The Day After

providence2I’m sore this morning. Grunting every time I descend another stair sore. Hobbling around like a 98-year-0ld man sore. And if experience holds I’ll be even sorer the day after the day after the marathon. Here’s a hilarious (and brief) video titled “The Day After the Marathon” which will give you a sense of how I’m feeling today.

Of course I’m not complaining — the aches and pains are reminders of a great day at the Providence Marathon. I ran the 26.2 miles in 4 hours, 9 minutes, and 59 seconds, shaving nearly 11 minutes off my previous best time, while averaging a 9:32 pace per mile.

Having only run marathons in major cities (Baltimore, Chicago, Boston) with thousands of other runners, this was a much more intimate experience (think 700 runners versus 30,000). Which has its advantages and disadvantages. Since we stayed at the host hotel, I was able to walk out my room 20 minutes before the race to get to the starting line. And on the other end Bryna, Ben, and Zack were able to watch me cross the finish line. Of course they all refused to hug me in my post-marathon state.

The real difference was in the crowd support. In Boston, the marathon is held every April on Patriots’ Day which, if you’ve ever lived in Beantown, is one giant party. There are literally people lined up on the course the entire way from the small towns at the start to the screaming women of Wellesley to the undergrads at Boston College urging you up Heartbreak Hill to Boyleston Street. If you feed off the energy of the crowds (and if you don’t, I’d need to check your pulse), it makes a big difference in those last few miles.

In Providence there were some folks at the beginning and some at the very end. In between it was pretty quiet — you’d see the occasional group holding up a “Go Jen Go” sign or hear someone ringing a lonely cow bell. And at one point I heard someone yell to a friend “You go, girl!” — and I pretended they were rooting for me. But a smaller marathon really forces you inward, which can be a tough place to be when you begin to encounter (and hopefully overcome) The Wall.

One of the most rewarding things about the whole experience was raising over $2,100 for Episcopal Relief & Development. For me, raising money for charity while running a marathon adds a whole layer of meaning. It also allows me to use what is, in essence, a very self-focused activity to help others. And, not wanting to deny anyone the chance to donate, there’s still time! http://www.firstgiving.com/frtim. And if you already have givien to the cause, thank you — it means a tremendous amount to me and to those in extreme need throughout the world.

I’ll be hobbling around the next several days but it’s always worth it. As Lance Armstrong likes to say, “The pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever.”



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