After setting out all of my race day gear Saturday night and a good take out dinner from Melt Bar & Grilled (hey, if you're gonna carbo load you might as do it right), I went to bed pretty early knowing I'd have to get pretty early Sunday morning. Of course, I was so excited and nervous that I ended up waking up about an hour earlier than my alarm but it was probably for the best as I was able to then leave my apartment early and made sure I got a decent parking space. (Both the start and finish lines were within walking distance and my parents easily could have driven me home, but since I was leaving when it was still dark out and live in not quite the best neighborhood I wasn't comfortable walking there so driving it was.)
The start line was, fittingly, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and based on predicted finish time I was in the last corral. When I first registered over a year ago I put a 3 hour finish time but as I got more into my training I knew it would probably be closer to 3:30 and I was completely okay with that so as I ran that was the time I was kind of aiming for.
Naturally I spent all week watching the weather and was a little nervous when they kept predicting thunder storms and while there was some drizzle as we were all lining up, the race itself was pretty dry. Of course, after my experience at the St. Malachi race in March I think I can run in pretty much anything.
Living in this city and having looked at the course map I knew the route was going to be mostly flat. That being said, there were two pretty big hills and I kind of loved how the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series put out these fabulous little signs along the way of each hill, like they knew those were the exact moments some of us would need a bit of encouragement.
Speaking of signs, the spectators for this were incredible. Cheerleaders from multiple school districts were represented and I ran into three friends! One I knew I'd see but the other two were lovely surprises.
My favorite sign, though, came from this adorable little red haired boy and it said You are all winners. Just have fun running!
The route took us right in front of several of my friends' apartments and I told one that I estimated I'd be running through between 10:15 and 10:45, so when I turned the corner around 10:20 I felt really good and confident about my pace.
Let it be known I have the most amazing friends ever. Not only was Missy waiting with her camera ready but she also had a banner hanging over the railing of her balcony and my friend Lauren played with some sidewalk chalk in the streets.
Like I said: best friends a gal could ever have.
This was right before Mile Marker 8 and this is about where the heat and humidity and distance started to get to me and I had to start walking more. Mile 10 brought the second big hill of the course and then we had to cross the Lorain Carnegie Bridge. I was walking most of this, with little bursts of jogging, but I still felt pretty good about my time and when I walk during a race I'm power walking.
Shortly after turning onto Huron Road I saw Papa G. standing by waiting. Both he and Sissy were able to sign up for tracking so they both received periodic texts during the race about where I was. After he gave me a high-five and said the finish line was really close, I picked up my pace and finished strong with a time of 3:37:53!
I love this city so hard that it means so much to me to be able to sport this as my first racing medal.
I also may have spent part of yesterday looking up various running medal display racks as this is currently hanging on my bedroom wall.
After, I immediately changed into flip flops and my parents and I headed to a quick lunch before I came home, took the most amazing shower, and then crashed.
I also got a nice surprise from my parents, Sissy and BIL:
Can't wait to put this on my charm bracelet!
I had a fantastic experience and am so glad I chose the Rock 'n' Roll Series for my first half marathon. I'd love to run this one again next year and RnR is a worldwide running series so the idea of traveling for one of their races (and then getting some Heavy Medal bling) isn't completely out of the question either.
Now, of course, comes the big question: Do I think I'll ever run a full marathon?
Oh hell no.
Look, I had an amazing time and I feel amazing. But 13.1 miles is a long fucking distance and because I'm a slow runner it takes me a long time. I can easily see myself running more half marathons, but no way in hell can I see myself doubling both the distance and time I did yesterday.
Then again, I never really ever saw myself becoming a runner either so who knows that may happen down the road.
Love from the ashes,