On May 20th I ran the Cleveland Half Marathon (my 6th Half Marathon). I actually ran this race last year and LOVED it. It holds my PR for the half marathon distance. I wasn’t planning to run it this year but I won an entry though a twitter contest and decided to give it another shot.
My dad and I drove down to Cleveland on Saturday together, stopping at the expo along the way. It was a pretty typical expo, lots of vendors, simple shirt pick up and lots of samples…especially of tuna for some reason. Anyhow, we got to our hotel that was within a mile of the start, ate a pasta dinner at the hotel restaurant and chilled out for the rest of the evening.
My dad took out a sharpie and started writing the water stops on his arm. We planned to run this race separately – he had a time goal that he wanted to meet, that was faster than my planned pace. So, I copied his idea.Let me tell you, I am so glad I did this. It was awesome knowing where the water stops were and not having to guess!
Race morning was pretty typical. I ate cereal with almond milk down in the hotel lobby and then we walked to the start. The sun was already blazing and it was getting warm. But I was positive. I just wanted to finish this thing, especially since I had just run Pittsburgh 2 weeks prior.
I said goodbye to my dad as he went to his anticipated times corral and I went to mine. The gun went off and off we went. I started right near the 5:30 marathon pacer. I figured that if I could stick with them I may be able to pull out a sub-3 hr time.
I started with them pretty well, but soon realized the pacers strategy was not one I wanted to follow. They were taking a walk break within the first mile up a killer hill. They eventually would pass me, so maybe I should have stuck with them, but I just decided to run my own race.
I made it to the first water stop (1.5ish) and took a walk break through it, chugging 2 cups of water and 1 of Gatorade. The sun was getting very warm. Next water stop was at 4 miles, and after that the wheels sort of started to fall off.
Last year when I ran this race it was overcast, so I never realized just how unshaded it was. I started feeling pretty sick to my stomach around mile 5 and knew I had to slow it down and incorporate more frequent walk breaks if I wanted to finish this thing in an upright position.
I quickly met other people who just weren’t feeling it either and we motivated each other along. Whenever I run with my dad I guess we sort of just talk to each other, and it was really cool to meet some other people out on the course.
I slugged along, ticking off the miles.
And it kept getting hotter.
I remember around mile 10 starting to see many people being pulled off to the side, getting medical attention. It was pretty scary. I kept on drinking 2 cups of water and 1 of Gatorade at every stop. I also walked a LOT – more than I have in any other race. The goal was to finish.
The last .25 of the race – wow it was hard. I could see the finish, I was in the chute, but holy cow, I just didn’t want to move anymore. I was so exhausted, and so tired. The last bit of a race has never felt so difficult. But I couldn’t walk in front of those spectators so I kept going.
My OT was 3:31:39. My worst Half time yet. Cleveland now holds the distinction for my PR and my PW.
But hey I finished.
And with crossing that line I also became eligible for the Half Fanatics Neptune level by completing 2 Halfs in 16 days. You better believe I signed up as soon as I got home. Hitting a mile marker like that is a big deal to me. I never ever thought I would be running half marathons, much less 2 in 2 weeks.