Cap City 1/2 Marathon. Race Lucky #13. 1/2 Marathon #2. (Also Columbus race #3)
So, it’s been a month since I finished my 2nd ever Half Marathon, the Cap City Half in my hometown of Columbus, OH. I took some time to reflect on the race and the experience, and a little extra time to recover. There are things I would have done differently, but I still had a GREAT time.
This time around, I stuck to my training a lot more solidly. I usually ran 3-4x a week, and made it on the elliptical twice a week. For my next half (and in general), I would like to work more on strength, especially to protect my knees as I can tell they are starting to get cranky with me.
For this race, a few of my good Chicago friends drove with me to Ohio. We left town on Thursday night, and I got to my parents’ house around 1:30a.m. on Friday morning. Slept in a little, then ran to the grocery store to get some food for my stay, as well as cook-out supplies for the weekend. Then we all met up at one of my favorite spots in town, Betty’s. My favorite part of pre-race day = carbo loading. I went Greek Pasta with no spinach. My least favorite part = not drinking. That PBR tall boy never looked so good as it did on that 90° Friday. We just HAD to stop in to Jeni’s afterwords, where I just HAD to have one more scoop of hummingbird cake before it went away. I loved having my friends in town!
Somehow, I ended up as a total basket case the night before the run. I left my phone in the boys’ car, then when I got to the restaurant for dinner, I had left my wallet at home. I could not concentrate on anything. I think the pre-race jitters were REALLY getting to me.
Race day. Woke up around 6:30. My dad was giving me a ride, and we decided to leave by 7:15 to get to the starting line by 7:45. I had set out everything the night before, so was ready to go when I woke up.
I went pretty basic and stuck with water, instant coffee, and two slices of toast with PB and bananas. We had a moment on the road where we thought we weren’t going to make it nearly as close to the race site as we wanted, but eventually figured out another way, and Dad was able to drop me off really close to the starting line. Got in line for the port-a-potty, then headed to my corral. Here is the ONLY complaint I have about an otherwise impeccably run race… it was IMPOSSIBLE to get in to the corrals! There was a bottleneck of racers and spectators, no openings in the barricades, and people were tromping all over the landscaping to get in to their starting spot.
I was in Corral C, and started towards the back of the corral. There was a great vibe before the race started, everyone was excited and ready to go! The saxophone player from O.A.R. played the National Anthem, and that really helped me get amped up (and put a geeky, starstruck, Ohio pride smile on my face). They started each corral and had everyone move up, and there were so many people that this took a long time. Before Corral C crossed the starting line, they announced that the leader had hit Mile 2 already! 🙂 When the Corral started, everyone started running. It took a lot of restraint, but I walked all the way through and didn’t start running until I was at the starting line. I really wanted to focus on a slow, even start to this race, especially since I didn’t have any friends or pacers in the crowd. I am really glad I walked, because I ran in to a friend from high school who was lacing up for the 5k. It was GREAT to see him, and just the burst I needed before the start.
The weather was overcast when the race started, but as soon as I hit my stride, I could tell it was going to be a little rougher than it appeared. Because while it wasn’t exactly hot, it was HUMID. I was flush and sweating by Mile 1. I immediately decided to stop and drink at every water station, do water every mile and Gatorade at 4 and 8. By about Mile 3 I was pouring cups of water in to my water bottle, too. This course was a GREAT view of Columbus, going from downtown, north up Olentangy, past the Horseshoe (and of course the good ol’ Drake Union), east on Lane Ave., South down High St. back downtown, then further south through German Village and back up High St.
I knew that my parents were going to be waiting along 5th and Olentangy, just past Mile 3, so I texted them when I was about to start, and let them know that I would be there in about 30 minutes. It was good to know that right away, I would have some cheerleaders! It was pretty funny, but I spotted them long before they spotted me! I was waving like crazy. My dad managed to get a video of me running by, and I was pumped up for the next few miles.
Running past the Horseshoe was a HUGE inspiration for me, as was the next mile of Lane Ave. Turning south on High Street was great too, and I loved running through North campus, the Wexner center, etc. and seeing that places like Johnny-Go’s House of Music still exist. 🙂 I would say that pretty much exactly half way, around 6.5 or 7 is when I started flagging. Even though I had been drinking water at every stop, I was starting to get a headache. It was one of those bad ones, where you just know that the only thing that will help is a nap, some excedrin and maybe a big cup of coffee. And I had NONE of those things in my future… just six more miles to run!
I did slow down, and drank a lot more water at the next station. I also grabbed some gel blocks and ate one of those, and just prayed that I would be able to finish. I knew that I had a friend DJ-ing at Mile 8, so I had that to look forward to, and it helped. The musicians and entertainers along the course made a huge difference. Even though I had my iPod on, i was able to enjoy the tunes! Around 8.5, I found one of the pace groups. Cap City had pacers throughout the course, with signs for their mileage, and you could stick with that group the entire time. Initially that’s what I wanted to do, but changed my mind when we started. When I saw the 11:30 group, I started following them. That lasted about 1.5 miles then I lost them when I stopped for water.
The next few miles were pretty torturous. The few highlights were running alongside a group of USMC soldiers in full gear. I asked, and they said their packs were over 30lbs. Incredibly inspiring and I was so proud of them. Another great thing was being able to text my brother (I was running slow at this point), to let him know I was passing his house. He was outside waiting when I went by, so we got to high five! For the rest of the race I was just happy that my name was on my bib, because hearing “Great Job, Katy!” and “You can do it, Katy” really kept me going.
The course ended going uphill. It wasn’t much on an incline, but at this point in the race, it felt like a MOUNTAIN. I wanted to cry! But I knew at this point that all my friends were going to be near the finish line, so I kept an eye out for them. It was great to see them wave and cheer for me!
The BIGGEST and BEST surprise of them all was seeing my other brother and my niece right at the finish line! I was SO excited; I had no idea they were going to be there, and I was just really happy to see them!
My heart sunk when I saw the clock, which read 2:47 as I was approaching the finish line, but then I remembered how long it took us to start, and got excited to find out what my “Official time” was. Here is the Race Photo of me crossing the finish line:
Aaaaand here is how I actually felt at the end of the race:
Official Race Time: 2:34:00. My 1/2 Marathon PR. I cut off 5:22 and averaged a pace of 11:44 per mile. I learned to hydrate better, and more often. I had a headache the rest of the day, but I survived my 2nd Half marathon and I can’t wait to put all the lessons I’ve learned to use for my next one!