Friday, October 25, 2013
Columbus (half) Marathon Race Report
I signed up for the Columbus Half Marathon right before Abby was due. I thought that it would be a good race to set my sights on once she was born. 4.5 months would be plenty of time to get back into the swing of things. Running has been going okay, although not awesome. I've been struggling a lot with pace (ie 10:15's have been pretty average) and I find that anything longer than about 4 or 5 miles and I'm hurting. My hip flexors feel tight and I have some pain in my lower abdomen under my scar. It's hard to not get frustrated and I have found myself repeating "you just had a baby, you just had a baby" when I find myself struggling with a run. But really, how long can that excuse last? So I didn't set my expectations real high for the half marathon. My primary goal, as always, was to finish. My secondary goal was to beat 2:15. Anything above and beyond that and I would be happy. I knew that the cool weather and the flat nature of the course would help me a little, but I also knew that I had a whirlwind few days leading up to the race (complete with a 12 hour car ride, two full days of entertaining family members, and a baby shower for my sister).
My biggest concern leading up to the race was how I would manage being away from Abby for that long. No... I don't have separation anxiety or anything, but my *ahem* "milk providers" refill faster than I'd like some days if you catch my drift. And I didn't need the added pain of that. I figured that depending on Abby's schedule I would nurse her before I left, and then after my race, head to the car to wait for Tom, warm up a little and pump in the car if need be. It ended up working out great, as she was hungry before we left at 6 and then I was able to pump in the car before I left to just empty everything out. TMI I'm sure, but hey, this is what life is like right now!
We got up Sunday morning at 5:45 for a 7:30 race. By the time we left the house I was nearly panicking because it was almost 6:30 and I knew that we would be running REALLY late for the start. As we were pulling into the parking lot 15 minutes later, I smiled and remembered we weren't in Atlanta. Plenty of time. We got a great spot near the finish, bundled up (it was in the 30's) and marched our way rather quickly to the start. Found a bajillion porto potties (kudos Columbus Marathon) and packed our way into Coral A. It was 7:00. We had 30 minutes to spare! I was cold... thankfully I had bundled up in my Brooks gear (an Essential Long Sleeve V Neck and my Utopia Thermal Hoodie) and I just tried to not think about it. :) Soon enough the gun went off and we were running. Tom and I had planned to just run alone but it was nice to start the race with him - like old times. I didn't focus on my watch and just kind of got into a groove. I've run this course a handful of times so I knew what to expect. It was fun to be back... in Ohio AND racing.
Racing is all relative. I wasn't running all out or even that fast. I was very middle of the pack. And that's a good place for me at this point. I hit the three mile point and was just kind of in a funk. I felt alone. I felt like I didn't want to be out there. Was I hungry? Was I going to fast? I turned on my music and just settled in. At 6 miles I checked my watch. Fully expecting to see maybe an hour or so, I was pleasantly surprised to see 54 minutes and some change. I went through the 10k marker at 56:00 - a 9:01. Wahoo! This definitely helped my mind, even though I felt like my legs were not really part of the party. I continued on. I knew that I had some friends that were cheering at mile 9 or so and that kept me moving forward. I saw Sarah at mile 9.5 or so and gave her a huge hug. I'd be lying if I said that I was having a really great time at this point. I was slowing down. I was hungry. I was still cold. And I still felt lonely. It's weird to feel lonely among 18000 other people. The last 3.5 miles took a lot of heart.
Here is a distance that I've run probably two dozen times. I can't remember ever battling myself the way I did during the race, but I also don't remember how proud of myself I was for moving forward when really, I didn't want to be out there. I rounded the corner to the finish and was so relieved to see the finish. 2:04:40 - a 9:31 pace. Might not sound like much, but I was proud of that. I have a 4.5 months old at home and I just ran a decent half marathon. I hobbled my way through the finish shoot, got my medal and food bag (another kudos to Columbus Marathon for this), and made my way to the car to wait for Tom.
I might not have been able to walk the rest of the day or even on Monday, but I'll take it. You also couldn't wipe the grin off my face. I'm coming back... slowly... but I'm coming back!