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Category Archives: Race Report

25th Half Marathon

Last weekend I ran my 25th half marathon! Not too bad considering I have “only” been running half marathons since 2005.

This marathon started off in Athens Ohio and was hosted by Ohio University. Other than the first mile and last half mile, the whole race takes place on a bike path. It is not spectator friendly, but it is a fast race. The bike path is very flat. The “out” part has a slight decline, which you then have to face going back. Some people would argue with you that there is no in/decline but there is. This was my third time running this race, the last two years in a row I managed a PR. This year, it was just a training run.

The gameplan for this run was to run the first 10 miles at a nice 12:19 pace and then pick it up the last three miles, hitting a HR of no more than 85% of max heart rate. The goal race, which is three weeks after this one, is the Glass City Marathon (half) in Toledo, OH.

The weather was a little too warm, starting off at 66 degree. The arm warmers and gloves were left in the car, no need for them! Why 12:19?  This was the recovery pace I had hit the day before, so that’s what I decided to go with the day of the race. During six out of the nine miles, I was right on pace. And was off by only 15 seconds on the other three.

The nice thing about this run was that it was spent running with friends. Some of my fellow Columbus Eastside Running Club (CERC) friends joined me at my pace. About halfway through, a majority decided to slow down a little, and so it was my friend Erika, a friend of a friend Sarah and I that tackled the last 7 miles together. As I mentioned, this is an out and back course and there are not many spectators because it is difficult to get to. Runners become their own cheer leaders; the ones that had already turned around and were heading back cheered on the ones still heading to that sought after turn around point. We saw quite a few of our own running friends and cheered heavily for one another.

At mile ten it was time to try to kick it in a little. During this running season I had paced a running group that is quite a bit slower than my regular pace. Even though my speed workout was always on target, I was a little worried that running my long miles so slow, I could not run the distance at a faster pace. I managed to pick it up a little at mile ten, but my HR was higher than I thought it would be. The weather could have had something to do with that and the head wind. I don’t know. The good thing is that my legs were just a little tired the next day and not sore at all.

My goal race is in two weeks; I do not know if I have what it takes to PR because of my the pacing during the season (no regrets though). I will need to run a 9:45 minute mile pace to get that accomplished. My race plan is written and I will give it all I have to get it done. As one of my friends always says, “Leave it all on the course.” And that I will do!

Bling!

Bling!

Leg Drains!

Leg Drains!

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1/2 Marathon # 18 + Marathon # 3 = Goofy Penny

On Sunday, January 13th I completed the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge. For those that are not familiar with this challenge, it has been held for 20 years in Disney World (Orlando, FL). It consists of running a half marathon on Saturday and then a full marathon on Sunday. You can of course choose to just run one or the other, but if you are really Goofy, you sign up for both and receive a third medal.

Two friends (Brenda and Teri) and I trained for this challenge for 32 weeks together. We trained when it was warm enough to wear shorts and cold enough that two layers of pants almost weren’t enough. Our longest weekend run consisted of a 9 miler on Saturday and a 22 miler on Sunday.

Race weekend took forever to get here, but finally it did and off to sunny Florida we went. We met up with two runner friends (Aimee and Debbie) at the airport and another one (Lauren) in Florida.

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I won’t bore you with all the details. but overall it was a lot of fun. Here is my review in bullet points:

  • I haven’t flown in 26 years and all the security measures were quite intimidating. I still don’t like to fly, but I am no longer afraid to.
  • The resort we stayed in was nice; we enjoyed the time at the pool after both races.
  • The long-sleeve technical shirts we received are unisex and not very flattering for women.
  • The Expo was disappointing.  We might have gotten there a bit late, but there was hardly any Goofy memorabilia left, not even 39.3 car magnets. You’d think they have done this a time or two (or 20) and should not run out. Nothing available online either.
  • The half hour wait to get into the building to get our shirts was ridiculous. This is after we received our race bibs in another building.
  • Getting up at 3am two days in a row is hard. (The races start at 5:30)
  • Plenty of free transportation!
  • The 1.31 mile walk to the starting line each day after a 30 minute bus ride was a bit much.
  • The water stations were one of the best I have ever seen.
  • Running a half marathon with friends and not for time was a lot of fun.
  • The volunteers aka “Cheer Squad” were awesome!
  • Coming down Main Street and seeing the Castle was a breath-taking experience.
  • The courses were good. I didn’t care for the freeway part the last few miles in the half marathon, or the freeway parts on the full marathon.
  • The half marathon took us through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The full took us through those two, including a trip around Richard Petty’s Speedway track, plus the Animal Kingdom and Hollywood. That was a lot of fun.
  • Seeing the Disney characters along the way, and having the opportunity to take pictures of them was neat.
  • My stomach started getting upset again at mile 18, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as Columbus ’11.
  • Training in cold weather doesn’t help you when it is 80 degrees out.
  • At mile 21 I had to walk.
  • At mile 22 I was able to run again.
  • I always knew I would finish.
  • Setting a long-term goal and seeing it through is an incredible feeling!
  • Would I do it again? No, it beats you up pretty bad, BUT I would recommend it to a seasoned runner.
  • Am I glad I did it? Yes, it was a great experience, the training and the races.

Thank yous: Thank you Teri and Brenda for training with me. Even though sometimes I didn’t sound like it, I really enjoyed spending time with you two! Aimee, Debbie, and Lauren…can’t wait to go to another event with you ladies. You gals make it fun! Last but not least, thank you to my hubby who let me train for hours on end and then let me go to Disney World without him. You are the best!

 

2012 Cleveland Marathon (Half)

As previously mentioned, my sister Angi and I had this idea of running a race together since she started running a few years back. The thing holding us back in the past was that she lives in Germany and I in the US. This made our idea a bit more difficult. But this year it worked out that she was in the US during the 2012 Rite Aid Cleveland (half) Marathon on May 20th, so I signed us up. Her employer, Tandano Faun (a Japanese crane manufacturer in Germany) offered to pay for the half marathon entry fee for both of us if we wore their running shirts…oh yeah, not a problem!

We had driven up the day before, staying about a half a mile from the start and finish line, which was by the Cleveland Browns football stadium. The temperature was about 65 degrees, with an expected high in the mid 80’s. Another hot race (Cap City half had been about the same)!

This was to be Angi’s 2nd half marathon and my 16th. We agreed that we would run together for a little bit and then separate if one of us picked up the pace. It seemed like a reasonable thing to do, considering we are both competitive and our PRs are about 15 minutes apart. I think we managed to run together for the first 1/2 mile and then I pulled away a bit. Unbeknownst to me, she kept up with me and passed me around mile 2! I kept her in my sight for the next three miles and passed her shortly after mile 5.

Around mile 7 I passed two runners from our local running club. I stopped and took their picture. Around mile 10 it started getting hot. I noticed that I had stopped sweating; not good – it’s a sign of dehydration. I slowed down my pace a bit and made sure I grabbed two water cups at the aid stations. The last two miles were really slow and there were a few runners that needed medical attention. There was not water at the last station! It was hot and running downtown provided no shade and no wind. Finally, I made it to the finish line! About 11 minutes later Angi made it too!

I am looking forward to running another one with her sometime in the near future either in the US or Germany. It is nice to share your hobby with your sister.

Looking forward, I am now contemplating on running the US Air Force Marathon half in Dayton in September. Maybe it won’t be as hot then, but with the current trend, it might even be hotter. We’ll see. (Edit: I just checked on the USAF Marathon, it’s sold out…going to look around for another one)

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My father in-law was not able to win the battle against lymphoma this time around and passed away peacefully with family by his side on May 10th. It’s been an emotional roller coaster for all family members, but we are dealing with it the best we can. He was always there for his kids, their spouses, and his grand & great grand kids. One of the many things I miss now that he’s gone, is him either being at the races or asking me about it and looking at the medal afterwards. He’ll always be in my heart. CANCER SUCKS! RIP, Roger!

Roger – Easter 2012

 
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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in 1/2 Marathon, Race Report, Running

 

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The way things are right now

It’s been a while…there is a reason, but more about that in a bit.

I ran my 15th half marathon last weekend. Humidity was 100% and the temperature at the time of the start 65 degrees. I was kinda hoping for a PR, after getting one in Athens (Ohio). But, I haven’t been running much lately, so after mile 2 I knew I could not keep up that pace and settled for just getting a medal.

The race was good, at one point we only had one lane to run in, which is fine, but with 13,000 runners, it was a bit cramped. The water stations were a mess. At one station I had to back track to get water because the next table was out.

There were a lot of runners at the end of the course (last 3 miles) being tended to by first aid personnel. The humidity must have gotten to them in one way or another. This made me glad that I threw the PR out the window. Even though I did get water at every water station, my right calf started to cramp up a little a half a mile before the finish.

NONETHELESS: The medal I received is huge (& heavy) and the day overall lots of fun.

In other news: My sister is flying in from Germany to visit next week (that’s were I am originally from). We are running the Cleveland Rock and Roll Marathon (HALF) together. Ever since she was bitten by the running bug, running a race together has been a conversation of ours. On the 20th it will come true. I. AM. EXCITED!

I am trying to keep my miles up, but lately is been tough finding the time. My father-in-law, who is very dear to me, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (he beat the cancer back 3 years ago) and has been in the hospital, most the time in ICU, for almost four weeks. There have been improvements in his condition and major set backs. So, basically our lives consists of going to work and then spending time at the hospital and helping my mother-in-law (who is also very dear to me) out. Running takes the back seat.

Oh, oh, oh, I bought a bike…I almost forgot! I road bike (bicycle…why do people assume a bike is a motorcycle *sigh*). I am now the proud owner of a Giant Avail 2 road bike.

Have I had to the chance to ride it? Yes!

How far? 3 miles! 😦 I am hoping to get on it this weekend a little.

Well, that’s the way things are right now, hoping for a positive change.

 
 

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2012 RunCbus 10 Miler

My hopes for the race was to run a faster per-mile-pace than the 1/2 in Athens:

I had been warned about the hills during the second half of the race. I was ready for that. BUT, during my training I have been taking in water every 2 miles if I went longer than 6. The 10 miler only had 3 waterstops, plus one impromptu one at mile 9-something.

Other than the water stops – let me regress here again: the first one at mile 3.14, second one at mile 5, last one at mile 6.89, plus the impromptu one (where they handed out bottles of water) – I am not complaining. The course was challanging with a visible steady incline from mile 8.5 to 9.5. I checked my Garmin and the elevation changed 130 ft in that mile. The Gamin actually showed an incline from 7.5 to 9.5 but I didn’t really notice it until 8.5. I managed to hold on to an 11 min/mile pace from mile 8 to 9 and then ran a sub 10 the last mile.

The great thing about the race was that my daughter and her boyfriend watched me run. It was nice having them there; it was a special treat. 🙂 The other great thing was the nice New Balance jacket I received for signing up. 🙂 (No medal at the finish line though; can’t have it all)

To make a long story short: My overall mile pace during the Athens’ half was 10:26; it was 10:23 for the 10 miler. Mission accomplished!

Three more weeks until the Capital City Half Marathon!

 
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Posted by on April 16, 2012 in 10, Race Report, Run, Running

 

PR! – Athens Half Marathon April 1, 2012

I entered the race just for fun, to be with friends who love to run like I do (most of them a bit faster than I am). Turns out the stars were alligned just right and a PR was bound to happen.

The hubby drove to Athens (Ohio) with me to cheer me on. That doesn’ t happen to often and I was glad to have him a long. Race packet pick up was prior to the race about a 1/2 mile from the starting line. The place where we picked up the packet was also the finish line. With the packet picked up and bib attached we were off to the starting line, walking through the beautiful Ohio University campus.

Starting Line

Starting Line

The course, which is overall very flat, starts with a very steep downhill part. I was a bit worried about my knee and calf/achilles, after the experience in Mississippi and the following injuries I had. But my body held up! I ran into an old running buddy, Kelly, shortly after the start. She is much faster than I am, but just getting back into running after spitting out her second child. We ran together for a while. She was a tad bit too fast for me, and I dropped back…eventually I got into my stride and I caught back up to her. We, including a runner from West Virginia that Kelly had befriended, ran most of the second half of the race together.

Mile 5 - Kelly is a little behind me (in pink)

At the turn-around point it occurred to me that I could PR if I kept that pace up the second half. However, the first half of the race was on a slight decline, meaning the returning part would be at an incline. But with Kelly at my side, happily cheering me on and keeping my mind occupied with life stories, we were still going strong at mile 10.

The miles just went by so fast, but I did notice that we had slowed down just a little bit. Mile 13 however, made up for it, running my second fastest mile in that race.  We entered the stadium with about 600 yards to go. After the first 200 were behind us, we could see the clock, and Kelly said “You got this!”. She then shouted to our friends, who were waiting for us, “She is going to PR!” and they started cheering like crazy. So loud as a matter of fact that I could hear them all the way on the other side of the track!

Kelly: "Where did she go?"

Kelly high 5-ing while I am dying! 🙂

Kicking it in!

With about 100 yards to go, I kicked it in some more…don’t know where that came from, and I PRed by 32 seconds! What a great feeling!

Running Friends

Running Friends!

This was my easiest PR ever and so unexpected, it makes it twice as nice. Am I glad that I had signed up to spend the day with friends.

Me, Kelly, and the lady from West Virginia

 

Mississippi Blues Marathon (Half)

A friend of mine lives near Jackson Mississippi and after plans fell through to run the 1/2 marathon out there 2 years ago, this year we finally managed the trip. Driving just under 800 miles one way was actually a lot of fun. It helped that my husband and I get a long and we listened to the book “The Hunger Games”.

I did not know what to expect course wise, and was a little taken aback when a coworker said, “You know, it’s pretty hilly out there!” two days before we were leaving. With that said, I mentally prepped for a pretty slow race. I should mention that I have been doing heart rate training and intended to run the 1/2 at 75% of my heart rate, which would put me at or around a 2:30 finish. Eventually the goal with the training is to be able to run a half marathon at 85% of my heart rate. Now knowing that is was a hilly course, I resigned myself to coming in around 2:45. I was fine with that.

The weather on race day was almost perfect. 53 degrees at 7am was almost a little too warm, but a nice breeze was flowing, cooling the air a bit more. The field was only 2500 people strong (with about 800 of them running the full), letting me cross the starting line only about a minute and a half after the gun went off.

The first hill was not far off, and it seemed that the course either went up or down, even though I think there were occasional straight stretches. It took us past businesses, through residental neighborhoods, and along the freeway. I believe we also passed at least 2 schools along the way. Around mile 7 the pavement got really bad with pot holes and bad patch jobs, but a sign prior to that warned us of the upcoming trouble.

My heart rate after the first few hills stayed pretty steady at 80%. I tried to slow it down the first three miles but then decided because of the hills that I would go by feeling and keep it under 80%, but not fret it if I went over 75%.

I was looking for my husband and my two friends at mile 8, but didn’t see them until about 8.5. That was nice and broke up the run. Usually the monotony of it all hits me between mile 7 and 9, so it was great to look forward to them.

I think around mile 9, we joined back up with the marathon course. At mile 11 the first two marathoners passed me; they were at mile 24 on their journey. Must be a lot of work to be able to run that fast!

The finish line was uphill! But I managed to kick it into gear the last hill and finished in 2:31:08! Not bad for such an up and down course and feeling as strong as I did. Not one time during the race did I feel like walking or even quitting. In all my previous races I seemed to have struggled at one point or another; this 1/2 marathon just seemed to have flown by.

I am still training for the Cap City Half marathon in May, which is held in Columbus, Ohio. That one I plan to race and not just run. My half marathon PR currently is 2:17, I am hoping to break that…fingers crossed!

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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in 1/2 Marathon, 13.1, Heart Rate Training, Hills, Race Report, Running