Sunday, June 1, 2014

Race Recap: Medina Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran the Medina Half Marathon.  I ran as a part of two different groups:  The Ohio Runners Network (TORN)

The Ohio Runners Network, Medina Half Marathon 2014

and as a member of the faculty/staff at Medina City Schools

These are my colleagues at Medina High School.  We are badass runners and teachers!

 I excitedly laid out my race clothes the night before:

Medina, I'm coming for you!

 And then I realized when I got to Medina that I didn't bring my Garmin.  Grrrrr.  I wasn't too troubled about it at the time because I had decided to run with the 2:10 pacers, so I figured I wouldn't have to track my time.  Renee and Carrie (my TORN peeps) wanted to run with the pacers, too, so we decided to stick together as long as we could.

You can tell this is pre-race because we are smiling and not swearing.

Let's get to it, shall we?

The Good:  I was so excited to run this race that I had paid for it a year earlier.  I also paid for next year's entry at the expo because it was only $35.  Psst. . . You may be able to get in on this if you click on this link for early bird registration for 2015.  What a deal!  I would say that I received more than I paid in this race.  The swag and the bling were amazing:

The medal has glitter on it!  The seeds were a nice touch, too.

 The race had lots of hills that I just don't remember from last year.  I happen to like hills, but I somehow had it in my head that there were only two hills of significance.  I was wrong.  When I talked (whined) to other runners about this, they said that the course had changed from last year.  To me, this is a plus.  If I had actually studied the course ahead of time, I would have been more prepared.  Now I know.

Aside from the hills, the race had a bit of every kind of surface:  trail, grass, gravel, road, bricks, pavement.  It was nice to mix things up.  Of course, the run around Lake Medina was again my favorite part.

Photo credit:  Christa Hammontree

The crowds were cute, as they mostly consisted of elementary school children in a contest to see who could support the race the most.  The winners of the cheering contest will receive a donation to the school.  They were all adorable, though.  We saw clever signs (Power Station:  Touch to power up), squirt guns, chalk art, bands, DJs, and a little boy handing out bottled water from a little red wagon.  The kids seemed to have fun, and they really made our day.  The donation must have been a good incentive.  I think this is a genius idea--way to go, Race Director!

The post-race food was plentiful and excellent:  Subway sandwiches, fruit, rice chips, cookies, and lots of water.

The Bad:  I came into this race determined to PR after my defeat in the Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon.  As you can read in this post,  I had decided that my downfall is going out too quickly and then crapping out around mile nine or so.  I had thought that the solution to my dilemma would be a pacer, so I chose to run with the 2:10 pacers.  This calculates to a ten-minute mile, a pace that I know I can sustain in 13.1 miles, and it is a two-minute PR for me.  When the gun went off, the pacers (who were pretty young) took off like rabbits, and my peeps and I started after them.  At one point Renee and Carrie (who had Garmins, unlike me) said that the pacers were running an 8:50 mile.  We knew we could not sustain this, so we dropped back within the second mile, but we were so focused on our previous goal (sticking with the pacers) that we kept creeping up to 9:15-9:45 miles.  I caught sight of the pacers around mile ten, so I knew they had to be running eleven-minute miles at that point.  It made me mad because I could have done that with my old strategy, which I still believe isn't a good one.  The pacers did come in at 2:10, but they were definitely not consistent in running a ten minute mile.  I asked some more experienced runners if maybe I didn't understand the concept of pacing.  Maybe none of it matters if they come in at their time?  Every runner I talked to said that a good pacer runs a consistent mile.  Anyone can mess around and pull it out in the end, but it takes an experienced pacer to maintain that time for each mile.  So much for my attempt to run with a pacer.  I guess I'll have to figure it out myself.

The Ugly:  The course runs through neighborhoods and along a highly-trafficked road (Route 18).  You would think that the most difficult place to control drivers would be the busy road. . .but it wasn't.  There were LOTS of cars in the small neighborhoods who were actually WEAVING AROUND RUNNERS.  I saw several cars go around race marshals and almost hit runners.  It was extremely dangerous.  I know for a fact that the Race Director communicated to the neighborhoods about road closures and the race, but there were many people who didn't care at all.  This is truly a problem, and I would suggest that Medina's Race Director have some talks with Medina Police and possibly with other Race Directors to see how to overcome this dangerous dilemma.  Some of my peeps told me that they won't be running this race next year because of the drivers.

Overall:  I'm happy to have run the Medina Half Marathon, and I have faith that the organizers can fix these problems.

The best part for me was seeing and hearing all of my Medina Peeps:  friends, colleagues, students and former students.  I loved hearing my name when I ran by a group of people, and I tried to always respond with fists raised and a Turtle call.

This is Ashley, a former student who flew in from Florida.  Her boyfriend proposed to her when she crossed the finish line!

I love the Medina community, and I'm glad they have this race.  I hope it continues to grow and generate money and publicity for Medina.

TORN: Alumni Turtles

Ok, I lied.  The best part for me was this:

PR, Baby!
A tiny step closer to the sub-2 half marathon!

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