2021 is the 11th year I’ve run a race in Columbus. 2 years I ran the full marathon and 9 times I’ve run the half. It’s my favorite half! This year I waited a bit longer than usual to sign up because I had been struggling with a sports hernia. But by September I felt I had recovered enough to give the race a try. Alan had signed up for the full because this race could be a Boston qualifier for two years due to the date of the race.

By the time race day came around, Alan was injured 🙁 He went from having a hurt foot (fell on his mountain bike) to having a hip issue and piriformis pain! It was just not in the cards for him to run this race, which was a big bummer. He really wanted this to be a great race and he was facing all sorts of challenges in his training cycle.

Wanting a stress free race morning, he booked a room downtown, which was less than a mile walk to the start line. It was wonderful! The windows in some of the rooms looked into the middle of the hotel. Very unique!

The race expo was very small this year, and we zipped right through it. I love the 13.1 and 26.2 signs for photos!

A large group of runners from the Toledo Dave’s Training group and other affiliated groups were running, so we met for a group picture.

We walked to dinner, and had a somewhat non traditional meal with Alfredo sauce on pasta (I usually go for red sauce before a race) and a beer! I really wasn’t stressed about the race, so as long as I ate something “normal” I was fine.

We ended up staying up late (11pm) and I had no problem sleeping. Since we were so close to the start line I got to sleep in until 6am. Nice!! We left the hotel at 6:45am and made it to the corrals in plenty of time. Race start was 7:30am and it was still quite dark. It was 45 degrees so I had on a tank top with arm warmers and shorts. I also had a pair of throw away gloves.

There were no pacers for this race, so I just lined up at the front of the B corral. I’ve been in the A corral before, so I figured that was a good place. The race started and I was out of there! I took the “go big or go home” attitude and just ran as I felt comfortable. I also had my watch set to “predicted” finish time for a distance of 13.2 miles. I figured that was a good enough cushion in terms of distance based on my previous races here. Viewing only my predicted finish time worked really well for the 5K that I PR’d at last week, so I thought it would be fun to use this tool again. Somehow it makes it less stressful than seeing each mile click off and being happy, or sad, based on the pace.

I had a good idea that I was flying because mile was was 7:56, but mile 2 clicked off at 7:04!! WTF?? And my finish time was predicted at 1:36. Oh my! It was still early, so I didn’t put my value on it. But things were feeling good so I continued. Miles 3, 4 & 5: 8:02, 7:55, 8:09. I was running fast on the downhills and just holding on as we went uphill! I noticed my watch hit 23:03 at 3 miles. Wow!! I saw Alan around mile 2 and I was all smiles!

Miles 6, 7, & 8 had a lot of long uphill parts. I was starting to feel a bit tired. 7:59, 8:23, 8:28… but still, I often saw 1:45-1:48 finish time predicted. That was exciting because my PR was 1:47 so I was really hoping I could pull off 1:47 or maybe even 1:45! Big dreams! Think positive! I saw Alan again around mile 7. Yay!

Miles 9, 10, & 11 brought a few more inclines. The first few miles have a bit of downhill and now we are paying for it. 8:16, 8:19, 8:28. I saw another friend cheering around mile 10. That was a a nice boost.

Finally!! The finish line was in sight. But OOPS – my 13.2 watch “finish distance” clicked off as I was just starting down the finish chute. Damn!!! I was not going to make the time on my watch. I crossed the finish line with 13.53 as my distance and 1:50:14 as my finish time.

At first I was bummed that I didn’t get sub 1:50. But then I looked at my Garmin and Strava. Based on the paces I was running, it was declared that I got a PR for the half marathon (13.1 miles, 1:46:42), 10K (48:43), 5K (23:33), 1 mile (6:33??) !!!! That’s just unbelievable! I was just so, so excited!

That night I got to thinking, wait… hold up. Something seems pretty fishy about the 7:04 mile. That’s not a huge downhill area of the course. And then it hit me. Was the GPS wonky?? Well whomp whomp, it was. And there you have it. What is supposed to be a straight line looks like spaghetti. Which throws off the distance and ALL of the miles and gives me a bunch of PRs. Waaaaaaaaaaaaa. That bites. And is a bit embarrassing because I thought the paces were correct! I was so excited about my Garmin data 🙄 I’ve heard of other big cities having issues with GPS during races (like Chicago), but I’ve never had an issue in Columbus so the thought never crossed my mind.

So yeah, the official pace of 8:25 really was more correct as was stated in the race results. Not nearly as exciting as I originally thought, but on the bright side, it was a really good pace for me. It was 11th place out of 201 ladies in my age group is pretty exciting too – a good fit for my 11th year here. It was a solid race no matter what!

But hey, how about that age graded time of 1:33? hahaha. Don’t get me started again.

11 thoughts on “Columbus Half Marathon – 2021 recap”
  1. Oh well done, though! in the Liverpool Rock’n’Roll marathon the 10k mat was in the wrong place (too soon!) so all my friends who were following me got alerted I’d done a very fast for me 10k and were panicking! Only I knew it was in the wrong place as I saw the mat and looked at my watch. Anyway, you did brilliantly, well done!

    1. Thanks! Looking back it was super silly to think that 7:04 pace was even realistic because I have never ever run that pace, but what the heck, I thought I was having my best race EVER! haha!!! My mile markers were all off, but I thought maybe the miles were marked with big flags mostly for decoration and weren’t accurate. Yep, I was having “runners brain” all race long!

  2. I’ve had races like that (definitely not as fast as you, though LOL) where the GPS was either off or the race course was short. The reality, though, is that you ran a GREAT race, despite what any of the numbers say. Awesome job!

  3. Ugh, that’s so frustrating when the Garmin is off. When I ran the Tokyo marathon, I was trying to run a 3:45 and I did according to my Garmin, but then I ended up with 27 miles (on my Garmin). I’m sure I did a terrible job of running the tangents, but not THAT terrible, so clearly my Garmin was off. It was annoying to have those new “PRs” in my Garmin that were all wrong, especially when the 3:45 was my goal! I ended up surpassing that goal at my next marathon (Grandma’s) but I totally feel your pain.

    Several athletes that I coach have had the same thing happen at Chicago. I guess any city with some skyscrapers must mess with things!

    Bottom line is you had a strong race and felt great and had fun! And the hernia wasn’t an issue, which is amazing. Congratulations!

    1. I really had talked myself into thinking I was all over that course and could have run 13.5 miles. yikes! I do make sure I tell people to expect a course to be a little long (or at least for your Garmin to log it longer) but that’s a bit much. Glad I didn’t accept the PR’s!

  4. Congrats on a solid race, even if Garmin was mean to you. It was completely useless the year I ran the NYC Half to the extent I nearly switched it off.
    Love it when hotels look into the courtyard like that
    Those 13.1 Expo signs are so fun. Wish more races had them
    Cari recently posted…summer or fall?My Profile

  5. Congrats on an excellent finish time! Yeah, we have issues with GPS here in Chicago–so I’ve learned not to rely on my Garmin for splits during a race. Sometimes it can be way off. Sounds like it gave you a boost, though and pushed you to an amazing finish time!

    1. It probably was better that I didn’t see my pace. It would have made me nervous! But you’re right, it gave me a boost thinking “yes I can!!” 😃

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