Last weekend, we headed up north to Providence, Rhode Island; not a short weekend get-away if that’s what you’re thinking. Heck, it takes 13 hours to drive there! We had a few reasons to go when we did: First, I was interested in some schools in the city. Secondly, my mom and I signed up for the Providence Rock N’ Roll Half Marathon!
It was a good thing we had plans other than just focusing on schools, because I didn’t like any of them. The one school in-particular I was excited about we visited on Friday and turned out to be a bummer. The main campus only had 4 buildings- this is including the Recreational Center! So another purpose took its place- FOOD! We are not the type of people to go out to chain restaurants on vacation. I pretty much consider it a sin. And in a food-lover’s city like Providence, we had no trouble satisfying ourselves .
We also embraced the history of the city, walking on the land of my ancestors, a.k.a. the famous Roger Williams. The Angell’s were first established in Providence, eventually getting a street named for us!
On his birthday, my dad stood face to face with history. And he thought HE was old!
Thus, he chose dinner the night of our arrival. I don’t recall the name of the restaurant, but it had a little bit of everything on the menu. We decided to dine alfresco, and to order 3 rounds of appetizers. Our first was a Mezze Platter with grape leaves, baba ganoush, tabouli, hummus, tzatziki, tomatoes, pickles, olives, peppers, and pita bread.
We were provided with full entertainment from the table next to us. There was a group of rich twenty year-olds that seriously looked like they walked out of Jersey Shore. In the middle of our dinner, one of the girls went to move her car right in front of our tables….which so happened to be a Bentley. Average price~ $165,000- 185, ooo. Ridiculous!
The next morning we toured the college campus. Afterwards, we headed over to a restaurant I had found that used local, fresh ingredients. I expected from the website for the inside to be light and airy, but to my surprise, was French Provincial (maybe a little too formal for lunch but reasonably priced). I ordered Bacon Wrapped Scallops with a side salad. (I read the menu wrong, as it said all sandwiches are served with fries or salad, so we ended up having to pay for it separately).
We got to sit in a huge booth with circular gold and velvet seating. [This was the view from the table.]
I would definitely recommend bacon-wrapped scallops at most any restaurant.
Later, we headed over to the Race Expo at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. By the way, I have never seen so many Dunkin’ Donuts in my life! They.were.everywhere. We never ended up going to one, but next time I’m up north, it will be on my list of eats. (I really don’t normally like donuts , but seeing their signs on the way home after the run made the Oreo donuts look darn good.
I’m not kidding when I say that I avoided all thoughts of running all weekend. Since the last race, the weather had been scorching, so I ended up only training to 8 miles. I didn’t let the nerves set in, so when at the expo, I got pumped instead.
The Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series travels across the world, and is a very popular event. They have live bands play music about every 1.5 miles along the course, and have a cover band perform at the end; at this race it was ‘Karmin’. I personally had never heard of them before,but really enjoyed the performance.
They gave away tons of free samples, including Chia bars!
Later that night, we ventured into unfamiliar territory on the other side of the city to go to ‘Los Andes’, for Central and South American cuisine. For an appetizer, we had Calamari with a queso, choclo, and a balsamic reduction. Definitely different from the usual Italian version, but super tasty! For dinner, my mom and I split the Chimichurri Steak special and my dad ordered Ceviche. The steak was perfectly cooked and I loved the Chimichurri sauce! Fortunately, the portion was huge so we got leftovers for lunch the next day. Unfortunately, this was the only picture to come out because of the lighting.
The next day, we were able to sneak in a visit to the local cemetery to look for some Angell tombstones. Turns out, they had over 100!
On Saturday night, we carb-loaded with Italian food…aka PASTA! Then, a purchase at the best bakery in town, Pastiche, rounded out the night well by eating Carrot Cake and Fruit Tart in the hotel. By far the best carrot cake I have ever eaten and I highly recommend it!
On Sunday morning at 5:30 am, we woke up, got dressed, ate a little, and walked over to the State House for the start. They set up corrals by speed so my mom and I had to split pretty early. I was supposed to be in corral #3 but dropped down to #4 instead.
The Race- The first 4 miles of the race were what I expected. The first mile I stretched out a bit and by mile four, was feeling strong! Around mile 5, I picked up my speed in hopes of catching up to the 2:00 hour pace group and to keep them in sight. By mile six though, my legs felt like bricks! I seriously did not think I would be able to finish. I was carrying a little pack of Sports Jelly Beans in my hand (thanks to the free samples) and decided to pop them right before the mile 7 marker. Thank goodness I did! The sugar kicked in and by mile 9, I started to feel…better. Each mile after that, I just told myself that I can always run 3, or 2, or 1 mile. At mile marker 12, my adrenaline kicked in and I sped to the finish line- uphill! I hate uphill finishes, especially after 13.1 miles! My final chip time was 1:57.35, only slightly over 1 minute from my last race, which I fully trained for.
Once my mom finished, (in under 2:20!) we stayed and watched the Karmin concert before heading back to the hotel, packing up, and leaving.
Overall, the weekend was extremely fun and could not thank my dad enough for driving ~25 hours over the 5 days. Although I love big cities and enjoy the rush of the madness, I am not sure that I want to live in one, especially considering the butt-load of cars and traffic we travelled through. Someday, I wish to go back to Providence and explore more of the city and dine at some pretty amazing restaurants.