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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Race Recap: Maria's Miles 3 Miler

The crowd was 1,000 deep.

Maria's Miles took place Saturday, October 11 at 10:00am in Italian Village (a little neighborhood just north of downtown Columbus). The run was marketed as a 3 miler, but I wanted to use it as a chance to accomplish one of my goals for 2014: run a 5k with an under 9-minute mile pace. [Note: From here out I'm going to round up and call this a 5K because Map My Run said it was 3.09 miles.]

Alex joined me for our first 5K together since Valentine's Day and his first event in six months. Alex had one "training" run under his belt and guess what? (spoiler alert) He placed fourth. Yes, 4TH. Can you imagine being naturally good at something and NOT taking advantage of it?


The Race
This was the inaugural Maria's Miles. If you aren't from Columbus, or familiar with Maria's Message you can read a bit more here. The event is a run/walk and served as a lead-in to the yearly Italian Festival. Alex and I have never attended the Italian Fest, so it was fun to finally take part.

After a few words from Maria's family and the national anthem, we set off. Alex and I intentionally lined up near the front (we're in the picture above!) because a majority of the field would be walking. He took off. I could see him for a few blocks, but then he was gone.

I started fast, but not too fast. I knew I was definitely under 10 minutes per mile, but wasn't sure if I was under 9. I didn't have my phone GPS, just a normal watch clocking my time. Around six tenths of a mile we passed the starting line and shortly after that, just before going under the highway, I totally bit it.

Yes, I fell.

I found myself suddenly on the ground, breaking the fall with my left hand, right elbow, and both knees. So strange for many reasons, but first: prior to the race Alex said, "Watch out for stuff in the road!" Second, I did not trip on anything. And I didn't realize I'd fallen until I was down on the ground. It went something like this: Oh I'm tripping. -- I'm ok, lalala -- Wait I'm on the ground?!-- Ack, get up this is embarrassing! In all, it lasted about 15 seconds. I got up immediately - it didn't occur to me to stop to assess the damage. I said something like, "that was weird." to the nice man next to me and kept running. He was supportive and remarked, "that's the problem with running on the road!"

So, that happened around seventh tenths of a mile... Only 2.3 to go!

When I crossed mile marker 1 my watch said 8:24! Sweet! But, obviously, my hand and legs were pulsing with pain. Also, I was starting to get tired. Unlike past runs (you know, the ones where I have 10 more miles to go), I didn't allow myself to walk because if I walk after 1 flippin' mile how on earth can I expect to run an entire half marathon? (Running really is mental. I need to remember this.) At mile 2 we headed uphill. It sucked and people started to walk, but I stuck it out. I knew I was slowing down, but mile 2's time was 17 something... still headed towards my goal pace.

When we hooked around Goodale Park the grossest sounding man was hot on my trail. He was literally groaning "ughhhhh," gasping, and coughing. It was disgusting. So, I let him pass. About a half mile from the end a woman (my age!) came prancing behind me breathing as if she'd left her inhaler at home. It was so incredibly loud that I began to internalize and echo her rapid breathing. Once again, I had to take a step back and let her pass.

But the end was near. Despite my fall, I wasn't feeling too terrible, just tired from running quicker than normal. I didn't feel like I was running very fast, but I knew I was keeping an okay pace. I wasn't sure if I would achieve my goal, but I was happy I'd kept running after my fall.

Map My Run gave me a slightly different pace from the chip timer.
I crossed the line at 26:31. At the time I didn't know my pace and I quickly forgot to care when Alex saw me and asked, "What happened to your leg?!" I finally looked down at my legs to inspect the damage. I had no idea I was bleeding! The entire time I thought only the palm of my left hand was scratched.

Final results online show my pace was 8:33/mile! Wooooo!! One 2014 goal accomplished!

Overall: 72/808 (8%) 
Age Group: 5/114 (!!!)

Post race goodies included water, bananas, chocolate milk, and subs. The event shirts were super soft. I ran in mine, which was a little bizarre for me because I rarely run in t-shirts, but it was comfortable and seemed to breath well. We left shortly after eating our subs so Alex could do some side work, but were able to enjoy part of the Italian Festival (I even got some free popcorn from a woman that pitied my wound). 1,000 participants for the first year is impressive and I could see it becoming an even larger event in the future.

Some things I did differently during this run: ran faster (ha!), wore a t-shirt, wore sunglasses (forgot to put them in the gear check), no music/no audiobooks, no phone, no GPS, no water bottle ... so, really, I did a lot differently. Maybe that's why I fell? ;)

Up next: Loveland Half Marathon. (Next week!!) I'm not sure what to expect, but no matter; at least I know all of this half marathon training has helped knock :30 seconds off my 5K mile pace.

See all race recaps here.

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