Race recap: Cox Rhode Races, United Healthcare Half Marathon

I did it! I completed my 2nd half marathon, just one year and 4 months after doing my first 5k. The Cox Providence Rhode Races / United Healthcare Half Marathon is in the bag.

Cox Rhode Races 2013

The beautiful medal: anchor and “hope” are the state symbol, and the State House in the background

On Friday I picked up my bib at the expo. How sweet is that shirt? I can’t wait to wear it.

United Healthcare Half Marathon 2013

Cox Providence Rhode Races: Best design for a race shirt I’ve seen!

I planned on spending more time at the expo, but it was really small and booth reps were like vultures trying to hard sell stuff. I did not want to stay at all.

The race was on Mother’s Day, so instead of me going to visit Mom, she and my sister & niece came to visit me! Knowing that there were thousands of runners in town plus Mother’s Day which is a huge restaurant holiday, and knowing that I myself would be hangry, I got a little bit stressed thinking about lunch after the race. So on Saturday at the last minute, I decided to pre-make some food to be reheat on Sunday. I made a gruyere / bacon / leek quiche with hash browns. My husband made English muffins from scratch. Best idea ever.

On race morning, I was actually awakened not by my alarm but by the sound of pouring rain. Great. It rained during my half marathon last year too! I grumpily rolled out of bed and got my breakfast. I normally don’t like eating before I get properly washed & dressed, but I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time for my food to digest. I had my standard pre-race breakfast of bread with almond butter and banana. We didn’t have any coffee so I had green tea and I think I like that better!


By the way, how cool is this almond butter? I’ve seen the fresh ground peanut butter at Whole Foods, but this store had almond butter too. It tastes so good and… almondy.

whole foods almond butter
fresh ground almond butter

After I finished my proper meal, I said fuck it and also ate half of an Allie’s chocolate donut. If you even remotely enjoy donuts, you must try Allie’s someday. They are so legit, they don’t even have a website.

chocolate donut

Allie’s donuts. Does this count as fat and sugar for race fueling?

I then got dressed and packed up my gear. Since it was raining, I decided not to wear my heart rate monitor. Rain = wet clothes = chafing. Better to be on the safe side I thought. In my Spibelt fanny pack was: iPhone, license with emergency $20, a pack of Snap candy. The little pocket in my pants held a Kiehl’s lip balm.IMG_1641

Even though I live less than a mile from the starting line, we left home 45 minutes before the starting time, thinking it would take us a long time to find parking. Parking was a breeze and we got pretty close to the race area. I warmed up and checked our bag as the marathoners got ready for their start. For race day, I wore a Nike Dri-Fit tee, Old Navy capri’s, Nike Dri Fit socks, and New Balance 860 sneakers. And a Moving Comfort Juno bra. More on that later.

United Healthcare Half Marathon Providence 2013

warming up

Security was on point for this race. There were armed guards everywhere and even on the rooftops.

race security

race security

The marathoners started about 10 minutes late so we did as well. I hate being late! Finally they left, and I lined up my corral where we waited some more.

starting line

starting line

… And I was off. Luckily it had stopped actual raining by the time we left the house, however there were a big puddles everywhere. During the first mile, I met a nice trio who were also doing the run/walk method. They were doing a 3 to 1 ratio and saw them quite a few times throughout the race. I forgot to mention that my iPhone sort of broke the day before. The power button wasn’t working so I had to push a few extra buttons to get the phone on and off. On top of that, for some reason on the day of the race, my Nike+ app decided to not work properly either. I never run without having that voice feedback so this gave me anxiety.

Miles 1-2: through downtown and into a park with beautiful views of the water. I wish I had taken pictures for you but my phone… meh.
Mile 2: The start of a long, slow incline. Gosh, it sure is humid. Is something poking me in the back?
Mile 3: Ate my SNAP candy because I was told there would be GU later. Phone falls out of my belt and onto the ground. No damage though. That guy is playing a banjo?
Mile 4: The lead half marathoner passes me on the other side of the street. He’s about to hit mile 9!
Mile 5: Since my app wasn’t working, I stopped and took a picture of the official clock. I spend the next 2 miles trying to do the math. It’s around 13:30 per mile, not accounting for gun time lag. Not good.
United Healthcare Half Marathon Providence 2013

Mile 6: Why am I still going uphill?
Mile 7: This was a lonely part of the course. Where is that GU? I don’t use energy gels, but I needed it now. Oh great, it’s raining again.
Mile 8: I see GU wrappers everywhere. Did they run out? Now I’m angry. I could really use some now. At least it stopped raining.
Mile 9: Beautiful views of the river. I keep telling myself, just a little further now.
Mile 10: Oh look, a clock. I need a nap. My goal was 2:45 so at this point my heart was crushed.United Healthcare Half Marathon Providence 2013

Mile 11: I finally see someone handing out GU. Unfortunately she is after the water table, where the Gatorade is. They tell you to never take Gatorade and gel together. Always take gel with water. I shrug and take two gulps of GU (chocolate) and two gulps of gatorade. We join up with the marathon runners and go back into India Point Park.
Mile 12: I’m dying but look at all of the people watching me! Huge crowds now.
Finish: Mom, sis, and baby niece are there watching me come into the chute! I run over and give them high fives as I cruise in. I didn’t see the clock so I had no idea what my time was.

I felt tired, but good. This was much different than how I felt after my first half marathon. I grabbed my medal and two slices of pizza. My niece gobbled up one of those slices.

finish line

Every race I’ve done in Rhode Island has pizza at the finish line next to the bagels & bananas. Does this happen anywhere else?

Brian went to get our bag from bag check and discovered the beer tent and that runners got 1 free beer so chugged one down even though it was 11am.

Half marathon beer tent

Gatorade in one hand, beer in the other. Champs.

I was amazed at how I did not feel like I could never walk again. I was tired but not in pain. Looking back, I wonder if that was only because I didn’t run hard enough. Anyway, I was happy to have finished the race and that my family was there.

The race itself was a great event. The views and neighborhoods were pretty. Although I complained about the elevation, it was all fairly gradual. The only steep parts went downhill. I think more experienced runners would consider it flat. There were plentiful water stops and bathrooms along the course. The police support were also great: they were quick to direct traffic and did not hesitate to yell at drivers trying to get on the course. Plus the race shirt and medal designs are slick. I think I paid $45 because I registered so early, and I think that was a very reasonable price for all of the great race suport.

We went home and ate my delicious pre-made breakfast. I’m so glad I wasn’t tired, sweaty, and trying to compete for tables with literally thousands of people. Then things started to go downhill for me. I stripped off my clothes and got in the shower. And then I cried out in pain. The bottom edge of my sports bra had chafed all the way across my back. It was gnarly and ugly. Now it’s scabbed over and it just looks like a big road rash scrape across my entire back. I have no idea why/how this happened. I have been wearing Moving Comfort sports bras exclusively for a year, and I never had chafing problems. I’m pretty sure I have worn this exact bra on long runs with no problem. It was just a shitty random fluke.

Later that evening the times came out. My time: 2:54:53 (chip time), 13:21 pace.

That is poop. My first half marathon was at a 13:23 pace. That can hardly be called an improvement. I was, and still am, seriously bummed. I trained at a pace of around 13:00-13:15 for my long runs, figuring that would translate on race day to 13:00 at the most. Sucks. I wanted to sign up for a half in July but I can’t even bring myself to do it.

It’s been hard when people ask me about it because I don’t want to come across as a whiner; I just try to convince them that I’m happy about making it to the finish. I hate ending this post on a low note though, so let’s see…

– Yay for finishing a second half marathon. I never though I could do one, let alone 3- Yay for having stronger muscles this time around and minimal soreness
– Yay for my Mom getting to see me run
– Yay for pizza and beer
– Yay for this sick medal:

The medal: anchor and "hope" are the state symbol, and the State House in the background
** Um, can I just say that I never thought I’d post so many pictures of myself without makeup on the internets?

5 thoughts on “Race recap: Cox Rhode Races, United Healthcare Half Marathon

  1. Pingback: Bib Pickup for United Healthcare Newport Half Marathon | everyday asian

  2. Pingback: Race Report: United Healthcare Half Marathon in Newport | everyday asian

  3. I definitely thhuogt the same thing slower than I intended. I suppose part of that was from all the talking, but that definitely helped the miles to feel easier. Thanks for a great run. I think that it’s probably good it was slower so that we’re used to being on our feet for most of the length of time it’ll take to do 26.2. And hey, trust me you will more than likely run the race faster than you might expect. Race day adrenaline rocks! I got my registration squared away yesterday, so I’m counting down the days! Tell your wife I hope to meet her there!

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