The weather patterns in Columbus for this winter have been warm during the week and cold on the weekend. And keeping with that tradition, it was about 20 degrees at the start of this race. Don't I look like I'm cold?
I'm the little one in the blue-ish jacket looking REALLY cold.
A friend said something on Facebook regarding the format of this race and not needing to wear a fancy watch to be able to track your pace. She's right. But here's a little nugget of information to know about me and my running....I don't wear a Garmin in a running race. Nope. Just a regular watch. Why? I think I would run SLOWER if I wore it because I would always come back to a pace where I SHOULD be and not what I'm actually capable of.
So where am I going with this?
The race starts 0.1 or 0.2 (depending on what race distance you're doing) before the start/finish line of the one mile loop. I started my watch with the gun but forgot to hit the split when I came through the line. I hit the first 1.1 miles in about 9:00. Woah! That was a lot faster than I've been starting my recent races. I knew I needed to slow down. And if I had been wearing a Garmin I totally would, but instead I started turning miles of 8:11, 8:10, 8:08s. Things were going okay.
Since I have only been running 3-4 miles at a time, when I got around to 4 miles in this race I started to doubt my abilities to run a half marathon and especially to run a half marathon at the pace I was doing. But because this course is so well designed for my psyche, I just had to talk myself into one mile and then another mile. Around mile 5 I got hot and took off my jacket. That helped me refocus my head.
By the time I got to mile 9 I was starting to feel my lack of endurance. My legs were heavy. Not only that, but my stomach was also starting to bother me. The pace started to slow - 8:20, 8:28, 8:38. Once I reached mile 11 my stomach was a mess and I needed a bathroom pronto. I wasn't sure I could make it two more miles and not crap myself (yeah I said it), but I was having such a good race that I didn't want to stop either. I kid you not, mile 12 I ran clinching my butt cheeks. Come on Mer! One more mile. As I came through mile 12 I yelled at Dave, "go get my backpack". It was gonna be a close one. That last mile I just got through. I ran through the finish line, grabbed that medal, smiled for the camera and hit that bathroom. Thank goodness, everything turned out all right. My dignity and running clothes lived to see another day. ;)
My final time was 1:48:48. Much better than Houston but still far off where I was and where I want to be. In mile 12 I got passed by some women who were finishing the race - women I used to beat - women who drive me batty. Looking at the results, another girl I used to be in contention with walloped me good - 1:34. Watch out ladies, this race and this month of running have got me hungry. I'm already eyeing my next race...