Today was the Akron RoadRunner Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5 Person Relay, and I ran the the half marathon. This year will mark my fifth time participating in the event.
In 2006, I was the first leg of a 5 person relay, compiled of people from my gym. We didn't really know each other all that well, but it was one of those, we need another runner, want to join us, ergo our team name, Hey Can you Run? Sure, why not, right? To be honest, this was the first 10k I had ever done and started my training for my first full marathon in 2007 in Birmingham in February. I think I ran it in about 58:33 minutes, which was faster than I had expected.
In 2007, I also did the first leg for a 5 person relay composed of the wonderful women I use to run with on Sunday mornings while training for my marathon. This year was probably the most entertaining as I was still in physical therapy from my accident that spring, and my physical therapist had let me do a sprint triathlon the week before, but made me promise not to run after that. My hips were very unstable and running just compounded the problem. I knew she was doing the half marathon, but there are thousands of runners at the start, what are the chances she would see me? Apparently, pretty good as around mile 2, I felt a tap on my shoulder, and it was her giving me the, "Gotcha!" look. Yes I disobeyed one of the few women who was habitually making me cry, and she definitely did the week after that marathon, no mercy that week! In 2007, I also volunteered and was given the assignment to stand at the turn into the stadium to direct runners down the alley to the finish. Some might say I have a kind of a louder voice, and someone walking on a bridge over near where I was standing commented, "Man, they got the right girl for that job." My time: 56:46
In 2008, I was recovering from my hammer toe surgery and did not participate. I think the pin had been removed from my toe by that point, but I was in no condition to run.
In 2009, after two years of struggling to run really at all, I did the half marathon. I had met and started dating SO that summer, and we started doing 2 mile bricks after our bike rides together. While doing these bricks, he would start talking about how I would feel 2 miles into the run of an ironman, I needed to get use to this feeling. Then, one random Saturday, I got up and decided to go running. I think I ran 8 or 9 miles. I literally hadn't run further than 7 miles since the Birmingham marathon in February of 2007. That was it, I was doing the half marathon. I cried a lot during this training (the month of training I did for it) because I was so happy that even if it had taken 2 years and 2 surgeries, I was recovered from the accident and could run again. I finished in 1:59:39 even after a short potty break at mile 10. What I would do to have that speed back!
In 2010, I decided to do the full for one really dumb reason: it was free! As an employee of FirstEnergy, our corporation has so many free slots, and I was hooked up with one of them. The guy in charge of it had commented that only a month after ironman, I should just do the half, but then a coworker convinced me to do the full, it's free, why not get the jacket? Sold! It was super slow, and I had a super upset stomach, but I finished...the time, over 5 hours, let's leave it at that. I will say that like in Wisconsin, I spent a significant portion of time in the port-o-pots that day. There were few things I enjoyed about this race, but at the end, CS, who had gone with me to Louisville, was riding her bike, and she rode me in for the last mile of the run. My stomach had finally calmed down so I was able to run. While it wasn't the most fun I have ever had, I really do like the jacket!
So, this year, only two weeks after Ironman Wisconsin, I opted to do only the half for the same reason - it was free. A friend of mine from high school asked me if I would run with her, and I warned her that I would be slow. Now, this friend (RB) and I have only recently re-connected. As many people know, I went to a different high school from where I grew up. Entering a new high school as a girl weighing over 200 lbs as a freshman, I had it a little tough. RB is and always has been super gorgeous, athletic, and popular, and she helped me fit in when I physically and emotionally did not. I like to say that I like to surround myself with wonderful people who are shiny stars. She definitely fits that mold! She has always taken life by the horns. Doing this race together was pretty cool, and hopefully, I don't look too horrible in our finisher photo.
As a sidebar, for the second year in a row, the half marathon shirts have been ugly neon. Why? Why? Why?
Now, SO also did the half and threatened that he would leave if I didn't finish within 2 hours. He and I met up before the race, he washed a shirt (the giveaway from the Crocker Park 5 miler) purely so I could throw it away when I got too warm. I introduced him to my high school friend, but then we went to seed ourselves accordingly. RB and I did a pretty good job of running together, I lost her on my second bathroom break (damn you stomach!!!!), but she finished only a minute and half ahead ahead of me. Looking at the garmin, my garmin had a 9:38 average and a 9:22 moving average, those bathroom breaks cost me a lot! (Race time: 2:06:20). Sure enough, SO was there when I finished, even if he finished over 30 minutes ahead of me... 1:35:02, smoking!
My favorite part of the race: many people know that I am kind of addicted to Diet Coke. I am working on the addiction, and I didn't drink any before the race today. When I finished, like I do after every race, I crave a diet coke. When SO and I did the half marathon at the Columbus Marathon back in '09, he didn't stop at the gas station I had requested for a Diet Coke because "I could get one at the hotel." Sure enough, EVERY vending machine in the hotel was either Out of Order or out of Diet Pepsi (no coke). It was a rough morning for me...and something I have brought up a time or two. Well, he has learned his lesson and put a 5 dollar bill in his pocket so he could buy me a diet coke for after the race. It was super sweet that he wanted "to win some brownie points" with me, like he needs any!
Least favorite part of the race: Like most people, there are a few people on this planet that I would prefer never to see ever EVER again, two of them being the managers at Progressive who made my life a living hell. Ironically, I was talking to someone I work with at FirstEnergy, when I saw one of them walking by, and I knew that there was no way that he wouldn't see me. Sure enough, he saw me, recognized me and said hi. It wasn't the horror that I imagined, but as I was driving to breakfast, I still found myself on the phone venting to my mother about this man and his boss and how horrible they had made my life. I complain about my job, but it was a good reminder that even though I do miss some people from Progressive, the frequency of the nightmares has reduced significantly since I left, and I really am better off with FirstEnergy.