Like the Columbus Marathon in the fall, the traffic and parking were atrocious for this race. Luckily, we know downtown pretty well, took some off streets, and found some parking. We had to walk a little bit to the start; I just called that a warm-up.
I lined up pretty close to the front which seems stupid for a race of 16,000+ but the 1:45 pacer was way up there and that's about the time that I wanted to run. The gun sounded and we were off. The pace group quickly got ahead of me, which I found odd because I was averaging under an 8:00. For the next couple of miles they stayed ahead of me, until I caught them around mile 4 and got ahead of them.
(Paces are based on my GPS which was a little faster and longer than the course.)
Mile 1 - 7:47
Mile 2 - 7:54
Mile 3 - 7:47
Mile 4 - 7:50
By mile 5 I was feeling good and running hip to hip with my friend Mary. I used her and my mantra as my inspiration for staying consistent and chasing the race. I didn't know if I could actually hold the pace but I was willing to try and go for it. After mile 5 there is a long downhill for miles, although it was into the wind. I was able to pick up the pace a little.
Mile 5 - 7:47
Mile 6 - 7:41
Mile 7 - 7:38
Mile 8 - 7:38
We were now back downtown and the course was crowded. This race has a "quarter marathon" which starts with the half marathoners, breaks off, and then comes back on course. The problem is, because the half marathoners run further, when the quarter marathoners join back up, it is not the same pace. I was strolling sub-8:00s and the quarter marathoners were strolling and walking and taking up lots of space. I really wish the race directors would do something about this. It was like playing Frogger with other runners.
Anyway, around mile 9 I was starting to feel tired. My training really only went to about 11-1/2 miles at a much slower pace and I was starting to feel like maybe 9 miles was my limit. I thought a lot during this time about "Being Willing", about my friend Jeff who recently passed away, and about my son. Mostly I said, "do this for you."
Mile 9 - 7:37
Mile 10 - 7:39
Around mile 11 I caught a second wind and was ready to roll. Unfortunately, the course got complicated around this point. We were on High Street heading uphill towards the center of the city and the finish line, but for some reason the course took several turns, went across a bridge, back around the Scioto Mile (which would have been nice except it was so close to the finish line that no one was spectating there), up a hill, and finally another turn to the finish which was on High Street. Can't the course go one more mile in any direction to keep from having to run this maze at the finish?
Mile 11 - 7:41
Mile 12 - 7:40
Mile 13 - 7:49
Last 0.28 (0.1) - 7:25 pace
I am so excited for the results. Honestly, I didn't think I had a 1:42 in me. I'm out of shape, overweight, and unmotivated. But having done it, I feel like I could give more. I know I can go after my 1:36 PR now. And I'm excited to tackle the challenges of the rest of the year.
My cousins ran their first half marathon. I think they're hooked. Suckers!