Cleveland Half Marathon Recap

Running is all about the numbers. Distance, time, splits, mileage, pace, they all mean something. But one number stands out, a milestone, a goal, a number to crush. After 3 years and 15 half marathons, I finally met my goal. On Sunday, at the Cleveland Half Marathon, I finally ran a sub 2:00 half marathon.

After I ran the Medina Half course last weekend I had doubts about running sub 2. I had put in the miles, and I’d been faster in my races. But the Medina course had me second guessing everything I had done this year. So with the few days leading up to Cleveland, I decided my best shot at running sub 2 would be there. Inside I was bursting to tell everyone that I was going to give it my all on Sunday and hopefully see that little “1” on the front end of my finish time. But instead I kept it to myself, scared I was setting myself up for failure.

Friday after work I went to the expo, and quickly made it through with just a shirt and a few Sport Bean Recovery Beans. As I went down the last aisle, I ran into a familiar face, Coach Kara, my favorite high school coach, and pace coach for Cleveland Marathon. We spoke briefly, and I told her of my goal, hoping to get words of wisdom. She believed I could do it, and handed me two pace bands. If I stayed between the splits, I’d get it.

Goal range

Goal range

Sunday started at 3am for me. I already had everything laid out, so I ate an extra helping of breakfast, stretched, read my previous Cleveland race recaps, and may have shed a few tears. By 4:30, I was on the road and made it to Brunswick to meet up with Jeanne and her neighbor Laurie. By 5:15, we were on the road and making our way towards Cleveland. The drive was fairly easy and we avoided most of the traffic, but I couldn’t help but feel nervous the closer we got.

Accidental team neon green!

Accidental team neon green!

After we parked, we made our way to the bag drop and visited the port-a-pottys a few times to get rid of all last minute nerves. We lined up in corral C, mentioning the plan to possibly stay together, and hopefully get me in under 2. The gun went off and we walked toward the start until it was finally our time to run. This was it, I was going to give it everything I had in these next 13.1 miles no matter what.

The first mile, as always was congested, and we were dodging and weaving to find an open space in the crowd. We quickened our pace and tried to get to where we needed to be, instead of starting out too slow and playing catch up. I was a little nervous I was going out too fast, but I knew it was easier to slow down later than speed up when I was worn down.

Everything felt great, and I was keeping up with the pace pretty well. Jeanne was a little ahead of Laurie and I, but we had her in sight and I wasn’t too concerned about being left behind yet. I was taking sips of water after every mile, and by mile three, the crowd had started to thin out just enough that we weren’t running into each other anymore.

Mile 1-8:44
Mile 2-8:37
Mile 3-8:45

Laurie and I kept running together, checking our watches every quarter mile or so. We knew we were still ahead of pace, but I was feeling good, so we kept with it. I took a sport bean after mile 4 even though I felt I didn’t need it yet. It was around this point that I noticed I had pretty much zoned out on the race. The miles had ticked by quickly, but I hadn’t really been paying attention to them. I was so focused on staying ahead of pace that I blocked everything else out. It was a blessing really, I wasn’t analyzing every second of the race, instead I was just there, running it.

Mile 4-8:42
Mile 5-8:32

By mile 5, I started to wonder what exactly I was doing. My pace had been under 9 for the entire race, yet my legs were feeling great, and I felt oddly comfortable. It was a surreal feeling, but knew that it could change at any mile. As we checked our pace, I mentioned that I’d rather have a little extra time, than cut it down to the wire at the finish. So we would keep going until we needed to slow down.

We were approaching the 10k mark, and I saw Sarah out of the corner of my eye. I yelled hello, and waved, and went on my way to the 10k mark, hitting it at 55 minutes. We continued on our way, half of the race behind us, hoping my legs could keep up for the second half of the race. Any while my splits were still sub 9, I was completely surprised at the times I was hitting. I was well ahead of my normal pace, and still 4 minutes under the 2 hour mark splits on my pace band. We caught up with Jeanne, but after about a mile together she veered off towards a port-a-potty. I was nervous to be left alone, but Laurie stayed with me, and kept me on pace.

I took another sport bean at mile 8 and noticed my hips had a small twinge. They were starting to get sore, but I tried to block it out. I couldn’t let anything get it my head. Eight miles down, five to go, the countdown was on.

Mile 7-8:41
Mile 8-8:35

I was finally back into familiar territory in this part of the race. I enjoyed the moments of shade and tried to keep my pace consistent. I couldn’t help but think back to the Hermes 10 Miler and the Flap Jack 15k, I had done great until the end, and hoped that my body wouldn’t start to shut down by mile 10. I hadn’t pushed myself this hard in a race of this distance before, I was starting to enter the unknown and I had no idea how my body would react.

That thought left my mind as I saw Elayna and Marissa on the side of the course between mile 9 and 10. I was beyond excited to see them, and was quickly overcome with emotion. I started to cheer up and before I knew it, I was running over to see them. I attempted a weird side hug, but my legs steered me back on course. Not even a minute later, my emotions got the best of me and I started coughing and gagging. I couldn’t throw up, not with so much left in the race. I did whatever I could to get back into a normal pace, and about a half mile later, I was finally good again.

It took a while, but I was back on pace. At this point, my hips started to ache more and I was concerned as we approached the last two miles. I knew there was some incline, but my legs weren’t ready for it. I tried to focus on my watch, telling myself that I’d come so far, I couldn’t let the last few miles break me down.

On a mission

On a mission

Mile 9-8:44
Mile 10-8:53
Mile 11-8:48

The next two miles were hard. For the first time all race my pace was over 9 minutes, and by a lot. The combination of the inclines, my sore hips, and running a pace I wasn’t used to for 11 miles hit me hard. I mentally started to break down, questioning if I could do it. Every time I reached the top of the hill, I’d see another. Laurie helped to push me along, and it helped me more than she could ever know. I didn’t want to give up, but it was hard. So I kept telling myself, I’m going to do it, I’m going to break 2. I had to do whatever I could to keep the momentum up.

As we reached the last hill, I could feel my pace start to pick up, and after two incredibly hard miles, I finally felt confident about breaking 2. I had worked so hard for the first eleven miles, I wasn’t going to let the last two get to me.

Mile 12-9:48
Mile 13-9:31

I took advantage of the decline and the straightaway as much as I could. The crowds were getting louder, and I could feel the city pulling me in. Knowing the course showed up long on my watch, I kept staring down to see what I hit when it turned over to 13.1. When 1:55 was on my watch, I couldn’t believe it. I had never seen those numbers together, and honestly never thought I would. I couldn’t help but smile.

I started to pick up my pace, knowing I was so close to the finish, yet I still wasn’t done. I started to fade and veered off to the right of the crowd. I didn’t feel myself, and couldn’t control what would happen next. Instead of running towards the finish with a smile on my face and hands up in the air, I was throwing up, over and over as I made my way to the finish until I finally got there.

Don't puke, don't puke!

Don’t puke, don’t puke!

Last .3-9:06

I got sick again, but I was finally able to walk it off. I grabbed my medal, met up with Laurie, and finally looked at my watch. 1:58:00. I had done it. I broke 2 and ran a 7 minute, 55 second PR. And I had left everything I had on the course while doing it.

Happy as can be!

Happy as can be!

We found Jeanne and got a group picture before grabbing food and taking a seat in the sun. And although I was excited, it hadn’t quite hit me yet. But I soaked in the moment as much as I could. After a while we made our way back to gear check, then the car, and we were back on the road towards home. I made sure to stop at Panera on my way home to grab a cinnamon roll that would be my reward for making it through another long run. It wasn’t until I pulled in the garage and turned off my car, that everything hit me, and I finally cried tears of joy.

I couldn’t have asked for a better day on Sunday. The weather was perfect, the course was greatly improved and for most of the race, my run felt effortless. I didn’t know what I’d feel the first time I broke 2, or when it would happen, but I’m glad that I did it at the race that started it all.

I can’t help but admit that there is a feeling of what now. This number that I held up with so much admiration and fear is no longer there, a feeling of being a little lost. I don’t know if I’ll break 2 again, or if it was a one time thing. But one thing is for certain, I’ll never forget the day I finally broke 2 hours.

Race swag

Race swag

Official Results:

Garmin Time: 1:58:00

Age Group 25-29: 148/726

Gender: 652/3589

Overall: 1752/6113

Medina Half Training: Week Fourteen

This week was relatively easy and laid back because of the Cleveland Half Marathon on Sunday. I didn’t know if I’d run it this year, but after winning an entry to the distance of my choice, I figured it’d be the perfect tune up for Medina. Plus with the new course, how could I say no!

Monday night I was at the dealership instead of Body Fusion, but luckily made it home before spending a few hours in the basement for tornado warnings. I should have done some yoga, but I couldn’t relax with the storm. Thankfully we didn’t have any damage, but other parts of town and our neighborhood were badly flooded.

Tuesday I debated running at the rec because it was just so hot and humid. But once I saw my neighbor kids handing out cold drinks, I decided to do a short run outside and reward myself after I finished up. I headed to the trails for maximum shade and ran a short out and back. I was a hot sweaty mess, but still managed to keep my pace under 9:00 somehow. Unfortunately when I got back, the neighborhood kids had run out of drinks, but about 5 minutes after my run, they came over and made sure I was hydrated.

Too kind.

Too kind.

Wednesday I headed up to the square and worked on a few things for the Medina Half. Since I was already up there, I decided to get a few miles in and run some of the streets I ran last year. It was a little chilly, but humid, but it felt great to get back on the streets I really enjoyed running. I ran an out and back and had some hills thrown in for good measure.

I took the rest of the week off to make sure my body could rest up for Sunday’s race. I did a short, slow shake out run Saturday and hoped I’d be ready for Cleveland!

Monday: Off

Tuesday: 2 Miles

Wednesday: 3.5 Miles

Thursday: Off

Friday: Off

Saturday: 1.5 Miles

Sunday: Cleveland Half Marathon

Total Miles: 20 Miles

Sunday was a long day, and the recap will come this week, but I wanted to touch on it shortly as I’m suddenly at a cross roads. My goal for Medina was to run sub 2. After last week’s course run, I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I did it, just not at Medina.

So here I am, two weeks before race day, already met my goal, and preparing myself for the next half. Lucky for me it’s official taper time, and I can reevaluate what I want to do for Medina. It’s a tougher course, so breaking 2 will still be difficult, but not out of the question.

I’m also 20 weeks out from Wineglass Marathon, which means I need to start working on a training plan, and decide if I want to do 16 weeks or 18 weeks. Experienced marathoners, this is where I need your help….

All in all, week 14 was a good one, and honestly unexpected. I’m going to take the next two weeks easy, work on hills and come up with a new plan for Medina.

Have you ever reached your goal time earlier than your goal race? How many weeks do you use in your marathon training cycle?

 

 

 

There’s still two weeks left to get your donations in for Team JDRF. If you’re interested in donating, you can do so here.

Cleveland Take Two

Before I start on my race recap, let’s back up to Friday and the expo. Outside of the whole parking ordeal, I was pretty excited to get my race shirt and see what other items I could live without needed. I got there around 6, so I only had an hour, which was probably better on my wallet anyway. I saw a few familiar faces, but I was on a mission to get to the pacers booth. One of my coaches from high school just happened to be in town for the race. In fact, the same coach that encouraged us to run with Second Sole back in high school. We spent a good half hour catching up and discussing a number of topics. She gave me great tips, and told me I could definitely go sub 2 soon. Encouraging, but it didn’t cross my mind for Sunday, or even this summer. More importantly, she agreed to help me pace my marathon in October. Seriously, I couldn’t ask for anything better. It was a great start to the weekend.

An inspiration

So fast forward to Sunday. I was feeling pretty good when I woke up at 4:30. I was nervous though, after running the 5k on Saturday, I was concerned on how I would handle 13 miles in the heat. I still had the words “it’s ok if you don’t finish” stuck in my head from my dad. He told me not to go all out, and just take it easy. I continued to get ready and was headed down town early enough that traffic wouldn’t be an issue. I had a parking pass, so I easily found a spot next to Brown’s Stadium and I was ready to go.

I spent the next hour trying to calm my nerves and prepare myself for the heat. I made a quick decision at bag check to run with my fuel belt. It would be my first time using it, and after a quick few steps of warming up, it was already bouncing around. Should I use it, should I go put it back, should I wear it as long as I can handle and then just toss it somewhere on the course? This became my new stress for the next half hour.

Finally the race was ready to start, I decided to use the belt for as long as I could handle it. When that moment came where it was too annoying, I would figure out what to do then. I started out behind the 9:30 pace group. If I could start faster while the weather was cooler I knew I had a better chance of finishing. The first mile was slow and congested, and the heat set in as soon as we turned the corner. I  immediately thought of last year in Columbus where I was mentally done in the first mile. But I didn’t let that thought last long, I had to stick it out, I couldn’t give up yet. Until mile two, I felt off. My fuel belt was slipping and one of the bottles was leaking. My left knee was already stressing from the few smaller hills and I started to think I’d feel this way the entire race. Soon enough I got my belt into the perfect position, just seconds before the first water stop. I grabbed a cup and noticed a familiar form running past me.

Lucky for me, my aunt was just feet from me, so I sped up and tapped her on the shoulder. My intention was to say hi, run a mile together and fall behind her quicker pace. Things didn’t go quite like that and we ended up running together until mile 10 or so. The miles in between were probably the toughest and most rewarding.

Miles 3-5 were quick. We kept up about a 9:00 minute pace and even had a chance to talk. At this point though, my left arch and knee where letting me know they were already getting tired. I could also feel a blister start on my right foot. I told her I may not finish the race, but I would hold on and see how I felt. Mile 6 came and went, and we were under an hour. The temperature was rising and shade was minimal. I had taken advantage of some Gu, all of the water stops, and my water/nuun combo I had in my fuel belt. By the time mile 8 rolled around, I was in shock with how quick the race was flying by. We were a little slower, but still bounced around a 9:30 pace. Not bad, considering everything that wasn’t on our side that day.

Mile 9 has always been my check point. If I’m over 1:30 I know I’m in poor shape, if I’m under 1:30, I better hold onto what ever I have and just run with it. We came in under and started counting down the miles. Running was getting harder, our pace was slowing at points, but we still kept going. Until the hill. This was new and I was a little hesitant on the down hill part, because when you go down, you have to get back up. I looked up and everything was in slow motion. No one was running, everyone was moving at a snail’s pace to get up there. So I shuffled as slow as I could, only to hear two phrases that sent chills up  my back. The man left to me yelled out “I think I tore my Achilles” Ouch, I could feel his pain. Then the lady next to me yelled out, “Call 911” I turned around and saw a gentleman pass out. Everyone was pretty much in a panic and just wanted to get to stable ground again.

Mile 10, just a 5k to go. I checked my watch and I was at 1:35, still at a good pace but I knew that one last bridge was ahead of me before I was home free. Half way on the bridge, my aunt told me to go on without her. She wasn’t feeling her best and didn’t want to hold me back. I felt bad, I was in her same shoes last year at the same exact point on the bridge. So here I was, alone for the last 2.5 miles, it was either fade into the crowd and coast in or see if I could keep this pace for the rest of the race.

A lot of thoughts went through my mind in these last miles. I quickly did the math and knew that I would be finishing in under 2:10. I wanted to keep my pace, I wanted to finish strong. This was the first race that I didn’t rely on my watch or iPod, I just ran. I spent a majority of the race not stressing about time or where I should be with my pace. I was like everyone else, making my way through, hoping to cross the finish line. A mile to go, and I was under the 2:00 mark. I wanted to quicken my steps, but I knew I could easily ruin everything I worked for if I went in too strong. Following everyone ahead of me, I knew we were getting close, I recognized some of the streets and that final turn would be any second. And it was there. The sun was shining, the crowds were cheering and I could taste the finish line. With less than a quarter mile to go I saw my uncle. I sprinted up to give him a high five and told him my aunt was on her way.  This was exactly the encouragement I needed. The winding finish felt like it would never end. I kept checking my watch thinking that seconds were flying by. In those moments, I wanted a number, I needed that number. I was suddenly on the heels of a PR.

PR Party

Crossing the line was surreal, emotional and unbelievable. A year ago I was finishing my first half. In the same place that it started, I ran a new PR. Looking back, I honestly don’t know how it happened. I am not a heat runner at all, I struggled the day before in a 5k. All I can think of is that I had the motivation of running for Team JDRF on my mind and the support of my aunt along the way. We both had low points, but we needed each other. Neither one of us would have made it if we ran it alone.

Race partners

So here I am, my second shot at Cleveland, and a completely different experience. Not only did I experience my first half here, but I ran my best half under crazy conditions. I find it bittersweet. As much as I’ve loved my Cleveland Experience, I knew it would be my last CLE half for a while. I love everything about Cleveland Marathon weekend, but my love for Green Bay wins this next round. Instead of lining of outside Brown’s Stadium next year, I’ll be outside the greatest place on Earth, Lambeau. Thanks Cleveland, for giving me my first and best.

Results:

Official Time: 2:05:55-PR!

Overall: 2593 / 14635

Gender: 1045 / 8262

AG: 139 / 898

Half number seven, The Cleveland Half Marathon

Lucky Number Seven

A year ago today, I ran my first half marathon. On Sunday I’ll be running my 7th, right back where it started, in Cleveland. This time around is a lot different. I’m not terrified or concerned I won’t make it to the finish. I’m relaxed, in control of my running, and most importantly, running it for a reason.

A lot has changed in the past year. I find that running 13.1 miles is comforting, almost the perfect distance. I’ve learned how to better pace myself throughout a race and how to control my breathing. I’ve tried new things, like Gu and Nuun, wearing a race belt, and using compression gear. I’ve gotten the hang of running a half marathon, and now I’m on my way to getting better and faster. So what do I expect come Sunday?

No goals. This race isn’t for me, I’m not trying to get a PR or take revenge on last year’s race. I’m running it for Team JDRF and everyone affected by Type 1 Diabetes. I just want to go out there and run. I ran about 3 days in the past two weeks to let my body recover and get over the nagging pain in my knee. I’m not expecting to wow myself out there. I want to enjoy it, I want to take it all in. I want to have fun.

But… I can’t help but have a competitive side, so of course I want to beat last year’s time of 2:15:47. And it would be even better if I got down to my current PR or better. However, the weather isn’t looking ideal for Sunday and I’m not ready for heat just yet. But overall, I’m ready to run Cleveland again. I love this city and everything about it.

Training times four

After six weeks of preparation for the Platte River Half, I’m finally to the point in my schedule where I’m training for four half marathons at once. My main focus has been on my Colorado trip, only because this is the first half of the year. But, I’ve been keeping the rest of the races in the back of my mind. Besides, none of them would be possible without any of this preparation. So here are my training schedules for the next three half marathons after Colorado, all of which are a continuation of Platte River training.

Earth Day Half Marathon-April 22nd

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
(April 16) 4 Miles Easy Rest 3 Miles Easy 4 Miles Easy Rest 2 Miles Easy 13.1

I’m really excited for this race for two reasons. It’s one week post Colorado, so after running in crazy altitude I should be in excellent shape 🙂 And it also happens to be on my birthday, my favorite day of the year! I’ve been looking forward to racing on my birthday since summer. To me the perfect way to celebrate my birthday is running 13.1 miles!

Cleveland Half Marathon-May 20th

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
(April 23) 5 Miles Easy Rest 5 Miles Speed 4 Miles Easy Rest 10 M Rest
(April 30) 5 Miles Easy Rest 5 Miles Tempo 4 Miles Easy Rest 9 Miles Long Rest
(May 7) 5 Miles Easy Rest 6 Miles Tempo 4 Miles Easy Rest 9 Miles Long Rest
(May 14) Rest 3 Miles Easy 3 Miles Easy 4 Miles Easy Rest 2 Miles Easy 13.1

Just like many local runners I’ll be participating in the Cleveland Half again this year. I’m looking forward to enjoying the race instead of being a giant ball of nerves. Plus I’m running for Team JDRF, supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. I’m not running this race for me, I’m running it for those affected by Diabetes.

Sunburst Half Marathon-June 2nd

Week Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
(May 21) 4 Miles Easy Rest 5 Miles Easy 4 Miles Easy Rest 8 Miles Long Rest
(May 28) Rest 3 Miles Easy 4 Miles Easy Rest 2 Miles Easy 13.1 Rest

My second out of state half and it will be on the beautiful grounds of the University of Notre Dame. Unfortunately the finish has been changed from ending inside the stadium. I still think this will be a good, flat race, and I’m excited to explore South Bend.

Compared to last year, it’s weird to think I’m training for four half marathons at once, all within a few weeks of each other. And even two weeks from now, I’ll be training for a fifth half. Knowing I’ll have a big race every couple of weekends can be a little overwhelming, and possibly tiring, but I know it will just make things go well in October for the full!

>13.1 Miles

>13.1 Miles. Months of training and nerves at their highest, I can’t believe that in a matter of hours, everything I had worked for came together and is now over. This is the experience of my first half marathon.

Sunday started for me at 3:15am. I was so excited/nervous that I couldn’t sleep any longer. Got up to take a shower and there was no hot water in my building. Looking back, I think it was a way to prepare me for the cold I would endure later on that day. The weather was a perfect, for me at least, this was going to be a good day. Melissa and I arrived downtown around 5:30 and met with my Aunt Lori who would be running with me. Just walking from the car to the stadium was unreal. I couldn’t believe that the day had finally come. It was great to see runners in every direction, hoping it wasn’t too obvious that I was doing my first half.

Between figuring out where I needed to be in the starting line, and visiting the restroom half a dozen times, the hour to wait until the official start time seemed like forever. We were all packed like sardines, waiting to get this thing started. It took about 10 minutes to cross the starting line, and I could begin my journey. The first mile or so was crowded and to me didn’t really count. There was no way you could get to your pace, and most of the time was spent dodging people trying to get into some open road.

Around mile two I was finally in my pace, sub 10:00. I didn’t have a goal time, but I was hoping to do a 10 minute pace and just finish. I think for the first time in my life I was ok with going that slow. It would be a long hard run, and after mile 10 I didn’t know what to expect, I’d never run that far. The next couple miles seemed to be going all well. I had a good pace and didn’t need to stop at the first drink station. However, I was trying not to let the amount of miles left get stuck in my head or else I knew it’d be downhill from there.

Between mile 4 and mile 8, I think I had the most activity/changes/whatever you want to call them. We got off of the main roads and started in on some side streets, the change of scenery was good, especially when I looked up right before the 4 mile clock and saw one of my best friends cheering for me. Such a great surprise, considering how early it was, and how iffy the weather had been all morning. I noticed the streets where beginning to show true Cleveland spirit with potholes at almost every step. In the game of trying to avoid other runners and the potholes that were like a hidden mine search on the ground, I noticed that my arch in my left foot wasn’t too happy about what I was doing. I just decided to ignore it and continue on.

Mile 5 drink station was well needed and somehow I lost my aunt. I knew the pace I needed to continue on so I kept going, thinking she was ahead of me. About a mile later she came up from behind and we were able to keep our pace and make it through the halfway point of the half. Quarter of full marathon down, but still had to spend another hour out on the roads.

Closing in on mile 8, my body was slowly starting to resist wheat I was doing. The pain in my arch was getting worse, my knees were starting to question if I could make it the whole way and my sides were taking turns cramping up. I did what I knew I was allowed to do, but wasn’t too proud of, I walked. Luckily a drink station was right around the corner and I was able to full up and get another mile in the books.

Looking back now, I don’t remember much of mile 8-11. I know that I slowed down, I was cramping and I had doubt that I would be able to make it. But I kept telling myself, Pain is temporary, pride lasts forever. I had come this far, I had to make it the whole way. The crowds were amazing, just when you mentally start to break down, they’d be cheering you on. One woman in particular would ride her bike to different spots throughout the race, holding up signs to cheer us one. The one sign that kept me going was along the lines of “millions of people didn’t wake up early when you were on the starting line today” Very true, this is what I love, this is who I am. I run, and I was determined to cross that finish line. Coming back into downtown, my aunt and I separated, but I started to think that after two miles, I would be a half marathoner. Not sure if it was the rain, wind or cold, but I started tearing up just thinking about all I had done to get ready. I was putting my all into this race, I wasn’t going to stop. The last two miles, I’m sure I had a steady 12 minute pace, at least it felt like it. I couldn’t open my stride, and there was no way I was going to have a sprint finish like I was able to do in college. Seeing the blue tower at that last turn was incredible. I don’t remember getting there but I crossed the finished line. 2 hours 15 minutes and 46 seconds later I had become a half marathoner. I was exhausted, sore and freezing. My aunt gave me a huge hug and I told her I wanted to do another one.

The feeling afterward was beyond what I had expected. I knew I’d be sore, I knew I’d be tired, but I don’t think I’ve ever worked that hard for anything in my life. My arch and right knee are shot, along with many muscles in my legs being stretched and sore. But it’s a good pain, an “I gave everything I had and then some to make sure I crossed that finish line” sore. And knowing that I wasn’t in the shape I used to be in two years ago (Goodbye 7min. mile repeats) I think I did great.

So what’s next? I plan on taking this week off completely. As much as I’d love to hit the treadmill, yes, I’ve started to have a change of heart. I need time off to let my body heal. I’m looking forward to getting my road bike out and doing some cycling through the metro parks. I also plan on running another half in the fall, and of course I already have one picked out. After going online, I’m really interested in doing the River Run Half Marathon. It starts in Berea and goes through the metro parks and an almost continual down slope for the 13.1 miles. Sounds like a perfect run to do in the fall. I’m looking forward to doing some 5k’s and some possible 10k’s this summer. But one thing is for sure, I have no desire to run a full marathon….at least not this year.

My first race, at the Cleveland Marathon when I was 4 years old

My first half marathon, also at the Cleveland Marathon