Columbus Marathon Race Report

It’s so odd to think I’ve written those words for the past three years. As we were running, I mentioned to Doug how familiar the race wasl, how comfortable (ha! What a word to use to describe a marathon!) the distance was starting to feel. Columbus was my first marathon (2004), my 5th (2005) and now my 11th. [note: I consider anything 26.2m or greater a marathon – so my March 50K is included in my tally].

Oh yes, the race report:

Training this summer wasn’t quite up to last year’s caliber. My fall marathon goal steadily slid from 3:23 ( NYCQ) to “something lower”. It bobbed up and down around the “PR/no PR” range. As fall drew closer, I started to feel more excited about running, but there wasn’t much actual training time left. Still, the bug bit me bad! I found myself reminiscing about my marathon anniversary.. and went ahead and decided to run Columbus AGAIN.

As the weekend drew nearer, I wasn’t sure how the race would go. My legs were feeling the effects of taper, wanting to run! But I knew I hadn’t been training for Columbus, so I told myself time and again I would stick with 9 minute miles, so that I would still be strong for Chicago.

Sunday morning rolled around, and it was cold!!! I knew I wasn’t planning on running hard, so I dressed warmer than I would if I knew I were putting in full effort. Met Doug outside the Palace theater. I wasn’t sure how fast he was planning on running, and I was surprised when he said that he was thinking he’d do the first three or so miles at 9s, then maybe pick it up to 8:30s. I told him I was planning to run 26 9s, so we started together.

As we started, it was clear quite quickly that the weather was going to be beautiful for running. We started out at a nice easy pace, chatting away.

Mile 1: 9:44

I’m always ok with a slow first mile, as the legs warm up

Mile 2: 9:06
Mile 3: 8:32

I looked over at Doug, frowning. He rationalized it, saying that our average was still over a 9 min mile.

Mile 4: 9:51

Stopped for a water stop, and then I took off my long sleeved shirt.

Mile 5: 8:47
Mile 6: 8:47

Once again, Doug tried to convince me that our overall pace was over a 9 min mile. Hmph. They did something different this year due to the introduction of a half marathon. In these first few miles they brought the half marathoners down a different street, then we met up again. As a result, the half marathon markers were about .75 miles behind the full marathon markers. It took awhile to figure this out, and caused more than a few people to hit their watches at the wrong time.

Mile 7: 8:45
:42 (?)

Mile 8, just as you round the corner down this weird alley thing leaving Bexley is where they give out the first GUs. This year they gave out CLIF shots. I’d only had a sonic strawberry clif shot before, and I hadn’t been a big fan. However, I tried their Mocha, and it was actually pretty good! Overall I was feeling ok, but for whatever reason I’d put on wrightsocks today rather than my traditional smartwool socks, and I felt the insole of my left foot getting sore. This was where I had troubles the last time I tried to wear a marathon wearing size 8 shoes, the Blisterburst debacle of Spring 05. I stopped and adjusted my shoe and sock. I definitely did NOT want to get a blister the week before Chicago!

Mile 8: 10:05
Mile 9: 8:50
Mile 10: 8:51
Mile 11: 8:48

I’d given up the 9 minute per mile dream. These actually felt ok, although I definitely felt I was using some some extra juice I could/should have saved for Chicago. As I ran around German village, I realized how comfortable I was getting with the marathon distance. Sure, I had a long way ahead of me, but it definitely did not seem as daunting as it had seemed just two short years ago.

Mile 12: 9:02
Mile 13: 8:43

Obviously I was running ok. But I felt that running today maybe wasn’t the smartest idea. As we got close to the half turn-off, I admit I considered finishing early. But what the heck, I was not out there to set any records. I was out there because I love to run, I love the environment of a large road race like this. And after all, this was tradition! So I kept on plugging!

Mile 14/15: 17:57 (~8:53)
Mile 16: 8:53

Somewhere on the High Street stretch we met up with the 4 hour pace group. I thought my friend Julie may be among them (I initially told her I’d be running with them, but obviously hadn’t been anyplace near to them at the start), but I didnt see her. I wasn’t really comfortable running with the big gang of people (who kinda smelled, oh I dunno, like they’d been running and sweating for hours) so we passed them anfd forged ahead.

Mile 17: 9:09

The one “hill” in the whole course is on mile 17 šŸ™‚

Mile 18: 8:46

We saw Andy and Jen at about this point. Doug had mentioned how he could stand to use a portapotty if we saw one, so we stopped shortly after we saw them. As I waited for him, I stretched out a bit. My left foot was still sore, and I tied and retied the shoe, trying to determine the lesser of two evils: tight (sore) or loose (potential for blisters). When we got en route again, the 4hr pace group had passed us by.

Mile 19: 12:39

Evidently my knee wasn’t aware of the actual race distance today, because once I stopped, it was really bothering me. As we were winding through Upper Arlington, all of a sudden it clenched up. I stopped, knowing I needed some time. I told DOug to go on ahead, and walked backwards for a bit.

Mile 20: 10:22

The break helped, and I was back in business!

Mile 21: 8:58
Mile 22: 8:32

Gettin close, la la la. Somewhere around here I saw Nancy Jeggle. She was handing out water and when I said hi, asked if I needed a gu. I didnt even realize until several days later that she had placed second in the half marathon. She was even interviewed by the local paper!

The runner-up was Nancy Jeggle, 36, of Upper Arlington.
Like most, Jeggle was running toward something.
“Iā€™m going to take a shower and get to the 20-mile mark,” she said. “Our fifth-grade Girl Scouts from Tremont School have a water station set up there. I had to finish quickly, so I could get out there and help. Gotta go.”

Mile 23: 9:33

At every mile marker, I glanced at my watch. I figured sub-4 was still within my grasp. Then I came up Neil Ave and my plan for the race changed yet AGAIN as I ran by King Ave.
Amber and 4 year old Alex had been at church, and came outside to cheer me on. I stopped to chat and give Alex a hug, then asked if she wanted to join me for a bit. She was overjoyed and said yes. I asked Amber if she thought Alex could make it a couple miles, she wasn’t sure. I figured we’d go a little ways and see how it went. So holding my hand, little Alex trotted off with me in her sunglasses and pink coat. we jogged a little, and Amber said as she followed behind us on the sidewalk, she could hear people cheering “go little girl in the pink coat!”. Alex is a little attention seeker, so she was in her element! A huge grin on her face as we jogged on. We stopped at the next water station, and I got her some gatorade, and asked if she wanted to go back to meet Amber. Nope! She wanted to keep going! We did walk back a bit to meet Amber, and decided Alex and I would just go on, and we’d meet her after. The race was no longer about me, so I had no worries about time. It was just so great to see how happy and excited she was! As we continued on, I wantd to be sure she was ok, so every few minutes I’d ask how she was, did she want to walk, was she hot, how were her feet. She was so very happy to be out there! We thanked everyone who cheered, and she was so adorable, commenting on how much fun she was having, and how nice runners were!

As we rounded Goodale, we smiled at the photographer, and he said he got a nice photo of the two of us. It was fun to run with lil Alex, she’s such a sweet kid. People smiled and commented as we trotted by, and it felt just great. Close to the end of the race we saw Brian and Bridget (Bridget ran 3:17!), and Meredith, Mike and Dave. I think they were all confused where I’d met my running buddy! Finally we turned the last turn, and I pointed to the big balloons over the finish. I told ALex to smile and wave as we finished, pointed out the camera and wouldn’t you know, the little booger started picking up the pace! Over the loudspeaker, they announced “Mom is teaching the little one to finish strong”. Sure, I felt a little guilty about the Mom comment, but oh well!

I think we rolled across the finish mat at 4:19 or so, I got my space blanket and then asked them to put the medal around Alex’s neck. Whoa, big moment for her! I actually have my Boston medal hanging from my rearview mirror, and when she gets in my car, she often asks if she can see or wear the “boston necklace”. Now she would have one of her own (there was no way I was going to take it back from her!) We got some water, had some banana and orange, and I grabbed a bagel. She was doing great, not initially really thirsty or hungry or anything. We slowly headed back to meet Amber, Alex proudly carrying her medal! Alex wasn’t done yet, she wanted to run more on our way back to the car! (Drea was the sore one). As we walked back to the car, the excitement wore off her abit and she had some to drink, and she fell asleep in the car on the way home. But she did fantastic on the run!

We dropped her off at home, after coaching her in the name of the race, in case anyone asked. Sure enough, the next morning she wore her medal to her Mom’s work, she brought it to school to show people, and then to Amber’s afterschool. She wanted to show off the medal she got for running the Columbus marathon!

I’m anxiously waiting on the pictures, I’m sure they will be adorable. Running with Alex is really what made the race. That night my knee was still quite sore, and I really hope I don’t pay for it next week. But seeing that little girl’s face as we ran really made it worth it!

update: pics! I like how she’s centered in the second one, and I’m half cut off!!!