Columbus (half) marathon – Oct. 21, 2014

Columbus… here we are again!  Columbus is like visiting an old friend.  Good memories and it never seems to fail to create more!  This year I ran the half marathon again, and Alan did the full.  I just wasn’t up for a full marathon again and had planned on this being my “A” goal for a half this year.  In short, it turned out to be a super great, and special race :)

We drove down to Columbus on Saturday after dropping the kids off with my parents.  The OSU traffic and construction was terrible, but eventually we made it.  We spent an hour or so at Easton checking out Trader Joes, Athleta and visiting the Apple Store.  That place is packed full of every store you can imagine.  It would be a place I could get lost in all day, if I had lots of money to spend!  It did end up being a windy, chilly, drizzly day which was starting to put some doubt in my selection of race clothes and what Sunday held in store for us.

After shopping we checked in to our hotel, the Red Roof Inn, which was super conveniently located in walking distance to the expo.  That was our first time staying there and I was quite pleased with it and how close it was to everything.  We zipped through the expo, not spending a whole lot of time there.  We ran into some friends and chatted at the Cleveland marathon booth and the Toledo Glass City marathon booth.  We have friends in the industry!!

I was more than a bit disappointed by the race shirts though.  They have a seriously low v-neck, which is so not my style.  Even though they are Nike dry fit, they feel more like just a plain old t-shirt.  boo.

We then headed over to Bravo for dinner with all of our runner friends who were in town (and some lived there).  Dinner was good and we stuffed ourselves with loaves of bread and lasagne.  Yum yum yum.   As per our race traditions, we watched Run Fatboy, Run back at the hotel.  It was hard staying awake until 11pm though with our bellies so filled up!  Soon it was lights out and we were mostly sound asleep.

Due to our close proximity to the race start, we decided to sleep in until 5:20am, although I did wake up around 5:00am.  We dressed and headed over to meet some friends at the YMCA at 6:15.  Since the temperature was 46, I decided to wear a skirt with compression shorts and a short sleeve t-shirt.  Yep, that *same* t-shirt I wear EVERY race.  I really need a new shirt.  I also wore the same arm warmers, which are made out of socks.  I wore them last year, and wore them again here, since they were so warm and cozy – not to mention, fashionable!

We met a group of friends at the YMCA and with my odd collection of throw away clothes, I looked like a homeless person.  I’m so glad they took this picture and tagged me so all of my FB friends could see!  [NOT! I removed this from my timeline.  Seriously, I don’t need to be reminded of this ugly outfit]  The YMCA is a great place to hang out before the race.  Very nice and clean and ample restrooms.

We headed down to the start area around 6:45.  Alan was running with a friend and they were both making an attempt for a sub 3 hr marathon.  The friend, Ron, seemed a bit nervous and really wanted to get in the corrals early so they got the right place.  I checked a bag at bag drop, and then Ron took Alan to get in the corrals.  It was a bit fast for me and I was sad for the first time at race, not being able to give Alan much of a send off before his big race and being left behind :(  I wandered over to the corrals myself and used the porta potties for the last time.  I was pretty cold waiting there, but I took off my sweatshirt before the start because the sweatshirt was so big.

For some reason this race didn’t get me nervous or excited like they usually do.  I think it may have been because I wasn’t sure how well I would do.  The week before the race I was having a recurring “pinch” in my left glute and it haunted me at night when I slept.  I didn’t want to hurt it any worse and I was relieved to find that it wasn’t hurting me on race morning.  However, when they started the race festivities – and especially when they played “For those about to rock” – I got that rush of adrenaline!  I was super excited about racing and to see what I could do.  The gun went off, and we were racing!

The new start area was super cool, and even though it was uphill, it was exciting.  When I was making my way around mile 2, a spectator called out “You’re looking good.  This is YOUR day!!”.  It’s cheesy, but I really took that comment to heart and kept thinking throughout the race “This IS going to be my day!”.  I was pumped.

This is one of the funniest race pictures I’ve seen of me in awhile. Me vs that 14 year old boy!!  In the end, he was the one laughing because he finished 3 minutes before I did!

My goal was to get a sub 1:50, since I got 1:51:20 last year.  I thought it was doable, although the pace of under 8:22 got me nervous just thinking about it.  But I plugged it in as my pacer on my Garmin and just went with it.  I didn’t spend any time obsessing about my pace, but only knew the 1:50 pace group was behind me and my watch said I was ahead of my pacer.  Good enough.  Just run it and feel good, like it’s a comfortable hard race, like it should be.  I was super duper pleased to look down at my pace on most miles and see it was ticking off low 8’s like 8:02, 8:05.  Woohoo!  One time I even saw a 7:58.  Again, this IS going to be my day!  I took advantage of the downhills and tried to bank time, and then took the hills relatively easy so I didn’t tire out.  The miles clicked off, and I was cruising right along.

Oh happy happy day!!  I think this shot really shows my enthusiasm during the race :)

When I got to the end mile, we made the turn into the finish area.  In past years, you make the turn, and it’s all downhill to the finish line.  With this new finish area, I didn’t know what to expect!  I knew I still had at least a half mile to go, but I couldn’t figure out where the finish line was.  As I found out, the new course goes downhill like before, but then ends *uphill*.  I was not too pleased about that, and that finish line seemed like it was miles away!  ughhhh  Finally, I crossed the line at 1:48:20.  OMG, that was a 3 minute PR!

I was so excited by my performance.  Yeah me!  We all got herded through the finish chute – blankets, water, photos, bags of food… but wait.  Where the heck were the medals?  I kept glancing at the other runners.  Did I somehow miss that part?  Then we reached the end of the athletes area.  Still no medals.  Hmmmmm.  Eventually the word got out that there was a glich in ordering and the medals weren’t there yet.  Oh man, really??  There is just the oddest feeling when you run so hard and don’t get a medal at the end.  It’s a bummer really.  Oh well, it was now time to bang the PR gong, rest a little, and track Alan!

Bang that gong!!

It was the first time I had used the bag check, but I think I will use it in the future because it was nice to warm up in a jacket and have my cell phone.  I was able to find out that Alan was still on his goal.

Here comes Alan!  He is so awesome!! :)

I took a place near the finish line and waited for him to arrive.

Pretty soon the 3 hour pacer group appeared.  Just the two of them, and there was no Alan.  I got nervous.  Then, Alan appeared, trailing them, but not within reach.

Where’s the finish line??What’s up with all of those warm clothes you half marathoners??

Even more nervous now!  The announced called out, and said “here comes the 3 hour mark!”.  And he started a count down.  5! 4! 3! 2! 1! I really couldn’t tell if Alan had made it.  I was far away and I couldn’t see the clock.  However, right at the second it happened, I got a text.  Alan had crossed the finish line at 2:59:59!!! OMG!!!  One second to spare!!  What an awesome feeling!  I raced over (in a slow, slightly pained, running kind of way!) to the finish area to tell him.

When I saw Alan, he looked exhausted, in pain, and just a bit confused or maybe unhappy.  I ran up to him and told him the great news.  “One second???  One $%##% second???  Oh my god!!!”  Needless to say, he was ecstatic!  Based on the time of his watch, and the starting time, he really had no idea if he made it or not.

Whew!!  That was a close call!

We rested for a bit, and then went over to bang the PR gong again, and get my medal.

Unfortunately his running buddy did not make the sub 3 goal.  He fell back around mile 17 when he couldn’t keep the pace.

But for Alan and I, it was a day of celebration.  We all had lunch together (big greasy burgers with cheese and bacon, and lots of beer!) at the Rusty Bucket.

It was a great day and one we won’t ever forget!!