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Monday, May 12, 2014

Cox Providence Rhode Races- Marathon Recap (Part 1)

I ran a marathon and then disappeared from the blog world for a week. 
 Surprise! I am still alive.  Although my phone did die at mile 26.1 and someone tracking me from home thought I died .1 miles from the finish.

It was just a hectic week with moving out of my apartment and an overnight horse show up in New York for a few days.  BUT Sunday I found some time to recap my race.  Being my first marathon, I have SO much to say-- so I decided to break it into two parts, the first part more of a review of the race and how it was held, an the second more of a running recap.

  It is long, so sit back grab a coffee and enjoy.  

Saturday night I laid out my clothes and gadgets to make sure I had everything I needed for race day.   The forecast was warm and sunny so I planned accordingly:  Sports bra, blue tank top, Lululemon shorts, compression socks, a nike running hat, ipod arm band, camelbak with 2 nuun tabs, Shok Blocks, energy beans, headphones, sunglasses, advil, gopro, gopro head strap.   Everything charged, packed, ready to go for an early morning start.  

I woke up Sunday morning at 4:30 to be out of my house for 5:00.  I had to drop Olive off at my parents house, and make the hour and a half drive to Providence, Rhode Island.  The race started at 7:30 but I wanted to be there for 6:30 to have time to park, pickup my bib and goody bag, get my locker, stretch, and head to the start for 7:15.   I had a bagel with peanut butter and banana (ate half) and a coffee for breakfast.  

I pre-purchased a locker online and was glad I did. (Company is called Blue Trailer- what an awesome idea).   For $7 I had a key to a locker, where I could stash some goodies I did not want to run with.  This meant I could avoid gear check all together and know my belongings were safely locked away, and I could access them whenever I wanted without a line.  

Before the race, I  read some reviews of the race and how it was organized, to know a little better what I was getting in to.  Some people complained of mile markers, port o potty issues, non descriptive shirts, running out of supplies, and boring medals.  But I will say they seemed to have fixed every complaint.   Packet pick up was smooth-  I had no issues getting my number in a timely fashion.  There were bathrooms with short lines in the convention center (at pickup)  and a ton of port o potties lined up near the start of the race.  

The shirts are cute, navy blue tech shirt with white and aqua lettering, with the marathon and 26.2 screaming across the top.  They were out of smalls and mediums when I got to packet pick up but I was planning to put it in a frame with my medal anyway (so many race shirts I don't wear and this one is special). 

As I lined up at the start, I was truly in awe at how beautiful the weather was.  It was 70s, sunny, and a gorgeous day.  It was almost a little too warm for running, but much better than rain.  The sun was bearable thanks to the 15-20 mph winds that were whipping off the water.   The race started about 10 minutes late, which isn't bad compared to many races.   The announcer was upbeat and fun and a little toy helicopter filmed the start of the race.  The national anthem played, everyone got organized, and it was race time!

The gun started and we were off.  We left from the convention center in downtown Providence and headed out.  The course was absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  Right along the water, through quaint little neighborhoods, and on this adorable bike trail. 

The parts that were on the main roads were coned off and there were policemen and volunteers at all intersections and turns.  The volunteers were so helpful and so encouraging, and all of the aid stations had plenty of GUs, gatorade, water, and bananas.  I was really impresed by the organization of this marathon, before and during the race. 

There were photographers all over the course, and oh, did I mention the pictures were available online for free?    This was awesome.  There were spectators throughout the entire course.  Being a "smaller" marathon, some parts were sparse in the cheering department but for the most part, they were all over the course and very encouraging.  

The last few miles of the course were hilly, but at that point, I was just happy to be nearing the end.  As I came around the corner to the coral, I basically had the finish line to myself.  I heard and saw all my friends and family and the energy of the crowd was amazing.  I crossed that finish line with a huge smile on my face and lots of pictures to prove it.   

After crossing the finish line I got my medal, foil sheet, water and gatorade.  There were also wraps and snacks for the runners in the corral.  Attached to my bib was a ticket for a free Narraganset which I declined until my stomach was a little more settled post race.  I was easily reunited with my family and we soaked in the rest of the sunshine and glory of running 26.2.

The medals were nice, they had the name of the race and "Marathon" right on the ribbon, and the medallion itself had the Cox Logo and Providence (capitol?) on it.  

Again, I was really impressed with this race, especially after reading the reviews on previous years.  They had addressed/fixed every issue I had read in the reviews, and put together a well organized race on a beautiful course.   The timing of the marathon was also perfect, there are not many spring marathon options in New England besides Boston (which you have to qualify or fund-raise).  This race was only $100, two weeks after Boston, and perfect for my training schedule.   I highly recommend this marathon to anyone looking for a spring marathon.  If you are one of the "50 staters", then make this your Rhode Island race.  

Stay tuned for my running recap of the race!

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