Wednesday, May 9, 2012

50 in 50 by 50: #7 RHODE ISLAND

 When we booked this getaway we were torn between the Sunday morning half-marathon through downtown Providence and the Saturday 5K race in Roger Williams Park. We realized that a huge part of our goal of 50 in 50 by 50 is about discovering the area in which we run. Its about the travel - the locals - the 'fabric of our nation' if you will. We knew having 48 hours wasn't much time and a 5K would leave us with much more energy to really know Rhode Island. I have to say, we made the right choice.

The little 3.1 left us with tons of time for these fun Providence treats....

Staying at the Hampton Inn downtown was great! (highly recommended)
from there it was an easy walk to both the east and west sides of town
*also we could wake up early saturday and watch marathoners from our window, still in our pjs

Then actually getting out of our king sized bed and our pajamajams and heading to the waterfront to cheer on the runners was also fun. This is at the 26 mile marker.

I loved seeing really really really old grave sites. And seeing many other historical sites.
Practically every building was a landmark. And don't even get me started on all the Statues and all the Memorials in all the Parks! I was a plaque reading maniac!


There were two different local breweries we got to sample and they were both quite nice. (I'm partial to Trinity Brew House because we only made a brief stop in Union Station Brewery in which I had to endure watching a painful 4th quarter loss from my Bulls)

After a brief walk through RISD (the art museum does a 'pay what you want' on sundays),
we attended a service at the first ever Baptist Church in America. est in 1638
*the pews have DOORS, they close and latch. yep, that's right, they do church in a 'penalty box'.

We had our traditional 'lazy bloody mary' time at a place called Kartabar
They made this one with brown sugar, mint leaves, and cucumber vodka!
THIS is why they say travel can be educational.

And all the walking! If you are walkers like us this is your city! We covered an estimated 10 miles the first day and we quit counting the second day. It was the best. From Brown's Campus (pictured above), through residential streets, the whole of Thayer, along the waterfront, through Downtown and Federal Hill and beyond. 
Put a coffee in our hand and we could stroll all day.

What New England weekend wouldn't be complete without a seafood dinner?
Hemenway's was nice and affordable and delicious
(hang out with their lobster crab cakes, you won't regret it)

Then we capped it all off by watching the end of a Celtics game in a local bar, Blake's Tavern, where everyone was in kelly green and everyone spoke with a Boston accent and everyone knew each other's names.
They befriended us immediately, making us feel like one of them by making fun of us (namely our Pittsburgh sports affiliation), then playing songs for us on their juke box. 

Needless to say - the nation's tiniest state has made a huge impression on us.

With all that goodness, the highlight was still our 5K race. Cox Providence Rhode Race was located in the beautiful Roger Williams Park

 The park has a Zoo and a lake with Swan paddle boats and many small wooded paths. We leisurely explored all of those because we got there at 3:30 and the race began at a non-offensive time of 5pm!

The crowd of 460(ish) was managed well. We started and ended near the carousel - which is near a beautiful veranda in a picturesque garden. Its also near a pizza vending machine.
{I'll pause a minute so you can let all that sink in}

The course through the park was breathtaking. I started out fast, for me, the first mile being being just under nine minutes. Then I got a crazy idea that I could complete my goal of an under 28 min 5K.
Then the hills came.

I kept going but there were more rolling hills than expected and I was feeling worse and worse. The breezy late day weather in the high 50s didn't help much, I was burning up. I kept handing Neil layers.
my long sleeve, my camera, race shirt, etc. (and he had his own stuff)

I knew it would be cutting it close (because the race was great and had clock timers at each mile marker) so I had to dig deep and push really hard at the end. I managed to finish but my rib cage felt clamped down and my lunch felt dangerously close to surfacing. It. was. ugly.
I didn't crack 28 (my final time was 28:06), but I did get a PR (by 14 seconds, I'll take it)

I wish so badly I had the final race picture: Neil carrying all our stuff. Me almost losing it.
Could there be a better metaphor for us?

I to had briskly escape as soon as it was over - I don't get along well with crowds when I'm in that condition. But in getting away, we found this little alcove. 
It was Cherry Blossom season and the whole area was blanketed in petals.

For many people romance is this moment in a secret garden - all alone, quiet, pink flowers, etc, etc.

For me romance is when I start to break at the end of the race. I gasp and I ache and I cry because I hurt so much and yet for some stupid reason I need finish knowing I've given everything... 
and instead of him getting exasperated and saying "just take it easy. its our vacation. don't do this to you - and us" (or whatever else he would be fully entitled to say)
and he says this:
"Look at me.... You can do this- I know you can."

And somehow we cross the finish - him carrying it all, me trying not to fall apart. 

The Breakdown
date: 5/5/12
race: Cox Rhode Race 5K
location: Providence, RI
charity: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 
time: 28:06
*11th in my age group


  1. Nice!!! I've always wanted to visit New England! I've been to PA (Philly) and New York but never where you are. I'm a huge history buff so I just need to do it! Congrats on that 14 second PR! :)

  2. Fantastic in every way. Ya'll are both awesome in my book!

  3. Bowing down in admiration. Oops, there goes my pen. Woah, there go my glasses...

  4. Thank you all so much! We really did have a great time! I feel so spoiled by the trip!

    The way I felt with the race was that Neil practically had to pep-talk drag me across the finish line - but he read this and said "you have it all wrong. you made that race your bitch" (just goes to show history is all about who writes it).

    Coy, I think you would adore this little New England city. I loved how manageable it was - wouldn't need more than two days to check it out but the stories of Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson are fascinating to me so I was really amazed being there.