This definitely was not your typical half marathon. Since I am training for the JC Stone 50k, the mileage that weekend called for 26 miles. I actually tried to find a marathon to run, as I figured if I have to run long far, I might as well get a marathon under my belt and I found only 3 options. One in FL, which was becoming too costly, one in NYC which had a time limit of 5:15 and one in Columbus, OH, but that was one had a time limit of 4:45! I knew I could hit the time limit in NYC, but the idea was this was still suppose to be a long training run, not a race. I sure as hell could not hit the time limit in OH, but they had a half marathon option, so I figured I would just sign up for the half marathon and then get the extra miles otherwise.
So it was settled then. My 21st half marathon was going to be apart of a 25 mile training run. The Warm Up for Boston Half was just outside of Columbus, OH so it was going to be an easy drive for me. I had planned to go with Kristy, but last minute she was unable to go. I headed out on Saturday afternoon and went straight to pick up my bib. They had early morning bib pick up at the hotel on race morning, but I wanted to just get it out of the way. Picking up the bib was short and sweet and I was even at the hotel by 4:30pm. I met up with a friend for dinner at a local pub nearby and was pretty much asleep by 9pm.
Since I needed 25 miles, I decided to get up early and get in miles before the race started at 8am. The interesting thing about this course was that it was a one mile loop. Going in I had two thoughts on this: 1) this is going to be good practice for the looped 50k course and 2) I am going to go out of my mind running a loop at least 13 times. Well, it ended up being not so bad after all and in fact, I never felt phased by seeing the same thing over and over again.
My morning start at 6:40am. I wanted to get out earlier, but I was just a little slow going getting ready. When I went outside, they were still setting up the course. I put my bag of stuff down on the ground and decided to head out on the main road. I didn’t want to run loops if I didn’t have to. I ended up being able to get 6 miles in before the race started. I got back to the start area and saw Mark. He was secretly out there to try and get a BQ. He’s done this loop thing a time or two and brought a table for his things. He was kind enough to let me set up there with him and it was nice to just grab and go as I went on for the race. I had about 8-10 minutes before the race started, so I headed to the restroom before jumping in at the start line as the started the race.
When I decided to do this race, I reached out to Elizabeth who lives in the area to see if she would be up for running a few miles with me. I figured a little company would be nice and this would be a great way to catch up with her. She planned to run the 5k race (and she ended up snagging a top 10 overall finish) and would join me for a few more miles afterwards. Bless her in that she ended up running 13 miles with me!!! She ran a distance PR and let me tell you, I am so darn thankful for her for those miles! She truly made them so easy and the company was wonderful!
The race itself was well supported. Since it was the one mile loop, you passed the water station every loop. The kids running this water station were FABULOUS! Being there all day, they never lost energy and always had water and/or gatorade cups ready for runners. At different points throughout the course as well we had some spectators out there. Elizabeth and I definitely were making friends since we saw them about every 11:30 minutes.
As I went into this 25 mile run, I decided to start off from the beginning with a 4:15/:45 run/walk combination. Since I had been having all that knee pain and didn’t want to go crazy, I thought this would help keep me a little bit slower and on pace as well. When I did it with Kathleen at the Mercedes Half Marathon, it felt pretty good. The 45 second walk break is enough to give you a break but not long enough that you don’t want to to start the run again. Plus, I was able to figure out the alerts on my watch, so it was nice not having to look at my watch every time. In the end, I think this really worked well for me, so it’ll probably be how I end up tackling the 50k.
My first 6 miles felt great. I had some knee pain in the first half mile or so, but otherwise, nothing. I ran along some lonely roads and it was actually nice to be running as the sun came up. It was in these first 6 “warm up” miles that I had my slowest mile of the day, a 12:09. I know what mile it was because I almost tripped over a curb that I was staring directly at. Doh. Just glad I was able to stay upright on that one.
Then came the actual race. It was a little weird doing such a long warm up before a race, but I just kept trying to tell myself do not treat this like a race. Well, of course my first two miles, I went out a little fast, but when I was able to settle in. Now, I wish I could say I had negative splits, but considering the last few miles of the race were miles 17-19 of my run, I am not mad about my splits at all. The other positive thing about this one mile loop, is that I did in fact have splits give from the results. So the fact that I went from the mid 11:20’s to mid 11:40’s over those 13.1 miles, wasn’t so bad. It could have certainly been a lot worse.
Throughout the race miles, Elizabeth and I chatted about how I should do my last 6 miles. I had planned to just go back on the roads and do an out and back, but I was really enjoying the loop, the spectators, etc that I ended up continuing with the loops. She kept running with me until the second to last lap. She took that last lap off but then popped back in for my last lap. The race directors just kept laughing at me as I kept looping. Even though they knew I was done the half, they were very supportive of me still being out there.
Even though I had a much faster pace than I had expected, I never felt like I had hit the wall. There were a few miles that I had some bobbling as I might describe it, but otherwise, I actually felt pretty good! My left quad was starting to get pretty tight in the last few miles, but otherwise, my body was staying together. I was pretty shocked. However, as my watched beeped to that mile 25 and I was just short of the actual lap finish line, I sure as hell stopped right where it beeped. I had debated to run a full 26.2 because I was actually on a pretty darn good PR pace, but I stopped myself because who knows what could happen in those unnecessary 1.2 miles.
The race itself was a well put on race and if I have the weekend open next year, I would definitely consider going. Who knows.. maybe by next year I can hit their time limit! As for the 25 miles? A huge confidence booster as I head into these next crazy weeks of training. I doubt I can hit the same paces as I did for this run at the dreaded North Park loop, but if I can stay under 12:30, I will be happy.
Official Finish Time:
57/66, Overall Females
14/14, F 30-34
**I think the final finish time was from the marathon clock, as the half marathons start clock showed just around 2:30 when I finished. Either way. I finished.