It's crazy to think that four years have past since my first race ever, which happened to be the Cleveland Half Marathon back in 2008. It's even CRAZIER to think how I spent the night before that race <getting dumped>, and how much more intelligently I spent it this time around <carbo-loading with my bestie Jeness>. It's crazy how quickly time can pass you by, and I believe it to be VERY significant that you're cognizant of that. If you use your time appropriately, it's incredible how much you can accomplish with passion and drive regardless of what curve balls are thrown in your direction. That being said...
I went to bed around 10:30pm Saturday night, but just didn't get a normal night's sleep. I woke up at 4:45am feeling as if I was up the entire night. I was just SO anxious and excited to run the Cleveland Half for so many reasons--mainly because it was the first race I've run in a LONG time with my baby sis and best friend Kristin! Plus, Jeness and many other of my running buds were participating so it was just bound to be a blast! Additionally, it was my first long distance race since NYC, and with everything I've dealt with over the past few months---I was SO happy to just be a part of it. :-)
KP and I left to head downtown around 5:45am, thinking that would give us ample time to do the typical pre-race things. We were WRONG. We ended up running around the Brown's Stadium like maniacs trying to get our race gear checked. The lines for the bathrooms were enormous, so we ended up with NO time for a pre-race warm up and stretching. Before we knew it, it was 6:50am and we needed to head to the race start. We scurried over to the start line and realized there was no way we were getting to our pace teams the conventional way. It was SO packed at the start line, and there were gates surrounding a "seeded corral" area. SO, being the innovative ladies we are, KP and I used our small physiques to our advantage. We squeezed in between the bars in the gate and made it to the front of the start line! A bit scandalous, but ya do what ya gotta do!! We stretched a bit, pretty pathetically to be honest, and then off we went!
I was super dehydrated from the start with the higher than normal temperatures, and I started out at my intended 6:50min/mi pace. From the get-go, it was just NOT comfortable at all. It just didn't feel right, but I didn't want to give up on my goal right away so I stuck with it. Once I got into mile 3, I was just not into it. Normally by this point, I'm in auto-pilot cruising trying to hold back from pushing the pace too hard. So, with this mentality--I backed off. I decided to take off my 1:30 pace wrist band, which was definitely a challenge (a) because my wrists were so sweaty (b) I hated the idea of letting my PR goal go. However, I knew I was a bit over-ambitious going in and I didn't want the race to be a huge bust...so I let my goal go...
Which ended up being the BEST decision I could have made. From that point on, the temperature just got hotter and the sun ended up getting more intense. I had to work HARD to not fall too far off of pace, and struggled through every mile. At one point around mile 7, a really nice guy was about to pass me and asked how I was feeling. I wanted to stay positive and said "GREAT, thanks!!" Total lie, because I was dying, LOL. He kindly said, "Well, I can try to block some of the sun from you if you stay behind me." Definitely a nice gesture. But, I decided to stay in the sun instead of pushing the pace to follow a nice guy hahaaaa. :-)
The course was definitely off this year. I know I'm coming off of the NYC marathon and can't use that as a comparision, but I can say that the Columbus Marathon was MUCH better at keeping the course entertaining. There were so many bands and DJ's, and it was so much fun through each mile. I was dancing on the course at a few points, all the while maintaining a pace to finish the marathon in 3:16. The CLE course had very few bands, no DJ's until the end, and the crowd support was mediocre. There was too much dead time, and with the heat and light intensity it just was hard to push. Plus, there was a TERRIBLE hill in Tremont that from what I've heard is new this year---what were you thinking CLE Marathon course people???
Once I was into the Mile 10, I was ready to be DONE. I was disappointed with my performance, and just wanted the finish line to be closer. I had a gel around mile 8 which definitely helped me keep my head up, but that just exacerabeted my already irritated stomach! Plus, my left big toe felt bruised--and I rarely lose toe nails from running so I was SO confused with what was going on. I was just a mess. Simply put-- this was just NOT my race!
As I rounded into Mile 11, I was passing several runners which definitely helped lift my spirits. Unfortunately, I was in the mute stage of my racing and was out of words of encouragement for all of the fellow runners. Then, the Mile 12 mile marker came and I REALLY wanted a strong last mile. I tried to push hard, and a REALLY nice older guy I was passing yelled at me to stop looking at my watch and to PUSH to the finish! I listened to him, pushed, and got a big "YEAH!" from him which was exactly what I needed at that moment. But, my intestines were NOT in sync with my intensity---I'll leave out the details that I've been sharing with all of my friends, per my sisters request hahahahaha!
Needless to say, I FINISHED! Not what I was hoping for, and waaaay off my PR, but my official time was 1:34:54, 7:14min/mi. I ended up 2nd in my age group shockingly, and 24th overall female. Not too shabby I suppose! Although I'm disappointed with the time, I recognize it's 110% realistic for me right now. I haven't been training, and realistically--COME ON, MP! Yes, I'm referring to my self in the third person right now haaaa! It's not a 5k. An endurance event like a half marathon and marathon require time and training---you CANNOT expect a crazy fast time because you want it. You have to work for it. But, with my health issues, I had to put the work on the back burner. But, now that I'm back to speed, I'm more motivated than ever to step up my training. I'm not sure what my plans are, but I know I have potential to get much better. And, so, I will do just that! Love it or hate it, I'm just that kinda gal...:-)
|Jeness and me post-race!|
|One of my amazing Aurora kiddos that ran the Half Marathon--LOVE YA, JAKE!!|