October 16th . 2019
After our post-race sink-baths we promptly left Hartford for Rhode Island. To our delight our parking garage had decided to offer free race day parking which meant we actually got ALL our parking time in downtown Hartford for free. Yet another consolation for not getting a late check out.
The two-hour drive was simply gorgeous, despite being Starbucks-void. The fall leaves were in full effect. We arrived at our hotel a couple hours before check in, so we decided to cruise right into the race expo. It was about a block away from our hotel and this caused endless excitement as we realized we would not need to use a porta potty on race day yet again!
The expo was much much tinier than Hartford. It took place in an old beach pavilion. Happily I scored a sweet Brooks ‘Run Happy’ Pom Pom hat for Hadley and Runner trucker hat for Bastien for $10/each there! And then after that our hotel let us right in. I had not remembered that we had a two bedroom hotel room that overlooked the ocean (and the race start/finish!). It was all just so exciting.
Race day morning was another story. While we weren’t all that sore, we just didn’t wake up excited to get out and run another 13. But we dutifully ate our oatmeal and trudged to the start line with about 15 minutes to spare. We decided on a run 4 minutes, walk 1 approach for the entire race, which we started at either mile 2 or 3, once things thinned out a tad. This was pretty perfect and enabled us to stay together well (although I begrudged my mom’s pep the entire time).
The crowd support was significantly thinner for this race, but the course was amazing. We ran by many, many Newport mansions. We ran down the very long and interesting downtown Thames street. We ran passed shipyards. We ran along the ocean for what seemed forever. There was a section where the ocean crashed into a wall repeatedly, continuously sending spray and much seaweed onto the curb, and this captivated me. There was a wealthy man in front of his mansion just holding out boxes of tissue for all and when my mom thanked him he said, “what else can I get for you?!?” There was a wealthy mansion-dwelling man so proudly holding his beautiful baby daughter. And yet another similar man holding his tiny dog and making her cheer for the runners. His unenthused other dog slept by them in the yard. At about mile 11 my shoulder nerve pain was so intense I almost threw up and started weeping simultaneously. It took a VERY stern inner voice to keep my crap together just then. And lastly, there was a tour group crossing the street right in our path with the tour guide shouting out, “don’t worry about the runners!” I vowed out loud to write a nasty Trip Advisor review for her company. My mom couldn’t believe I was wasting my energy.
But the most memorable thing of all was our finish. I looked over at my mom and asked, “are we just going to finish this?” She said, “yes”. And then we just took off like two bats out of hell and closed out the final .3 miles at a 9:15 pace. I actually don’t think I have run that pace any other time in my adult life. It felt exactly like being a locomotive. It was amazing and I will never forget it. When we crossed the finish line we moaned and gasped for about a minute, then hoisted our unusually large medals around our necks and then started taking pictures, hugging, stretching, and finally making our way to the beer tent.
The food was wonderful again with hot vegan lentil soup and chicken noodle for the meat eaters. And more peanut butter than I’ve ever seen in one place for the bagels. They also had a large area with mats and foam rollers which I quite painfully took advantage of.
We finally walked back to our hotel, got hot coffee in the lobby and then immediately hit the rooftop hot tub. We had the whole roof to ourselves so we laid out in the amazing October sun on the patio couches after that and I tell you, nothing has ever felt better in my whole entire life.
We spent some time after all that watching the last marathon finishers run past our hotel window. We hobbled next door to Flo’s Clam Shack for some out of this world clam chowder. We walked around a couple more miles along the famous Cliff Walk and got some incredibly refreshing Del’s lemonade. Then we bought Poptarts from the hotel vending machine and played cards and watched sitcoms. And I ask you, what could even be better in life than this day? And I tell you, not much.