Every year I look forward to the Cleveland Marathon and this year did not disappoint!
I thought I would be a little less enthusiastic with the hamstring issues I was having but there is so much going on during Cleveland Marathon weekend that I was easily distracted. Like with the Cleveland Marathon VIP dinner where I got to get dressed up and hang out with the other ambassadors.
And when I was taking a picture of my friends and then this happened!!!!!
The race is on Sunday so we usually save the expo for Saturday and head out to watch the 5K and 8K race. However, a Hoka sponsored athlete that we have been following on Instagram for years was doing a shake out run at our local running store so we had to make an appearance there instead of watching the 5k/8k.
Hoka athlete Tyler Andrews was running the 10K on Sunday so we got to meet and chat with him for a bit over coffee and bagels.
We headed down to the expo shortly after and by some miracle I didn’t buy anything. This is a first! I always drop some big money at the expo on shirts, jackets or gels but we’ve cut down on a lot of expenses this year due to crazy work schedules, paying the mortgage and saving for an adoption. But don’t you think I didn’t want to try on those Hoka Hupana’s I saw or those awesome t-shirts from Sole Clothing!
After watching the weather for days, it was no surprise to feel the humidity on race morning. As we got downtown is was quite windy and I was a bit chilly with the wind. However, once I started running I was instantly warmed up and feeling that humidity.
My goal for this race was to run a 1:45 half. Last year I was in shape for a 1:39 but after surgery I was stuck in the 1:50s and I’ve been struggling there since. I worked really hard on speed the past 6 weeks and felt like a 1:45 would feel easy for this race.
My plan was to stay just in front of the 1:45 pace group til after the Columbus Road hill. If you are not familiar with this hill, it is a tough one. Strava tells me this hill is at a 10.4% incline. But it also one of the only hills in the race as this race is now super flat. You can see the elevation below from my garmin with how flat it is.
I took my time getting up the hill but when I got to the top I just couldn’t get my legs moving again. My pace group had zoomed past me up the hill and I doubted I would catch back up. I was very warm at this point in the race so I slowed my pace way down to take it easy for the next mile.
The rest of the race I tried to get my pace back but it was just a little slower than I had hoped. I knew the course very well and had an awesome training run on the course so I felt prepared but things just weren’t clicking for race day. Even though things weren’t clicking for me, I was still having an awesome time running through Tremont, down W. 25th by the West Side Market, through Ohio City and past my friend in the speedo.
Normally when my pace drops off from my goal time I go to a dark place and question why I am running and then spend the rest of the race trying to talk myself out of walking the rest of the race. But I was having a good time seeing all my friends on the course who came out to cheer so the miles were clicking by.
My hamstring really started to bother me around mile 10 so I had to slow my pace down some more for that but my goal time was already so far gone it didn’t bother me too much.
I ended up finishing with a time of 1:51:21 far slower than I had planned and trained for. I had training runs that were faster than this pace so yes I was and still am disappointed with my time. But it is still early in the racing season so I have time to improve and grow this racing season.
And then there was another proposal this weekend! My friends Dan and Steph also got engaged at the finish line. It was such an honor to be there for them and to snap some pics!
Cheers to another year of Cleveland Marathon fun. I am already looking forward to next years festivities. Who is with me????