Rockin' 'n' Rollin' in Providence!

Only one week after my nasty knee skinning during a training trail run, I headed to Providence, Rhode Island to run the Rock 'n' Roll Providence Half Marathon.  This was a warm-up of sorts, as my jump back into full marathons starts next weekend in West Virginia.  Before the Providence race, my most recent big race was Grandma's Marathon in June.  I spent the interim months working on improving my speed and doing some strength training on a more or less (umm...well, mostly less) consistent basis.  But it paid off!  I set a new PR in Providence and bested my June half marathon PR by almost 3 minutes!

My weekend started out with a Friday evening flight to Hartford, Connecticut to hook up with my childhood friend Sherri and her friend (well, now MY friend too) Joan.  We drove to Providence on Saturday and had much fun posing for silly photos at the expo.

The plural of Elvis is Elvi, right?  That's Joan, Sherri and me hamming it up at the Providence expo.

I got to meet Sutah, Maniac #53, at the Running Skirts booth during the expo.
The WaterFire Festival was taking place in Providence during our visit.  Lucky us!  After a good brew pub dinner, we headed to the river to watch the ceremony of bonfires being lit down the center of the converging rivers.  Black-cloaked fire tenders cruised up and down the river, along with gondolas carrying a few lucky spectators who got an up-close view.  There was eerie, tribalesque music playing, and one of the WaterFire themes was the crane (by that, I mean the bird).  There were cranes made of light tubes hanging from some of the boats, and we were each handed an origami crane as we strolled along the river.

Sherri and I drinking our craft Belgian beer out of plastic glow cups.  Yes, it was fun!

Not a bad pic of WaterFire, for an iPhone.

After a night of not-so great sleep, we prepared for our race on Sunday morning.  Sherri was fighting off a cold, Joan a hip injury, and I was still contending with my scabby, sore knees.  But, we were ready for anything and set off for the race start near the Rhode Island State House, a short walk from our hotel.

I had no idea that Providence was so hilly!  The first half of the race had some very challenging hills, but we were rewarded by running through some beautiful, old neighborhoods.  During the race I ran into a few Half Fanatics I knew (or knew of), including Kevin whom I believe is rockin' ALL of the Rock 'n' Roll races this year, including the ones in Europe!  It's always fun to see a familiar face, or even just that familiar Half Fanatics blue.  The last couple miles were in downtown Providence, and the last tenth of a mile was a steep uphill climb to the State House.  While Sherri, Joan and I each ran at our own paces, we all hustled up that hill.  It wasn't going to beat us!

Providence finishers: Joan, Sherri and Sandy.  Yep, we rocked it!

This was a great weekend spent with two wonderful ladies!  I highly recommend running in Providence, but be ready for the hills!  And if you can make it to the WaterFire festival one year, by all means GO!


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