It’s no secret that I have been chasing down a half marathon PR. Last year I chased it all year but with ironman training, it just wasn’t going to happen. This year, my training and tempo runs were going I was pretty confident that I could do it. The goal was not only to PR but to run a 1:38:50. I poured over recent race results and my training and decided that was realistic.
I waited til the last minute to register just to make sure my cranky leg could hang in there. I might have also have been waiting to see what the weather was going to do. I didn’t want to run in anything overly cold or icy. Running for time with layers on wasn’t going to help and I’m kind of done with running in the freezing cold at this point anyways.
Naturally, after I signed up, just days before the race, we got a snow storm. Yes, snow in April. Inches of it too. The race wasn’t until Sunday but Friday and Saturday snowfall left Cleveland looking like this:
I got really lucky because by some miracle the snow melted quickly and melted especially fast on the sidewalks and walkways. Race morning I had to be bundled but wouldn’t have to worry about trudging through snow.
I tried my best to not overdress for the race but was really cold on my 1 mile warm up to test out the course. When I lined up at the start, I reminded myself that I the 5 miler and 3 miler were also lining up and starting at the same time and to go my own pace. I later found out that only the 3 mile lined up with the half marathoners, which made sense since I never saw the split off for the 5 milers.
The first mile is downhill, like majorly downhill so I really struggled to hit a 7:30 pace. I was being pulled to go much faster! The first mile ended up being 7:13, not horrible for being all downhill.
Mile 2-7:30, Mile 3-7:34, Mile 4-7:35 – I couldn’t quite get 7:30 on the dot but I had to do some dodging around ice and go over 2 bridges that slowed me down a bit. I was definitely working hard to get the paces I was getting.
Mile 5-7:27, Mile 6-7:33, Mile 7- 7:26 – At about mile 6.6, I felt amazing and my legs were ready to roll. I decided I would go with it and pick the pace up a little bit. I wanted to save some for the hill at the end. Yes, this race is notorious for finishing up a hill.
Mile 8-7:30, Mile 9-7:26, Mile 10-7:44 – The entire time I was running, I had memorized certain numbers. I knew I wanted to be at mile 5 at a specific time and mile 8 at a specific time and mile 10 as well. I nailed all of those! However, as good as my legs felt, my tummy felt nauseous. I had been taking water while running and took a little bit of gu at some point but I could feel the pukey feeling bubbling inside. I tried to cheer myself up with the fact that I hit the 10 mile marker at 1:15:03. Which would be pretty decent for a 10 miler.
Mile 11- 7:51, Mile 12-7:59 and Mile 13-7:57 – I forgot to mention that the entire race, the mile markers were off. I was hitting splits but not getting to the mile marker until much later. In my head, I told myself that it didn’t matter as long as the finish line wasn’t long…or short. However, as I was pushing up the last hill and feeling like I was dying, I hit the 13.10 mile mark! But I couldn’t even see the finish line yet! Ugh!
I ended up having the course marked as 13.24 and that extra .14 cost me my PR as I ended up with an official time of 1:40:24, 7th overall female and 1st in my age group. I’d be lying if I wasn’t a little bummed by this time though. However, the good news is, the PR was there. The 1:38:50 was not but it was close. The next half marathon I do, should have PR party written all over it as I was at 1:39: something at the 13.1 mark.
One of my favorite Cleveland Landmarks was the race awards for placing.
Ryan got me some gas station pork rinds (which I love) to eat post race as I also had to get 19 miles in for the day.
Overall, even with the long course and race shirt that shrunk after washing already, I would run this race again. It is very well put together and the volunteers were amazing and cheered at every water stop.