Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2012 Columbus Half Marathon

In 2011, Aunt Joanie and I had a blast running the Disneyland Half Marathon. We took our time, posed for pictures with characters, walked on the warning track at the Anaheim Stadium, and mostly laughed our way through all 13.1 miles. As Joanie and I emailed back and forth about the 2012 Columbus Half Marathon, I had a similar vision for this race. We'd take our time, and soak up the entertainment. 

Let me backtrack a minute. I'm often asked "why Columbus?" I have family and friends who live in Columbus, OH. I knew at least one of them (Cousin Allie) would be running in the race. Allie's Dad, Uncle Tom's, band, The Danger Brothers, always play at the start of the race. Cousin Laura and Aunt Debra spend the day chasing Allie around town. The route was also very appealing to me as it wound through the parts of Columbus I know -- downtown, past Aunt Debra and Uncle Toms's old neighborhood (Franklin Park) where we went to AmeriFlora in 1992, through Bexley where they live now, back to Franklin Park, over to German Village (where Heidi lives) and back downtown again. It is also a very, very flat course. Even I could not complain about the hills.

Back when I started to train, Joanie was planning on flying out from California to run with me. Back when we made this decision, we were going to pull Ashley out from school for a couple of days. 

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans...

Aunt Joanie's vacation time was not approved until the last minute, by which time the race was sold out. Ashley had some troubles in school and we couldn't pull her out even for a day (in the long run, that was the right decision). Oddly Aunt Debra was in New Jersey at her high school reunion while we were racing.

It was time for a mindset change. I was in it to beat our old time of 3:24 (16 minute mile). If I had a good time, too, that would be nice.

After months of training, the race day was finally here.

With Allie before the race

The race started at 7:27, just as the sun was thinking about rising.

I was blessed to have a lot of sag support. At the starting line, in the spot reserved for band groupies, were Don, Cousin Laura, Aunt Joanie and Joanie's friend Valerie cheering me on as I started the long race. There was even a shout out from Uncle Tom, the drummer, telling the crowd how proud he was of his daughter and niece.

Here I ditched the gloves.

I saw my parents and Ashley hanging out at miles 2 and 7 (they stayed still while I ran for an hour). The first time they caught my white sweatshirt. The second time they were handed my long-sleeved tee. I wish I had hung onto that tee for a few more miles, but alls well that ends well.

Don took his bike to Columbus in order to keep up with me. After seeing him at the start, he caught up with my parents at mile 7. He found me in German Village (by this point, Heidi went inside to get warm) and took my camera from me. He looked for me at the last watering hole, but gave up in time to find me at the finish line.
I stayed true to my training and did not jackrabbit out, as I am prone to do when I run by myself. My first mile was 11:35, and my last was 12:40. My worst mile was 14:00, when I had a 2 minute port-o-potty break. I have wider range in every training run. 

All along I trained to run 4 minutes, walk for one. I was doing great at this pace until about mile 8.5. At this point I realized I had lots of strength to power walk, but I would lose it if I insisted on running 4/5ths of the time. I still picked up my pace to smile for the paparazzi (mostly Don at this point) and to finish with a big grin.

Prior to the race I debated about joining a pace group. I started out ahead of the 2:30 pace group. They passed me at the halfway point. They were going with the running a mile, walking a minute, and walking through water stations mentality. I lost them at the port-o-potty break, not long after I found them. 

I have no complaints about the run. As I completed my second half marathon I began to finally think of myself as a runner. All along I've been "Goldilocks" grumbling about my training runs -- too hot, too cold, too hilly, too boring. When it came down to race day, I really enjoyed it.

Two days after the half marathon I put on a new pair of sneakers and started training for the Trenton Half Marathon (November 10). The next day, I even went out for a 5K run with Sharon, my running buddy.

Family picture at the finish area. Cousin Laura, Uncle Tom, Cousin Allie (with her blue medal for finishing the whole marathon), me (orange medals for half marathon finishers), Don, and Aunt Joanie. 

Final note: Allie and I both earned PRs. Mine was 2:43:46 (41 minutes faster -- 12:30 minute mile). Allie finished the full marathon in 3:46:10 (13 minutes faster, and 11 minutes away from qualifying for Boston)!

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