Posts Tagged ‘Providence’

Stay with me...this will make sense when you get to the bottom.

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I mean, seriously? 2 marathons in 2 weeks? Really?!?

A lot of my friends, particularly the experienced marathoners, and of those, specifically the crazy ones (Brooke, Erica you know I mean that in the nicest way), are calling me crazy. They’re looking at me and shaking their heads, thinking that this is not a good idea.

I didn’t originally set out to run 2 marathons in 2 weeks.

That would be insane, right?


But that’s how things played out. I had signed up for and spent the bulk of the winter training for the Providence Marathon, which takes place this coming Sunday. I was going to run it in hopes of qualifying for Boston 2011. But then the Running Gods shined upon me a few weeks ago and presented an opportunity to run Boston THIS year.

What was I going to say, no?


So there you are, 2 marathons in 2 weeks. Really, it’s not my fault.

Now leading up to Boston I was convinced I was going to run a 3:20 and then be able to approach Providence as a fun run of sorts – maybe even pace some friends who are also running. Things didn’t work out quite as planned, so now there is a part of me that wonders if maybe, just maybe, I should be taking another shot at 3:20. I know, probably not so smart.

So what’s my approach going to be? I’m not really sure. Last fall, I followed up my meltdown at Manchester by scorching a huge Half-Marathon PR (7 minutes) just two weeks later. The thing is, this is not a half-marathon we’re talking about this Sunday. My thought is to start slow and easy and do a self-diagnostic every three miles or so. If I feel good, maybe speed up a little. If I don’t, well, no pressure, I ran a marathon less than 2 weeks ago, right?

As for wondering whether I’ve lost my sanity simply for running a second marathon so close to the first, I can’t help but think of Sam of Operation Jack, who is running 60 marathons this year to help raise autism awareness and Martin of Marathon Quest 250, who is running a ridiculous 250 marathons this year in an effort to raise $250,000 for Right To Play. (Right To Play is an international, humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.)

One of them is running just over a marathon a week. The other is running nearly 5 a week. 2 in 2 weeks sounds a lot less crazy now, don’t you think? Of course, they are doing it because they are passionate about their causes. I, on the other hand, am running them because of dumb luck. Well, how about I give a little purpose to this? If you are so inclined or moved by the giving spirit, please donate $22 (for 2 in 2 weeks) to your favorite charity. If you don’t have one, feel free to donate to one of my favorites: Autism Speaks or Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Click on either of their names to be taken directly to their donation pages.

Whether it’s one of my charities or Martin’s or Sam’s charities or one of your own, if you let me know by Saturday evening, let’s say 8PM EST, to whom you donated to and in whose name, I’ll write your name, the name of the charity and the person you are honoring either on my arm or my leg for the marathon.

Maybe this makes me a little less crazy – or just crazy with a purpose. Either way, the answer is yes. Yes, I really am doing this.

I hope to have your name written on my arm or leg on Sunday.

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Pronunciation: \ˈprä-və-dən(t)s, -ˌden(t)s\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin providentia, from provident-, providens
Date: 14th century
1 a often capitalized : divine guidance or care

Several weeks ago I signed up for the Providence Marathon.

Had I run a perfect race back in November, I would have been racing two weeks earlier in the Boston Marathon, but that was not to be. I crashed and burned in Manchester, literally limping in at just under 4 hours.  I immediately began looking for another marathon to run in hopes of qualifying for this year.   Unfortunately, I soon found out that Boston 2010 had closed 2 months earlier than the record close for 2009.  Initially demoralized, I soon shook off the blues and convinced myself that 2010 would be the year of the qualifier and that I would be on that starting line in Hopkinton in 2011 come Hell or high water. I started looking for a Spring marathon to gauge where I was so that I could be ready for Bay State come October.

As 2010 began to unfold, I hit the treadmill…a lot.  Something new was driving me.  The miles started adding up quickly.  A friend suggested that I run the Eastern States 20 (ran it yesterday – race report to follow) as my spring race.  I paused when I saw that it was advertised as the perfect tune-up race for Boston.   I sighed as I clicked the register button.  I then found that a few dailymile and twitter friends were running the Providence Marathon on May 2nd.  I did a little research and found the description very inviting.  It didn’t look like a particularly difficult course.  Though I hadn’t been “training” for a marathon, I had been putting in some pretty hefty miles.  I thought that this could be my “gauge” marathon.

Starting at the end of February and over the following four weeks, I put in 50+ miles a week – 40 more than I ever had in that amount of time.  Again, this push was coming from somewhere in the ether.  Suddenly I began to think that maybe, just maybe, Providence could be an opportunity to qualify for Boston.  I eagerly signed on.  After my race at the Super Sunday 10K I was amazed to find that my vdot indicated that I could run a BQ with ease.  Since it was based on a 10K, I took it with a grain of salt, but the thought continued to nag me.  I began to do various math acrobatics in my head – if I run 8:00 miles for the first 10 and then 7:30’s for the next 10 that leaves me with…

On and on I went with the various combinations, planning, scheming, trying to figure out what would be the best strategy to get me within striking distance of a 3:20 marathon.

I could see Boston in the horizon. I was sure Providence would shine on me.

In fact, Providence DID shine on me.

I can see you tilting your head.  How did Providence shine on you if it hasn’t happened yet?

Last Thursday, a teacher at my daughter’s school, one who was supposed to be my daughter’s teacher last year before having to take an unexpected leave of absence, tracked me down at afternoon pick up. She said she had heard I was looking for a number for this year’s marathon. I explained to her what my situation was. She obviously knew little about running so she cut right to the chase: her brother’s company created a version of the chip timer – the one being used in this year’s marathon. The BAA had given them a number of bibs to distribute at their discretion. After a fortunate recipient had sustained an unfortunate training ending injury, he called his sister and asked if she knew anyone who would be interested in taking the bib.

Wait a minute! You’re offering a Boston number to me?


Unbelievably I hemmed and hawed and said I would have to take a day to think it over. Yeah, I know. What the Frak! You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, Luau!

But here’s the thing – after my meltdown of a race in November, I was even more convinced that I had the ability to qualify in me. I wanted my first Boston to be one that I had qualified for.  I kept flashing to the moment in Spirit of a Marathon where one of the runners in the movie says, “there are runners, there are marathoners, and then the are Boston Qualifiers.”.  It still gives me chills.

As far as I knew, there were 2 ways to get to Boston: you either ran a qualifying time in another marathon or you raised a lot of money for a charity. Charity would have been difficult this year, considering the downturn in the economy and the fact that as a family we had just done a large amount of fund raising for Autism Speaks.  I just felt I could not tap into my friends again so soon.

It never crossed my mind that a number could just be handed to me, out of nowhere, unexpectedly – heaven sent.

Needless to say I came to my senses within 30 minutes (thanks to the wife whacking me upside the head) and very gratefully, very humbly accepted the number.

A gift from the running gods?  I am not particularly a religious man, but I do know that I have spent the last year and a half preaching the wonders of running to whomever will listen.  Perhaps the running gods have been listening too.

Providence, indeed.

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