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Sunday, May 03, 2015

Race Recap: Cap City Half Marathon 2015

Photo by Robb McCormick

The Capital City Half Marathon took place Saturday, May 2 at 8:00am in downtown Columbus, Ohio. [Course Map]

Spoiler alert: If you can't breathe, you can't run very well
Despite my best efforts, I was still sick. I woke up feeling better. I could breathe and I tried to clear out my nose before we left. I found out Friday night that taking sudafed before a run is probably not a good idea. I found myself extremely dehydrated and my heart fluttering after my 8pm dose, so to say I was petrified of taking it before the race is an understatement. I went into Cap City without any meds, but I was fairly confident I was healed. SILLY ME.

Chillin' in the Sheraton ballroom before the race.
Pre Race and Line up
We woke around 5, got dressed, ate, and rolled out around 6. My running group had a sweet spot at the Sheraton downtown where we were able to park our stuff and use indoor restrooms. A handful of my closest running buddies were there, but most were in Cincinnati for Sunday's Flying Pig. Around 7:15 we took a group photo and headed to the starting corrals. I was in E and Alex was in the back with the 5k runners. Unlike last year when I had 4 or 5 buddies with me, this time I was alone. I had two tissues stuck in my tank top and a hanky in my pants and by the time the corrals started moving my tissues were toast. Noooooo.

I lined up with the 2:05 pace group (because I knew a healthy me could finish under 2:10) and waited as the race director and guests hyped up the crowd. It felt like eons and my feet started to hurt. I'm sure having someone to talk to would've helped. I also noticed I wasn't very cold. I wore a singlet and shorts. I'd considered a throwaway top or arm warmers, and I'm glad I didn't bring either. It was warmer than I'd anticipated.

MIT group photo by Fleet Feet Columbus -- we're near the tree. White hat on me, red shirt on A.
The Race
First off, I'm a little peeved at the pacers. Miles 1-3 were fast. I stuck with them until my Garmin read out the third mile and I decided to drop back. I know no one is a perfect timekeeper and my Garmin could have been off, so I should have run what I felt. After all, my best half marathon was the one without pacers. Besides that, the first three miles were boring. It's the worst part of the course scenery-wise and it's also the closest to my house. I won't pretend I didn't see the turn off toward my neighborhood and think about running home.

Snot time started here. Hanky tucked in my shorts.
It started at mile 4. My nose began dripping, which I could contain with my hanky. But then... the back of the throat phlegm. I couldn't take deep breaths and I couldn't get anything to come out. I stopped and tried to spit, to no avail. I'm guessing all the fresh pollen-filled air and my lack of meds combined for the one-two punch.

Around mile 5 I saw one of my running club coaches walking. Not a normal occurance for him, but I was thankful to see a friendly face. I walked with him for a bit, chatted about the too fast pacers, and ate a gel. I was in an ok mood, but I knew I didn't want to run anymore. Never a good feeling. I started running around mile 6 and kept moving as far as I could. I knew Alex would be somewhere between 8 and 9 so I tried to focus on getting to him. I almost achieved a running "zone out" here, but I couldn't take deep breaths, I couldn't keep my nose from running, and I couldn't spit anything out. Frustrating.

Thing I learned around mile 7: Apparently, if you can't breathe, you can't run very well.

I walked up a hill on High Street (which is not normal for me these days) and concentrated on Alex up ahead. I saw a friend at the Long Street turn and that propelled me for a few hundred feet. When I came down 4th and couldn't see Alex's red shirt, I started to panic. Somewhere between mile 7 and 9 it felt almost impossible to keep myself going. Even my normal "just keep running" mantra didn't work. I got the bright idea that Alex (who'd just run a 5k) should run the last 4 miles with me... I finally saw him up on the left with his sister and her boyfriend (and I was SO embarrassed to be running poorly in front of people I knew). I shouted at him to come with me. He was confused, but I explained relatively quickly that I needed him to stay with me or I wouldn't be able to do it. I've never felt like that on a run. I felt absolutely terrible and desperate to be finished.

See? The first 5 miles were ok!
The last 4 miles were hard. I walked a lot. Alex kept trying to entertain me, but I couldn't really talk back, let alone breathe. I cussed a lot. I wallowed a bit, but I tried to keep thinking about how much faster we'd be finished if I kept running. It worked sometimes, but honestly I could not run for long periods of time. Anyway, there was a killer hill at the end (evil course makers) and I walked. Lame! If I hadn't, my time would've been closer to last year's. I wish I could have taken out two or three of my walk breaks, but as Alex has kindly reminded me, I couldn't breathe. Not gonna lie, I wish I could have gotten out a few snot rockets! I'm sure it would have helped!

I grabbed Alex's hand before we crossed the finish line. I got my medal, thanked him for running with me, we took some official photos, and then we headed for the food.

I'll probably buy this... & you can see my hanky ;)
After the Race
When we left the food line I got suuuuper dizzy and my vision blurred. There were even black spots in front of my eyes! On top of that, some idiot decided the finishers should walk down a set of stairs after they finish and I knew it was coming up, so I sat on a landing to regain my balance. I can't believe I felt this terrible after a run! I could not accept that I was sick, and honestly I think the only reason I'm able to reflect on this and qualify it as sickness is because I'm currently sitting here surrounded by tissues and hopped up on meds.

Alex went to get something and while he was gone I ate a banana, a few bites of a bagel, and drank a bottle of water. (Did I mention I was severely dehydrated and I drank my entire water bottle on the course AND stopped at four or five water stops?) Soon we made our way down the flight of steps and found the free chocolate milk, then I grabbed my bag from my run club gear check and we plopped down on the grass.

Enjoying freebies in the sunshine
Here's where things started to look up: Last year I didn't feel like eating. This year, because my body wasn't very tired, I was able to enjoy my free beer and sparkling wine. I didn't eat the free pizza, but I'm not a big greasy pizza person anyway. We laid around for about an hour enjoying our freebies and chilling out. He needed a rest, too, since he placed 10th in the 5k then ran 4 miles with me! I sat around and kept blowing my nose, feeling sorry for myself and my missed PR. (Don't worry I was nice to everyone I talked to. This was an internal pity party.)

After we got home and showered, he napped, but I couldn't since I was back on sudafed. We went out for dinner and ran tons of errands. I feel good today. Sore, but good. Let me clarify that: my legs feel sore, but good. My nose and head feel congested and terrible. Ugh. I'm only happy to be sick today because it means I really was sick during the race and it wasn't a stupid excuse I came up with to stop trying.

Final stats and thoughts:
It's hard to look at these stats. I've had a strong training season. Yes, I've missed runs and I avoided hill repeats and speed work, but I've PR'd new distances and became a more confident runner. I truly believe that I (/a healthy me) could have run between 2:05 and 2:10 at Cap City.

Final Time: 2:22:43 (Last year: 2:19 // PR: 2:08)
Overall: 4771/7698 (62%)
Gender: 2315/4488 (51%)
Division: 409 /753 (54%)

Final Thought: Can I have a do-over?

Up Next: NES 3 miler next Saturday. Assuming I'm healthy and recovered, I'll go fast-ish. After that? Medina Half Marathon on May 30. They released the course and there is no hope of me PRing on those hills. Looks like my Cap City redemption run will have to happen in the fall. I think I may concentrate on 5, 10, and 15ks this summer... take it easy and just enjoy running!

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