Sunday I ran the Columbia Station Half Marathon. I had my eye on this race over the past couple years, but never had the chance to run it. Well, I finally did, and it was quite the experience. The race started at 8am, and was relatively close so I didn’t have to drive far, but by the time I got there, it was already starting to get a little too warm for my liking.
There was a small turnout, and the start had both the half marathon runners and the half marathon skaters. We lined up, had a quick talk about the race and then we were off. The first two miles I was focusing on find a good pace. I knew it was much hotter than it had been, so I had to go slower than normal. I decided to stick between a 9:30-9:40 pace, hoping that I wouldn’t be pushing myself too hard later on in the race.
We made our way on West River Road and had a few rolling hills. There was some shade, so I tried to take advantage of it the best I could. Still early in the race, the group was close together, but somewhat spread out. I wasn’t familiar with this area so the views helped to distract me from the heat.
We hit our first water stop after mile 2 and I passed on filling up. I still had plenty of water and wasn’t too thirsty yet. I did take a salt tab though, because I knew that staying hydrated would be key.
I was still feeling pretty good, but I was starting to warm up. By mile three we had turned on a few other country roads, I really had no idea where I was, but luckily the course was well marked. Runners were starting to spread out by this point, but I had a few behind me, and a few ahead of me. I was running alone, but at least had people in sight.
By mile 4 the heat was starting to rise and shade was hard to find. I kept drinking water and poured some on my back and head. Luckily a few kids were out with squirt guns, which at this point felt amazing!
Water stops were spread out nicely, every mile and a half to two miles depending on if they had enough space next to the road. I stopped at mile 4 to fill up and took some sport beans to re-energize. I didn’t lose too much time and felt like I was right on track.
I was still feeling ok, but with a few rolling hills, but legs started to become a little tired. I knew this past week was a lot for my legs and I started to worry it was too much. I was still drinking water at every mile, but I started to drink it every half mile too.
I came up to another water stop at mile 6 and stopped for a bit. I refilled my water bottle, stretched, took some Gatorade and a salt tab. I could feel myself start to wear down, but made a new focus of getting to mile 7.5, the point where I would reach 100 miles for the month of June.
I kept chugging away, but I could tell the others around me were starting to slow as well. Shade was no longer an option, and the sun was starting to beat down bad. We made our way through a neighborhood and then back onto the country roads.
I made it to mile 7.5 and had a small celebratory moment, it was enough to keep me going until mile 8 were I walked for a short moment to eat some sport beans, stretch and re-focus on my pace. By this point I was starting to wear down a lot, and I couldn’t get enough water. I may have even questioned why I was running a few times because I felt like I was moving in slow motion.
Right before mile 9 we had another water stop. I refilled my bottle again and stretched a bit. I was now into a run/jog/shuffle/walk mode. I started to count down the miles, but they weren’t going quick enough. We also started to pick up more rolling hills which sucked the energy right out of me.
Luckily with the water stop, I was able to regroup with about 5 other runners. Our paces varied and some of us would walk the steeper hills, while others would run, but it was nice to have at least one other person within 10 feet of me.
We hit mile 10 right before a big decline, and it was nice to have some momentum, however, what goes down, must come up. We turned back onto West River, and were greeted with multiple hills.
By this point, I was just focused on getting myself to the finish line. The heat was getting to me a lot more than before, and I was starting to feel miserable. We continued on the rolling hills, walking the uphill and taking advantage of the down hill. My energy level was extremely low, so I took more sport beans hoping that would help.
I continued along and stopped at the last water stop. I refilled my bottle again, and dumped a bunch of water on me to cool down. By this point, I was drenched in water and sweat and looking like a hot mess. I knew I was going to make it to the finish, it was just a matter of how quickly I could get there, and by this point, quick was the opposite of what I was doing.
We made it to the last mile and all I could think about was the finish. I kept going, but would slow down for the last of the hills. It wasn’t until the last 500 feet that I saw the finish was uphill. I knew I wouldn’t be able to spring it, so I took whatever energy I had left and gave it my all.
Last .15-10:41 pace
I finished, grabbed my medals and headed straight to the car. I originally planned on running three more miles, but my stomach wasn’t going to let me. Overall this race was ok. The sun and heat was horrible, but I couldn’t control that. The last 8am start was a little rough, but that’s what you get for the end of June in Ohio. The water stops were great, and the sheriff’s department did a great job of constantly driving the course to make sure that all the runners were ok.
My performance had nothing to do with the race support, the heat hit me hard halfway through and I am not a heat runner at all, it tears me apart. My legs were also pretty tired from the week of running, so I was running on borrowed time. I’m glad I got to experience the race and complete half marathon number 18!
Age Group 25-29: 1/1