boarding that plane and taking off to a country I have never been to. To run a race I have no business running in. To prove to everyone and no one that you shouldn’t fear the unknown. Or something like that. Ok. I probably just lost my marbles and haven’t realized it yet. Don’t tell me until I get back ok?

2 Days, 17 hours, 47 minutes, and 51…50…49..48 seconds

In 2 days, 17 hours, and some change, I will line up with 510 other individuals to climb, stumble, and suffer up the Carpathian mountains for the 3rd Annual Subcarpathian Ultramarathon. Yeah. Definitely lost my marbles somewhere……. I bet they are some where on a race course.

I have been training….mostly. Getting my runs in. Doing a serious amount of squats and lunges every 30 minutes or so while at work (desk job). I have even gotten a smidgen faster. Although truthfully nowhere near my 2011 PR busting times. I have been feeling a little more confident about my upcoming race and being able to beat the clock and the 5.5 hour cut off for this 30k up the mountains.

And then I read this. Plodders Have a Place, but Is It in a Marathon?

Basically some woman (a coach, no less) is calling out marathoners who finish in over 6 hours or stop to walk. These “participants” are not “racers” and should basically not be competing in the events. They are lessening the sport. How dare they?!

Obviously I am a slow runner. And obviously this coach misses the main point of modern marathons. Every one of those individuals is racing. Not against each other, but against themselves. They are going for a personal best. They are racing against obesity. They are running for a charity that is near and dear to their hearts. They are setting an example for their children and every single person who lines up and cheers. They are telling people that they refuse to sit by and become another statistic of heart disease or any other disease that states lack of exercise as a risk factor. How dare they try to get healthy?! The nerve….

The only thing that coach should be mad about is the slow runners who line up in the front, because honestly that is just dangerous. Totally legit thing to be mad about, but don’t pick on us back of the packers who know our place. The front of the pack may be racing for a win, but the rest of us are just racing for ourselves. Our health, our pride, our families, and the joyful exhilaration of crossing a finish line exhausted. We crossed every inch of those 26.2 miles the same as you did and while it may have taken longer, it certainly didn’t mean less to us. Ask me. I finished last in a 50 mile race that was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. The conversations I had with myself that day are practically legendary (at least I think they are….my brain was kinda hazy after the first 30 miles).

Just ask Patrick Downes. No one seems to have a problem with his 6 hour marathon. People are applauding him. Adrianne Haslet too. Despite spending nearly 10 hours “running” the Boston marathon she received a tweet from the president himself on how strong she was. These people are out there proving something to themselves. They don’t care who finished first.

The moral of the story? Don’t discount someone else’s journey just because it took longer than your own. Most of us will never be elite runners and we just want to enjoy the ride at our own pace. Even if it is a 16 minute mile one.

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It’s all uphill from here.

Literally.

So in my last post I mentioned that I wrote a letter to try and run a very special race. Most of you probably thought I was trying to beg my way into the Boston Marathon. HA! The only way I will ever get into that race is by donating millions to charity. I hope I win the Powerball someday…..

Anyway, let’s start at the beginning. A few months ago (January) I got one of those lovely notifications that I had been tagged in a post by my mother. Not unusual. The woman loves her some Facebook. Her friend was looking for runners from the Buffalo area that had completed an ultramarathon, so of course she showed off some motherly pride and tagged me (love ya mom!). Well this person was a gentleman involved with a group called the Buffalo-Rzeszow Sister Cities Committee. Apparently they were looking for Polish runners from the Buffalo area that could run considerable distance. If you were interested you needed to write a letter to the committee explaining what is wrong with you why you love running and your background.

Somehow on the plane back from the Arizona I was convinced I was invincible and could conquer anything they threw at me. So I wrote to the committee and explained my crazy history with running.

Then they wanted a meeting. They are selecting individuals to compete in the Rzeszow Carpathian Ultramarthon. In Poland. In May. This May. And they are paying for you to go.

As in you have 3 months to train your butt for this once in a lifetime chance.

Fast-forward to one breakfast meeting later and some awkward photographs (did I mention there will be media coverage) and here I am signing up to go to Poland in a few short weeks to run a 30K. Luckily for me it wasn’t really an ultramarathon. They have a special division for us and it is only in the 30K race. Yeah. Lucky. But here is the kicker. There is a 5.5 hour time limit. No sweat right? WRONG. Someone (meaning me) should have read the website before agreeing. Two little things that can make me miss that time limit?

  1. It is a trail race. 2. The elevation chart……

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HAHA. Have I ever mentioned how much I hate hills?
Needless to say there has been some serious panic coming my way. And I have been working my booty off to get myself up and down that mountain in the time given. Including some seriously painful hill workouts on some of the most notorious hills in town.

Guess we will find out on May 7th what I am really made of. I hope it is something stronger than pierogi. If not, well I am the only runner that got selected so I guess I will just make my city look bad. No pressure.

Wish me luck!

The other side of the road

The grass is always greener right?

Well for runners the other side of the road is always smoother. Less sloped. Less potholes. In the shade. Has a better view. Even if none of those things are true, we are totally convinced.

I am about to share something totally personal. I thought my life would be complete once I was a mother. Totally and utterly complete with a tiny pair of feet in my life. I would need NOTHING else. Ever. If I could just have a little bundle of joy I would never want anything. Imagine my great surprise after having my daughter in June that I would want to run. Long for it. Wistfully watch my neighbors trotting around with their  dog. See running advertisements and get annoyed. I would hold my darling little girl and wonder why I wanted to be out there when she was so incredibly perfect and I could stay in that living room with her forever. Clearly, I was bordering on mad.

Then I realized that even though I finally had the thing I wanted for so long, I couldn’t, and didn’t have to give up what I use to love. I didn’t have to reform my identity from RUNNER to MOM. It didn’t have to be absolute. I could be both. Sure, the part of running I loved the most, racing, would have to take a hit. I can’t do 30 races a year and blow through half marathons every weekend. But why I can’t I do both? Why can’t I be that mom who takes an hour for herself to hit the streets; more importantly, why can’t I do it without feeling guilty? Call it a work in progress.

Luckily I was able to reignite my passion. Last weekend I did the Phoenix Half Marathon. My first half since I got married in October 2014 (yes, it was part of our honeymoon). I will admit. I didn’t train. At least not really. I did some workouts in my office at lunchtime because it is too easy to be lazy at home. But I wouldn’t say I did much “running”. No matter. I finished. It was glorious. Covered in salt, slightly dehydrated, sunburnt, and sore. My heart was beating so fast I could hear it in my ears. Somehow, someway, I have found something that I didn’t know I was missing. I am hooked again.

So much so, I wrote a letter to a committee to attempt to run a very special race. I won’t say anything else yet, but hopefully it works out!

What did I really learn? Running can’t be escaped. It soaks into your soul and becomes a part of you. Like a best friend you can never let go of. Sure you may lose touch. You may change. But if you need it you can reach right back out and it is there waiting for you. Just like it was waiting for me.

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Oh, and by the way. Phoenix half marathon is worth the trip. Best finish line set up I have seen. I mean, they give you french toast, pulled pork BBQ, popsicles, and free massages! How sweet is that?!

I pledge allegiance…to my running store?

“I pledge allegiance the store
at which I purchase my shoes
and to the customer service for which they give,
one store, under warranty, non-negotiable,
with shoes and gear for all.”

In the land of Buffalo running there are two sides of the road you can be on. Two running warehouses that preside over the thousands of runners in the area. Anyone who lives here and runs knows this. There is Fleet Feet in North Buffalo and Runner’s Roost in Orchard Park (Southtowns). Recently the third store that shared business with these two, Tri Spot in Williamsville, closed its doors without much ceremony stranding its loyal customers with a tough decision: Where do we go now? Logically they turned to their running buddies for recommendations.

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Did you ever stumble upon a conversation and wish you didn’t? Recently there was a behemoth debate sparked by this question in one of the local groups (brought to my attention by a friend). A flurry of responses ensued with most of them completely bashing one store and elevating the other to a divine level. On BOTH sides of the debate. What was perhaps most interesting to me was that no one admitted to shopping at both places. Apparently it had to be one or the other! Does this mean that if you frequently shop at one store that you cannot go to the other? Moreover I had one person express guilt over buying something at an expo sponsored by the opposing store. In this area with the only two selections at opposite ends of the city you would think that the divide would be geographical only. People in the North go North, Southtowns people go South right? Not so. I’ve heard both sides offer up that they’d rather suffer the 45 minute drive to the store of their choice then visit the opposing one.

Now, tell me true:

  • Do not both businesses support your local community instead of some CEO at the end of a dotcom site?
  • Do not both improve the community by providing a valuable service of fitting people with running shoes so they can achieve wellness?
  • What factors could possibly ignite such passionate love/hate for a local specialty store?
  • Does it have to do with how accommodating they are to the local running community? Is it just how low their prices are? How often they offer sales or discounts? Or is it just plain and simple customer service that keeps you beating feet in?

Two sides of the story…RnR Philadelphia

There are two sides to racing in this race. The first is the athlete side, or the real race recap. The second is the mushy love story side. I finally tell the story I have been holding back. Feel free to get your fill of whatever story you find more interesting.

The Athlete’s Side

The race that was suppose to be a training run. Yeah, like that hasn’t happened to me before. Going into this weekend I was content to just try my best. I knew last year I had an amazing PR and a triumphant day. My main goal was to just finish well and run a solid training run. 11mm to 11:30s  would be just fine. I really had no reason to push it. I was planning on pushing it in Syracuse next month anyway. My last big race before devoting myself fully to ultra marathon training.

Anyway, so the day before I fueled up with a HUGE and amazing brunch with my sister and friends and then a huge bowl of pasta with my teammates. Typical pre-race nonsense. We got back to the apartment and laid out all our gear before heading to [a seriously uncomfortable] bed.

The morning sun came up and we geared up. I ate my marathon bar (toasted almond before any race) and make sure everything was ready, including a dry shirt for after if I needed it. We then walked the 2.5 miles to the start line. I think this walk might be the secret to success in this race, it certainly performs as the perfect warm-up. We checked in the bag, visited the porta-pots, and went off to our corrals. I set my watch for 11:15 pace and waited for our air-horn.

Off we went and into the city…. Mile One came out fast, but it usually does. I figured I would even out after the first water break. My goal was to feel comfortable. Whatever comfortable was, I wanted to settle there. I didn’t want to finish the race feeling terrible. Resolving to still walk all water stops I focused on not walking in between. It was a beautiful day and the course was lined with interesting people. I remembered from last year so I tried to slow down and conserve energy. Somehow, every mile my watch beeped I was getting faster. I was clocking well below 11mm and a couple clocked in below 10. The problem was, I wasn’t pushing it, and I felt good. So good that I resolved not to think about it and just stay “comfortable”. Scary to think that my comfort pace was 9:55. (Yes, that is fast for me. Don’t judge!) I began to worry about seriously burning out. I had lost signal for a while in the city so while the time was correct, my mileage was wrong. I started judging by the mile markers what my estimated finish time would be. In the last long stretch of park I decided to go for it. I just passed mile 9 and was clearly feeling great. I let myself go and tried not to think about the course ahead. The last 5K were a push. I started to feel the sun and the incline (last 3 miles are in full sun and uphill) but told myself the hard work was already done. I just needed to finish quickly and a new PR would be mine (I estimated a minute off my PR).

Push. Push. Push. I would have loved for some downhill in that last bit. Right before the finish line there is a big hill around a corner. I recognized it from last year and charged up. I could see the Marathon Bars banners and surged on to the finish. I stopped my watch and it seemed to be a full two minute PR. Elated I danced into the Marathon Bars tent and hugged my teammates and boyfriend. Elated and on top of the world I still can’t figure out where the energy came from. It was like an explosion of unexpected perfect run variables converging on ME! Needless to say I was elated that this race turned out so perfect. After all, it was a very SPECIAL day. 🙂

 

The Mushy Side

I have only mentioned once before on this blog how my boyfriend and I met. Now that it has been a year I can divulge the whole story without sounding like a lovesick puppy even though I clearly am. As you may know, RnR Philly last year was completely amazing. I called it The Miracle in Philly for more than one reason. In addition to meeting Kara Goucher, judging a rock band contest, and meeting my teammates for the first time, it was the first race I ever clocked a sub 2:30 half marathon. In my mind it was when I “arrived” as a runner. All of this I knew was amazing at the time. What I didn’t realize is that very weekend I had met the man of my dreams.

September 16th last year I was traveling to Philly on the Megabus from Buffalo. A stranger complimented me on my jacket and asked if I was running the race in Philadelphia. I replied yes, because I was sponsored by Team Marathon Bars. He asked me how I got the gig and I replied “I don’t know, some dumb luck, since I’m really no one special.”

Cut to the Monday after the race. After walking all the way to the train station from my sisters apartment I ask the bus people where the line to Buffalo is. Immediately after getting in line I noticed the guy behind me wearing a RnR Philly shirt. Being the smooth talker I am I say “Nice Shirt”….not realizing this is the same fella from the bus down until we start chatting. One convo later finds out that he plays hockey (A++), loves football(A+), and use to play lacrosse(A). I found myself thinking that he was an interesting and nice guy, if a bit old. He played right into that when we went on the bus. He sat across and two seats back and read a book. Much to my disappointment I concluded that glasses+book+beard+bus=OLD!

The bus makes a rest stop in Syracuse and we chatted a bit more. I caught myself thinking I wish I had made more of an effort to look better. I have a tendency to be lazy when I travel and not care that I look like a college student who just pulled an all nighter. He asked me when I was getting off and I said downtown (where we got on). After talking with my dad he told me to get off at the first stop which was the airport. I stood up and said goodbye to my friend as I exited the bus. I jokingly told him maybe I would see him around the Buffalo running community is a small place (plus he had commented on my FF jacket and I mentioned that I worked there). I hopped off the bus and waited for the bus driver to come open the storage area under the bus. A few minutes later my friend comes jumping off the bus. He asked me for my number and if he could call me sometime. I said yes, and for some strange reason couldn’t think of a fake number (usually I give strangers fake numbers because it NEVER works out and they usually turn out CRAZY) so he got my real number.

-Cut to one month later. After a series of unsuccessful attempts to meet up for coffee and one attempt on his part to visit me at work (I’ll admit it, I ran and hid in the backroom on my lunch break since I hate feeling awkward) I decided it wasn’t worth the time and stop returning his text messages. Then I randomly got an invitation to go see the Lion King on stage at Shea’s. It was the day I was running the Empire State Half Marathon in Syracuse (October 16th, one month later) but I would be back by early afternoon. I agreed to go….the rest as they say, is history.

September 16th, on the anniversary of the day we met, we ran the race that brought us together. It made the day and this race even more special for us.I honestly cannot remember a day when I felt more happy. ….Not to mention later that evening the Bills and Steelers won, and the Patriots and Ravens lost…..a perfect football day!!! Honestly, meeting Geoff has been a real lesson in luck for me. Life was wonderful and going great before I met him, but having him has made it even more amazing. 2011 may have been the best year of my life so far, but 2012 is trying to top it.

Keep Believing. And Keep On. Stay On. Marathon!!!
Thanks for reading!

Rock and Roll Providence 1/2 Marathon Weekend (better late than never!)

Rock and Roll Providence

This one has been a long time coming. Isn’t it funny how some race recaps pop up almost immediately and others get written right before another race?

Anyway, so back in August, off my boyfriend Geoff and I went to Providence! My first Rock and Roll for Team Marathon Bars for this year. Unfortunately they hadn’t finalized the team for when I did New Orleans back in March so this was the first one that counted.

Providence was a cute little town. Honestly, I can’t call it a city because it just was too small. I guess that makes it my kind of city. The biggest city I have ever actually liked was Pittsburgh….places like NYC are just too much for me.

Anyway, arrived in Friday night and settled in at the hotel with some wine and good movies. I have to admit that travelling with someone who loves races as much as I do makes it a million times more fun. I am very lucky to find a man who loves it as much as he loves me.

Saturday we hit up the breakfast and headed to the expo to collect our gear. Team meetup wasn’t until 2pm so we had some time. Honestly, this was the smallest RnR expo ever. There were not many people and the booths were suspiciously empty. Eventually we met up with everyone who was running. Linda, Jill, Hazel, and Beth. It was an all girl party at the Team Marathon tent. We took a bunch of team pictures and caught up on how everyone’s training was going. I think all of us were training for something else and this wasn’t the goal race. Beth was bouncing back from an injury, but the rest of us were working on something else. I have to say, we are one good-looking bunch!!

After the team picture Geoff and I ran off to take a trolley car tour of the city. It was a neat way to get a bit of history and take in the sights. Even though you run through a city during a race, sometimes you don’t take everything in because you are focused on your race. That happened to me in Philly last year (I had no idea I ran past a bunch of historical stuff!) so I was glad I got to see it from a trolley. Plus it was raining, so a covered tour was ideal. I have to admit I was most impressed by the GIANT BLUE TERMITE. He is apparently an icon of Providence.

The tour ended and we headed over to the mall for a bit. Providence Place mall is apparently THEE PLACE TO BE. We had some time to kill so we spent some time playing games in Dave and Busters.
Then we headed to Waterplace for dinner with the team. After a HUGE (seriously HUGE) portion of delicious pasta we headed outside for the sunset. Waterfire, a huge festival/party thing on the water was about to happen. They light fires on the river and it was absolutely amazing. It’s part of this whole ceremony and very cool to see. People lined the streets to see them light the fires.

After we walked down the river and saw all the burners and vendors we headed back to the hotel to rest up.

RACE DAY!!

Perfect morning for it. Definitely a smaller rock and roll. I started with the 5th corral. The first couple miles were tough going. All uphill through the town. I was definitely struggling to get going. I’ve been having warm up trouble and it was showing. It has been taking about 5 miles to warm up for me. So right about the 5 mile mark I hit my stride and dropped from 11:30 to about 10mm flat. There I cruised for about 5 miles. The last 5k wove back and forth over bridges and through the city. It had warmed up by that point and I was ready for the end. My knee and ankle seemed to think running hills was a horrible idea. As I saw the finish line RISING in the distance I started yelling at people directing us on the course. “OF COURSE the finish is UPHILL! OF COURSE IT IS!!” For some reason I was more than slightly annoyed that the course ended uphill. I even jokingly accused some little boy of putting the hill there on purpose. He laughed and thought I was funny. I thought it was funny too and got a good picture out of it. I ended up finishing under 2:30, which is all I wanted for this “training run”.

After finishing I hung out with all the folks in the team tent handing out bars to people. When it was clear that there was going to be HUGE amounts of leftover bars we loaded up a big box to take back with us. Geoff scooted out to the information booth to get his Heavy Medal (this was his 5th RnR this year so he earned the Rock Star medal) and we took some more team and individual triumph pictures. I must say it was pretty AWESOME. I hadn’t seen many of my teamies this year so it was pretty cool to see 4 at one time!

Later that day we had incredible seafood at this place called “The Crow’s Nest” on the water. First time I’ve ever had calm chowder and I was amazed. We had a seafood feast that was simply amazing. Delicious beyond words. I guess that is what you get for being on the coast.

Monday we packed up and left. It was a great weekend and I would definitely visit there again. There aren’t many cute little cities anymore….especially not with amazing food and races 🙂