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Providence Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon

Yesterday I participated in the first ever Rock ‘n Roll Providence Half Marathon. And while I’m not quite sure if I “rocked” it, I can say it was quite the experience! From the great expo, to the torrential downpour, to the awesome volunteers and bands that came out and stood in pouring rain to support us…to the fact that my official time as listed as this:

RnR Prov Results.pngApparently it took me 3 hours to run the last mile. What can I say? I thought it might be fun to do it on my hands. Only I’m not very good at handstands

…this race will be one I won’t soon forget!

Oh and about that time listed above. Obviously I did not walk the last mile on my hands. Nor did I fall asleep for awhile, or go into the mall to freshen up before crossing the finish line. Apparently there was something wrong with my chip and my finish time didn’t register. Fingers crossed the RnR staff are working on it….but for now, officially I’m a 4:18 half marathoner…

Why the Race Rocked

Much like the Hyannis Half in February, this was one of those races where everything seemed to go wrong along the way. The start was delayed, the weather was awful, my running buddy suffered from awful cramping problems after the first 5K, my iPod died, and I experienced chafing in places I’ve never experienced chafing before. But all in all, I’d still have to call it a success!

I realize that above paragraph doesn’t make much sense. How can a race where everything seems to be going so poorly end up being a success? Because sometimes it’s all about your expectations. I didn’t really expect yesterday to be a PR day and once we were a couple miles into the race, it became pretty clear that this race was going to be all about doing the best I could at that very moment. So I just ran, one mile at a time. And you know what? Given the chance, I’d do it all over again.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

I have to admit I wasn’t exactly excited the week leading up to the race. But that all changed on Saturday when I met up with EC and the {ontherun} crew to head down to the Rock ‘n Roll Providence expo.

Now here in Providence, we aren’t used to big fancy expos with free samples and lots of vendors. Usually they’re held in a little room with a few local companies and a couple sections of merchandise for sale. The RnR expo blew those other races out of the water – tons of vendors, free samples, and of course, plenty of photo opps.


RnR Prov Expo{_photo finishYes, I realize this photo may look vaguely familiar from Lizzy’s blog…

Perfect for getting a runner pumped up and ready to race.

The next morning dawned bright and early. But since I only live about a mile from the starting line (benefit of doing a race in your own town!), my morning was pretty leisurely. I got up, got dressed, packed my bag and left the house with less than 30 minutes to the start.

Oh, except I was missing one little thing…

RnR Providence.jpg…about 14 inches of hair!

Everyone chops off their hair the day before a race, right? It’s like swimmers before a big meet – all about being more aerodynamic. Because clearly, with Kim Smith and other excellent runner coming from all over to run this thing, I was gunning for a win.

Once I got to the race, I had big plans – to meet up with Frayed Laces! FL is spending her summer in RI and when we both discovered we’d be participating in the RnR Half Marathon, we decided we needed to run together! Chatting with FL and Evan in the corral before the start helped calm my nerves and pass the time until the gun finally went off, releasing thousands of runners into the flooding streets of Providence.

Just how rainy was it?? Well, I think the below pictures should give you a good idea.

RnR Providence_leaders

RnR Providence_BlackstoneNo, that’s not a grainy photo – that’s the sheets of rain pouring down.

Despite the downpour, I was optimistic. FL and I started out strong, weaving and bobbing through the crowd (translation: wasting energy and running the first mile way too fast).

Once we got through the first mile, we settled in and tried to find our groove. The first half of the race was much hillier than the second half, so we just tried to stay strong up them without using up too much energy. Unfortunately, however, after only a couple miles into the race, FL starting suffering from some really bad cramps – first her stomach, than her hamstring. By the 5K mark, things only seemed to be getting worse.


Dear FL, I hope you’ll forgive my over-enthusiam in the midst of your suffering.

I think the pictures EC captured sum up the situation pretty well:

RnR Prov_5k-3

RnR Prov 5K-2

After 4 miles, it was pretty clear our grand plans of a 1:34:00 half weren’t in the cards for today. FL told me to go ahead, so I surged a little bit, hoping she’d feel better soon and come join me. (You’ll have to read her recap to find out what happened, but unfortunately things did not get better after that. FL – I’m so sorry I had to leave you!)

Prov RnR Miles 1-4.png

As we turned the corner up another large hill, I put on my headphones and planned to zone out to my favorite running mix. Only, when I pressed play, no sound came out. I spent a good half a mile playing with the stupid thing before I realized it was useless. I’d have to make do without it. You all know how much I love running with music. But if I can do a full marathon without it, I could certainly last 9 more miles.

Those next several miles were a bit of a blur. I remember rain, and puddles, and hills…and more rain. I remember being impressed that bands were still playing in the downpour and that people were out cheering. I remember being so thankful that these volunteers chose to stand out in the downpour to makes sure runners got fuel along the course. And I remember thinking about EC waiting for me at mile 7. The thought of him standing out in the pouring rain, just to cheer me along kept me moving forward, one step at a time.

Prov RnR Miles 5-7.png

After this point, the course wound down along the river, by India Point park, and weaved through downtown. I knew most of the hills were over, so I stopped looking at my watch and just started running by feel. I continued ticking the miles off one by one, just focusing on the mile I was running before thinking about the next.


We can talk about my atrocious form another day.


There were some lonely miles, but there were also some great ones where bands and spectators gave me energy to pick up the pace. (To the cheerleading squad who was stationed under the 195 bridge – a huge HUGE thank you. I could hear your cheers from way down the street, and I could’ve kissed each and every one of you for your amazing cheering and enthusiasm as I ran through that tunnel!). My splits were all over the place, but with every step, my determination to get to that finish line as fast as I could only grew.

Prov RnR Miles 8 - 12.png

Finally we rounded a final corner and that wonderful, glorious finish line was in sight….at the top of a very steep, awful hill (thanks a lot RnR organizers). I dug deep, and ran across that finish line (EC swears I was grunting as I passed him. This may or may not be true).



Prov RnR Miles 13 - 13.3.png

Final {Garmin} results:

Time: 1:34:42 for 13.32 miles (7:06/mile)

After a quick change of clothes, it was time to celebrate! With one awesome, large medal, one low-carb beer (clearly us runners need to watch our carb intake) and one awesomely 90′s Sugar Ray concert.

DSCF5168.JPGWhy yes, it was 9:30 in the morning. Perfectly normal for race day.

Prov RnR_Sugar Ray

And the best part of all? There was no need to shower after! I mean, I got pretty drenched during the race. Rain washes away all sweat, right?


All in all, the Rock ‘n Roll Providence Half Marathon was a good race. So well organized and lots of fun, despite the elements. And while I wish that things had gone a little smoother, I ran negative splits through a rain storm. So in the end, I guess that sort of makes feel like a Rock Star.


Right before publishing this post, I checked the RnR results one more time…just in case. I guess my barrage of emails to Competitor worked! My official time has been updated.

RnR Prove Results_fixed.png

Thank you, Competitor for fixing my time so quickly!! I have no idea where or how they did this, but I’ll take it.

Especially since it comes with a 3rd place in my Age Group. Completely unexpected, and incredibly exciting!

37 Responses to Providence Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon

  1. Wow! Way to go! You inspired me to want to run faster!

  2. The picture looks better on my blog. Just sayin’

    Hehe. Lauren you rocked this race!!!!! I’m so super impressed. Sub 7s in the last couple miles- wow!!! You should be totally psyched with your time especially in these conditions.

    And I’m so happy they fixed your time. Even though I did enjoy beating you in a race for once…

    (wait who said that…)

    • Sorry it was short-lived! What you need to do is challenge me to a sprinting race. Even though you probably aren’t in your prime sprinting shape, I bet there’s no way I could keep up with you in an all-out 400…or probably anything under a mile!

  3. Glad they fixed your time! Those sort of things usually don’t end well. I loved the big race atmosphere this brought. You just don’t get that in Rhode Island. And after the rain and hills they really made you feel like you earned that medal.

    • Yes! Exactly. I loved all these things about the race as well…even the fact that I felt like I had to make it through a battle to earn that medal.

  4. 3rd in your age group?!?! Lauren, congrats! How fun. You are so inspiring. It makes me want to run again…. :)

  5. Don’t lie – we know you went to go see HP 7.2 again during that last mile and then came back! Just kidding…

    Awesome race in the rain! I love racing by feel and mostly do that because my math skills are atrocious and I don’t have a Garmin (yet, I think I’m gonna get the 110).

    Also, every time I see a picture of myself running I’m always like “what am I doing?!? My form doesn’t look like those elite runners on TV?!? And I totally thought it did!” Ha!

    • haha!! I’m the same way. In my head when I’m struggling I like to pretend I look like Kara Goucher or some other amazing runner. It makes me feel stronger and way more hardcore. Then I see the pictures and come crashing back down to earth.

  6. You are an amazing runner! You were so smart to bring dry clothes to change into after. Running in the down pour wasn’t as bad as sitting there in my wet clothes after!

  7. way to go speedy! it was so great to see you at the expo, thanks for stopping by! Yoiu ran so fast, I wish i was that fast so I could have gotten the heck out of that rain ASAP! and I am with you what sick person made a HILL at the end!

  8. Congrats on your race!! That’s an amazing time and I’m sure the rain made for an interesting race.

    The race pictures are amazing…the excitement is obvious. Also, jealous you got to meet FL!

  9. Congrats! Way to negative split the race in the downpour!! Speedy :) and very inspiring!

  10. You are a rock star!!
    And I love that first race time. It looks like you decided to go have a 3 hour breakfast at mile 12….I mean….that’s reasonable, right :).
    Anyways, way to kick some booty through a monsoon.

  11. That’s so great that they fixed everything so quickly! And most of all, your positive attitude about the whole experience is wonderful and very inspiring.

  12. Great job. I want to see what your new haircut looks like when it’s dry!

  13. Great job Lauren! I’m so proud of you for running so well despite those conditions. And I’m shocked they fixed your time so quickly. You better get your 3rd in age group prize!

    I cannot wait to see your haircut when it’s down!

    • Is it bad that I was more annoyed about this than the messed up finish time?? I don’t know what the age group prizes were (if anything!) but I sort of want it!! I’m assuming it’s already been given out to someone else though… :-/

  14. Congrats Lauren! And 22nd for overall female runners…wow! Fantastic job! I had a couple friends from Boston run the race, but I think you are certainly the speediest.

  15. 3rd place in your age group = woo hoo! Congratulations on a super speedy race :)

  16. Thank you Lauren. I feel like I just ran another race reading your fantastic recap. I am very proud of you. Oh, and about the race time correction, where did you learn to be so pushy, I mean persistent? Congratulations on 3rd!! I am so proud of you!! (oh wait, I all ready said that)

  17. Congrats on the 3rd place!!! That’s so awesome!!! Even though the conditions sucked, this post totally got me excited for my first RnR race in March!

  18. Ahhhh that rain is totally insane! You guys are so hardcore for sticking with the race and getting it done. Congratulations on your 4:18 :) Hehe. But seriously, your splits are amazing, you are my hero and you are adorable with your hair chopped off. Congratulations on an awesome and fun-looking race!

  19. Great race!! Cute haircut too! You look like you were having some fun despite all that rain….;-)

  20. Woooow soo amazing. Congrats! I am really happy for you. You are an incredible runner!

  21. You are amazing — look at that division and gender placement! Congrats!

    Can we see a picture of your hair too? It looks adorable!

    Not so fun race day conditions. A little rain is OK but a monsoon – not so good!

  22. this was so much fun to read!! Congrats on placing third in your AG, Lauren! So awesome. it looks like the conditions were so tough too. The couple of races I’ve done in rain like that make me feel extra badass after finishing :)

    Your hair looks adorable!

  23. Congratulations Lauren!! You did awesome! And how cool that you got third in your age group? However, that one picture (where you mentioned your terrible form) makes it look like you broke your leg, but are dragging it behind you in a heroric effort to finish the race. Good for you!! No wonder you finished in over 4 hours…

  24. Congrats Lauren!!! I’m really sad I didn’t get to make it out to cheer for everyone (well, not so sad I missed the monsoons) but so glad you had an awesome race. Awesome race recap – I am definitely signing up for this half next year!

  25. Great job, and my sentiments exactly on this race! Is your ipod officially “dead” or did you manage to bring it’s water logged state back to life? Mine officially met it’s maker, time for a new one!

  26. Awesome! I’m doing the RnR Chicago Half this Sunday and our post-race concert is with Bret Michaels.

  27. Great job on your race! You really kicked ass coming into the finish.
    p.s. the hair is adorable

  28. Hey there! Sorry it took me so long to comment! I just need to say – 3rd PLACE! WOOT! Obviously Caserta’s was enough to fuel you to the finish ;-)

  29. I would say you totally rocked it!! What an awesome race in the rain, Lauren! Looks like you did awesome staying positive and getting yourself to that finish line. Your hair is adorable!! I bet not having a soaking long pony tail helped you :) As always, a great recap, and can’t wait to hear about more of your running adventures this month!

  30. i’m glad that competitor group was able to fix your time – phew! those are some speedy sub-7:00 miles you dropped – especially considering the rain and all of the other issues. i think it shows great mental focus that you were able to get past the road blocks (a non-working ipod and bad weather spell game over for many runners…) and take it one mile at a time. nice work!

  31. I most definitely think you ROCKED it girl :) congrats on a great race in not so great conditions!

  32. Oh no! I can’t make it and I’m so sad! I actually want to go nevertheless the girls are throwing me a likely away party that night at Angie’s. And i need so much clothes for my new job. So bummed. In any case, have got a blast and i would go with all the dress its fab! XOXO

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