Monday, October 21, 2013

Columbus Marathon 2013

Also known as my first marathon where I DID NOT WALK! Woo hoo! (That was my one & only goal going into this race.)

Biggest medal ever.

I signed up for the race just 6 weeks before, so I didn't have much time to put in a lot of quality training. I decided to take a laid-back approach to this marathon and remember why I love running - because it's fun. 

My Business Man and I headed down to Columbus Saturday afternoon, and strangely I was not nervous at all. We hit up the expo for some goodies. (Thank you, King's Hawaiian, for the 7 free product coupons!) Love that the tech shirts are long-sleeved this year... seems like I always need more cold weather running gear than hot weather running gear.

Somehow we scored an awesome deal on a hotel room corner suite. I swear, it was bigger than our first apartment. Bedroom, complete with lounge chair and hot tub. Bathroom with a double shower (with 3 shower heads on each side!) And then a full living room with a pull-out couch. If only we were able to stay at the hotel longer than 11 hours, haha.

Glorious king-size bed.

Crazy shower. A nozzle on each side with water coming out in three places. You could have some fun in there.
Sunday morning, we were up super early to meet up with my running bud, Amy, at her sister's house. We all rode to the start together, where her hubby, Jim, dropped us off. My Business Man, Jim, and their daughter all spectated the race together on bicycles, which was so awesome. They got to see us 5-6 times along the course because they didn't have to worry about where to drive, what streets were closed, or where to park the car. (It also probably helped that Amy & Jim both went to OSU, so he knew the area really well.)

Amy & I decided to start nice & easy with the 3:35 pace group. We actually spent the first mile trying to catch up to them! It was quite the congested start. After we caught up, we stayed right with them for about 4-5 miles, then somehow found ourselves in front of the balloons.

We didn't even plan to match... we both had on grey long-sleeves, black shorts, and neon calf sleeves & shoes. Lol.

We kept it easy, chatting the whole way. Before we knew it, we were 10 miles in. I had made a deal with myself to avoid looking at my watch for as long as possible. (I actually didn't look at it once until mile 23.4, woah!)

Whoever said it was impossible to shimmy & run at the same time? I think I've got it down!

We just kept cruising, probably right around an 8:00 pace, and passed through the half in 1:45, right at an 8:00 average. We picked it up a little after that, as we ran through the Ohio State campus.

Around mile 17-18, we even got to run through the Shoe! That was a lot of fun. I had never even seen the stadium before (I know... I am not a true Buckeye), so it was neat to run through it. 

After we came out of the stadium, I was still feeling really good. Amy told me I should go ahead, but I was still pretty nervous of hitting the wall. My previous 3 marathons have all included miserable bonking experiences in the last 6-7 miles. Finally, at mile 19, I decided to just go for it.

And I flew! I felt so good, I couldn't believe it. THIS was why everyone always said to run the first half of the race conservatively. Lol. Instead of being passed by everyone and their mother, I actually passed 248 people in the last 6 miles. And I never stopped to walk, which is what I'm most excited about. (Never done that before!)

So, big question - did I PR? No way. I ran 3:24:56. (My PR is 3:20:48.) But I was pretty darn close, considering the short training cycle and lackadaisical approach to the race.

The details:

Love being able to look at my splits from the Garmin. Can't believe I waited so long to get one, lol.

The biggest thing that I'm taking away from this race is the fact that I finally had a positive marathon experience, where I actually enjoyed the entire race. It makes me excited to train for another. I think I will still take a more laid-back approach to training/racing, because it was so much more fun. (Who needs that added stress & pressure anyway?)

And I was so thankful to have Amy to run with the first 2.5 hours of the race! It was so wonderful to have somebody to talk to, bounce ideas off of,  and just be generally goofy with. She ended up finishing just a few minutes behind me, and had a great race as well!

Such a great day, let's hope I can carry this runner's high on for awhile! Lol. 


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