Columbus Marathon Recap

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The weekend started out with a road trip just two hours south of home and 3 other running friends.  In the days leading up to the race, I was unsure what the temperature would be like that morning or even what I would wear.  We’ve trained all summer in hot and humid temperatures that I didn’t know what I would do in the cool crisp mornings.  We were going to hit up a running store and then the expo, so I was going to look for some capri pants to run in (I know this is a big running no- no) with my HRC tshirt.  I have a lot of cold weather running gear, but not much for the in-between.

As we all discussed strategy and running gear, the drive seemed to go fairly quickly.  Just like that we were at the running store and out stretching our legs.  I was starting to feel some nerves because I wasn’t quite sure if I could run a full 26.2 miles.  Training said I could, but there was a lot of self-doubt.  By the time we arrived at the expo, there were booths already being taken down.  There was still an hour and a half left before it closed!  We went up and got our bibs and gear bags and then headed down to see the vendors.  I picked up some GU and took the obligatory pictures with the large daunting numbers.

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As we headed to our dinner reservations, the wind picked up.  When I say picked up, I mean we felt like we were going to blow away.  A large marathon route sign fell right in front of us.  We all kept praying that the wind would die down before we had to hit the start line in the morning.  Once we got to our restaurant, we checked and there was an advisory for 50-55mph winds!!! We were pretty sure we just attempted to walk through that.

I was starting to feel like I had a sinus cold coming on so I took some medicine and went to bed.  Sleep came quick, but the morning came even quicker. The alarm clock rang and it was time to get dressed and prepped to run.  I was still feeling pretty foggy in the morning so I took some more medicine and ate some peanut butter.  I don’t like to run with food on my stomach because that’s when I experience bathroom issues.

As we headed down to our corrals, Susan and I said good luck to our fellow running friends and waited for the second wave to start. In the Columbus marathon, they actually start one wave of runners and then repeat the starting process for the second wave.  We made sure we were right in the front of the second wave because we wanted to attempt a 4:15 marathon time which was paced in the corral ahead of us.  When the gun went off we were off.  The first mile was completed in under 9 minutes.  I knew we had to back off if we were going to last the remaining 25.  I started watching the pace and Susan was watching the miles based on goal bracelets that were given out at the expo.  We were ahead of schedule through the first half.

It is always very tempting to complete the first half and just want to run in with all the people who were finishing up.  But, we still had another 13.1 to go.  I could tell Susan was feeling really good with her race because she kept running through each mile.  In training, once we hit the mile we would walk for a minute or two and then start running again.  She only walked through the water stations to get her fuel.  At mile 16 I was starting to feel cramping in my quads.  This was new because most of the time there is pain in your knees or calf muscles.  My legs just felt heavy.  I could tell Susan was trying to wait for me but by mile 17 I had told her to just go on and run her race.  I didn’t want to hold her back from her goals.  I was still on pace to hit mine, but I knew slower miles were coming.  I stopped to stretch at mile 18 and then set a goal to run at least 3/4 of every mile left in front of me.  I caught up to our running friends as one of them was singing!  She had been battling a cold for two weeks prior to this race so she’s a super hero for going out and giving it her all!

After a while, I kept going and the miles did seem to tick a little faster than 16-19 moved.  However, my times were still getting slower.  The crowd support was a little thinner than I remember, but the patient champions were out there with their families and that was inspiring enough to keep moving!  At mile 21 the crowd kept saying “only 5 more miles!”  Problem is, that isn’t that encouraging.  At the start of mile 26 I decided that I was going to run it in and not stop until I crossed the finish line.  I finished that mile in 9:40 and then the final .5 was an 8:55 pace.  I’m not sure why, but my watch clocked the race at 26.5 miles instead of 26.2.  I started it right when I crossed the start line and ended it when I hit the finish.  But, every mile marker I hit, my watch was .25 miles ahead after mile 2.

Just like that, all my training and hard work had come to an end.  The final result was a 4:21:03, just 1:03 over my goal time.  However, it is 26 minutes faster than my first marathon so I shaved off a minute per mile! I need to work on miles 18-25 to really improve my time.  This may or may not be my last road marathon.  I’m going to try trails for awhile and just enjoy my time running.  If the Columbus marathon teaches you anything, it is that running is a privilege that should not be taken for granted.

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T’was the week before marathon

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T’was the week before marathon when runners were making final preparations.  The training is complete, the miles have been run.  It’s time to take faith that you can get it done! As I look back on the training, I am thankful for all the miles I was able to complete.  I can’t put myself down for only running 2- 20 mile distances.  I need to just relax and enjoy the day with my friends!

I have run Columbus one other time and it is my only marathon to date.  My training was extremely lonely.  I wasn’t running with anyone and didn’t even know running groups existed in my area.  My knee gave out in my training when I attempted my first 20 miler. I was never able to break that mileage distance in training due to my knee always causing me to stop short of my distance goal.  During the race I felt great, until I hit mile 18.  My knee pinched and I immediately had to stop.  I walked/limped in pain for 7 miles. I felt completely defeated.  I didn’t want to walk across the finish line, so I would jog for a minute, walk for a minute and repeat that cycle through the last mile.  When I crossed the finish line, I was in tears.  I was so upset with myself for not finishing the way I had hoped nor the way I had planned.  At that moment, I swore I would never run another marathon again.  I would stick to the half marathons.  After all, I like that distance.

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Everything changed when I was introduced to my #RunHappy friends!  I started training with them for a half marathon that I had committed to a year in advance.  I was enjoying running again.  Fast forward and I completed 4 half marathons this year and was training with my friend to complete her marathon.  I completed some of her long runs with her and decided to just throw in the towel and run it with her.  I got a bib, ran another 20 miler in seriously gross weather conditions and started tapering.

Now, we are just 3 days away from lacing up our shoes, hitting the starting line and finishing another marathon.  The distance I swore I would never do again.  I’m not only going to toe the line and finish this thing, I’m going to do it with a lot more confidence than the first time.  I’m going to watch friends reach their goals and push their limits.  I’m going to cheer on those that finish at the back of the pack.  I’m going to enjoy race day in all its glory! Columbus truly has the most amazing crowd support and I am excited to have a better race experience.

Not only will I complete this marathon, I will complete my first ultra marathon next April!  I’ve already signed up for the Forget the PR 50K at Mohican State Park!

Look for my race report next week to hear all about Columbus!

COSI Birthday Celebrations

This past week Little B turned 2.  Where did the time go?  I swear he was just coming home from the hospital, learning to crawl, and jumping in the bouncer.  Now he is running and climbing all over the place.  He has definitely started to come into that two year old stage.  Luckily, we had H first and she was super rough at this stage, so we are prepared for B.

To celebrate his birthday, I was able to take the day off of work and take the kiddos to a museum two hours from home.  COSI was somewhere I remembered my mom taking me as a child and we always had a good time.  When I went a few years ago with my coworkers, I wasn’t as impressed.  So, I was a little nervous with how my children were going to like the experience.  I choose this museum because they have a hot wheels exhibit right now and B loves anything transports.

After the long drive, we were ready to stretch our legs and enjoy the exhibits.  First up was Hot Wheels.  There were cars and tracks everywhere! B wasn’t sure where to start and was really good about sharing the cars.  He practiced changing tires and H was able to drive the simulated race car.

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The Ocean exhibit had lots of water play experiences and a submarine that kids could go in and explore.  I would have brought extra cloths had I known about all the water play areas throughout the museum.  But, my kids were fine and didn’t get too wet.

We enjoyed a quick lunch and then went to the younger child area where there are locked gates and multiple attendants.  They check you in with the number of adults and the number of children that will be entering the space.  Once inside, the kids split and both went off to do their own thing.  Ben went straight to the fire truck, ambulance, helicopter, and train tracks.  Remember he loves transportation! Hailey went off to the farm, market stand and grocery store.  There was so much to do in just this little area that we could have spent 4 hours in there and my children would never be bored.  We explored the light/dark area together.

Finally, we enjoyed a PBS room that had a green screen.  B was too tired at this point to really enjoy it, but H and I had a great time!  We added different backgrounds with overlays and really just hit any and all buttons that we could.  At one point it was snowing in the ocean with Curious George balloons floating.  It was a hidden gem that no one else was in at the time we were there.

Alas, we had to head back home before it got to be too late.  Driving out of Columbus during peak times is not something I enjoy.  B had a great day and it is definitely a place that we will go back to in the future.

Akron Marathon Relay Recap

It was 4am on a Saturday morning.  I was up and getting ready for my race with four other like-minded people I had never met.  We had some communication via a group chat, but I only knew the name of the person that would be handing me the bracelet to continue on with our race.  I didn’t know a face, didn’t know what they would be wearing or what their estimated pace would be to know when to be at my starting point.  There were a lot of unknown variables and I was okay with it!  I just wanted to run.

This says a few things about me.  First, I’m putting myself into situations where I am forced to meet new people.  A far cry from my middle school and high school days where I would hide in the music room to eat so that I didn’t have to socialize with people for fear of what they thought about me.  Second, I was running for fun and didn’t fear being the last person.  My only attempt in Track was in elementary school and I ran the mile distance but I was almost always second to last.  My motivation was to stay ahead of the last person because they had a queasy stomach and would often throw up towards the end.  I never wanted to be puked on so I had to keep moving forward. I wonder where those track pictures are???

The morning of the race, I prepped for a long run.  I was running the third leg of the relay which was 5.4 miles and had some nasty hills.  But, I wanted to get extra miles in since I had only completed one 20 miler in my training for Columbus.  My friend and I parked, found the bathrooms and gear check and then determined the safest place for me to run.  The final portion of the marathon would be the perfect place to get in some extra miles.  I ran back and forth, back and forth, back and forth for 6.7 miles.  Then the race was starting.  I had never experienced Akron’s Marathon before, so I went to the end of the starting corrals and watched the runners take off.  Then I set off to complete a few more circles around the block to get another 2.3 miles, putting my pre-race running at 9 miles.

Now, to sit and wait.  Since I had put in extra miles, I was starting to get really chilled.  About an hour into the race I received a text from the first runner that their leg was complete and the second person was off and running.  I estimated the second runner would be about an hour. I didn’t want to run the block anymore because runners were starting to come in and hand off to their teammates.  Remember, I had no idea who I was looking for to begin with so I definitely didn’t want to risk missing my handoff.  The announcer was calling off relay bibs left and right.  It was confusing, but I eventually heard 220 and so I set up in the relay lane.  After running 9 miles and now freezing where my toes were tingling, I was not prepared to “race” this relay leg.  My teammate found me and I was off.

I started and knew I needed to get moving to warm my body back up.  My start was at mile 12, so the half marathon finishers were getting ready to break off and go into the finish line.  Within half a mile I hit my stride and was feeling good.  My toes were still numb, but they were coming around.  I finished the first mile at an 8:42 pace and started the climb for the second mile.  I was determined to make it up the first big hill, after all I have been attempting Harmon Hill of death.  I made it up Market and hit mile two at 8:56 pace.  Heading up another long hill, I was feeling fatigued.  I walked a portion, and as IMG_4254soon as I could, I started running again.  Mile three finished much slower at a 9:42 pace.  Now the fun started.  There were people out eating breakfast on their lawns, champagne and macaroons, gummy bears, and just a lot more crowd interaction.  We had some downhill in this mile and I finished mile 4 with an 8:40 pace.  One more big climb and then I was done with hills, mile 5 was a 9:22 pace.  The last .4 of a mile I was able to push myself down a straight away.  I knew I was nearing the end of my relay leg and would be handing off to another complete stranger.  I knew what this person was wearing at least! I finished my leg with an average pace of 9:02/mi. which I will gladly take when I consider the hills.  My overall mileage for the day was 14.4 miles.

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Team Soaring Eagles meeting for the first time!

I had a great time and during the finishers festival I was finally able to meet my fellow teammates!  Well, three out of four. It was a great experience and definitely something I would do again.  I just want to do a different leg of the race LOL!

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HRC Wizards in the Wild! #somuchgood