Last Saturday I ran the Medina Half Marathon, and honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect. After the HOF half, I had high expectations to continue on with a strong training period between then and the beginning of Akron training. But unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. Between a week and a half with vertigo and finding myself in a running rut, my mileage was pretty low. Thankfully, Mallory, who was also in a running rut, agreed to run with me and we decided to turn the race into a fun run.
I got up around 4:45 Saturday morning, ate, got dressed and prepared for the race. The start time was moved back to 6:45 this year, which was nice. I left my house around 6:15, found parking and was on the square by 6:30. The 5 minute drive to the race, and multiple parking lots is always a huge plus in my book.
I met up with Mallory, we lined up and we were ready to take it easy on a 13.1 mile jog around town. Once the race started, we were off and tried to stay with a 10:00 minute pace. Neither of us had run any long runs since April, but we figured we could handle the pace for the distance we had ahead of us.
We stayed behind the 2:10 pace group as they started a bit fast, easy to do when the first two miles have some declines in them. We noticed right away that the air was thick with humidity and I was already sweating heavily by mile two. We kept an easy pace, talked and eventually were joined by Amy.
The course was a little different this year, so we ended up with more time winding through developments in the beginning of the course. It was a good way to keep my mind off the miles and rather the company I had while running.
Between mile 2 and 3, we ended up with Christy, who decided to join us for our easy run. We chatted for a while, and she kept reminding us how “cold and snowy” it was. Her positive outlook helped to keep my mind off the heat and humidity for a bit.
Our first rollers came on Reagan and just like always, slowed me down a bit. From here we headed toward Lake Medina, but unfortunately couldn’t use the new path, so we took to the roads and onto the grass path at the top of the lake. It was starting to heat up, and it was around mile 5 that I took my first Sport Beans. I took two, hoping that it keep me full for a longer amount of time than just one.
As we were leaving the lake, I stopped for a quick porta potty stop. There was a short line, so it slowed me down a bit. I was a little concerned I was dehydrated so early into the race because my mouth was so dry just 6 miles in. Thankfully I was hydrated, but instead, I was feeling the side effects of new medication.
From here we went up 18, giant hill included and back into another development before heading to Smith. I was starting to feel a little tired, but figured it was just leftover from the hill. Mallory was working on encouraging me to keep going and reminding me that we were more than half way there. It helped, but I was starting to hit a wall.
Mile 7-13:48 (potty stop)
From Smith we turned into some more developments, which was a new part of the course this year. I actually enjoyed this section, despite the rollers. The twists and turns kept it interesting and kept my mind off checking my watch. I took two more Sport Beans around mile 8.
I’m not sure when, but Heather joined Mallory and I between mile 8-10. It was also during this time that I really started to break down. My legs were feeling ok, but I felt hot, dehydrated, and sick to my stomach. I started to feel so guilty about bringing Mallory down with my negative thoughts and bad attitude. I told her to go ahead and I’d make my way to the finish line, but she refused to leave.
From then on, we walked the water stops and hills and would run the flat sections. I shuffled behind Mallory and Heather, going through moments of feeling fine to feeling sick to my stomach. I started to think I had too many Sport Beans, or maybe I should take a salt tab. Nothing was helping and the miles seemed to drag on.
We finally made it to mile 12 as we headed down South Court and back towards the square. I continued to shuffle along, dreading the finish line. We made our way closer and with about a half mile to go,we ran down the brick road. I always loved this part because it reminded me of Muskingum. But I also knew that after the brick finished, the uphill finish line was waiting.
Last .1 -11:33 pace
And then suddenly with about 400 feet to go, I started to feel light headed, and sick. I told Mallory and Heather to go ahead and I started to walk, getting a hold of my bearings. I slowly began to jog and made my way toward the finish. And as quickly as I felt miserable, I felt normal again.
I crossed the line of my 22nd half marathon, and regretted letting myself run so under trained. I felt like I had let myself down, the Medina Road Runners down, and of course Mallory. But I finished, and that was good enough for me that day.
Despite my less than spectacular attempt at running, I still love this race. The community support and cheering sections along the course are fantastic. The water stops were easy to navigate and each had their own personality. The new course is much better than last year, and even though I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of that hill on 18, it seemed to be a bit flatter. Well, as flat as you can get in Medina. And of course, the finish line support is the best. There are always so many people lined up along the hill, that you can’t help but dig deep for some kind of sprint.
I know exactly what went wrong to cause my horrible race, and I have only myself to blame. I slacked off a bunch in the past month, and was no way ready to run a half marathon, at least one that I’d be proud of. I also didn’t fuel as well as I had hoped.I need to take a break from Sport Beans because I still can’t figure out how to chew and run at the same time. I’m ready to try something new and I’m going to start incorporating Honey Stinger back into my training. But I’m also open to other options.
As far as hydration, I was a mess. I was not ready to run in the heat and humidity, so I second guessed everything. Combine that with the constant dry mouth due to a new medication, I had no idea if I was actually hydrated or not. I need to go back to drinking water at every mile marker, taking a salt tab every six miles, and throwing some Nuun into my water after mile 10. I know better, I just didn’t execute this properly.
After running this race three years in a row, I still love it. It’s a challenging course, but the crowd support and 5 minute drive are worth it all. I know I’ll be back next year!
Official Time: 2:27:36
Age Group 25-29: 46/72