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Monday, August 25, 2014

Emerald City Half Marathon Race Recap

"Running is terrible. Meow."
Egads, this race was a doozy. 

The Emerald City Half Marathon took place 7:00am on August 24, 2014 in Dublin, Ohio. [The course]

I had a premonition this was going to be horrible. I woke up at 4:54am, got dressed and ready, then proceeded to have some stomach issues til we needed to leave at 5:30am. I won't get into the details, but yikes. Seemed like an inauspicious beginning to my day. 

Let's just cut to the chase, shall we? 

The Beginning I lined up with a slower pace group than normal. 10:40/mile (2:20 finish) instead of 10:20/mile (2:15 finish). I figured it was the smart thing to do since the humidity was very high (almost 90%) and there was a chance for high temps. Looking back, probably not a good idea. I kind of felt like I was trotting along and never found my stride. In fact, I eventually lost the pace group... and kept going slower and slower and slower... 

Just before mile 3 the quarter marathoners split off. Man, I really wanted to go with them. I started to think, "Would I really get into trouble? I'll still get my medal..." but I stayed the course (literally). 

The Beginning of the End
Miles 4 and 5 weaved through a nice neighborhood and up some hills. Hey, I was told this was a flat course! I wanted to walk. I was having a really hard time breathing in the soupy air (not quite gasping, but I could never get a deep breath). It wasn't terribly hot, but it was foggy and thick – kind of like running through a cloud on Mars (or so I imagined). Additionally, my left leg was locking up behind the knee. 

I can't remember the first time I seriously considered walking. I think it was near mile 5. I was losing sight of the pace group and people were dropping like flies all around me. One girl would run/walk so that every time I caught up to her at my slow trot she'd start running. Honestly, that was kind of annoying.

When we turned into the Metro Park (miles 6 and 7) I wanted to go home. By this point, I had a blister or two forming. I never get blisters. NEVER. So naturally it made me really whiny. My tummy still felt gross and I kept thinking about calling Alex to come get me, or faking an emergency so the nice first aid people would drive me back. Before mile 8 I had to stop THREE times to chuck rocks out of my shoes. 

Smiling for Alex / glad to be done.
The End
Miles 9 - 12 had me walking a little bit. Let's face it: I was ovvvverrrrrr it. This made Cap City seem like a dream. At one point the 2:30 finish pace group passed me. What a downer. I knew immediately that my time was definitely going to be 10+ minutes slower than Cap City. Instead of motivating me to pick up the pace, I took a little pity walk while I ate my complimentary GU. (Another thing I don't do normally - I usually eat chews.)

Ultimately, I finished strongish. I ran the last mile at a respectable pace. I smiled as I crossed the line (mainly because Alex was taking my photo and hollering at me). I'm not that sore today and I wasn't very tried after. I'm a little relived by that. My feet were rubbed raw and burned, but I took a nice bath and didn't walk around too much yesterday, so they're okay (Plus, I'm wearing fluffy moccasins today.)

In summary
The course was lovely and the weather – minus the humidity – was nice: overcast and kind of breezy, but it wasn't my day. I had a bad attitude going into it, I'd skipped my 5 and 6 mile runs the week before, and I didn't really run the beginning. I trotted. And so, the rest of the race was a trot to keep up, some sad walking breaks, and general grumblings of "why do people sign up for these? This is it. Never again."

I'm here for the chocolate milk.
Things I've learned:
  1. I hate running in humidity. I am not a summer distance runner. Give me a 30-50 degree day and I'll love you forever. 
  2. My audiobook wasn't great. I was listening to Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. It's an okay book, but not too riveting. Not to mention, around mile 11 the protagonist starts drinking a ton of liquor discussing how nauseous she is. I had to switch over to music at that point... 
  3. I should have started with a different pace group. 10:20/mile didn't exist (they had 9:55), so honestly I'm not sure what I would have done differently. But Lordy, this was night and day from the 10 miler a few weeks ago (where I ran a few miles under 10 minutes.)
  4. Attitude is everything. I wasn't feeling it, I just wanted to go home, and it sucked.
  5. Well, running slower means I'm less sore. 
  6. I don't want to be in the back of the pack again. 

Will I run another half? 
During the race (miles 5-end) I kept thinking how stupid long races are. They are SO self-indulgent! "Look at me run a stupid distance! Look at my medal!" In the car on the way home I told Alex it was ridiculous. I told him I wouldn't do it again. I was so totally bummed with my result and it wasn't fun. I said I'd keep doing 5-15Ks and 10 milers, but never a half. 

Then I sat around at home for a while. I really like running far with my running group. I woke up today and thought, "Well, I still have half a season left. Everyone else is training for October 19*, so maybe I should train for October 19." Get a shot at redemption! *Can I also add: it totally sucked to be on a separate training schedule from my running group. It certainly didn't help my summertime running sadness. One point of commiseration: the only other dude in my group to run Em City also had a horrible day. Yay for shared misery!

So, in conclusion: It sucked. I hated it. It was slow. I wanted to die (quit). BUT I might sign up for one more half in the (cooler) fall.

Mile splits:
1 mi    10:42 min/mi
2 mi    10:31 min/mi
3 mi    10:19 min/mi
4 mi    10:33 min/mi
5 mi    11:06 min/mi
6 mi    10:44 min/mi
7 mi    10:44 min/mi
8 mi    11:34 min/mi
9 mi    13:45 min/mi (I was pouting with my GU here)
10 mi    11:42 min/mi
11 mi    12:04 min/mi
12 mi    11:34 min/mi
13 mi    11:53 min/mi
13.6 mi 10:40 min/mi

Final time: 2:33 (Cap City was 2:19) :'(
What a change from the last two races. Bummer. Oh well... onward and upward!

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