When I saw the theme on my Columbus marathon shirt, I had to laugh. This race was indeed Memorable!
How could I forget…
- The cheap hotel which put us right next to loud road construction and the smell of asphalt (which luckily didn’t drift into our room).
- The race was 68 degrees with 93% humidity at the start!
- How Alan and friend Ron stuck with me the whole race, even when I had given in to the heat and walked (several times!) and told them to just go on without me.
- How I ran into a person I follow on Instagram at the finish line. What are the odds of seeing that person in real life?? (Hi ChristaWorkInProgress!)
- How I thought I could run a sub 2 hr half marathon any day of the week – and was sadly humbled by the fact I couldn’t!!
Let’s get to race talk…. an email went out on Friday that said the conditions were forecast to be “warm, humid and possible thunderstorms”. They failed to mention the high winds that were showing on my forecast, but either way, NOT ideal race conditions. Based on my training, I knew it would not be anything close to PR for me, but the forecast was not thrilling me.
We took a super quick trip through the race expo before we went out to dinner. A cross country meet for Sydney and trip to my parents house gave us a very tight schedule that day. One of these days we’ll have more time to browse the expo. We had to get to dinner at 5:30 with friends. (that’s my ambassador friend Dan on the right! Hi Dan!)
After dinner we chilled at the hotel with some refreshments. Was I jinxing race day by wearing the shirt??
I got my outfit ready to go. Alan didn’t even get his outfit ready until race morning. Slacker!
Race morning turned out to be 68 with 93% humidity. Oh joy! It was dry, and the wind hadn’t started quite yet, so that was OK.
Obligatory race outfit shot as we headed out the door. Fun fact: if you get to personalize your race bib, use asterisks around your name. People think they are stars which makes you extra special!!
We left the hotel at 5:50 am and waited to meet our friend Ron in the parking garage. We were so relaxed about this race because Alan or I did not have any ambitious plans. Either did Ron, because he was running with me!
When the race started we actually ran into several friends we knew! It seemed like a party in motion, especially with all of the start line action going on. I love all of the excitement at Columbus! I decided that a sub 2 hr race would be my “goal” for the day, so right under 9:00 pace. No problem! I’ve run sub 2 hr half marathons for the past 8 years. We decided that 9:30 would be a good pace for the first few miles, then get to the sub 9 min pace overall. My first two miles were actually around 9:00, but they felt easy enough. And that’s just about the time I started sweating. Mile 2, drops falling down my face. WTF, isn’t this October??
The humidity felt suffocating, and I wasn’t holding up well. Glute/hamstring pain wasn’t a huge factor, but plain old exhaustion was. I had visions of me just stopping and sneaking off into the crowd, but I think Alan would have noticed By the time I convinced myself that I needed to take a GU at mile 7, I gave in to my mind’s plea to walk. It wasn’t a very long walk, but it did slow my pace. 9:44 for that mile.
And you know what happens when you let that first walk sneak in? The 2nd ( 3rd, 4th or more!) walk breaks are a lot easier to come by. Honestly, this was not going to be my day, so a break was better than wearing myself out. I told Alan and Ron to just go ahead without me, but they stuck with me. Following splits: 10:08, 9:23, 9:46, 10:05, 10:31 (!!), 9:09. I did run by Ron’s wife who took this picture. Looks like I had just punched that girl. Pow!
Around mile 11 I realized I didn’t even have the elapsed time showing on my Garmin, so I had no idea how long I had been running. I just had the overall pace showing really large, which was certainly not 9:00 mins. We hit the split in the course where the half marathoners head to the finish chute and the guys made their journey on to the full marathon. I was so happy not to be making the full trek that day!! Here’s a shot of the finish chute. Really cool – but also deceptive…. it starts out downhill and then you have to go uphill to finish. Dang it!!!
Using all of my mental power to NOT walk the last half mile, I looked ahead and saw a 2:05 on the clock. That was good because I was expecting 2:10! I saw 2:06:45 when I finished. I got my medal, water, food and saw some friends at the finish picture taking area. I’m surprised I ran into so many friends at this out of town race! Side note: look at that – one curly chunk of hair escaped!!
Then I headed over to the finish chute so I could cheer on the runners who were coming in. It was a lot of fun giving high 5’s to people! Sadly, I stood there for 2+ hours and everyone snuck past me! Ugh. My legs were so stiff from the inactivity of standing there, I could barely move and I didn’t see anyone. Well, until I saw Ron finishing at 4:07, and Alan wasn’t with him. I yelled at Ron but he didn’t hear me. BTW, look at my hair in the finish picture, and now here… can you tell I was standing around in the wind for a long time?? Alan actually told me it looked like Bozo hair. haha!! That’s my “I’m trying to take a stealth shot while a person is standing 5 inches away from me” look. And hey, don’t those runners look super tired coming down the chute?!
After waiting 10 more mins, and obsessively checking the race results, I started wondering if Alan had somehow finished, and wasn’t clocked in at the mat. I headed over to the “Family Meeting area”, which was our meeting point. Hey guess what? They didn’t have a family meeting area this year! Ugh! Where was Alan?? We were short on time because we had to check out of our room still, so I called the hotel and told them we wouldn’t be back in time because Alan was in the medical tent, and I couldn’t find him. I was freaking out at this time wondering where he was. Expecting someone at the finish line, and they don’t arrive is terrible!! Shortly after that, I got the update that he had finished: 4:24… and I wasn’t even there to see it happen. Alan had a long day on the course. He was taking it easy to make sure he didn’t really mess up a previous injury which had plagued him this summer. Luckily he asked someone to text me so I could find him in the finish area. Here is the only picture he allowed me to take of him…
Luckily the hotel had sympathy in the situation and didn’t charge us another night. Phew!! We finally got packed up, checked out, and headed out for a celebratory burger and beer. You really don’t need to win any races or get a PR – you need to celebrate finishing the training, and getting it done.
I’m not disappointed in my results, although I really thought that sub 2:00 was not going to be an issue! (humbling!). When I looked up my official results I saw that I had actually finished in 2:04:25 and was in the top 15% of my age group. Not too shabby! Oh, and my “age graded” finish time was 1:50 – so maybe I did achieve my goal after all. (eh, not really)
Now back to reality, and take care of the laundry. Another Columbus Marathon is in the books. It was my 8th year running there, and my slowest half. Does your house look like this after a race?
Thanks for hanging in here for my race recap. I just like to share it all with you
Q: Have you ever had a hard time reconnecting with someone after a race? (or do you have a phone with you??)
Q: Have you ever run without your watch, or knowing your finish time?
Q: Do you carry a phone with you when you race?
Until I got some clothes that had phone pockets, I put my phone in my drop bag. It’s so necessary for finding people after the race!