I have struggled with this particular race report as I feel that the race was just part of a very cosmic whole. So, where to start?
First, I think it's important to note that I did not register for this race. After Akron, I had wanted to do it, but by the time I made that decision, it had sold out. Then, acting as an opportunist, when a friend sounded like she needed to back out of the half, I offered to take her registration, and I did. She was suppose to run for a charity, Graced Haven, that works to free girls from child prostitution. I agreed it sounded like a noble cause so I agreed to run for Grace Haven, hoping that "my ironman training" would get me through, which it did, but not well.
As mentioned in my blog last week, I gave blood on Monday. I have heard others talk about the impact it has on their training, but I had never experienced it...until this time. On Tuesday, I went out for a six mile run on Sand Run and at a minute/mile slower pace than the last time I had run this trail, I was struggling. I then ran again on Friday and still felt the same strain of trying to push a pace that I could run a week ago. With these two runs, I knew that the blood donation was causing my heart to work a lot harder to get oxygen to the muscles, and I just couldn't keep a pace that was even close to acceptable, even for me.
I also wrongly assumed that SO and I would be doing this race together. His mother is in town, and he hadn't seen her, except in Madison, in about three months. He decided that he needed a weekend with his mom and while he would make sure to find me at the start and at the finish, the weekend was one to spend time with his mom.
I was kind of left scrambling and found a friend from CTC (Cleveland Tri Club) who let me crash in her hotel room, along with two of her friends, and she even went to the Panera to pick up the shirt I was suppose to wear for the race. Seriously, TH was an absolute lifesaver!
Oh, and SO and I went and had a few drinks on Friday night, why not, right?
So the race itself:
I got to the race very early, leaving the hotel around 5:30 and getting parked a little after 6, which was good as I got primo parking near the finish line. I stayed in the car for a little bit, but then I made my way to the start of the race. I got to the spot where I was suppose to meet SO and his mom and popped a squat. I sat there and played games on my phone until about 6:50. I then started to look around and realized that there was just no way I was going to find him in this crowd so I called him...no answer. I then called his mom's phone, and he picked up. I asked him if he was there, and he said, "kind of."
SO's mother was walking with him to the start of the race and tripped over a nasty raise in the sidewalk, and she did a header into the cement. He told me that they were in an ambulance a couple of blocks away from the race start. I jogged down there, and man, she had a nasty bump on her forehead. He was resigned not to do the race so he could take his mom home. But, out of nowhere, his mom chimed in that he should do the race and that the ambulance could take her to the hospital to get checked out. He agreed with that plan, so we stripped our pre-race clothes and put them in the ambulance. I was kind of grateful because even if it was going with her to the hospital, she would be able to carry our pre-race clothes. SO had nowhere to put the car keys, so I ended up taking his mom's keys with me, and we made our way to the race start.
As we walked, we saw the ridiculous line for the porto-pots, and we decided to find ourselves a nice private alley. We did just that then made our way to the race start. Now, we were both to start in carrel B, his based on pace, mine based on either my friend's projected time or the fact that I was running for a charity.
Oh, I kind of left out something. When I got to the hotel on Saturday, TH gave me the race shirt, and it was worst fear - a medium female's white shirt. First of all, I try to avoid women's race shirts whenever possible. My torso is just too long and all of my "Fat Girl Skin" hangs or the bottom. It's not an attractive look. Then, it's also white, which means that if it were to rain or if I were to happen to sweat, a strong possibility in a half marathon, all of my fat girl skin would be put on display. Consequently, I decided to wear a long sleeve black tech shirt under the shirt to give me some protection.
As we tried to make our way into our carrel, we quickly gave up and settled into carrel B. As they announced the start of the race, SO gave me a kiss and we started the walk to the start line. I think we were about four minutes behind the gun so he spent a great deal of time weaving through people, and I was probably seeded where I should have been.
When I did the half at Columbus in 2009, it was easily my most memorable race. I PRed at the half with a 1:58. According to SO, he has never seen me look as bad as when I crossed the line in that race. Why did I feel so bad? Well, I made many classic running mistakes, the main one being going out WAY too fast. Now, I finished that race at a 9 min/mile pace. I started the first two miles at a 7:30 pace. That is the definition of too fast. I remember that race being all about pace, I kept trying to keep a strong pace, but around mile 10, the wheels came off, and I was struggling even with a 10 min mile pace.
Now fast forward to Sunday, and I was very focused on not repeating that same mistake. When I got to the mile 1 marker, I looked down at my watch and realized that going too fast today wasn't going to be a problem. Getting through this race was going to be the problem. I tried and did a pretty good job of consoling myself with the fact that my bib was under my friend's name so no need to kill myself, just keep going!
I got to mile 3, and I was hot. I had my long sleeves under my race shirt so I had a decision to make and decided that this neighborhood looked as good a spot as any and stripped down to my sports bra so I could take off the long sleeves. I tied the long sleeve shirt around my waist and got back to running. Now, it took a bit effort as I had a hand water bottle, my iphone on my arm, and my visor. So, I had to juggle those things while trying to strip and put back on my shirt.
After that, I was really just counting down the miles. I had made a new playlist for this race, and I told myself that once I got to the end of it, I could just walk the rest of the race. Now, a few times, I felt I needed to walk because I was working too hard and still feeling the effects of the blood donation. Others were just signs of mental weakness.
It was pretty windy, and when we turned to head west to go back towards the city, I started to regret taking off the long sleeve shirt. I then opted to put the shirt back on, at least over my arms because I was cold, but still enough off the white shirt to show my race number.
Around mile 10, I had to take a potty break, and it took some time, even had to wait in line. Oh well. My plan to walk when my playlist started to repeat failed as I was already in the finisher's chute when that happened.
So, I finished, and I am not about to publish the time. It's in the bottom three of half times for me. I had a faster half split in my first marathon if that tells you anything about my lack of speed.
Now, SO was doing the full marathon so I had some waiting to do. After getting my medal and some water, I kind of stood there wondering what to do. I then looked over, and I saw a lady doing everything she could to get someone's attention. I ran over there, and there was a girl who had passed out, face had turned blue. I asked if the lady wanted me to call 911, and she said yes. Since I had put the black shirt back on, it was now over my iphone case holder so I started to strip to call 911 when I saw a girl looking at the whole incident while texting. I then said to her, "ahh, do you think you could call 911?" She looked at me and said, "oh, yeah, I guess so." Thanks. By the time I left, they had some race medical staff with her. I did what I could do, but my CPR training in 8th grade is probably not sufficient to provide much more help.
I got some food and found a little place to huddle under 2 Mylar sheets as I waited for SO. I sat there and called my friend to tell her how her race went. We both kind of laughed, but she appreciated it. My friend BW sent me a few texts asking how I was feeling. I then used him to keep looking up how SO was doing so I would have an idea of when he finished. SO's mom then called me from the hospital to give me a status update and to ask if he had finished. When BW told me he had finished about 10 minutes prior to that text, I got nervous and started looking around frantically. I was so cold and got told I wasn't allowed back in the athletes area, I decided to go to the car and get clothes. SO's mom had all of our pre-race clothes so I went to the car and got sweatpants, sweatshirt and a fleece jacket. I was cold!
I made my way back to the finish and just like that found SO sitting my the letter signs they had posted (obviously for a meeting area). I was a little annoyed, I had walked by those letters 10 times before starting to panic and opted to go get clothes. I gave him my fleece, and we walked to his car to pick up his mom. His mom was waiting by the time we got there, and she didn't look bad when she had on her sunglasses. But, when she got in the car and took off the sunglasses....her eye was swollen shut. She looked pretty beat up. I felt pretty bad, but I am not that best at conveying sympathy. I suggested that she is probably just too graceful most of the time. I told her that I am really clumsy so when I trip over something, my body has had enough practice to catch itself before I actually do damage. (Granted, there are a few exceptions to this rule) They then dropped me off where I parked. We said goodbye and I made my way to my car to get out of there.
As I was driving home, SO's mom called me, which I found odd as we were barely out of the Columbus. She asked me, "honey, where is that bag that had all the clothes in it?" I told her where I thought it was, and she said it wasn't there. I then looked over and sure enough, I had inadvertently taken it with me. Luckily, they had pulled off at Polaris to get some food, and I was about a mile away from the exit and was able to meet them to give SO his clothes and apparently his phone back. Oh well. No harm no foul. I almost got a free lunch out of it, but I decided to eat one of his fries and to start heading home.
I believe this report should be the last for a while. Debate tournaments start in a few weeks so my posts should take on a different flavor. Sorry if this one is boring, but it was an uneventful race.