Last Sunday we got up bright and early to head down to Providence for Shane's very first full marathon! He's completed two half-marathons but it's a big jump up from 13.1 miles to 26.2! He trained intensely all winter and was ready for the big day. I was excited that he chose a race that was so close to home - generally we wind up driving at least an hour each way on race days, but Providence is only about 15-20 minutes away so it was a real treat!
When we got there, we met up with Shane's coworker, Mark, who was also running his first marathon! I stayed and chatted for a few minutes then wished them luck before heading off to start my walk over to the 1.5 mile marker, where I hoped to catch some photos of the runners as they passed by.
I enjoyed the walk - it was a warm May morning (if not a bit humid) and since it was so early I felt like I had the city to myself. I made it to the 1 mile marker, where I saw a few of the policemen who would be leading the way ahead of the first runners (that's them on the motorcycles).
Unfortunately, I didn't make it all the way to my viewing location before the first wave of runners was upon me. In addition to the marathon, there was also a half-marathon going on, and all of the runners started at the same time. 3000-ish determined people running toward me - it was kind of scary and there wasn't much room for me to get out of the way, especially as more people began to use the sidewalk!
Shane's parents had successfully made it to the location I'd been trying to reach and his dad snagged this shot of the pack! Originally, I'd planned to take shots at this 1.5 mile mark then walk back to the finish to see Shane as he completed the race. Shane's parents surprised us by coming to the start of the race (we thought they were going to hang out by the mile 9/mile 19 markers) and we all decided to hop in the car and make it to as many stops as we could along the race course! Lots of fun ensued :)
Here we caught up with him at the 5 mile mark, where obviously he was still feeling pretty good! For much of the race, the course ran along the road so we would stop and get out of the car to shout some encouraging words at Shane as he passed and take a few photos then hop back in the car and see him just a few hundred feet later as we drove by. We made so many stops that the strangers running alongside Shane started to recognize us as his cheering section!
This is around the 10 mile mark. Shane and Mark ran together for a good portion of the race and Shane's dad caught them running in step. At this point, Shane still looks pretty happy.
On the left side of this shot that's Shane's mom (well, her arm) you see with the orange bell. I picked that cowbell up at a half-marathon Shane ran in Hartford last fall and it's really come in handy - it allows him to pick us out of the crowd when he's running! I don't really feel comfortable ringing it though and since I was trying to take pictures, Shane's mom diligently rang it all day! I believe we're around mile 17 here. Shane said he hit the wall around mile 15 (which also coincided with the weather warming up quite a bit) so I think he was glad to have us along the route to provide motivation.
Between miles 22 and 23 and still going strong! The cheering section grew as we met up with my mom at this point. Much of the race was run on the East Bay Bike Path, which was particularly beautiful along this stretch of the race by the water.
We made it back downtown to see both Shane and Mark finish! Shane crossed the line around 4:20 and Mark finished a few minutes ahead of him - impressive showings for both of them in their first marathons I think! Congratulations guys! It was a great day - big thanks to my mom and Shane's parents for coming out to watch and cheer. Also, thank you to Shane's dad for allowing me to share several of his race photos on the blog today!
Shane was sore for a few days, but the recovery really hasn't been as bad as I expected. He was already talking about signing up for another race later the same day. Mark declared himself retired from marathons when I saw him at the finish but seems to have softened his stance this week. Shane is convinced he can talk him into running another with him in the fall.
When we got home that afternoon I finished up some onesie sugar cookies I'd started the day before for a good friend of mine who recently found out she's pregnant with her first baby! Though I have a few favorite sugar cookie recipes, I departed from those here to try one I'd seen on Martha Stewart recently. You can find that recipe here. I enjoyed the hint of lemon flavor in these cookies, but the texture wasn't my favorite. The cookies were almost too chewy.
While I was generally pleased with the way the cookies turned out, I continue to believe that royal icing is best left to folks with more patience than me. My friend liked the cookies though and that's all that matters! :)