Marathon 66

Providence Marathon (Providence, RI)



Finish Time: 5:08
Pace: 11:45
Temp: 76
Conditions: Sunny and Warm  
Run For: Sue


It’s ok to slow down. Every run doesn’t need to be all about speed and how fast you can go. It’s common for runners to be constantly focusing on pace, how do I get faster, I need to run quicker. I definitely fall into this way of thinking and have since I first started running years ago. I would be so concerned about running faster times for every distance race. As runners we put a lot of importance on PR’s (person records) maybe a little too much.

Proof of this is that I keep track of a few running related things, all the races I’ve run, a list of all the marathons I’ve completed and a sheet listing all my PR’s for each distance I’ve raced.

Speed is cool, it feels good to run really fast, pushing my body to its limits. I probably focus too much on my pace during races and am 100% guilty of putting the blinders on. I don’t smile much when I run, I’m happy and I love running but all the feelings are internal. Maybe I watched too much professional cycling when I was younger and showing any emotion, like being happy or showing signs of pain or that you are suffering is giving a sign to your competition. I know I’m not a professional runner but I’m naturally a competitive person so I just adopted this mindset when running and cycling so I show nothing on the outside. I keep everything calm on the outside no matter what’s going on inside my body or my mind.

There are a couple major things that will slow me down, one is injuries, though I’ve been much better about listening to my body and easing back on intensity and duration when things don’t feel right. This is easily the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the years and in my opinion the reason I can do what I’ve been doing. Be a smart runner, not a stubborn one. I’ve based how I coach runners on this alone and I’ve echoed this many times to those I’ve helped. The second thing that will slow me down is the heat! I have never run well in the heat, especially when I’m not used to doing it. I have had some successful races when it’s been hot but it’s a struggle for me no matter the outcome and more often than not I have a hard time and am not always successful.

So, speaking of heat, let’s talk about the marathon on Sunday. It was warm and coming off winter and with it being early spring, it’s way too early for me to be used to running in the heat right now. We have had a few warm days but not enough to allow my body to get accustomed to it. Even then, I finally start to feel somewhat “comfortable” by late August which is perfect because then it starts to get colder and all the time, I’ve spent acclimating to it is for nothing. I do love running in the fall the best in New England so no complaints there.

Sunday was warm, even at the start of the race at 7:30 in the morning, the sun was out and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Saturday was actually a beautiful and warm day too so the low overnight never really dropped down much so we started off Sunday morning with warmer than preferred temps.

To be honest, I was planning on slowing down during a marathon pretty soon and had been contemplating which one to do it with. Having run as many as I have this year already, my body was overdue for some easy miles, so running a marathon slower than normal had already been on my mind. It was best to go slow on Sunday with the heat forecasted, also what I did in preparation for this on Saturday, or lack of preparation, I should say (I won’t tell you about the ridiculous amount of yard work I did all day the day before). Slowing down for this marathon seemed to be just what needed to happen for a few reasons.

I started out at a decent pace for the first five miles, feeling good and actually really relaxed. I couldn’t help but notice my breathing was very calm and the effort level felt easy which I was very pleased with. But I knew it wouldn’t last and I did not want to crash and burn if, or when, things would eventually turn. So, at that point I started to slow down, which was nice for a change. Instead of focusing on trying to maintain a constant pace or fear falling off that day’s plan, I just relaxed and basically took my foot off the gas. It was nice and a welcomed change of pace. Not every marathon needs to be done fast, not when there are 100 that need to be completed.

I slowed down even more as I made my way through some really beautiful parts of Rhode Island, especially near the half point down by the water and a country club surrounded by some giant homes. I made a point to walk through water stops making sure I drank the entire cup doing my best to stay hydrated, in reality fight off total dehydration. It did seem like a losing effort to try and stay completely hydrated. You could see the heat affecting numerous runners as I passed a handful down on the side of the road being helped by paramedics (nothing serious, but still a little nerve wracking to see).

With the slower, eased back pace, instead of putting my head down and grinding along, I took it all in and simply enjoyed being out on a nice course during an actual live, in person, marathon again. The last official marathon I ran was Chicago in 2021 (#51) and before that it was New York in 2019 (#35) so running with others and having some company during these 26.2 miles was welcomed! I got to see some friends running this marathon as well and chat for a couple miles with them which was also great.

Speaking of friends, the one who was with me the entire time out there on the course was Sue, who I was able to run this marathon for. I met Sue when she signed up to run the Oregon Wine Country Half Marathon with TC this past fall. She shared part of her story with the team during the training season, but like most of the time I hear stories from friends like Sue, there are more details that get told here when I share them through 26.2 For You. I knew some of what she said, but my heart always breaks after hearing even more about how hard it has been for her. Fortunately, she is doing well enough to participate with the team and now she’s coming back for another half marathon in Nashville later this year.

Getting to know her and seeing her cross that finish line in Oregon was a thrill. I knew how much it meant to her and I couldn’t have been happier for her and I was so proud. I know she worked hard to do that race and it’s just more proof that no matter what, she can do whatever she sets her mind to. Crohn’s Disease does not control her! It may try to dictate what she can or cannot do, but she is determined to not let it define her. I was definitely channeling some of Sue’s energy during this marathon and I know for a fact it helped me when that sun was beating down late in the marathon on Sunday.

This marathon was one of the slowest I’ve run, but like I mentioned earlier, not every run needs to be fast and this one was not.. and that’s ok. Sometimes you need to slow down, enjoy this sport for what it is and soak it all in. This was just one of many more marathons to come and I’ll run faster again soon, but I’ll also run slower. It’s all about the journey and this journey I’ve been on with 26.2 For You keeps turning into something I never thought it would. Thank you Sue for being so strong and such an amazing IBD warrior. You are one of my heroes and it was an honor to share your story and run a marathon for you. I can’t wait to see you achieve another half marathon finish as you help raise more money and awareness for all those battling these diseases, including yourself. This 26.2 was for you!

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close