October 17, 2010

Night Before the Race: Breakers Marathon

While most people prepare for a race by taking an easy night and resting up, I spent the Friday night before the race out and about. First stop was a friend’s birthday party, where I mixed some delicious drinks of peach mango juice and 99 proof peach schnapps. Around 10pm, I headed for my favorite dive bar with one of my best girlfriends, draining a pint of Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout. Alcohol is carbs, guys! I forced myself to head home by 1am, knowing how important a good night’s sleep is two nights before a marathon.

On Saturday morning, I woke up early to get in a good workout (yes, I work out the day before a marathon – it was weight training day!), and then quickly packed, both for the race and for the upcoming work week, since I’d be heading to Albany from the race and then directly down to my client in Washington, DC. However, before taking the bus up to Providence, it was time to squeeze in my latest hobby: online dating. This particular date went just fine – I didn’t feel a spark with the guy, but it was a generally pleasant experience and didn’t leave me checking my watch and wondering when it would be polite to make my escape. After our brunch, he walked me to Penn Station, where I would catch my bus to Providence. It was now time to shift gears: no more partying, now time for running!

On the bus, I caught up on some work and also worked on my Hartford race report (now live here!). Despite the length of the bus ride (3.5 hours, albeit very comfy ones since there were very few people on the bus and there was plenty of room), I didn’t get nearly as much done as I wanted, and we soon arrived. Darn it, so much for me catching up on everything! I had such high hopes to knock some things off my to-do list…

When I arrived, my mom was still a bit outside of Providence, so I walked a few blocks back from the bus stop to where I had seen a brewery/pub. I was outside contemplating whether I really wanted a drink or not (calories! I am supposed to be on a diet, though we all know how that’s going), when my mom pulled up, making the decision for me. Sometimes things happen for a reason 🙂

Both of us were hungry, so we decided to head straight for dinner instead of swinging by the hotel first. I had done a lot of research on the bus ride to figure out where we ought to go to dinner, and I knew that all I really wanted was a nice basic pasta dish: spaghetti, red sauce, and a bit of parmesan cheese. That’s it. We probably could have gotten exactly that at the official pasta dinner, but didn’t feel like going all the way down to Newport – easier to just stay in Providence where we were. Providence apparently has a big Italian district, and I had pored over the restaurant menus and reviews, but a lot were somewhat pricey/upscale, and I wanted someplace I could dine in the jeans and sweatshirt I had changed into after my date). Plus, the Italian district was known for having very limited street parking. Instead of bothering ourselves with that, we decided to head for the local Olive Garden… classy, I know 🙂

On our way there, we soon realized that despite the fact that we were staying at a different hotel than we had the year before (though it was the same place I had stayed for the Rhode Island 6 Hour), we were headed to the same Olive Garden we had finally ended up at before last year’s Breakers Marathon. Was that a good or a bad sign? I didn’t know. Last year we had traversed from restaurant to restaurant with crazy long waits for a table until finally opting to eat at the bar of this particular Olive Garden, but I figured since we were getting a very early start to dinner (it was only 5pm), we’d be fine.

Wrong I was! I don’t know why Rhode Islanders eat so darn early, but the place was packed when we rolled in around 5:15pm, so much that we had to circle the parking lot several times to find a parking spot. Once inside, we were told it would be a 25 minute wait, and we debated what to do. I pointed out that they usually tried to estimate longer than they thought it would actually take, so we probably wouldn’t have to wait that lon. Plus, I decided that I would really rather wait for a table than eat at the bar (though we had a perfectly pleasant experience doing that last year, I preferred to mix it up). Sure enough, we didn’t have to wait very long at all, and we were soon seated and chowing down.

Conscious of my desire to lose weight, I ordered fairly conservatively, choosing one of the lighter entrees and only having one breadstick instead of the several I would usually allow myself given the fact that I was going to be running a marathon the next day. I also declined a glass of wine (is that an Absolut(ly) Fit first?), so in the end I think I had about 900 calories. Definitely high for a regular meal, but I think that’s about the right amount in preparation for running a full marathon while staying on a diet. Besides, I had only eaten one other meal that day (brunch was brunch in the truest sense of the word, meaning actually breakfast and lunch combined).

Post-dinner, however, all those calories tuckered me out! My mom and I headed back to our hotel with big plans to catch up on some TV shows that we both enjoy, but decided to shelve most of that in order to get a good night’s sleep.

As I mentioned earlier, the hotel happened to be the same one where I had stayed last November for the Rhode Island 6 Hour race – my ultramarathon triumph over the state of Rhode Island. I thought this was all rather fortuitous: here I was, getting ready to hopefully “get my revenge” on the state after last year’s DNF, and the stars finally seemed to be aligning. Smooth trip in, getting a table at Olive Garden instead of settling for bar seating, and now I was staying in the same hotel where I had stayed for my first successful ultramarathon. My last thought before going to sleep: I hope I can do this!


4 thoughts on “Night Before the Race: Breakers Marathon”

  1. Hi Laura, I believe I know how you did, and congratulations are in order. I had my eyes open for you, I was running the half and hoped to meet you. I saw a crazed woman (??? your mom???) proudly holding her Laura sign above her head just before the turn downhill to the finish (my finish anyway). She was cheering with enthusiasm, I took a look around and didn’t spot you. Great job anyway, you earned your redemption on Litle Rhody!!

  2. Yes, Silas, that was me…and you all looked fabulous coming down that stretch…Laura had called to verify my location so she could hand off her jacket…luckily the day loomed sunny and bright in direct contrast to that horrifically cold, windy, deluge of a day the first time around! I was totally feeling her gusto; and yes, she nailed it in under four hours! Laura’s mom

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