Cleveland Marathon -8K and Half- Challenge Series: Race Recap

I can’t believe the weekend is over. I have been training since January for this past weekend’s races, and just like that, it’s over. I’m feeling a little let down – after all, what do I do now?

I don’t have a normal training week to share with you. Did I run last week? Yes – I got in a few taper runs and a stroller run Sunday through Wednesday and took Thursday off. The bulk of my running last week was done Saturday and Sunday for the Cleveland Marathon Challenge Series!

Let’s just say that the weather was NOT in my favor for the weekend’s events. I was weather stalking for quite a few days, and each day, the forecast got hotter and hotter. I hadn’t trained in anything really warmer than 50 degrees, so I was obviously a little nervous as I saw it creep from 60s to 70s and the to .. gasp …  80s?! At that point, I knew the only thing I could do would be hydrate and hope for the best. Not a PR, but not my worst race.

Starting the Weekend with the 8K

I had signed up for the 8K/Half Marathon Challenge Series, which meant my race weekend started on Saturday with an 8K in Downtown Cleveland.

The weather, while NOT super hot, ended up not being the best either. This was the radar as we started to drive into the city.

The temps ended up being fine, but it drizzled as we approached the starting line, and started really raining while we ran. Still, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “At least it’s not too warm!” Yes, I prefer 50s and rainy to 80s, at least at this point in my training.

At the start, I ran into a few fellow Cleveland Marathon Ambassadors, and it was just enough time to snap a pic before the race began.

I tried to keep it a little easy on the run, knowing I had the 13.1 miles less than 24 hours later. So, I kept my heart rate mostly in the green range and according to my Garmin, around a 9:08 min/mile pace. I clocked in at over 5 miles, so who knows if all the zigging and zagging gave me an extra quarter mile or if the course was a little long.

I felt myself smiling nearly the whole race. I was that person thanking the cops for being there and keeping the roads closed, high fiving some of the people spectating (including FW!) and really just enjoying being out there. Despite the rain, I was feeling good and hoping that I’d feel the same on Sunday.

The Half Marathon

Sunday started EARLY. And warm. I had set my alarm for 4 a.m. just to get ready, feed LM (I’m still breastfeeding and wanted to get in a quick feed before the race) and get downtown with enough time to meet up with my ambassadors at the starting line by 6:30. We had the whole morning planned. Leave the house by 5:45 a.m., get breakfast from Cleveland Bagel at 6 a.m., park in my office parking garage at 6:15 a.m. and be at the starting line for a picture with the ambassadors.

That was the plan, at least. What actually happened? We didn’t make it out of the house until 5:55, so we skipped bagels, and then the road we were going to take to get to the garage was closed, so we ended up parking almost 2 miles from the start, so I made a mad dash (a literal sprint) to the starting line to just make the starting line photo. But I made it! Sweaty since it was already getting warm – it was already in the 70s before 5 a.m.!

The race started and I wish I could say the first few miles felt good. But they didn’t. I was somehow a little sore/tight/tired (perhaps from the previous day’s race? Or perhaps from my sprint to the start? And I was hot.

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At mile 2, I took a spill, falling completely down on the ground and bloodying up my knees, shin, right ankle, hand and also rolling my left ankle.

I saw B at mile 5 or so (which was the third time I saw him and the kids – they were great at finding me and cheering me on!) and told him I wasn’t going to make it. I was too hot, my ankle was sore and my feet were starting to hurt. And my fingers were swelling. But all of a sudden  – I don’t know why or how – I realized that I was running this for fun. So I may as well try and have fun. So that’s what I decided to do! Every sign I saw that said “touch here to power up” I touched. Every person giving out high fives, I high fives. I ran through sprinklers. Ran under hoses. Walked through water stops and drank 1-2 cups each time. And before I knew it, I was finishing the race – not a PR at all – and crossing the finish line to meet my family, see some friends (including fellow ambassadors Andrew and Melissa!) and have a post-race beer.

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It was a hot one, especially for Cleveland this time of year where it’s usually in the 60s, 70s. Most of my fellow ambassadors found themselves running 10, 20, and even 30 minutes+ slower than usual. I saw several ambulances on the course, people getting sick and being taken off the course. Especially after the tragedy of the weekend (which I ran past and happened to see at the end of the race … ), I’m feeling especially grateful to have finished the race and had fun, despite the heat and less-than-stellar temps.

And in the end, I ended up with THREE medals for my 8K and 13.1:

Some questions for you:

  • Did you run CLE? What did you think of the course?
  • What’s the hottest race you’ve run? This was 81 when I finished. It was one of the hottest for sure!

I’m linking up with Deborah and Kim for the Weekly Run Down.