Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon Recap (2015)

Wow – I can’t believe this is my last Training Tuesday as a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. I feel so truly grateful to have been able to participate in the experience and blog and share my training with you and the other ambassadors.

I’m not going to dwell on this week’s training, because really – you all want to hear about the race, don’t you? Instead, I’ll tell you that it included a last tempo run (Tuesday) and some outdoor runs with my ladies the other days (and temps from 70s to 30s…because that’s what Cleveland is like):

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Anyway, Sunday was race day. Earlier in week, Nicole had asked me if I had a goal for the race. ‘To PR,” I said, almost confidently. Which is NOT me. I don’t have running confidence, even after running 8 or so half marathons, training for a full, and logging miles nearly every day, I am not confident about my running. It was only this year that I even started to consider myself a runner! So, I was surprised that I said that.

BUT I feared I jinxed myself. As race day got nearer, the weather was not looking great. I do well in 40s-50s and it was supposed to be 70s, 80% humidity and – well – not my ideal running weather.

this is what was posted to Facebook a few days before the race:

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So yeah, let’s just say that come race eve and morning, I was not expecting a PR. All week I prepped. I stayed hydrated as much as I could, drinking water, nooma and more water with a splash of Crystal Light.

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My desk at work. Staying hydrated!

The night before the race I followed my plan to the T. Despite being on my feet for much longer than I would’ve liked during the day (from about 10-4:30 due to a work event and then at the Expo), I ate well, drank my fluids and was in bed by 9 to watch a pump-me-up movie (B chose Run For Your Life about the beginning of the NY Marathon).

Race morning started out well. I somehow managed to sleep nearly full the night getting more than 7 hours and woke up at 5 a.m. feeling ready to go. The rain looked like it would hold off, so I opted to go with a tank top and shorts. I hate running in tank tops because of how tight they often are but I knew that I’d have to with the humidity.

I was supposed to meet the Ambassadors at 6:30 at the starting line for a pre-race photo opp. Of course things didn’t go as planned. After finishing my normal pre-race fuel (1/4 of a bagel with honey and a few bites of a protein bar), I realized I had no idea where my license was. And then my keys. And then one of my nails from the Expo fell off. Let’s just say that I didn’t leave my apartment until about 6:45.

The start!

The start!

As we walked to the start, it started pouring. We found some shelter and it somehow stopped just a few minutes before 7 a.m. and we hustled to the starting line. The start was SO efficient! At exactly 7 a.m. the race began and we were surrounded by cheers, people taking photos, and we made it into our corral and so we began.

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Here’s somewhat of what was going on in my head:

Miles 1-4: This is great! I love half marathons. I love the crowds, the people running, the sounds of the garmins going off each mile ere great. I was feeling amazing, not running too fast, not feeling too hot, and stopping for water at each water stop. B and I were running together and I loved the crowds at the start, in Ohio City and Tremont.

Selfie at the start

Selfie at the start

Mile 5: This is rough. I hit a wall, early, and felt my minerals draining. Was it too early to take a Gu? Or my new favorite – Boom (apple cinnamon is my fave)? It was okay running down Clark but I was losing momentum and the people were scarce.

Mile 6: Yay! People are cheering. I love Ohio City. Oh hey- I see Joey! Hey Joey. And the Ignatius band. You’re awesome! Thank you! I even said to B – I needed that cheering, I was starting to feel myself lose momentum.

Mile 7: There HAS to be Boom gel soon, right? I mean – I need it. But wow, Gordon Square is awesome. These crowds. Oh wait – they’re gone? Thank goodness for water – and that hose! Ok, I’m giving in – definitely need some of my Gu I brought with me. Oh my goodness- I love Salted Caramel Gu!

Mile 8: Oh THERE’s the Boom. Apple Cinnamon – my favorite! If I just hold this in my hand and keep squeezing it, maybe my super swollen hand will get back to normal.

This is not a flattering photo but you can see my hair whipping AND the gel in my hand. Squeezing away!

This is not a flattering photo but you can see my hair whipping AND the gel in my hand. Squeezing away!

Miles 9-10: So long marathoners – hello Lakewood. Oh my. I have to do another 5k?!

Miles 11-12.5: I hate the shoreway. I hate the shoreway. Let me repeat myself. These rolling hills. The steady incline. The lack of crowds. Well this is better than last year I think?

Mile 12.5-13: B tells me to go ahead. He’s been pacing me the entire time but the heat has taken a toll on him.  “You may PR” he says. “Really?!”I say in disbelief. “Well, not really…err…maybe?” So I do it. I go ahead. I run and realize I’ve started running too hard too pace. I can no longer push it. Or can I?

Just after leaving B. Feeling like I can do this - I can push it!

Just after leaving B. Feeling like I can do this – I can push it!

Mile 13.1: I see the finish clock. It says 1:59. I can do this. Under 2 hours again. And maybe … just maybe, my chip time will be a PR? I’m done!

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And so – a PR. Was it as fast as I could have gone/ Probably not. But with the heat and humidity was I happy? Yes, yes, yes!

B took this of me after our race

B took this of me after our race

I have so many mixed feelings now that the race is over. I truly loved my experience as an Ambassador. I loved wearing my Ambassador shirt this weekend- I got people at the Expo and even in the streets coming up to me and asking me questions about not only the race, but also the city I loved the support system of the fellow ambassadors – everyone was so nice and motivational.

Post race with B and Mary

Post race with B and Mary

Looking back at the race, how do I feel? I loved the crowds at the beginning, in Ohio City, Gordon Square, Tremont and Lakewood and I even enjoyed the new part of the course and seeing a part of the city I’d never seen before. I enjoyed the post-race party and of course the cheering at the finish line. I guess it helps that I got a PR – of course that makes the race pretty happy as well – but I am SO proud to be a Cleveland Marathon Ambassador. I felt proud of the city and the race and can’t wait to run it again next year!

with some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race (photo from The Tambura Runner: http://thetamburarunner.com)

with some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race (photo from The Tambura Runner: http://thetamburarunner.com)

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5 thoughts on “Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon Recap (2015)

  1. Congrats on your half marathon PR! That’s a huge accomplishment, especially in those types of adverse conditions. The Shoreway finish is visually spectacular, but it’s not exactly flat, and it’s even more difficult when the weather stinks. I do prefer it to the way in which the race went in 2013 in which we ran away from downtown and had all of those inclines early on in the race.

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