Towpath Half Marathon 2017

Yes, once again I am very behind on blog posts. I am trying really hard to get caught back up!

I really wasn’t planning on running this race but after being really sick, I decided to do this one to see where my fitness level was at so that I could predict a goal finish time for the Cleveland Marathon. Spoiler: It wasn’t in a good spot.

I warmed up for the race and felt fine. I was aiming to try and run about a 1:45 half so it could be a goal time predictor but also a solid workout with out totally destroying my legs. As the race started, a nice downhill start, I focused on not going out too fast. Easy to do on a downhill start of a race when you are excited.

Unfortunately, I noticed right away a sharp pain in my hamstring/adductors. Sharp enough that I instantly thought about pulling out of the race. But not sharp enough to change my gait as long as I slowed down. Ryan came to spectate this race so I was trying to think where he would be if I wanted to drop out. But I also knew he was probably going to grab coffee and a newspaper so he would be gone awhile.

I eventually decided that maybe my legs had gotten too cool after the warm up and once they warmed up they would be fine. By mile 3 I was in so much pain but knew I couldn’t drop out where I was but promised myself I would drop out at mile 8. I was pretty sure the race looped close to the finish line around then and I could be done then.


The pain came and went most of the race and I was constantly slowing down to accommodate my cranky leg. As I neared the spot I thought was mile 8, it was actually mile 9 so naturally I talked myself into running the rest of the race. I mean it was “only” 4 more miles at that point.

This is what I call being “Over Doxied” Doxies in both arms and Doxie pants on!


I ended up finishing with a 1:50:11. Which was really hard for me to accept considering I ran a 1:40 in 2016 there. However, this race told me I wasn’t in the shape I thought I was in and this injury was holding me back more than I thought. Without this race, I probably would have continued training for the full marathon which would have been a horrible idea.

Half Marathon #31 Complete

I have a feeling I will be back to run this race next year as I have some unfinished business in the half marathon.



Towpath Half Marathon

When picking out races for the year, I had decided I was going to run the Presque Isle Erie Marathon as my fall full marathon. After some health issues over the summer, I decided it would be best if I picked a different fall marathon instead and decided I would run the Towpath Marathon. The Erie Marathon and Towpath Marathon are only a few weeks apart so I am not sure why I thought this would really make a difference. It should be no surprise that I ended up changing to the Half Marathon as I saw how poorly I was running this year.

However, for this race I went into it knowing that I would likely run very poorly and was hoping that I could go sub 1:50 for this race.

Race morning it was very cold for early October. I ended up wearing shorts and a tank top anyways but it was very chilly.

Exactly like the other half marathon I ran, my pace dropped significantly by the time I got to the 3rd mile. Unlike past races, I didn’t feel completely like I wanted to quit. Maybe I had just come to terms with my new slower paces. Maybe I just really love running on the Towpath.

In the past, I remember more fall colors during this race but there was actually a lot of green left on the trees. It was still really pretty to run through though. I think my only complaint would be that the path gets narrow in a few places and you have to go single file in both directions. For me it really wasn’t frustrating since I knew I wasn’t going to be running a PR and was already off my goal pace.

A lot of people will tell you that it is slower to run on the Towpath. I disagree with this statement, I feel like I run really well on the Towpath…normally. It’s softer on the body than running on asphalt.


The course is extremely flat and mostly out and backish. On the way back though I felt like it was taking forever to get to the Boston Store. Even with half a mile to go I was like where is it. It pops up so quickly once you get to it but i felt like I couldn’t even hear any spectators up ahead.

I ended up not running my goal time and finished with a time of 1:50:03. Officially hung up the running shoes on long distance races for the year after this one. Don’t get me wrong, I will be back and am still running long now. Just the racing long thing hasn’t been going so well. I did buy a giant bag of kettle corn after the race so I have that going for me.


Racing has gone extremely well for Ryan and he PR’d in the marathon at this race! Ended up finishing 5th overall.



Towpath Half Marathon

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.


Towpath Half Marathon 2012

I just realized that last year was the first year they ever had this race and I ran it. This year was the second year and I ran it again. So technically I have ran every race they have had so far. I kinda like that. Hopefully I can keep that up.

Race morning I decided to grab a banana before heading out the door except the bananas were still green so I had to pass. Next idea was a powerbar, except all the ones I had were peanut butter or cookies and cream and I gave up cookies and peanut butter (and everything else) for lent. So I grabbed a Gu to take with me and downed some Powerade before walking out of the house.

Driving to the race I was freezing. In the days leading up to the race I saw highs of 60s, aka perfect racing weather for me. Race morning, 39 degrees 😦 I sucked it up though, didn’t over dress and got to the race an hour early to do a warm up. I had to get my 20 miler in on Sunday, 1 mile warm up, 13.1 mile run, 6 mile cooldown.

20 mins before the race I realized I left my Gu in the car and was wishing I had a pair of gloves with me as it was getting chilly. Oh and I had to pee! But with 20 mins before the race there was no time. I decided I would have to stop at a port-o-let during the race. I could have peed in the woods but I have still not mastered that without peeing all over myself.

Race started and I was already planning which one I would stop to pee at. It was all I could think about. I decided I would try and bank some time so that I wouldn’t lose too much time by stopping to pee. First mile was barely under 7 mins. I was hoping to run the first couple around 7:15 so that I could have a little over a min and a half to pee. (don’t check my math, it sounded correct while running).

Towpath Trail

I passed the first potty and decided I would definitely stop at the next one once it got a little uncrowded. And when I got to the next one I kept telling myself I would stop at the one after that. Totally tricking myself. Finally I made a deal with myself that I would pee by mile 10. We went up and over some bridges and as you are coming down, the bridges shake and I thought I was going to pee my pants. Luckily I didn’t. Although it would have made for a good story.

Throughout the race I had to pee so badly that I blew through all the water stops. I didn’t even want to look at liquids. I finally took water when I went through my friends water stop (Beal, Kristy, Matty O and Heather were all volunteering!). Mile 10 came along and I figured I had made it this far what’s 3 more miles. I bet you all saw that coming.

I remembered from last year that there is a hill at the finish, I also remember from last year that the course was a lot longer than 13.1. Luckily this year I looked down at my watch and saw 13.08 and I could see the finish line in sight. I cruised through finished in 1:41:50 a 7:46 and 6 out of 63 in my age group. AND AND AND A NEW HALF MARATHON PR!!!!!!!!!! And I ran the entire race with no Gu. And I didn’t pee. (actually never got a chance to pee until I ran back to the car…a mile down the road).

This year's shirt and medal

My last half marathon PR was from 2008! I came close to breaking that a couple times last year but finally got it this year. So far I have PR’d in the 5K, 5 mile and now the half marathon. Very happy about that little streak I have going on.

Oh and my butt barely bothered me during the race. I did take it a little easy though. A couple times I wanted to speed up but decided to play it safe for the sake of my butt.

Red=this year shirt. Green=last year

New Tradition: Take a picture of all the shirts from year to year. At least for this race.

Anyone else hold their pee during a race?