Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon Challenge Series Recap (2017)

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

Said amazing ambassadors

This year I had signed up for the Challenge Series – the 8k and Half Marathon. This would mean that I would run an 8k Saturday morning, followed by the half marathon Sunday morning. (You may recall I did the Challenge Series last year, but the 5k/10k, since I was 30+ weeks pregnant)

8K

This year looked a little different. First, the races were downtown, which was great! They were a 10 minute walk from my apartment and the courses were wider and more open than last year. I didn’t run with FW but we did get a pre-race pic.

I wanted to “take it easy,” knowing I had a half marathon the next day; but of course I took it a little faster than I would’ve liked. About 1 mile in, I found fellow Ambassador, Sara, running with her boy and her stroller! We ended up running the rest of the course or 4ish miles together. It was great to have someone to talk to for those last miles – it made them fly by!

Saturday was PERFECT running weather. It was 50 degrees, overcast and a little breezy. I couldn’t have asked for better conditions for the 8k.

pre-8k with some other ambassadors

Half Marathon

Sunday was a different story for the half marathon. Looking ahead at the weather all week, I was nervous for race day. It was due to be upper 70s (one day it forecasted 78 … ick!) and 100% chance of thunderstorms.  Definitely not ideal running weather, especially for me, as I have not been training outside much during this training season.

But, luck was on our side.  I woke up and it was mid-60s and NOT raining. I made it to the start and then began to wait in the massive porta potty line. And by massive, I mean that I was still waiting when the race started. I ended up heading inside the Q to use the restroom and Mary and I jumped into Corral D (we were supposed to be B or C) for the start. We discussed our goals – we decided that it would be to “survive the humidity … or get a PR.”

For the first few miles, we spent most of the time running/walking/dodging people and walkers. But after a few miles in, we were finally able to get into a good pace and enjoy the course. This year was a new course and I LOVED it. It took us part of the way through downtown, into the Flats, into Tremont, throughout the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and then back downtown on Detroit (no dreaded running on the boring hot Shoreway!!).

How did I do? I felt pretty good for the first few miles. And B even surprised me by cheering us on with FW throughout the course! I knew he was watching, but didn’t expect to see him 4 different times, so that was great. About mile 6-7 I started to get pretty hot and thirsty and my fingers began to swell up. I took in part of an expired Salted Caramel Gu that I had found in our apartment but it tasted funny so I dropped it just in time to pick up a Vanilla Honey Stinger from the course around mile 8. I made sure to get water at every stop throughout and even dumped some on me.

smiles before the race

Around mile 11, I was spent. I told Mary she could go ahead of me as soon as we saw the bridge to back downtown; the thought of going up the hill made me nervous and more tired. Mary looked at me and said, “We will get under 2 hours!” She dashed ahead and I tried to keep up somewhat as I made it up the bridge and back into downtown.

I finished as strong as I could and was pleased to find out that my finish time was 1:58:07. Was it the PR I was hoping for in the weeks ahead? No. But it was under 2 hours, a solid race for my first post-baby half marathon, especially considering the humid conditions.

I’m feeling a little bit emotional now that my training is done. Or maybe it was the 2 engagements that happened this weekend during the running festivities? Either way, for some reason, this year’s race has left me a little misty eyed. Must mean it’s time to sign up for another race!

Some questions for you:

  • Did you run Cleveland? What did you think?
  • Have you ever done a Challenge Series – two day – race?

Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs!

Disclosure: As I mentioned, I’m an ambassador for the event. This means I got free race admission, entry to give away AND a cool shirt. 

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12 thoughts on “Rite Aid Cleveland Half Marathon Challenge Series Recap (2017)

  1. Congrats on a very solid race! You did great! I’ve run many challenges. I think the first was the Flying Pig 3-way in 2013. Since then many RocknRoll Remixes in Chicago, Dublin, Las Vegas, St. Louis, I’m sure I’m missing some.

  2. I have done several 2-day challenges, and my goal is always to not expect a PR but to run each race strong. I have made the mistake of running the first race a bit faster than planned (usually because the first race is a shorter distance). I’ve never been to Cleveland, but this race looks like it needs to be on my bucket list 😉

  3. Great job! I was emotional too for the post-baby thing. I started to lose it as I neared the finish of my race but then I was like “Holly you can’t waste energy crying, you need energy to run” so then I sucked it up lol.

  4. It looks like Cleveland really puts on a great race! Congratulations on running the 8K and half marathon back-to-back! Is it me, or does it always seem that the race weather is better on Saturday than on Sunday? It’s so cruel! Great job getting sub-2!

  5. I felt emotional after this one too! Maybe because a friend got married the day before…or because the weather and new route were so good. Regardless, I immediately wanted to do it all over again!

    Congrats on a good race!

  6. Pingback: Race Recap: Rite Aid Cleveland 8K (2017) - Welcoming Simplicity

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