I was very much looking forward to the Run Like a Girl half marathon for a few reasons - 1. I LOVE running in Columbus! It's a nice and flat area compared to much of Cincinnati. I feel home and happy in Columbus. 2. I haven't done a women's only race! No dudes running around shirtless and being all crazy fast and intimidating.
I didn't check the course map until last night. I knew it started in the downtown area so I assumed it would be similar to the Columbus Marathon course. I was surprised to find out I was wrong! We started at the Columbus Commons, a new park area I hadn't been to yet that was built a few years ago. We started and finished here, going out and back along the Scioto Trail, down and around, then out and back a portion of the Olentangy Trail. When I trained for my first half marathon, we used the Olentangy trail, but it is so long I don't think we ever made it far enough along it to where we ran today.
I also want to clear up a misconception I had about Columbus being flat - not all of it is! There were some rolling hills on the trails and even though I felt good, they were surprising.
Another small surprise was the extreme shift in the weather we had over the last 24 hours! When I left Cincinnati yesterday, it was 75 degrees with some rain. This morning I woke up to intermittent showers and a starting temperature of 39 degrees. THIRTY. NINE. I knew we were supposed to cool down with yesterday's rain but it was frigid. I hid out in the exit of the underground garage to stay warm while waiting on the start and then all of us that were hiding out in there got asked to move out. 8:10 rolled around and we were off!
I warmed up in the first mile and was feeling great. I was averaging 11:48 for my pace the first 3.5ish miles and was feeling so strong. That quickly changed as I realized I should have stopped at the bathroom I passed. I have never had to stop during a race but today was the exception. I asked the next water stop volunteers if there was a bathroom at the 4.5 mile turnaround and they said no. Shoot. I had to start walking before mile 4 just to make sure I could finish the race with clean pants. No joke. And you're welcome for this story.
When I made it to mile 5.5 I got back to aforementioned bathroom and life got a whole lot better and I was on my way.
I caught up to a girl who I decided was running a nice, steady pace and I was going to use her to my advantage. We started chatting and I learned it was her first half (and she was doing awesome! And I thanked her for pacing me) and we stayed together from about mile 6 until 10 when I needed to slow down and eat some sport beans. I told her to go ahead and finish strong (side note: I saw her at the finish and told her she was awesome and needed to pick her next one). It was also at about mile 6 that we got out of intermittent sprinkles and hit a steady rain and sleet combo that was truly miserable. It was frigid, windy, and wet. A certain recipie for sickness.
Miles 10-13 I walk/ran due to my hamstrings tightening up in the cold. My Achilles tends to start cramping up when I slow down later in races and I ran until it started tightening up on me and then shook it out Taylor Swift style and repeated.
I knew a PR was potentially doable, even with the bathroom stop, but the walk/run slowed me enough that I'd be just making it. My RunKeeper had me at 2:48:02 with my PR being 2:46. SO CLOSE. Stupid stomach.
The finish was fairly uneventful, there was a photo backdrop and men in tuxedos awarding bottles, yes...BOTTLES of wine for finishers. Way to go, race organizers! The medal and shirt are cute and I'm a happy runner.