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Friday, June 03, 2016

Race Recap: Medina Half Marathon

Happy weekend everyone! I'm going to use this week's Fitness-themed Friday Five with Mar, Courtney, and Cynthia to recap my latest race.

The Medina Half Marathon took place Saturday, May 28 at 6:45 am in Medina, Ohio. I ran Medina last year, told myself it was a one and done (too many turns! too many hills!), but at the end of March I signed up to run it again. The course is tough, but there is something about the cute town square and great crowd support that made it impossible for me to stay away.

Swag on the hotel bed. I love the shirt.
Expo + Pre Race
The expo went from noon - 7pm Friday. I really wish it went a pinch longer, because it's a 2 hour drive from Columbus and even with Alex getting home at 4:30, we had to rush to get there.  I've mentioned it before but I don't really care for expos. I suppose if I can find an amazing deal or get a bunch of freebies I'm excited, but I don't enjoy making small talk about something I know I won't buy. This wasn't a huge expo, but it was pretty impressive since Medina is a small-ish race. Best part: the volunteers. They were all so friendly and helpful.

(This was actually taken after the race.)
Alex and I headed to Chipotle after the expo, then to our hotel to relax. We watched TV as I debated my outfit for the next day. It was going to be a scorcher! Sometime around 10 I got into bed, read, and fell asleep. I slept pretty well until my 5:05am wakeup.

We arrived and parked in the free garage around 6:10. (Parking is a breeze for this race.) I used a porta potty, then we walked across the town square so I could use the indoor public bathroom. The lines for both bathroom areas were very reasonable and moved quickly. Around 6:35 announcements were made to line up. I said goodbye to Alex, started my podcast (Running on Om), and lined up near the 2:10 pacers.

My goal was to finish faster than last year (2:18). In the back of my mind I really wanted something under 2:15... and I knew if I didn't walk I could easily run a 2:10. Even though I'm not in peak shape (no way I could sub-2 on this course!), my baseline fitness is better than last year. Unfortunately, it was 68 degrees with 89% humidity at the start (76 degrees and 76% humidity at the end). So, weather + hills = a tough race

Course map: Really, the worst thing is all of the turning
The Race
After the national anthem and announcements I couldn't hear, we were off! I maintained an even pace, but got ahead of the 2:10 group. I knew it wouldn't be sustainable in the later hills, but I figured I'd make up time at the start. These first few miles only felt difficult because of the heat. I tried to drink my water every half mile and keep moving and we wound our way through a few neighborhoods. We didn't encounter full sun until the first hill around mile 3. Phew, it was hot.
Miles 1-4: 9:23, 9:32, 9:32, 9:28

Mile 5 was part asphalt and part gravel as we turned off the road to head towards Lake Medina. The lake is beautiful and this part of the course was different than last year. Instead of running out to the road we cut across some grass and ran on a lower path. This switchback/lower trail had a teeny tiny bit of shade, so I tried to hug the right side to stay out of the sun. At 6.2 we crossed a timing mat and came up to a water stop and gel station. I decided to walk and eat my gel. I walked! Already! This is where they took out the steep "big hill," but turns out they just replaced it with a long big hill. We were in full sun and so many people were walking already.

I walked again at 7 and without the excuse of eating my gel I knew it was a bad sign. I texted Alex "7. walking. dying." I realized I was starting to get dehydrated so I drank more water, then began running. The 2:10 pacers caught me around mile 8. I ran with them for a bit, but lost them.
Miles 5-8: 10:06, 9:49, 10:48, 10:43

Because I'm just going to moan about the heat, here's a rundown of things from mile 9–12:
  • At every water stop I took a cup of water and poured it over my head. I also drank Gatorade. I think this helped me stay alive! 
  • I went through every sprinkler or hose offered.
  • At 11 I texted Alex: "11. walking. I have to pee. Dry lips. I'm salty." 
  • Did I mention how hot it was? 
  • And that we were in full sun for a majority of the second half? 
  • Everyone around me took short walk breaks. That made me feel better. 
  • At 11 I looked at my watch and realized even if I walked most of the final two miles I would beat 2:18.
  • I'd probably be embarrassed about all the walking if I didn't have my sub-2 earlier in the spring. Like, "Guys I promise I can run a whole 13.1!"
Mile 12 was a great downhill until just before the finish. You basically turn the last corner and see a giant hill (really only 30ft) with the finish line looming above. I knew to expect it, but I forgot how difficult it was to keep running as I climbed to the finish. Fortunately, it's lined with tons of people (and the race photographers) so I did what I could to keep trotting to the finish. I sped up a little, but my pace just barely made it into the 8s when I crossed the line. They announced my name as I came into the chute. That was nice!
Miles 9-end: 11:17 (!), 10:49, 11:02, 12:17 (!), 9:54

My first race photo purchase ever! ($8 each)

Post Race
I collected my bee-utiful medal and met a Oiselle teammate. I was kind of brain dead, but she (Chelsea) was so nice! I grabbed my bag full of post-race food, then found Alex, and walked over to a shady bench and sat my butt down. We talked to an older dude for a while about the difficult weather and our love for Medina despite the difficult weather and course. After drinking my chocolate milk, toweling off, and changing into flip flops, Alex and I walked over to the beer and pizza after party. There were two shandy options and I have to admit even though I like beer, I don't really like it after a long run, but the grapefruit shandy hit the spot!

After party for a good cause! (Stand Up for Downs)
Stats and Thoughts
Yeah, it's a tough course for me and I definitely needed hill training. And sure, the weather was challenging. But whatever. I had a relatively good time and I'm proud that I cut 4 minutes off last year without much prep! I'm definitely in better shape overall and I think if I wasn't so burnt out on running in the weeks leading up to Medina I would have finished under 2:10. Dare I sign up for next year's race...?

Final Time: 2:13:58
Overall: 418/789 (53%) 
Gender: 196/439 (45%)
Age Group: 43/75 (57%) (grrrrr)

The medals are amazing. 2015 and 2016.

Up Next: Alex's goal race: the Clear Creek 10k trail run tomorrow.  I have no idea what to expect because there isn't an elevation chart. Luckily, I don't really care about my finish time or overall placement. I'm in it for the sweet fox shirt.


  1. Great job on beating your time from last year on such a hot day and a challenging course.Looks like you got some great swag at that race! -L

    1. Thank you! The goodies were really fantastic. :)

  2. Oh, my gosh, I love these medals! I remember Mar posting about this race and thinking the bees were so cute! Big congrats to you on a tough race!!

    1. Thanks, Tara! It was a tough slog, but I had a good time! :) The bee medals are the best.

  3. Amazing job beating your time in the heat, that is no joke.

    1. Thanks, Abby! I'm already looking forward to cooler runs in the fall! ha

  4. Congrats on what sounds like an incredibly tough race with the heat and hills! A finish line at the top of the hill ... that sounds like torture.

    Love the medal and race shirt - a bee theme is super cute :)

    1. Thanks, Sun! I love Medina's bee theme. I would love to try this course on a 40-50 degree day. Might be a bit easier! ;)


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