I'm linking up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin to recap my latest race. The Autumn Blast Half Marathon took place Saturday, October 15 at 8:00am in South Lebanon, Ohio.
|Proud of my tiger gloves|
As mentioned in previous posts, the race was moved due to construction. The new start/finish was in a park that left a lot to be desired compared to Loveland's charming downtown. Regardless of the location change, the race was still well organized and had a good turnout.
We picked up our bibs and timing chips, then went to the bathroom and stood around as the sun rose. It was chilly, but not cold (low 50s and 78% humidity). I'm so used to 30s and 40s for this weekend and the warmer temps threw me off a bit. The race was delayed a few minutes because of the bathroom lines, but soon we were lining up. At the last minute I decided not to use my headphones (they were "strongly discouraged") so I was scrambling to wrap them up and hand them off to Alex when the race began. I never heard the start!
I planned to start slow, make it through the hill(s), then re-assess my race goals after the downhill. I don't really remember mile 1 besides turning to see a hill right off the bat. When that was finished I concentrated on keeping an easy pace. The big hill came at 1.9 and even though it was over by 2.5, it was steep and knocked me out. My legs were super tired, but I didn't stop to walk and even passed some people. We coasted along the top of the hill for a bit, then it was time to come down. There was a gorgeous view from the top (cows, hills, fall color) and I decided to speed up on the downhill to make up for my slower mile 1 and 2.
Miles 1-3: 9:25, 9:17, 8:57
|This is a screencap from Google street view at the top of the hill. It was pretty.|
Miles 4 and 5 were nerve-wracking: the streets were not closed to traffic. Normally this isn't an issue, or at least runners are encouraged to stick to the shoulder. However, there wasn't a shoulder and we were taking up the entire right lane, so cars would speed around us in the left lane. At first I thought there must be a flagger directing traffic because folks were driving around us in no passing zones, but then oncoming traffic came. At one point I was running with a car directly behind me, waiting for oncoming traffic to pass. I was not wild about this section and very thankful when we crossed the river and made our way onto the bike path. I ate my first gel around mile 4.5, but I was already starting to feel weird. Definitely tired and a little weak.
Miles 4-5: 8:57, 9:11
This part was nice because we began a short out and back segment and could see the race leaders. It was starting to get tough. Looking back, I probably should have slowed down a bit, but I really wanted to make it to the turn around at 7 and keep banking time. When I got to the turn around I tried to keep myself motivated by running until I saw Angie. Along the way, a guy came up behind me and said, "I've been trying to catch you this whole time!" Instead of saying something nice, I was in such a state of exhaustion I said, "oh no! Well now you're going to pass me!" I quickly added, "but that's really cool!" before he passed. Ha! I saw Angie - she looked great - and said something about feeling terrible, then kept on trucking... until the mile marker at 8. All of the sudden I started to feel terrible and could not keep running, so I walked!
Miles 6-8: 9:03, 8:53, 9:08
|Map and elevation|
Mile 9: 9:55
Just after that mile another weird thing happened: a group of us (4 ladies) approached a road crossing with a policeman. A truck was coming through and I think we all assumed he'd stop the traffic after the truck, but he didn't. He made us stop! What!? I've never experienced this in a race. He said, "Sorry. I know you all hate stopping." and that was it. It didn't last too long, but 3 vehicles went through before we were allowed to continue. Boo.
|I took this while walking. See? Lovely!|
I walked again at 10.4 and texted Alex. My stomach was cramping and I wondered if eating 2 gels was to blame, but I also felt dizzy and little lightheaded which usually indicates I should eat more. I was pretty defeated and tried to go through all of my mantras. Nothing stuck. I just wanted to be finished. I even found myself thinking, "I'm so glad this season is over. I don't want to run 13.1 again for a long time." My breaks didn't last longer than a minute, but between mile 10 and the end I walked 5 times. I kept looking at my watch during this section in disbelief: I was still going to finish under 2:05! I can't believe I walked during mile 12, but when we emerged from tree cover into full sun, my stomach pains worsened and I was taking loud, ragged breaths. I took one final walk break at 12.5 to concentrating on my breathing and told myself to suck it up and finish. I was embarrassed to walk in front of the other runners (there was another out and back from 11.7 to 12.7), but even those feelings barely convinced me to run.
My last run from 12.5 to the end included some encouragement from volunteers and one final hill over a bridge. As I came into the park Alex was cheering for me and when I turned the corner to the finish I was so shocked to see 2:01 on the official race clock.
Miles 10-13: 9:10, 9:38, 9:35, 9:56
|Running in & posing at the finish line|
I collected my medal and got my timing chip chopped off, then went to find Alex. He was so supportive! From mile 8 to the end he sent nice texts as I updated him on my progress. We waited a bit for Angie (who had a 4 minute PR of 2:14!!), got some snacks (I ate more than usual), and hung around for a while before we went back to the hotel to clean up.
After checking out of the hotel, we went to a local brewery (MadTree) and my stomach still felt terrible. We ate pizza and shared a flight. I was in good spirits, but still felt gross. If I'm honest, the pain felt like lady cramps, and they ended up lasting the entire day and into Sunday. I truly thought I was imagining the pain during the race, but I guess it was real. Looking back, I remember my stomach hurting a ton on Friday at work, but I attributed it to nerves at the time.
Overall: 96 / 239 (40%) - walkers are sorted into a separate division
Gender: 32 / 121 (26%)
Age Group: 6 / 15 (40%)
Mile Splits: 9:25, 9:17, 8:57, 8:57, 9:11, 9:03, 8:53, 9:08, 9:55, 9:10, 9:38, 9:35, 9:56
|Here we are again!|
- Somehow this was still my 2nd fastest 13.1. WHAT?!
- I didn't really love the new location. The course was gorgeous, but the start/finish wasn't great compared to the last two years. Alex didn't have anywhere to hang out and ended up driving to a Starbucks to kill time. If I lived in Cincinnati I would be back in a heartbeat. However, the 90 minute drive and hotel makes it a "destination." If they move it back to Loveland I'll probably return.
- I wish I would have carried my headphones. My podcasts could have saved me.
- I didn't have a game plan and that didn't work.
- If I'm honest, I'm thinking about signing up for a "redemption race" in early November. I mean, I'm already in decent shape... What's three more weeks?
Have you ever had a race meltdown that didn't affect your time that much?
How do you get over a mid-race meltdown?
Do you believe in redemption races?