Race Recap: Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon, 2015

Race Recap: Columbus Marathon, 2015

I ran the Columbus Marathon yesterday. I had a great experience, from pre-race to afterward. I’d love to tell you about it.


This was our third year hitting the Columbus Marathon Expo, so we knew our way through the Convention Center and expo hall. My Min volunteer was so nice, I could have talked to him for an hour. We picked up our shirts and bags, stopped at a few booths, and headed back out. We had some coffee at The Chintz Room before we checked into our hotel; they were playing football, on mute, with great showtunes through their bar speakers. It was the best ever.

Checking in at our hotel took quite some time. The Doubletree didn’t plan well for a 4:00pm check in time on a marathon, wedding, and home OSU night game day. We waited in line for 15-20 minutes, only to be told our request for a late checkout would not be honored even though we’re Hilton Honors Members. I think we’ll choose a different hotel the next time we stay in Columbus.

We ate at Elevator Brewery again, which was great. I tried a Dark Force, which I recommend, and had the spinach fettucine, which I also recommend. We watched Michigan State win and Penn State start to lose before we went to sleep.

The alarm went off at 5:30 AM and we started getting ready for the race. It was 29 degree that morning, so I put on my race outfit…

Race Recap: Columbus Marathon, 2015

…and over that, I layered an old pair of paint-splotched yoga pants, a pink tech-jacket that I don’t wear anymore, and a pair of throwaway gloves from a previous race. The walk to the starting line was a quick walk from our hotel. My husband and I were in separate corrals (he had an A start! Fasty McFaster) so we gave kisses and headed off in separate directions.

The C-corral porta-potty situation was on point. We had a U-shaped area with—get this—no line. I walked straight into one, which was very clean. I then went and stood in my spot. Right before the National Anthem, I took off the yoga pants and tossed them to the side (they collect and donate the clothes runners toss off). I wish I would have kept them until C-corral started moving forward. Also: Runners, remove your hats during the National Anthem. Yes, I mean all of you. I don’t care if it will mess up your hairdo. It’s a race, not a pageant.

They did a special set of fireworks for Corral C’s start, and we were off!

Mile by Mile

Miles 1-4.5

I crossed the starting line at 7:40. My legs felt fresh—and cold. I didn’t ever feel extremely cold during this portion, but enjoyed the spots with sunshine more than the mostly shaded areas. As the sun was still rising, the shady spots outnumbered the sunny spots. I ditched my gloves somewhere before the turn into four miles. I felt so strong and so happy that I almost skipped my first walking break. I didn’t, figuring I’d need the energy for later in the marathon. Sometimes I’m smart.

Miles 5-9

I ditched my jacket before the photographer around mile 5. I almost kept it with me, but I knew from running the Columbus half marathon twice before that the photographer was coming up. As I was already sweating and I wanted my number to be visible, I ditched it. I debated tying it around my waist but thought it might bother me; I’ll regret this later. We passed Children’s Hospital in between miles 8 and 9, and I took a photo of my Children’s Champions sign.

Race Recap: Columbus Marathon, 2015

While running, so excuse the blur.

I didn’t want to walk at my next break yet, but I did it anyway. I make smart choices sometimes.

Miles 9.5-13.5

A trip through German Village is always nice. I specifically made myself take note of the Angel Mile this year, acknowledging each parent holding up a sign. There’s a slow hill up into the 12th mile. As I had with the slow hill through mile 9, I repeated to myself, “I trained on hills much bigger than this. I run hills. I can do this.” Minus two (small) hills that happened to fall during scheduled walk breaks, I ran every second of every hill.

I expected to feel distraught when the half marathoners made their turn to the finish while I kept going. In fact, I took a photo on our way to dinner the night before, stating how I’d hate this point in the race the next day.

Race Recap: Columbus Marathon, 2015

I didn’t. I still felt strong. I was still enjoying the race. The numbers really dropped off at this point. I took my next scheduled walk break without questioning my plan.

Miles 14-18


Listen, I love the Columbus Marathon but the trek through campus feels underwhelming. There were no crowds. There were no bands. This was a dead zone. If I had been a first time marathoner, having a giant dead zone so soon after the split from the half marathoners might have felt defeating. I just kept going. This was the first time I actually walked a water stop so I could have a Gatorade in one hand and a water in the other. I began longing for my walk break at 18.

Miles 18.5-22

And my wheels fell off. As soon as I stared running after my scheduled walk break, I knew that I was going to have to formulate a new plan if I wanted to finish at all, let alone with a PR. I still stood a chance to hit my A-goal, which I never officially announced out of fear I wouldn’t make it. (Spoiler: I didn’t.) During this stretch, I decided to run between the water breaks, walk the fluid station and for a bit after as my stomach was starting to hurt when I began running too quickly after cold fluids.

There was also a significant incline into mile 20. I just kept shuffling. Some lovely spectators let us know when it ended so we could keep on moving. I remember hearing, “Just two more blocks and then it starts back downhill!” I was running, really desperately wanting some water again, when I ran into Uncle Crappy in Upper Arlington. It was so great to see him and gave me the boost I needed to get to the next water station.

I thought a lot of awful thoughts through this stretch. Most of them revolved around supposed or alleged failure. I considered quitting. I cursed all the things.

Miles 22.5-26.2

At 22.5, a cold wind started blowing directly at me—while walking. If you’ve been running for four-some hours and a cold wind blows at you while you’re moving slower and using less energy than before, you’ll feel cold. I missed that jacket I tossed off way back in the first six miles. I missed my gloves. I missed the yoga pants I walked to the starting line while wearing. I missed being warm.

At mile 23, I started in with my last altered “plan.” You have a lot of time to come up with new plans while you’re walking and freezing to death. I would run all of mile 23. At mile 24, I would allow myself to walk the WHOLE mile in order to find energy to run the entire last mile and point two. And so I ran ALL of mile 23. Surprise, surprise, I warmed up. Once inside the next mile, I walked a little bit, but found that I felt surprisingly great. I overcame the wall that I hit between 18-22. That feeling felt especially empowering. So I started running again. When I got to the final water station, I did walk long enough to drink one cup of water, throw it in a receptacle (instead of missing; sorry, volunteers), and to just before the sign for mile 25.

And then I ran.

I ran hard. I had something left to give, so I gave it. I left it all on the pavement.

Just before the last turn toward the finish line, I found my husband in the crowd. He had time to go shower, check out of the hotel, get coffee, and come back down to cheer me on at the finish as he finished his half marathon in 1:51:20. (His new PR!) I waved, gave him a quick high five, and continued pushing hard.

I pushed all the way through the finish, which you can watch here. (I’m waving to Diane in the approach video. She was at the media tent as she now works for Nationwide Children’s, which is so awesome.) I am so proud of my finish, especially in light of the wall miles.


I felt a little woozy due to how hard I pushed for the last mile point two, so I walked slowly forward for a bit. The volunteer who put the medal around my neck very kindly said, “You’re a marathoner.” I was prior to yesterday, but I cried all over again. In fact, I just cried writing it now. I’m a marathoner. It blows my mind every single time. I then accepted my foil blanket. I learned the lesson to take the mylar blanket the hard way at the 2013 Columbus Marathon, and with my very cold 22nd mile experience, I wrapped myself in the blanket. I took some water, drank a bit, and took a selfie.

Race Recap: Columbus Marathon, 2015

I had my official picture taken. I accepted all the free goodies, except for the yogurt because nope. They gave us a handy little bag, sponsored by White Castle, to put all the goodies into before they handed us all the goodies. This is the smartest thing ever. I just kind of held my bag out and volunteers put bagels and bananas in the bag. I found it difficult to walk, hold the bag and blanket, and think, so the help from the little baggie and the amazing volunteers was greatly appreciated.

I walked out of the finishers chute, found my husband…

Race Recap: Columbus Marathon, 2015

…and began the slow walk back to our car in the hotel’s parking garage. I was really bummed that Jimmy John’s was out of free sandwiches to hand out to runners by the time I finished. I know I was a beginning of the back of the packer, but man, I really wanted a sandwich. When I heard my husband got one earlier, I gave him the stink eye, but it wasn’t his fault. He ran the half, and quickly. Jimmy John’s should have planned for back of the pack runners. My husband’s response is: “I’ll never run the full Columbus Marathon. I’ll run the half so I can get my Jimmy John’s.” Smarty pants.

Race Feedback

I have very little negative race feedback. The race itself is extremely well-organized. The social media is off the charts. The expo was lovely, and if I’d had more money to burn, I’d have bought all the things. The shirts, while colored by gender, are a great weight and fit. (And yes, I do like pink. I just want one shirt for everyone so it looks like I ran the same race as my husband. Don’t pinkify my stuff just to make it “girly.” This is a current race trend, not just in Columbus, and it needs to end.)

Here’s my negative note: Someone needs to do something about bikes on the course. I know there’s a bike tour for spectators, but between the spectators ON THE ROAD WITH US and the coaches biking ON THE ROAD WITH US beside their runners and random people just trying to bike around the city, things got dicey more than once. I was more annoyed with the coaches biking next to their runners than with the spectators, though a number of spectators were NOT looking where they were going and nearly ran into runners when they would start moving again. The coaches, offering everything from water to salt to chews to fresh shoes, really bothered me. I get it. Some dude paid for that dude to follow him. But hey, I’d like some water, too. I’m dying over here. You could tell me how much fat I’m burning, too. That’d be nice. Can you offer me a “good job” or something? If it had been just one coach with one guy, maybe I wouldn’t have felt so annoyed. But goodness.

Other than the bike/coach problem, I still feel this will remain my favorite course. They’ve done such a good job with the course itself, making the entire weekend a special event, and staying involved on social media. If you’re considering this as a race, I can assure you it’s worth it.

I wish I could adequately explain how I adore this race. It will forever hold a place in my heart, and, for now, holds my PR in both the half marathon and the full marathon. Not too shabby, Columbus.


The Land of Nod, design for kids and people that used to be kids

Race Recap: 2015 Pittsburgh Half Marathon

Race Recap: 2015 Pittsburgh Half Marathon

My Pittsburgh Half Marathon experience didn’t go quite as expected. While I never stated a goal other than wanting to run the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I hoped to run well. I didn’t think I would PR and beat my 2014 Columbus Half Marathon time, but I thought I might come in between my 2013 Columbus Half Marathon and my 2013 Cleveland Half Marathon. Cleveland was my first and, prior to this race, my slowest.

When I checked the weather at 5:20 as we prepared to leave the Omni William Penn for the VIP Start Area at the Westin, the temperature was already 54 degrees. I should have known. I should have realized what that meant for my run. I should have taken the whole morning very conservatively.

But hindsight is 20/20, I suppose.

Race Recap: 2015 Pittsburgh Half Marathon

Miles 1-2: I ran these two as a “warm up” with my husband as he hoped to pace between 10:30-11:00

Miles 3-4: I ran too fast, but hear me out. After I left my husband, I felt good. I felt great. Everything you hope to feel for race day I felt. My goal was to find the 2:10 pace team, but it was going to be a hard find as they started ahead of us in the corral and we’d been pacing slower the first two miles. But I caught ’em. I then slowed into their pace and planned on sticking with them for the duration of the race. I grabbed a water at 3.6 miles, managing to choke-jog through the fluid station without much issue.

Miles 5-6: I ran with the 2:10 pace team without much issue. Both miles paced at exactly 9:51, and I felt great. I grabbed a Gatorade and a water at mile 6.1. I started to take note of the heat, but still felt strong.

Mile 7: Up the West End Bridge, I fell off the 2:10 pace team just a bit. I took notice that the sun was really starting to beat down, but once up into the West End, the shade cooled me down. I came out and around the bend toward Station Square…

Mile 8: …and my wheels just didn’t fall off; they exploded. The sun was relentless coming down into Station Square. I ended up walking for a bit, doing some math, and realizing that not only would I fail to PR but I ran a big risk of running my slowest half marathon ever. Then I cried for a bit. Then I ran for a bit. I walked through the mile 8 fluid station. I thought about pulling my phone out and canceling my full marathon registration for Columbus in October. I felt like I disappointed everyone, including myself.

Mile 9: I attempted to run a bit, walk a bit, but I was still too overheated for much progress. I started to get cold chills. My ears started the throbbing thing. And, whoa, my hands started to swell—not just a little bit, but painfully so. And then! My husband caught up with me. At least he caught up with me during a section that I was attempting to run again, but I felt so embarrassed. And then I felt even worse. I sent him on ahead, returned to walking, and cried a bit more. I finished up the mile with a run section and a stop at the fluid station at 9.9. I went with two Gatorades, three cups of water to drink, and two cups of water over my shoulders/front/back.

Mile 10: I started to cool down a bit due to the extra water, so I went back to running. Very slowly. Shortly before the water station at 10.6, I ran into BurghBaby, 3Weasels, Mila, and Alexis. I spotted them before they spotted me, but I knew they would be hanging out round about that location. I stopped for a brief moment to show them my sausage fingers and give hugs. They reassured me I could do it, and while I didn’t quite believe them at the time, I ran off anyway. I walked the water station and continued running.

Mile 11: You know, the Birmingham Bridge is a Jagoff. I saw a sign right before we crossed it that read, “I got 99 problems but a bridge ain’t one.” FOR REAL. Anyway, I ran most of the way to the top, walking for a series of steps when the sun felt like it was too much for me, and resuming when I felt okay. As we crossed the top and started down the other side, two EMS officials were helping a downed woman. They already had an IV in and were giving her fluids. It was at this point that I started to realize my walk breaks weren’t the worst thing in the world.

Mile 12: Uphill. I staggered walking with running up the hill. I struggled a little, but I knew that taking it easy was the only way to survive the still rising temps. A young group of happy marathon spectators offered free beer to runners at this point, but I decided I would throw up five feet from drinking one and opted not to accept. Bummer. Instead, I just hit the water station at 12.2 and repeated the drinking and pouring.

Mile 13 and Point 1: After cresting the seemingly un-ending but not-as-steep-as-the-marathon-course uphill, the finish line was immediately visible. As I headed toward the finish line, I made a choice to speed up just a little but not too much. I picked a point in which I would then surge to the finish. I crossed the finish line strong and a bit overheated, but cooler thanks to the water I chose to pour at the last two water stations.

Time: 2:27:00


I walked through the amazingly secure and organized finisher’s chute very slowly. I accepted Gatorade, water, a banana, and a Smiley Cookie. I saved the cookie for my kids, but consumed the rest myself.

As I accepted my medal, I thought about how hard I fought for that medal. The winter of doom training. The long hours away from my kids. I thought about the hard year I had; the loss, the challenges, the surgery, the difficulty. I thought about the people who supported me through all of that, the ones who donated to my race, the ones who held me up when I couldn’t hold myself up, the ones who believed in me.

And I deemed the race a success.

I went and changed, ate a little something, and charged my phone in the VIP Experience lounge. Then I went to wait for my husband at the finish line. His shared location through our iPhones had him pinging all the way to Shaler, so it was hard to know exactly when he’d be coming across the finish line, but I timed it pretty close. Thankfully I had a little extra time, because I realized I left our car key, which I’d carried in my running skirt, in the VIP bathroom. When I went to find it, I found Kim, but not my key. The front desk had it, however, and I still made it back to the finish line to meet my husband.

What’s the first thing he said when he finished his first full marathon?

“I don’t know how you did that.” And he hugged me hard and tight. And I cried some more, but tears of pride. For him. For me. For us both. I felt so full of pride I could burst.

Race Recap: 2015 Pittsburgh Half Marathon

I got him into the Wyndham, bought him a beer, got him some food, and sent him off to change. After heading out of Pittsburgh via Ohio River Boulevard (no 376/Green Tree detour! no traffic!), we spent the rest of the day at The Farm with friends and family, celebrating the finishing of two big races, my birthday that just passed and my husband’s which is about to arrive.

Race Recap: 2015 Pittsburgh Half Marathon
Hot tub and a drink? Yes, please!

Today I worked, picked up the dog, helped out at LittleBrother’s baseball practice, and ran a recovery mile in the rain. Tomorrow is another day, another chance to run my own race.

I want to thank Our Clubhouse PA for the work they do for families dealing with cancer, P3R for the great event and for having me again as an Official Pittsburgh Marathon blogger, my friends and family for their support, and my husband for training with me, pushing me to be my best, and loving me like whoa.

Will I run another Pittsburgh Half? I guess we’ll see! Or, as they say, #GameOnPGH!


Please check out the rest of the Official Pittsburgh Marathon Bloggers to see how their races went.


Race Recap: The Columbus Half Marathon Weekend, Including the Highlights Kids’ Run

This will be a long post as it covers the entire Columbus Marathon weekend, including the Highlights Kids’ Run.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

We dropped our dog off on the way into Columbus at All Tails R Waggin. I strongly recommend this place! We arrived in Columbus around 11:30 AM and had no trouble getting around road closures to find a parking spot close to North Bank Park where the Highlights Kids’ Race was being held. We hit the porta-potties lined up near the C-Corral before making our way into the park. We quickly found the registration booth, collected the boys’ nice backpacks filled with Highlights stuff, and went off to do the passport program they had set up with three different booths.

Our first stop was a bike safety booth where the kids got new, free bike helmets. We were so surprised and happy. The team at this booth worked hard to find a helmet that fit every kid that came to their booth. It was so amazing. Then we stopped at the firefighter booth to learn about fire safety… which my kids were pros at, obviously. Then there was also a water and health booth. They got a bunch of cute and useful free things (a new water bottle, some toys). I loved this aspect of the day because it gave the kids something to do while we waited in the cold wind. The wind was brutal on Saturday and everyone kept commenting that they hoped it died down for the race the next day.

My parents showed up as we waited in line for face painting. LittleBrother went with a pirate theme, complete with eye patch and mustache. He asked if he could wear it to school on Monday. BigBrother simply went with a mustache which he made dance around by wiggling his nose. My mother- and sister-in-law showed up with our nephew Noah before the parade of kids and families, which made for a great time.

Before the Race

With the Race Sign

The parade walked around the kids’ expo area and onto the race course where the kids would run. This was a little confusing and many parents felt uneasy leaving their kids with someone they didn’t know with no real understanding of how the races would be run or how we would retrieve our kids. The parents of the younger kids (3-5 age group) were especially wary. LittleBrother was also wary, asking me at this point if he had to do the kids’ race next year. I said he could do what he wanted next year. The gentleman in charge of the 6-8 age group reassured us and we gave the boys the best instructions we could… and we went and waited down the course from the starting line to watch them run. They did a loop and ran back to where they started.

The boys did great, both running stronger and faster than I had ever seen them run. (Pics of running here.) We quickly walked to the finish to find them and did so with ease. We waited with them while they got a banana and their medals.

Later in the day, LittleBrother asked if he could run the kids’ race again next year because he had so much fun. So despite everyone feeling a little anxious about the confusion, my two kids still enjoyed the race. I imagine we’ll do it again!

We then separated. My parents took the kids back to their hotel (they stayed at the Renaissance and had great customer service) while my husband and I went to the Expo at the Greater Columbus Convention Center which I always forget is gigantic. Having run Columbus last year and having looked at the map of the Expo prior to arrival, I knew that the packet pickup was upstairs. We walked straight to the back of the Expo, went up stairs, retrieved our race packets, and stopped at the Corral Solutions booth. Despite registering with the same goal time, they placed my husband in Corral C and me in Corral B. Our pace group was in Corral B. We explained this to the man at the booth, and he placed a B sticker over the C on my husband’s bib. We were at the booth less than two minutes. We picked up our shirts and goodie bags and hit the downstairs Expo.


My husband was in search of a pair of new shoes for his next pair of running shoes. While a bunch of knowledgeable people were there from Fleet Feet, Columbus Running, and other brand name shoes, no one brought a wide selection of wide shoes. My husband needs a shoe with a very wide toe box and struggles to find a shoe that fits properly. We learned that Mizuno Wave Riders may be his best bet, but they didn’t have his size in the right width. The search continues. I bought some shirts at the official store and checked out a few more booths before we decided to head on out.

I loved this Nike “Girls Gotta Run” shirt so much I bought the short sleeve and the sweatshirt.

We checked into our hotel, the Double Tree Downtown Columbus, and rested in our amazingly awesome room for a bit. Then we headed to dinner. I made reservations for our whole party at 5pm at Elevator Brewing. I made them early because: A) My four person family eats early anyway, B) all of the people in the city for the race, C) all of the people in the city for the OSU game that would be ending shortly that evening, D) race day eve requires early bedtime, so I wanted to eat and get back to our hotel. It started sprinkling on our walk there, and the wind was whipping around buildings.

Our dinners were amazing. LittleBrother picked the chorizo nachos for an appetizer which ended up being a delicious pick. I ordered the drunken mussels linguine which was the perfect portion size of pasta, a delicious taste, and didn’t have red sauce. I can’t eat red sauce the night before a race or it’s heartburn city while running. Our entire party, kids included, loved their meals. The building was amazing, and our waitress, Sam, treated us so well. BigBrother ordered on his own, and possibly flirted with Sam the waitress. All the same, both boys loved their root beers which were made at the restaurant.

Drunken Mussels Linguine
My dinner. OMGSOGOOD.

After dinner, the boys went to the hotel with my parents while my husband and I dodged rain drops on our way back to our hotel. We watched TV for a bit, took hot showers, and I dried my hair before taking Zzzquil at 8:30. I was asleep before 8:45.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The alarm went off at 5:00. I attempted to start the coffee, but the coffee pot in our room was broken. I muttered and grumbled and decided to quit. I drank water and had some BelVita honey bars while getting dressed. I did some last minute debating on what I was wearing. Should I wear the new long sleeve I bought just before race weekend or should I just trust my tank, shorts, and arm warmers would be enough? I decided to trust my gut, but felt pleased that I tossed my new running gloves in at the last minute. I also had a throwaway hoodie to wear down to the corrals while we waited.

Sadly, my husband couldn’t get the coffee pot to work either when he got up 15 minutes later. We grumbled, got dressed, and left our room around 6:00. The walk to North Bank Park didn’t take long at all. The signage wasn’t clear about where to enter corrals, but we eventually found the entrance to Corral B.

I’d show you a photo here, but MarathonFoto says my images aren’t ready to download even though they already took my money. That’s cool of them, isn’t it? Never again.

Groups of people were huddled around heaters just outside the corrals. We decided to just enter our corral and hang out for a bit. My husband stretched while I internally debated whether or not I should hit the porta-potties down the hill from A and B or not. I chose not to, but really started to doubt my decision as 7:00 rolled around. At 7:15 I took off my hoodie and tossed it over the fence. The corral was crowded enough at this point that I didn’t feel too chilly. My husband made a comment that he would bring a sweatshirt or hoodie to toss next year too—even though I mentioned it to him before hand this year. The lessons we learn. (All tossed clothing is collected by Goodwill and donated.)

The national anthem kicked everything off, and the fireworks were even better than last year. Soon we were off across the starting line and running our half marathon.

Mile 1

Oops. Too fast. If you look at every race I’ve ever run, my first mile is always too fast. I suppose the ability to NOT TO comes with time and experience, but I’m not there yet. It was very crowded and my husband and I kept bumping into each other. I was actually surprised we were running that fast, because it felt like we were going nowhere.Split: 9:11

Mile 2

Oops. Too fast. At the start of this mile, my husband pointed out that we took the first mile too fast. I shrugged and said, “It happens.” But we didn’t slow down much. The weather was glorious, we had warmed up, the sun was rising, and everything felt perfect. We were coming down a small grade at this point, so slowing down just didn’t happen. We saw our family at the Presbyterian church just before the two mile marker. I think they were surprised to see us so early because we saw them before they saw us. I was thrilled to see them. I took off my gloves before the end of mile 2, tucking them into the front of my Fuel Belt (causing a bruise before the end of the race). Split: 9:20

Us at Mile 2
I think my husband is one of those “look at this super happy attractive guy running a marathon” type people. Meanwhile, I’m just open-mouthed, catching flies.

Mile 3

More slight downhill grade. Feeling great. Saw a sign that said “No Walken Allowed” with a photo of Christopher Walken, and laughed out loud. At the point, the pack leaders were passing us on their loop back toward the city. Many of us made jokes that we were running that fast too. Did not slow down. Split: 9:12

Mile 4

I loved this section last year and loved it again this year. It’s just so gorgeous back in this area. Apparently gorgeous enough to continue speeding up. I took off my arm warmers before the end of mile 4, tucking them into the sides of my Fuel Belt. Split: 9:01

Mile 5 This mile started with a slight uphill. As we worked hard to get up it, we passed a wheelchair racer struggling to get up the hill. We cheered him on. His name was Brad and everyone around us cheered for him. I hope Brad did well. Once to the top of the hill, we came back down. Split: 9:04

Mile 6


Did not slow down. Split: 9:04

Mile 7

Ah, mile 7. It starts on a weird back section and begins a slow, steady but low grade uphill climb. It affected our pace a little, but we still felt really strong. Split: 9:32

Mile 8

I knew we were coming back up on where we would see our family again, but I didn’t know where. The hill was still affecting our pace, but I felt really great. I just kept running. Split: 9:43

Mile 9

We saw our family just after we crossed the 8 mile marker and that gave us a great boost, even though a guy ran into me as we saw my family and then is in between us in the second picture. It’s funny now; it wasn’t then. We felt strong. We looked good. All was well. Until just after when things started to not feel so great. Split: 9:24

Crashin’ into your side…

…photobombin’ your pictures.

Mile 10

After we passed Nationwide Children’s Hospital, one of the highlights of the whole race, The Suck started to settle in. It was at this point that I thought to myself, “Why on EARTH would I EVER do another FULL marathon? This is awful! This is no good!” My husband made his first complaint, that his hips were starting to hurt. I finally ate some Sport Beans which took forever to chew because of the cold temperatures. Pace took the first big hit. Split: 9:44

Mile 11

Down through German Village, I’ve got nothing. I was struggling to keep up with my husband, falling behind him and trailing him and then pushing back up to be next to him when I felt I could again. Another big pace hit. Split: 10:04

Mile 12

So, running from the beginning of mile 11 to the beginning of mile 12 is a low grade incline up High Street. They moved the Angel Mile to this mile, and I tried to focus on the groups of families on the side cheering for us—these families who have lost their children, their babies. I waved when I could, I said prayers for their hearts. And I really started to doubt whether I would get my PR or not. I started trying to do math in my head, but doing math while running and hitting your physical wall is nearly impossible. So I whined at my husband that I didn’t think I’d get it. I even told him to go ahead if he wanted. He gave me “the look” and we just kept running. Still not a great pace. Split: 10:01

Mile 13

There’s something about passing the mile 12 marker that makes you realize, “OH HEY! I CAN DO THIS!” So we sped back up. Splitting off from the marathon and turning left on Long Street was a great feeling. We passed our family down around a bend just before the finish which gave us a great boost as we pushed it to the end. Split: 9:25

There We Go!
There we go!


My GPS had us running .42 instead of .1, which is likely attributed to turns being taken wide on occasion and back and forth from one side of the road to the other on occasion. We pushed and finished strong. I felt great as we crossed the finish line. Split: 8:38 pace

Time: 2:06:21 — a new Personal Record!
Pace for 13.1: 9:39 // Pace for 13.42: 9:25

My husband ended up with a finishing time of 2:06:22 and we figured out why. He wore his bib pinned across his stomach. I wore my bib pinned across my chest as I had my fuel belt strapped across my waist. In short: My boobs crossed the finish line before my husband’s stomach. That’s the most epic thing I’ve ever heard. Ever.

The finisher’s chute was a bit disappointing as the medals were not ready when we crossed the finish line, though the explanation offered by Race Director Darris Blackford shows what an effort was made to get the medals there at all. We got our blankets and a handy sticker to keep sides taped together so they wouldn’t fall off. We then skipped our official finisher photos since we didn’t have our medals. We got water, chocolate milk, Gatorade, a banana, a cookie, a bagel, and a bag that contained chips, pretzels, and two granola bars. Our family texted us at this point to tell us they were under a tree next to the G-J family reunion flag. Once we figured out where the flags were, we located our family immediately.

We hugged and did all of the congratulatory stuff. Then, since we didn’t have our medals still, we sent the families back to the hotel since we didn’t know how long we would wait. We only waited about five more minutes before someone walked by with a medal. We asked her where to go and she pointed us in the direction and explained the process. We had to show our bibs and then were handed our medal, still in the plastic wrap. It was a little anti-climactic; there’s something about crossing the finish line and having a volunteer hang your medal over you head. It’s usually a very emotional moment. This process was void of emotion…

…so my husband and I made our own emotion. I unwrapped the one in my hand and hung it around my husband’s neck. I told him that I was so proud of him for all of his training and thanked him for helping me push through The Suck out on the course. He unwrapped mine and hung it around my neck, telling me he was more proud of me than I was of him—because we’re nothing if not competitive. We kissed. Even now I’m choking up thinking about the hours we put in, together and apart, to train for this race; how he agreed to run it with me as a present to me. I am so loved by and in love with him. So, no, it wasn’t your typical “get your race medal” experience, but we made it a special moment and I will remember it for the rest of my life.

Then we stopped a nice woman to take our picture. She laughed and said, “Goodness, you two are so photogenic.” I kind of wanted to kiss her with my sweat crusted face, but I figured she meant him more than me. Yep. She did. He’s so handsome.


We then made the easy and quick walk back to our hotel, showered, changed, and checked out of our hotel. The Double Tree gives you a parking voucher for their garage if you stay, so that was a nice little bonus to our weekend! We had no problems driving from our hotel to my parents’ as the course had opened back up (we checked out AT noon). We parked on Gay Street, walked to their hotel to get everyone, and then walked back to the Plantain Cafe for lunch. I ate a giant plate of fish tacos while everyone else ate amazing burrito bowls.

Then we packed up, got out of the city with absolutely no problem or road closure issue, picked up the dog, and were home by 3:00. We didn’t make the boys’ soccer game, but LittleBrother actually fell asleep on the way home. If you think about their weekend, they had more exercise than any soccer game ever, so it’s not really a loss on their part.

The question after a race is always, “Would you run it again?” Yes. Always yes with Columbus. Any confusion or unfortunate timing of things can’t overshadow the amazing event, the cause of raising money for Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the patient champions at every mile, the amazing course, and the AMAZING spectators. Even in the midst of the confusion, the social media team was active on their various channels, reassuring everyone that they would get their medal and celebrating people’s PRs and first time finishes. I love this team, this amazing race, and I will definitely be back again.

Today I’m not too bad off. I woke up with tight hips and achy knees, but already went on a one mile recovery shakeout run (8:53/pace!) and feel 100% better. I plan on stretching at various points in time today to continue to work the kinks out of my muscles. My husband and I have three weeks (or, rather, two weeks and six days) until the Pittsburgh EQT 10 Miler. We’re both in great shape thanks to this race, so we just need to maintain that until November 9th!

Thank you, Columbus, for another great race.