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Monday, December 15, 2014

Race Calendar

Since I've signed up for six runs in 2015, what better time than now to compile a race calendar? This list will be accessible from my blog sidebar and updated as I write race recaps.

2013:
10.27 - Vets 4 Pets 5k
11.10 - OSU 4 Miler
11.14 - Studio 35 Stache Dash 5k
11.26 - Columbus Turkey Trot (5 Miler)

2014: 
01.01 - First on the First 5k
02.15 - Valentine's Run 5k
05.02 - Cap City Half Marathon - recap
08.03 - Scioto Miles (10 miles) - recap
08.24 - Emerald City Half Marathon - recap
09.18 - Summer Squatch Trail 10k - recap
10.11 - Maria's Miles (3 Miler) - recap
10.19 - Loveland Half Marathon - recap // 13.1 PR 2:08:52
11.16 - Hot Chocolate 15K - recap // 15K PR 1:34:06
11.27 - Powell Turkey Trot (4 Miler) - recap // 4 Miler PR 36:17
12.06 - Santa Run 5K- recap // 5k PR 26:31

2015: 
01.01.15 - First on the First 5k
01.11.15 - Rock and Roots Trail Series #1 (10k)
02.08.15 - Rock and Roots Trail Series #2 (10k)
03.22.15 - Scioto Miles #1 (10k)
04.12.15 - Scioto Miles #1 (10k)
05.02.15 - Cap City Half Marathon

Under Consideration:
03.28.15 - Run the Bluegrass Half Marathon - Lexington, Kentucky
06.20.15 - Mayor's Midnight Sun Half Marathon - Anchorage, Alaska
07.25.15 - The Shawshank Hustle 7k - Mansfield, Ohio
10.??.15 - Loveland Half Marathon - Loveland, Ohio

What races are you running?

Monday, December 08, 2014

Race Recap: The Santa Race 5K

Photo by In My Life Photography (www.inmylifephotography.com/)
Last race of 2014! 
The Santa Race 5k took place Saturday, December 6 in Gahanna, Ohio.

Pre Race
Pre-race posing in the garage.
Saturday was rainy and chilly. I'm thankful it was at least 40 degrees and the rain slowed down. I wore a tank top base-layer, two long sleeve tees (including the race shirt), running tights, knee-high socks, gloves, a Buff, a baseball hat (to deflect the rain from my face), and a Santa hat. The Santa hat was included in the race packet for the first 200 registrants. I overdressed and had to push up my sleeves and remove my gloves, but I felt a-ok while waiting in the rain.

I was happy to see so many people participate in the race. I was afraid the rainy and gray climate may keep people away. (The race only cost $20 for us; so a relatively low loss if people didn't want to be outside.)  The field consisted of many families and a mix of runners and walkers.

The race began at Creekside, which is a little shopping / restaurant / fountain area in Gahanna. There's a large parking garage with plenty of free spots steps away from the race start line. We sat in the car for a bit, posed for photos, and braved the cold to watch the kid's races then get lined up. There were two kid's runs before the 5K start (100 and 200 meter... or foot? ... dashes). Adorable.

(I'm the red person on the right.)
The Race
We ran the same course in February for the Valentine's Day 5k, so besides being familiar with the route, I knew I wanted to beat my previous best 5K time of 28:09. (After mapping and reading that the route was short on Facebook, maybe I can't count this as an official 5K PR? I don't know who to believe!)

Anywho, Alex went to the front. Even though we had chip timers, they were doing the "first one in wins" method (technical name, obviously) and since he placed 5th in February, he figured he'd probably do just as well on Saturday. Because this blog isn't about him, let me spoil it for you: he placed 2nd. He did not win his age group because Mr. Winner was also 20-29 (and finished almost 40 seconds before. Speedy!). Alex received a plaque and free admission to COSI (he got an award for the Valentine's Run, too).  He improved his time by :14 (without training. At all.), but he felt pretty terrible after.

I went about 50 people back. I stood next to a kid (12?) that looked like Harry Potter and had on a sweet pair of purple Nikes. I complemented his shoes. He was proud. (Harry Potter finished at least 10 people ahead of me.)

The race began and I kept a speedy pace. Not too long into it, I latched on to a tall couple. I feel kind of bad because I think I ruined a few of their course photos. I also felt bad because I was like rightbehindthem for 2 miles and they probably thought I was a weird. Maybe a little creepy. Sorry, guys. I hope you read this.

Creepin' // Photo by In My Life Photography
The first mile felt long, but my watch said 8:11. Whoops, rein it in Elizabeth.

I was feeling ok, but I know that's not a sustainable pace for me. Yet. (Dude, I think it might be in 2015!) I kept myself glued to the tall couple as we crossed over some bridges. Just before the second bridge, the leaders were headed back from the turn around near 1.5. Alex was probably in 2nd or 3rd place by that point. I waved.

I kept moving forward to the turn around. I was tired, but my main goal was to keep up with the tall couple. Just before the turn around two old guys caught up and passed me. The tall couple was slowed down by another couple with reindeer antlers. At the turn around, the old guys gunned it, the tall couple passed the reindeer, and I was just thinking, "I'm thirsty, but I can drink when I'm dead" (I mean, done). It was kind of fun after the turn around to see how many people there were in the race.

Back on the straightaway I could see tall couple up ahead, but I gave up on them. I passed slowing reindeer couple and eventually joined a 13 year old boy and his dad. (I have no idea if they were related and that kid could have been 18 for all I know.) 13 year old was having a pretty standard race for a teen: alternating periods of running really fast, followed by grumbles about wanting to walk, mixed in with dad saying something about almost being done. This is pretty much the exact scenario I saw throughout the Turkey Trot.

I stayed with dad and 13 year old until the end. At the second to last straightaway I looked at my watch. 24 minutes and change. Welp, I wasn't going to smash my Maria's Miles time, but I'd definitely beat my February time. I started to pick up the pace, but I was tired. When we turned toward the finish, dad peeled off and 13 year old and I were left panting. I decided to sprint (my slow version) in, using him as a beacon. I figured he'd sprint in, too. He didn't. So I beat him, but guess what? I ended up ruining the tall couple's finish line photos! I was totally creeping behind them. In fact, I caught up with them and crossed the finish between them (Time wise. I didn't stand between them. I'm not that weird.).

"Hey guys, can I be in all of your photos??" // Photo by In My Life Photography
My timing chip was clipped off my shoe, I got my medal, and looked at my watch: 26:31. My exact Maria's Miles time (another course who's distance I cannot trust)! C'est la vie. Perhaps my next 5K will be on a "verified" course. (Hey wait, the race packet says the Santa Race is verified. I don't know who verified it (Santa?), but that's good enough for me.)

Anywho, after I grabbed water, a banana, and some Cheetos I felt pretty good. Not tired, so I'm sure I could go faster next time. The next day I wasn't sore, while Alex was feeling the burn. He still thinks I need to work on sprinting in, but in the moment I'm going as fast as I feel I can without gasping. And after seeing his aches and pains, I think I'm good with my method.

This medal is awesome.
My Stats
I didn't use Map My Run because I didn't want to hold my phone. I used my little Timex and know my second mile was around 17... something. I received my Garmin Forerunner 10 in the mail today, so next race will be precisely accounted for!

Final time: 26:31
My previous time on this course was 28:09.

Overall: 40 / 229 (17%)
Age group: 10 / 51 (19.6%)*
Gender: 15 / 157 (9.5%)

*I'm learning that women in the 30-39 age group tend to be the fastest females. Grumble grumble. 

Woo! Not too shabby. I like to look at these stats because it is pretty disheartening to finish 40th when you feel like you're going pretty fast. Especially when you're going home with the 2nd place finisher and you finished 10th in your age group. It's reassuring to see that my age group was filled with fast women and I was the 15th female across the line. I'll take it!

This year has been pretty wild. I should write up a misty-eyed summary at some point, but the above stats go to show what less than a year of middle-distance running will get you.

Next up: Maybe the First on the First? We keep putting off sign up, but it's such a good way to start the year! (With tacos and Snowville chocolate milk.)

Friday, December 05, 2014

Books of November 2014

November included my birthday (I'm now "too old" to celebrate), a ladies brunch, a moderate amount of running, a friend trip to Pittsburgh, family time, and... books. I read an almost equal number of graphic novels and "real" books. At one point, I was in the middle of 7 books at the same time. I do not recommend this reading strategy. Anyway, let's get started:

Finished November 2, 2014 (Audiobook)
by Lemony Snicket 

Review: 4 / 5 
I stopped listening to audiobooks during October runs, so my library version expired a few weeks ago, but I was recently able to get it back to finish the story. 

These books are fun. I think they're edgy for kid's stories, but not totally gross or scary. And those clever Baudelaire children make great role models. I thought the setting and story was more entertaining than those in book one. And as with book one, I really enjoyed the narration (Tim Curry). I think I'll continue to check these out as the audiobooks become available. They are quick, smart, and bizarre.

Finished November 3, 2014
by Amy Poehler 

Review: 4.5 / 5 
You know what's great about this book? It is divided into logical chunks! Her essays about random things are interspersed into her life story and it works! My biggest pet peeve with funny lady memoirs (coughMindyKalingcough) is the non-linear assortment of random essays and personal history. Poehler and her editor did a fabulous job with the actual layout of the book (design) and the progression of story / random asides. Additionally, memoirs have a tendency to peter out as we get closer to present day. I loved the last essay "The Robots Will Kill Us All" (maybe because it's something I think about daily.) 

For a while I kept comparing her to Tina Fey, which is unfair. They have very different voices and lives. Poehler is "wild" to Fey's "straight" and because I personally identified with Fey, it doesn't make Poehler any less entertaining or inspirational. 

One stupid complaint: this book is SO heavy (weight). I couldn't lug it around on a recent work trip and when I walked to work while reading it, my wrists were so sore from keeping it open. What a strange issue! (It's due to the thicker pages that make the full-color photo spreads possible.) 

Read on November 6, 2014
by Michel Gagné

Review: 5 / 5 
Absolutely gorgeous illustrations. Most of this was in the Flight books and I swear I'd read them all in order once, but I did not recognize the intro text. I maybe recognized the pictures, but not the text. Unfortunately, this didn't start in Flight 1, so I can't check. (I only own 1, 6, and 8.)

Read on November 6, 2014
by Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang

Review: 4 / 5 
Very quick. Great art. And probably the nerdiest graphic novel I've read to date. (In a good way. But I won't be able to recommend it to everyone.)

Finished November 10, 2014
by Julie Schumacher

Review: 4 / 5 
The building landlord at work handed me this book a few weeks ago. He said he'd heard about it on NPR and it made him laugh. It took me awhile to start (out of town), but once I got past letter three or four, it went quickly. 

Silly me, it took just as many letters for me to realize they were all written by the same character. And even sillier, it took me a bit longer to realize they were mostly paper and pen. (I liked the online forms that cut him off every so often.) 

Anyway, an interesting read I'd only recommend to academics, English majors, or people entertained by that sector. 

I wish everyone listened to BBCs The Archers, because Jay reminded me of Jim Lloyd...

Finished November 12, 2014
by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki 

Review: 4 / 5 
The art was pretty awesome for only using a few colors. The story made me a little sad, but I thought the authors did a great job capturing summer vacation and the transition from kid to young adult. I hope Rose grew to realize Dud was, in fact, a dud.

Finished November 13, 2014
by Veronica Roth

Review: 4 / 5 
I really enjoyed Four as a narrator and flew through these stories. (Still think it's stupid he started narrating in book three, but whatever.) Honestly, I preferred him to Tris. I see why VR decided to use Tris as the main character, but I found it more interesting to read about a different type of character (and not "dystopian teen girl, falling in love and discovery her bravery within").

Somewhat related: I saw the first movie and I don't remember a single scene. Four was probably ten years too old, but his essence was correct.

Read on November 15, 2014
by Tonya Olsen 

Review: 4 / 5 
I liked the idea of this book: there is a recipe to make each room in your home look great. Each featured room was organization into three parts: ingredients (the pieces in the room), recipe (ideas to make them work), and garnish (DIY projects). 

Unfortunately, minus one workspace, the rooms in this book were not my style, so my takeaway was limited. I'm not sure how to describe the rooms. Maybe "rustic contemporary?" The book featured a lot of rooms you'd see on Pinterest. Very nice looking and well laid out, but too cluttered for my taste. 

I'd like to see another iteration of this book either featuring a variety of decor styles or maybe turn this into a series of books featuring a new style in each edition.

Finished November 20, 2014
by Lena Dunham 

Review: 4 / 5 
I am fairly convinced "Lena Dunham" is a character. Sure, she probably is very self-involved (and aware of it) and she might be lax about hygiene and have a pile of neuroses, but I think all of that is amped up for the book. (And the show... and the movie...) 

From one NPR review: "And she never pretends to be a reliable narrator, cautioning us that her sister 'claims every memory we 'share' has been fabricated by me to impress a crowd.'" I have a friend (and sister- hahaha) like that, so I understand what makes a good storyteller. 

She's a great writer and it's interesting to read about her life growing up in NYC. I think this is one of the most well-organized memoirs I've read, even if some bits made me gag.

In the end, she gets into a number of cringeworthy situations and talks about being very lazy, but she obviously isn't a terrible person and she definitely gets things done. (Just read her biography at the end of the book.)

Finished November 24, 2014
by Norton Juster  

Review: 4 / 5 
I saw The Phantom Tollbooth mentioned or recommended several times over the past month. As I'd never read it in school, I figured I ought to give it a look, so I reserved it at the library. I was going to give this a three because it took me a while to get through for a youth novel, but I figure I probably would have liked this if I'd read it at a more appropriate age. I bet this would be an interesting audiobook, but I suppose the illustrations enhanced the story.

Finished November 29, 2014
by Kazu Kibuishi

Review: 4 / 5 
Two of the seven stories were kind of mediocre, while the rest were nice and quick with great story arcs. The art, as always, is fantastic. This didn't feel as young as Flight Explorer.

- - - - - - - -

For the most part, these reviews were ripped from my Goodreads. 

What did you read in November? 
What are you reading now? 

What I'm looking forward to: Finishing House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It's long, but amazing. I'm knee-deep and at the point where you have to rotate the book to read upside-down text, maintain three bookmarks, and comb through pages-long footnotes. 

As always, be my friend on Goodreads. 


Friday, November 28, 2014

Race Recap: Powell Turkey Trot 4 Miler

One of the "medals" - Magnets designed by local elementary school students.
The first annual Powell Turkey Trot took place Thursday, November 28, 2014 at 8:30am. [The course]

Last year, we ran the Columbus Turkey Trot in Upper Arlington. That race begins at Whole Foods, just over a mile from our house. Unfortunately, the course is pretty bleak for the location. If only they could get permission to run through the lovely neighborhoods. Instead, it's a mile or two straight shot down Lane Avenue... making it the most boring, concrete-filled run ever. And to top it off, we got stuck in traffic for twenty or more minutes, simply trying to leave the parking lot. We were on a tight deadline to get showered and drive up to Cleveland, so it was annoying.

Free beer!
Fast forward to this year. I assumed we'd run the Flying Feather 4 Miler in Dublin, but I kept putting off sign up. I searched online and found a few more option, finally stumbling onto the Powell Turkey Trot. Do you know what convinced us? FREE BEER. Free good and local beer. (Sideswipe Brewing)

Pre-Race
We arrived around 7:45am and got a parking spot across from the start/finish line. We sat in the car for a few, but decided to go over to the canned food donation to drop off our cans. (Awesome idea!) While doing so, we realized that the race organizers had access to the community center and indoor bathrooms!! We went back to the car to drop off Alex's coat and the rest of the pre-race time was spent indoors enjoying the heat.

It was about 30 degrees. It got cooler during the race so I was happy with my outfit: 2 headbands, 2 pairs of gloves, a tank top, long sleeve tech shirt, tech hoodie, knee high socks, and two pairs of running tights (the top ones are pretty lightweight). Lots of layering.

Alex's magnet medal - my favorite turkey!
The Race
There was a kid's race at 8:00am and then the main run/walk set off at 8:30. A few minutes before, everyone began to line up. I (naively) assumed this suburban race would be a slow field and Alex would win a top spot and I could beat a fair number of people. Upon line-up a few young dudes started to strip off, only to reveal Division 1 college cross country singlets. Whoa. I kind of forgot the Powell area has some of the best cross country kids in town... and that the alums would be home for Thanksgiving. Silly me! I must say, Turkey Trots are probably full of the fastest runners I've encountered. All those crazy high schoolers and kids home from college!

The race set off and I realized I'd lined up a bit closer to the fast folks than I should have, but luckily I wasn't in the way and I kept up pretty well. I was going a little faster than I intended, which I tried to back off of after the second turn. I was also staying out of the way. My first mile was 8:33 according to my watch. Unfortunately, I did not have Map My Run going. I didn't feel like carrying my phone. I think it may be time I invest in a Garmin... (They're $100 today!)

The course elevation. Steady uphill for most of it.
I was breathing hard and knew I needed to slow down. And the middle finger on my right hand was starting to go numb. It was 30 degrees, windy, and blowing small flakes. I wasn't really in the mood to run and had to keep telling myself "you're a third of the way there!" "Just 25 more minutes!"

I (kind of) sprinted in!
We entered a second neighborhood and I was thirsty. There was a water stop at mile two, but I didn't feel like grabbing anything. I looked at my watch and my second mile must have been around 9 minutes (or over!). Whoops. I kept trucking through the neighborhood, but I would have walked if I didn't keep thinking about Alex having to stand around and wait for me after he finished. It was a very "meh" experience. Perhaps Map My Run or a podcast would have helped.

When we reached the sign for mile 3 my time was around 26:30-something. That was a bit slower than my 5K PR, but faster than most other 5Ks. A bit later I passed a piece of tap stuck to the ground that said "mile 3"... hmmm. When I reached that, my time was closer to 27 or 28 minutes.

The last part of the race was a straightaway down Liberty Street. I've come to realize I prefer straightaways. I like being able to see where I'm going; even if it feels like forever away. Plus. I don't have to worry whether I'm cutting corners or running too wide. Anyway, this part was a good downhill for a while, then a slight uphill to the finish. When I turned the corner to head to the finish there was a girl bent over spitting (or more). Yikes. But guess what? As soon as I started to kick up my pace to run in, she sprinted past me. Guess she wasn't feeling too bad!

Posing with our beer and magnet medals!
Finish and reflections
Anywho, after the race I recovered quickly. Alex was pretty sore and cold, but had only finished 8 or so minutes before me. He got third in his age group, of course. BUT he did finish 31st if that's any indication of how fast those teens were! (Also, a female finished second with a 5:40 pace!)

We walked around and collected our goodies (bananas, bagels, juice, water, and beeeeer!). I knew I ran pretty fast, but there were still a lot of people who finished before me. That may have affected my overall attitude during the race. Luckily, I must have finished in the sweet spot, because after we posed for photos the beer line was EPIC. So glad we dodged that!

Overall, I would do this race again. I think I'd opt for something else if they didn't have beer next year. Did I mention the shirts are suuuuuuper soft? They are also a bit snug. I wasn't expecting a fitted tee, but luckily the small still fit (it is pretty tight, but not vulgar).

Other swag; coupons, samples, shirt
My Stats
I didn't feel as fantastic about this race as I've been feeling since Maria's Miles. No runner's high, but I did PR for a four mile run. After I mapped the course, my pace was 8:55/mile. Of course, my map said 4.1 miles and the race officials used 4 as the distance, so my online time was 9:04/mile. Hmph. I need to work on knocking about 10 more seconds off my time so that my official times are closer to correct!

Final time36:17
My previous 4 miler time was 38:01 at the 2013 OSU 4 Miler. 

Overall: 156 / 467  (33%)
Females:  57 / 263 (21%)
Age Group: 18 / 72  (25%)

Up next: The Santa Race 5k in Gahanna on December 6. We will probably do the First on the First 5k since it was so fun, but we've been lazy and have yet to sign up.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Race Recap: Hot Chocolate 15K

The chocolate-tastic medal
The 2014 Hot Chocolate 15K/5K took place Sunday, November 16 in Columbus, Ohio. Sunday morning was cold: 30 degrees, overcast, and gray.

Trying to stay warm before the race.
Before the race / Logistics / Boring stuff
The event organizers advised participants to arrive by 6:30am to avoid road closures and secure parking in the garage ($5! What a steal!), so we woke up at 5:15. Correction: Alex woke up at 5:15 while I stayed in bed for another 10 minutes. We both had our goodies lined up the night before, so getting ready didn’t take too long. I had my toast and peanut butter and we left the house at 6:15. I thank the Columbus Gods that we live so close to downtown.

Traffic was a little backed up when we arrived to the Arena District, but we were able to get into a garage within 5 to 10 minutes. Alex’s wave started at 7:30 (he was in Group A of Wave 1: aka the fast people), so we stayed in the car until 7:00. It was so cold we both added another layer while waiting in line for a porta-potty. There were so many bathrooms to choose from, we waited only 5 minutes.

Our original plan included checking one bag at gear check (under his number), walking to the start line, watching him take off, and then I’d wander around for 30 minutes until my wave began. What really happened: we shivered and hunkered down, I walked him to the start line so he could keep his fleece on for just a bit longer, I took his fleece and shoved it in the gear check bag, we said goodbye and good luck, he walked away… and I lost him. I could NOT find him! I stood on a wall and searched the A corral to no avail. At this point I was still freezing and had to go to the bathroom. Pro tip: if you run a Hot Chocolate 15k/5k and there are tons of bathrooms, wait until Wave 1 is lined up and you’ll have the pick of the litter! No lines!

A post race photo with different head gear.
His wave started and I began the countdown to my own (8:05). I waited in front of the gear check until 7:50 to strip off my fleece, check our gear, and head to the start line. It spit snow for a bit, but mellowed out. The weather was overcast, it was still hella cold, and I knew it would all be okay once I started running!

What I wore
Even though the temperature was 30, with the clouds it felt cooler so I dressed for 20 degrees. My gear: knee-high socks, running tights, sports bra, double layer tank top (tucked in the bottom layer), long sleeve shirt, 3/4 zip up with thumb holes, gloves, light ear warmer, and a free fleece ear warmer I planned to chuck, but never did because it was so freaking cold. I removed the gloves around mile 4.5 and pushed up my sleeves a bit later.

The race
I was in the H corral, the first group in Wave 2. I was pretty pissed when I first saw Alex and I were in separate waves. After all, the whole point of signing up for the same event was that he wouldn’t have to stand around for 90 minutes waiting for me; he’d be running and collecting swag for at least part of that time. In the end, being in the front of Wave 2 was pretty awesome. Everyone was moderately paced so I didn’t feel rushed.

We set off, weaving through downtown on a gradual 100 ft incline. I couldn’t feel my feet. Seriously, they were numb. I didn’t regain feeling until mile 2. And it felt like there was something stuck to the bottom of my left shoe, so I scraped it along the ground a few times. I knew if I stopped I’d lose my mojo and get cold again, so I kept running. I remember thinking I might trip with my jelly legs, but I didn’t. (Oh yeah! Alex had already finished his race and came to watch me take off. He’s so fast. He finished 49th out of 6,600+ people, 7th in his age group, and he didn't train.)

Mile 1 went pretty fast and we came up to a treat stop around 1.5. A volunteer handed me a heaping handful of giant chocolate chips. I guess I didn’t read the course summary, because I looked at her and said “what is that?!” and she, of course, responded, “chocolate!” Duh! I ate a few, but it was early so I had to toss the others on the ground.

The course and elevation.
I wasn’t surprised when people walked. Wave 1 was out of the way for the first mile or two, but I knew my corral contained at least 50% 5K participants and a lot of 5K people tend to walk after the first mile (at large races like this one). I didn’t have to dodge as much as normal, so again I was thankful for the wave start. When the 5K people split off, I still found myself dodging 15K walkers. To be fair, some of them signed up as walkers and were placed at the tail end of Wave 1, but others were from my corral (or behind) and had sprinted the first two miles, only to walk the rest. It sounds like I’m judging, but really I was thinking, “dang, they have to walk 7 more miles. That's so faaaarrr.”

Office photo!
Running down High Street is a nice overview of Columbus, but meeehhhhh— I’ve lived here for years and downtown to campus runs are played out. Around mile 4 we turned into the Ohio State campus. I think that was after a strawberry marshmallow pit stop. (I didn’t take any other snacks during the run as I had a gel planned for the 10k mark.) There were also plenty of water / Gatorade stops, but I had my water bottle.    

This part of the run was boring. Alex and I participated in a bunch of runs around OSU last year and we live pretty close to campus, so I’m over it. The longest stretch was after the water stop on John Herrick Drive until Fifth Avenue. It was during this concretey / windy stretch I lost a little steam and decided to eat my gel. It was a flavor/brand I’d never had before (Honey Stinger Acai Pomegranate), but it was fine. Everything was fine.

Partial whomp whomp
Here’s the part that was not fine: My GPS. I turned on mile and pace alerts. My miles were off, but that usually happens in a race, so I got over it. By the end it said I’d run 9.6 miles instead of 9.3. I didn’t swing wide and didn’t have to dodge too many people, and according to a few others, the course was long (I wish they’d take that into account in official results, but whatever). The problem was my pace alerts. Apparently, I'd it set to read my overall pace and not split pace. It must have been set like this for the Loveland Half, but because I was so consistent with my speed I didn’t notice. Unfortunately, I ran a few slow miles near the end of this race. I could tell they were slow and easy, but when my pace was announced as 9:47 I was content. HAD I KNOWN I was really running 10:01, 9:59, and 9:58 – dragging down my overall pace – I would have picked it up a bit. So, this is my one regret: setting my pace alerts incorrectly. My goal time was 1:35… but deep down 1:30. I think I could have shaved off at least a minute with accurate pace alerts. C’est la vie!

Back to the run: I texted Alex at mile 8 to prep him for my arrival… then felt like it took a really long time to get to mile marker 9. (It did. I just checked my text message time stamps and there was a twelve minute gap between my messages for miles 8 and 9. Noooope.) I chugged into the final uphill and when it shifted into a downhill towards the finish, I picked up my pace a teeny tiny bit. Alex said I need to work on sprinting in. Well, if I had a ton of energy to sprint in I would consider my run a failure. At this stage in my training, I don’t have that much extra energy to spare. Maybe next year, dude!
Not sprinting into the finish. (Spoiler alert)
I crossed the finish line, collected my medal, and met up with Alex before going to the other side of the park for the chocolate.

Truth bomb: Alex and I signed up for the race for the swag. He ran the 5K, so he didn’t get a medal, but the fleece-lined zip-up (lady version modeled below) and gear bag more than made up for it. In the end, we didn’t feel like there was much swag after the race. Sure, you got a “fondue pot” (plastic, non microwavable), snacks, and hot chocolate, but I suppose we’re spoiled and accustomed to grabbing useful items at the end of a race (head wrap, pens, granola bars, bagels…)– basically not sugar, sugar, sugar. I realize Alex and I are probably in a minority here. We’re not big sugary dessert people.

A selfie with my hoodie (& PJs) the night before
[HEY I just realized we both got shafted out of a hat! I had a promo code for a free hat and the expo girl didn't grab it for us even though our bibs were clearly marked!]

After I ate a portion of my sugar, we headed back to the car… and then went to Panera for soup and HEAT. I took a hot bath when we arrived home and it was luxurious. A little later in the day we went to a bar and got a late brunch (breakfast tacos). A nice little Sunday!

Stats and final thoughts
While I achieved my goal of finishing under 1:35, this was my first 15K and I ran it at my best half marathon pace. I was not as tired as I should have been at the end and I'm sad that my official time online claims my pace was 10:05. In retrospect, I could have trimmed 10 seconds off my goal mile pace. A sign of positive progress: I did much better in this race vs. the Scioto Miles 10 Miler. And let's be real, I'm complaining about my time, but 3-4 months ago I was running 10-11 minute miles during long races and stopping to walk.

Things I've learned: The Loveland Half was my running aha moment. Now that I know I can run 13.1 at a moderate pace, I can't let myself walk. I'm allowed to back off my speed, but as long as I keep running, I'm good to go. Another thing: I may ditch my water bottle on large organized runs. It could be nice to run without the weight, but I do like having control of my water supply, and avoiding pile-ups... we'll see what happens next year.

Final time: 1:34:06
I’m going to use Map My Run here and claim my pace was 9:47/mile. Again, a few friends confirmed the course ran long, but I'm still upset with myself for allowing miles over 9:50.

Mile splits 
1 mi 09:36 min/mi
2 mi 09:48 min/mi
3 mi 09:33 min/mi
4 mi 09:48 min/mi
5 mi 09:44 min/mi
6 mi 10:01 min/mi (booooooo)
7 mi 09:51 min/mi
8 mi 09:59 min/mi (nooooo)
9 mi 09:58 min/mi (whyyyyy)
9.6 mi  09:16 min/mi

Overall:  2,235 / 5,426 (41%)
Female:  1,408/4,063 (34%)
F 30-34:  224/626   (35%)

Up Next
Powell Turkey Trot 4 Miler on Thanksgiving and the Santa Race in Gahanna on December 6. Alex could probably win an overall or age group award in both runs!
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