Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cleveland 1/2 Marathon - Race Report - May 17, 2009

Thrilled, overjoyed, amazed, shocked, proud... It’s going to be difficult to thoroughly explain how I feel about my performance this past Sunday. Not only did I finish my third ever half marathon, I also destroyed almost every goal I had set for myself. I’ll get back to the “almost” part later.

First of all, I drove downtown, found a place to park, and walked to the starting line all by myself. At a race this big, I think that was an accomplishment for me. :-) I even ventured into the scary bus station to use their flushing toilets – a tip I got from my brother last year - no lines and warm running water for hand washing.

Once onto 9th street, I made my way through the crowd, looking for any familiar faces and looking for the pacers. I was a little disappointed to not find anyone I knew. There were so many people I knew running, but in a crowd this big, it’s not a surprise to miss them all. I did locate the pacers easily with their signs and balloons. I went past the 4:30 group and positioned myself just behind the 4:15 pacers. At this point I had about 10 minutes until the start. This gave me time to consume one of my GU packs, drink some water, and debate if I dressed okay for the weather. I went with the “new” capris and two light long sleep running tops, plus an ugly sweatshirt that I knew I’d throw away after a mile or two and some of Matt’s old socks to keep my hands warm for a couple of miles - which was good since it was only in the mid 40s. I also turned on my MP3 player, which for the first time ever I decided to use in a race since they were allowed. I was very happy to have my own music several places along the course.

The race began, and a few minutes later I was crossing the starting line. I was quite surprised at how quickly the 4:15 pacers were pulling away. There were so many people packed together so tightly, that I had a difficult time dodging between people in order to keep up. I was a bit discouraged that I couldn’t see them, but I did my best to keep going.

Mile 1 – 9:53

I’m not familiar with the names of the streets, so I don’t know where I was at each of the mile markers, but early on we crossed a bridge that seemed to go uphill for 90% of the time. It was a very pretty site, with all the runners and the decoration on the sides, but I really wanted to get to the top and start going back down.

Mile 2 – 9:46

Wow, I ran not one, but two miles under 10 minutes each. This had me on track to finish around 2:10 – something I didn’t really think I could do, but it sure would be nice! I knew there was a long way to go though. Somewhere in here I threw off my warm-up sweatshirt.

Mile 3 – 9:22

I don’t remember looking down and seeing that time. It would have shocked me if I had. I finished the first 3 miles in 29:01. Three years ago I ran some whole 5k races slower than that! I think I kept the sock on my hands until this point. They really did help.

Mile 4 - ?

I never saw this mile marker. I guess I was really focused on running around this point.

Mile 4 and 5 – 18:37

Did I really run miles 3, 4 and 5 all under 9 ½ minutes each?? WOW! Unfortunately, around mile 5 I felt a blister starting on the arch of my right foot. I stopped and tightened my laces, hoping there would be less friction. It seemed to help, and I kept going strong.

Mile 6 – 9:38

At this point I took my second GU with some water from the water station. I was feeling a little slower, and really hoped the GU would help.

Mile 7 – 9:43

I knew we were going to turn right and head towards Lake Erie, and then quickly turn right again and head back towards downtown. To me that meant we were that much closer to finishing!

Mile 8 – 9:55

Clearly miles 6, 7, and 8 were slower, but I was still running less than 10 minute miles. WOW again!

Mile 9 – 10:01

I was bummed to see the 10 by 2 dumb seconds.

Mile 10 – 9:31

That’s better. My thoughts were, “Three miles to go. I can do this!”

Mile 11 – 10:50

Ugh – and I could still see more uphill ahead. I was really worried this part of the race was going to ruin my goal time. I had worked so hard to stay with 10 minute miles.
Somewhere around here I spotted a red shirt that looked like the back of a CTC top. I got up close and realized it was someone I knew. The first person all day that I recognized. Thanks Phil – you helped me keep moving!

Mile 12 – 10:06

We got to the top of the uphill portion, and made it back to downtown. Somewhere around here I spotted Erin on the sidewalk. I wanted to finish hard and took off the best I could.

Mile 13.1 – 9:48

Finish Time – 2:07:17
Pace – 9:42

I did it! I really did it! I beat my time at Akron (2:15) AND I beat my goal of 2:10. WOW! I didn’t know I could really do this. I had NO idea I could run for 13 miles and keep going at a pace of under 10 minutes per mile.

Sunday evening my right knee began to hurt. I can’t seem to straighten it all the way so I’m icing it several times a day. I took off from working out yesterday, and it looks like I’m doing the same again today. This is the only goal I didn’t meet – being injury free. Bummer. I’m so glad I ran hard though! It’s nice to know I had it in me.

I don't know if a full marathon will ever be in my future. My knee doesn't seem to like running too far at once. For now I think I'm going to focus on speed at shorter distances. If I can run 13 miles at a 9:42 pace, I must be able to run shorter distances faster than I have been. Once my knee feels better, I'll start setting some new goals. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Kim! Perhaps you just may keep hitting goals that you may have thought were impossible! Keep up the hard work and definitely recover smart!