It’s time to recap the Columbus Half Marathon!
I desperately wanted to write this post yesterday, but the thing about being a Mother Runner who works full time is that life can get in the way of the best laid plans. I had a busy work day yesterday coupled with a sad little boy and, oh, some really, really sore legs. I have a lull in an otherwise jam-packed day today, so here’s what I am able to remember and piece together from my 13.1 mile race in Columbus, Ohio on October 20, 2013.
Mile 0: On Saturday morning, I ran my 15-minute shake out in the cold October drizzle. Then we packed up the rest of our things and headed off to Columbus. It rained the entire drive into the city, stopping as we neared the Expo. I got to meet Darris Blackford, Race Director, with the other Instagram Ambassadors.
I then picked up my race bib, official long-sleeved Nike t-shirt and swag bag, two stuffed Snoopy dolls from Kohl’s Cares, two noise makers from the Ronald McDonald House, and two shirts from the official store. I wanted to look for some jewelry, but the temperature in the Expo was high and the two youngest kids in the family were hungry, so we headed to our hotel, the Sheraton Columbus Hotel at Capitol Square. We chose this hotel because it was a block and a half from the starting line and less than a mile from the finish. Winning.
We ate a pasta dinner at Trinity Episcopal Church, checked out the starting line, sent the boys off to my parents’ hotel room for the night, and went to bed early. (Thanks, ZzzQuil!) I woke up at 5:00, ate some dry Cheerios, got dressed, and walked to the starting line with my sister-in-law who I ran with, her husband and mine.
Jess met us in Corral B. As the corral filled with more people, the bodies blocked the wind and we stopped shivering so much.
THEN THERE WERE FIREWORKS! It was time to run.
Mile 1: We crossed the starting line and ran. My best pace during this mile was 8:17 which is obviously way too fast for me. The route stayed crowded during this mile and we had to hop, skip, and jump over discarded shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, gloves, and hats. (All donated to Goodwill.) For the majority of the first mile, I couldn’t feel my legs. Frozen solid. Not necessarily a bad thing! Split: 9:55.
Mile 2: We hopped over a dead squirrel early in Mile 2. My sister-in-law said, “That’s what happens when Corral A runs by!” I snort laughed and we ran on. My legs un-froze as did my feet, except for my pinky toe on my right foot. It was still frozen and felt really weird in my toe socks. It didn’t hurt, it was just really weird. Split: 9:32!
Mile 3: Between Miles 3 and 4, we ran up a swanky street where the Governor’s Mansion resides. (Note: Best sign with relation to the Governor: “You’re running better than our Governor!” True facts!) The sun filtered through the golden leaves, and I was awe struck by the beautiful morning light. Split: 9:31!
Mile 4: I think we passed a photographer at this point. I hope he caught me smiling, because I was! Split: 9:39
Mile 5: At this point, I got a weird crick in my ankle, like it need to pop. Ever tried to pop your ankle while running? I bet I looked awesome. My sister-in-law was fighting knee pain by this point as well. Split: 9:38.
Mile 6: The pain moved from my ankle to my right hip flexor. And stayed there. Plus, a nice incline into Mile 7. Also, I saw a train, so I won. Split: 9:38 again.
Mile 7: I was glad we were over halfway done since most of Mile 7 was a continued incline from the end of 6 into Mile 8… which showed up in my speed. Split: 9:54.
Mile 8: I started to get excited during Mile 8 because I knew my family would be waiting just after Mile 9 as we turned onto 3rd Street. My excitement manifested itself in more smiles and giving high fives, especially to little kids along the course. Split: 9:52.
Mile 9: I wish I could adequately explain how overjoyed I felt when I saw my family along 3rd Street. It was the boost I needed at the time I needed it. The boys’ smiles were so big. My dad’s voice was so loud. And my husband… oh, I love that guy. I pretty much always want someone I love to be at Mile 9. Split: 9:32.
Mile 10: But the elation quickly wore off and I hit my Mile 10 wall. I started to feel the distance and the pain and the sunshine. I got a little too warm. I got a little bit frustrated. But I kept on keeping on, because what else are you going to do? Split: 9:54.
Mile 11: My sister-in-law encouraged me in a few places along this mile, because I was struggling to keep pace. Split: 9:48
Mile 12: No recollection. Why? Around 12.34, I decided after struggling for the first .34 of the mile, we needed to kick it into high gear and finish the dang race. And so… we kicked it into high gear. This is the one thing I would suggest that the Columbus Marathon change for future events: Mile 12 is also the Angel Mile, in memory of those children who have already run their race. As I was only running the Half Marathon, Mile 12 was my Get My Butt In Gear and Finish This Race. I have no recollection of anything Angel-Mile-related and that saddens me as I had been looking forward to it prior to the race. Moving it up even one mile (but perhaps two), I would have been able to focus on the meaning of the mile just a bit more. Split (was not great as that first .34 killed me): 9:53. A note on this: You can tell on my playback on Garmin when I kicked it into gear because I went from 10:39 pace to 8:13. When I kick it into gear, I kick it into gear. Get out of my way!
Case in point: I didn’t see or hear my family, whom I passed directly in front of, as I was blinded by my desire to get. to. the. finish. right. now. I thought they missed me, but I missed them!
Mile 13: I struggled to maintain my Super Speed, but pushed hard. Split: 9:36
Point One (nine, as my Garmin recorded 13.19 miles total): Here’s where I admit something embarrassing. As I neared the balloons at the end of the race, pushing for that Point One down the last stretch, I maybe peed my pants a little bit. And not because I had to pee so bad, just because I’m a woman who carried three babies to full term. It wasn’t a lot of pee, but it was a little bit of pee. Split: 1:30.
Official time: 2:07:56 — PERSONAL RECORD
I beat my previous Half Marathon time by just under nine minutes. And that was my goal: To beat my previous time and to have fun. I achieved both. In spades. Or, you know, medals.
We got our medals, made our way through the finish line area to get water, chocolate milk, and a bag of treats (banana being the one thing I desperately wanted). Our only complaint (and not mine, but my sister-in-law’s) was that the bathrooms were not set up close to the finish line. You had to make your way all the way through the drinks and food and on beyond the Family Reunion area. This wasn’t an issue for me as my body just shuts down the bathroom department while running, but some people really have to GO after a race. I found my family while waiting next to the G-J last name flag.
And I learned one post-race lesson the hard way: Accept the mylar blanket. I didn’t take one because I was very, very hot after pushing from 12.34 in long sleeves and in sunshine (and, you know, running 13.1 miles) and I don’t like the texture/feel or sound of mylar. I was fine waiting for my family in the sun, but on the walk back in the shadows of tall buildings with the wind whipping around corners? Well. I got really cold. And I never get cold. But I was teeth chattering, kind of dizzy/woozy cold. It was a bad scene. Hooray for hot showers!
And here you can listen to me whine about my sore legs:
Yes, I’m sore. So. Sore.
I loved running the Columbus Half Marathon. I am grateful to the Columbus Marathon team, and especially their social media team as they really hit it out of the park with great pre-, during-, and post-race interaction on various forms of social media. They really deserve big kudos as this is the most involved I’ve seen a team been in race events. I am also forever thankful to my family and friends who supported me through my training and racing journey. You make all the difference… more than you know.
I have a ten mile race coming up and then a break… before the 2014 season begins!