Columbia Station Half Marathon Recap

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.

Mile 1-9:24
Mile 2-9:41

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.

Mile 3-9:37
Mile 4-9:34

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.

Mile 5-9:41
Mile 6-11:08

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.

Mile 7-10:30
Mile 8-10:13

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.

Mile 9-11:59
Mile 10-11:04

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.

Mile 11-11:33
Mile 12-12:06

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.

Mile 13-11:56
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!

Half marathon number 18!

Half marathon number 18!

Official Results:

Time: 2:19:54

Age Group 25-29: 1/1

Female: 12/17

Overall: 32/43

The Other Half

A few weeks from starting the second half of 2012, and I can’t believe how quickly everything has gone by. I still remember getting into my cold gear and heading out the door for long Sunday runs in the snow cold weather. I would give just about anything to have that weather back right about now. But half the fun of summer is adjusting to the heat and figuring out what to do in the second half of the year. And while I’ve been adjusting to the heat these past few weeks, I’ve also been enjoying my summer. I nixed a race due to my legs not feeling 100% and just slacked a bit on some sort of training plan I had for myself. It’s ok though, I decided I should enjoy these last two weeks of no real plan before the mother of all training schedule arrives.

I’ll even admit that maybe I even got a little burnt out, but who doesn’t. Sometimes you need to just step back, relax and get ready for what comes next. I’d love to put 100% into every race I do this fall, but I probably won’t be able to. I  have two races that will be the most important things this fall, MDI and Columbus. Of course the marathon is my main goal, but I don’t want to put all hope into one race and not enjoy some local runs. Here’s my tentative schedule for the next six months. Some are still in question, and I may add a few, but at least I have some idea of how to measure the second half of the year.

June 30, 2012 – Run for Help 5k?

July 4, 2012 – Bay Days 5M

July 14, 2012 – Winking Lizard A Shot in the Dark

August 11, 2012 – NR Lion’s Club 10k

September 8, 2012 – Run for the Record 5k

September 9, 2012 – River Run Half Marathon?

September 15, 2012 – Mount Desert Island Half Marathon

September 23, 2012 – Race with Grace 5k

October 21, 2012 – Columbus Marathon

November 4, 2012 – Inland Trail Half Marathon?

November 22, 2012 – Mesa Turkey Trot 10k

My biggest challenge is creating my marathon training. I’ve played around with Runner’s World’s Smart Coach to come up with a few plans, and I’ll probably end up combing a few, and changing a few. I have no idea what I’m doing, all I know is that those long runs count.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway, it ends Sunday!

What’s your second half of the year look like? Any suggestions on marathon training?

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.

Changing and Rearranging

As much as I’d like to say I’m sticking to what I have planned for 2012 races, I just can’t. After reviewing the logistics of some races, I won’t be able to do them this year. And even though some races removed are out of state, I still have my goal for 25 out of state half marathons, I just can’t rush it.  I’ve gone over the list many times and I’ve made some major changes. Of course the list of races is never really final, it’s now more realistic of what I’m able to do this year.

Races Removed:

  • Sunburst Half Marathon
  • Run, Wine & Dine 5k
  • Nashville Half Marathon

Races Added:

  • Go the Distance 5k
  • Love-A-Stray 5k
  • Mesa Turkey Trot 10k

Races Undecided:

  • NCN Huntington Duathlon
  • Heart & Sole 5k or Half
  • North Coast Challenge 5M

With the freedom of not stressing over big out of state races, I’m open to doing more local races. I hope I can add more to the list than I’ll end up removing by the end of the year. It’s still the year of races, and hopefully a PR.

Slowly becoming a runaholic…

Words can’t describe how excited I am for this summer and racing. But after taking a year off of running, I may have bitten more than I could chew. As I’ve mentioned, doing the Cleveland Half Marathon, was exactly what I needed to get back on the horse. I had originally planned four races between now and September. I won’t lie, I’m easily persuaded, and now have six, and looking for more. My aunt suggested the Columbus (Half) Marathon after I crossed the race in CLE. After looking into it, and loving the fact it is a fall race, I’ll be running that just five weeks after the River Run Half. Thinking I’d get bored in between and wanting to stay in shape, I was easily persuaded to do the Akron Marathon Relay with fellow Muskie alums (@mollyberries, @kimikay, @lilypea, @jess_rowland)

The gap between the Girls with Sole 5k and Duathlon is too much for me, so I’m looking into the Winking Lizard Shot in the Dark on July 16th, as well as possibly a race on July 9-10, any suggestions for races? And while all of these races I’ve lined up are great, I’m really looking forward to the River Run Half Marathon. Last year I rode in the Tour de Cure, a great experience for many reasons. This year I wanted to do something on my own, and call me crazy, but I prefer running a half over biking 30 miles. I’ve decided to run the River Run Half Marathon and raise money for Diabetes. The main reason I’m doing this is because my better half has Type 1 Diabetes, but he never lets that stand in his way. He lives life to the fullest and will let you know he’s always “having more fun than you.”

River Run Half Marathon, ADA Donation

So here starts my training for what seems to be an endless summer of races, but I’m looking forward to it.