Sunday, May 18, 2014

Race Review: Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon

Today  I woke up at the ungodly hour of 3:00 am.  Normally when I wake up for a long run on Sundays, I console myself that it's STILL allowing me to get up later than I would for work (I get up at 4:30 am on school days).  Not so today because today was the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon, and because I always worry about getting into the city in time for parking, I had to leave my house by 4:30.  I got a great space in the huge Cleveland Municipal Lot, and I was really happy until a jackelope backed his truck into the next spot SO CLOSELY NEXT TO MINE that I couldn't open my door.  Seriously, Dude?  There were 60,000 spots in that lot; you couldn't skip a space at 5 am?

Anyway, I didn't have any trouble waking up because I was so excited after being at the expo on Friday.  Of course I set out my outfit the night before:

This is EXACTLY how I look when my body isn't in my clothes.

AND my son pasted on a temporary tattoo that I got at the expo:

Let's get to it, shall we?

The Good:  There was a lot of good in this race.  It was well organized, with plenty of port-a-potties.  The course was very interesting, with some funky neighborhoods (I'm looking at you, Tremont and Ohio City!) and some incredibly rich neighborhoods (I'm looking at you, Clifton).  The supporters were really enthusiastic in some places, and the signs were clever.  My two favorite signs were in Tremont.  The first said,  Run like you stole the kishka!  You definitely have to be from Cleveland and/or adore Franky Yankovic to understand this one.  For those of you who are not familiar with Eastern European food or our favorite polka player, check out this version of it:

The second sign is for those of us who have a love/hate relationship with George R.R. Martin.  It said, Hodor like you just Hodor!

Made my day!

Other "goods":  The beer line was better organized this year.  I actually got a beer this year, but because I was so exhausted, I only drank half of it.  I'm so ashamed.

The swag and the medal are awesome:

The Bad:  The pre-race weather was FREAKING COLD and windy, but of course nobody can control for that.  Welcome to Northeast Ohio!  I wore a long-sleeved shirt, but I only brought a gunky towel with me to cover up before the race.  I shivered in the wind off of Lake Erie for an hour and a quarter.  My fault; I really need to start buying throwaway clothing at Goodwill.

Also, although there were plenty of Port-a-Potties, there was no hand sanitizer.  ICK.  'Nuff said.

Lastly, I saw many people trying to pop a GU before the start time, but there was no pre-race water available.  I think it would have helped me since I waited so long after my 3 am breakfast.

The Ugly:  Well, that would be me.

Don't get me wrong:  I think this is a perfectly respectable time considering I have not been able to run 13.1 miles in a year.  Also, this is a respectable time considering I took five months off all cardio and endurance to heal a broken foot.  Every time someone asked me about a time goal, I said that I would be happy to finish the race.  This was a lie; I always have a secret time goal, and this time I dared to hope that I could PR my Medina time (2:12:21).  I know. . .stupid.  The thing is that I think that I COULD have pr'd if I had played this right.  Once again, I set out too quickly, and I was fluctuating back and forth between 9:30 and 10:00 for the first 9 miles (except when I walked through a water stop or fueled).  This was wrong.  I had originally intended to follow the 2:10 pacer, and I didn't follow through.  In fact,  my hubris led me to believe that I would PR the race because I was feeling great until mile 9.  

Mile 10 was difficult because it was a gradual incline.  It didn't really look like a hill to me, but I was already hurting by then, and I noticed that many runners around me had started walking.  I can't walk up a hill; it smells too much like defeat.  Luckily for me, the marathon winner came by on the other side of the highway at that time, so I was able to shuffle up the hill while watching him.  At mile 11, I decided that I would never run another half marathon again, and I wondered why I had thought my two previous half marathons were fun.  At mile 12, the resolve kicked in again, but I knew my body was toast.  I brought the pace back up, but it wasn't enough.

I am happy with this time.  I am.  The question is, What will happen in two weeks at the Medina Half Marathon?  I can't wait to find out. . .

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