10 half marathons completed. Wow. I remember training for the first one, all the while wondering if I could actually do it. Oddly enough, even after all my training and 9 previous halfs and a full under my belt, I was seriously doubting I had another race in me a week after the Iron Horse half.
After my less than stellar performance last weekend, I had no idea what to expect this time around. When I signed up for this race I was super excited. Lots of running friends said Columbus was wonderful, lots of fun etc. They were right, but I just wasn't ready for this.
During my previous race, I strained my right calf muscle. It was tight and painful for a couple of days after the race, but it seemed to be fine by the end of the week, so I didn't really think anything about it going into the weekend. Boy was I wrong. I'll get into that later.
Anyway, about the weekend...Columbus is about 3 hours from my house and packet pick up is the day before, so I stayed in a hotel just outside of the city, Grove City, OH to be exact. Since I like to procrastinate these things, I didn't have the best options, but I'd rather drive 10 minutes into town and park and save $100. Speaking of parking, I left the room at 5:30am and was parked (for free on the street by the North Market) by 5:45am. So...if I ever do this race again, this was totally easy and a lot cheaper.
On another note, someone please remind me that pasta and bread the night before a race is a bad idea...really bad.
So anyway, I got to packet pick up late Saturday afternoon. Parking was easy and close by the convention center. It was pretty crowded when I got there. I made my way up to get my bib and tshirt and then tried to look around the expo, but it was hard to get a look at anything because there were so many people.
PSA...get a food sample and get out of the way...there are other people here besides you. Also, you don't need to eat all 10 of yours over the top of all the samples. RUDE
I love the shirt though...it's like me 'Determined'. To do what? I'm not sure, but once I figure it out, look out! Lol
I bought 2 things at the Expo, an ArmPocket and some Captain America Race Dots. I love them both.
After the expo, I checked into my room and searched for some dinner. I ended up going to Fazolis, but I immediately regretted it in the morning. Sorry Fazolis, I love your breadsticks, but they do not love me.
After dinner, I watched some tv and tried to sleep...I don't think I really got much sleep. The room was like an oven. It was 30 degrees outside and I had to turn the a/c on so I could sleep.
Yeah...so it was 28 degrees when I got up Sunday morning. Yuck
I'm glad I packed my warm stuff. Geez
Once I got dressed, I headed into Columbus and got parked. I was about 3/4 mile away from the Start/Finish area, so I got a nice walk in before the race. I say "nice" in a very sarcastic manner cause it was freezing on the way; and that also meant that I would hobble 3/4 of a mile back to my car after the race.
The race started at 7:30, but I didn't cross the start line until nearly 8:00. It seemed to take forever. My toes were completely numb, but thank goodness I had hand warmers. Had I known it would take so long to get going, I'd have used the porta potty one more time, but oh well, I'll know for next time.
I felt pretty good crossing the starting line and for about the first 2 miles; then I felt my right calf muscle twinge and I knew it was going to be a rough morning. By mile 3 I was desperately looking for a porta potty, but with so many people, I waited in line over 5 minutes by the time I found some. Two miles later, at mile 5 I had to use the bathroom again, this time, the wait was short, but I was in there for well over 5 minutes (thank you Fazolis). So here I am only 5 miles into the race, had to stop twice, my calf hurts and I've got 8 miles to go. Talk about devastating...all summer long, this was my goal race. I wanted to do well here. It would have been perfect, but I blew it. 5 miles in and I just felt like giving up. Thousands of runners, passing me, left and right. It was tough to keep going, I don't know why I did. What kept me going, was the other runners, the volunteers and the amazing spectators.
Every once and a while, a volunteer would cheer my name (it was on my bib) and I'd get a temporary boost. At mile 8 I started crying...5 miles left, calf was hurting more and more. Mile 10, had to pee again, but refrained from stopping (I think at this point I'd have given up completely if I stopped again). Mile 11, I focused on the crowds cheering. Mile 12, all I wanted to do was walk, but I always make a point to run the entire last mile, and I did. The finish line was finally in sight, tears of joy...thank the Lord! I'm not even going to bother with sharing my time. It doesn't matter. What matters today, is that I crossed the Start and Finish Line.
Remember how I said I parked 3/4 of a mile from the finish area? Yeah, so that was a fun walk...
I was so happy to get to my car and sit down and warm up.
So here's the deal...even though, my running sucked, this was a fantastic race!! I'd recommend it to anyone. First class all the way! The course was great, the support was great, the volunteers were great. I can't say enough about how well I was treated as a runner. I would definitely do it again, just run faster next time and use the bathroom less...
Hopefully some day, I'll get a do-over.
So, what's next, I don't know. I hope I get a chance to redeem myself.
Until next time!