Columbus (Half) Marathon: The Race

So where we left off...  Karen and I had entered our corrals after she scolded me for tearing up. It was around 6:45 in the morning. With a 7:30 am race kick off, we had some time, but really did not want to go anywhere. We had already used the port-o-lets twice, and there was some in the corral with us, but my nerves were starting to get the better of me at this point, so I felt like staying in one place might be better. I had no doubt that I would complete this marathon, after all, I trained really hard. I ran through the middle of the night once on no sleep for a training run. I had successful speedwork sessions and some great marathon pace long runs.

I had moments that tested my resolve as well as runs that I thought would be the end of my running career. I had a whole week in June where I ran only 6 miles. I went to Mexico for a week and skipped my long run. I had weeks at a time where my heart was not in it, but I kept running. I set myself A, B and C goals to keep myself from being too disappointed (but I REALLY wanted that A goal!)
A. Under 4 hours. The time I have focused all of my runs around. The goal time entered in my training plan which designed speed workouts to help me hit it.
B. PR. This honestly should be pretty achievable. I ran 4:26 in my first marathon. It was 80* and extremely hilly. We stopped for nearly 6 minutes to use the port-o-lets. A PR was easily within my grasp.
C. Finish. Hopefully with a smile on my face knowing that I worked hard and I am still doing something that not too many people do. Ever. And I have done it twice.
I was standing in the corrals reflecting on all of this, and saying a little prayer.

Karen and I were set up fairly close to the 4 hour pacer, and hoped to stick with her for as long as we could! Heck, even in front of her a little. I also hoped to negative split the race, so I wanted to start out on pace, but conservatively. Running comfortably fast. This is why I did all those tempo runs, right?

Eventually the rock anthem of all marathons came over the loudspeakers (a little Springsteen, obviously), and the gun sounded.

Karen always kept a few steps ahead of me. I was not worried about it at all, because even though we were training partners and stuff, we both knew that we had to run our own races. We started conservatively as we headed down Broad Street. But within goal pace times, so nothing to worry about.
Mile 1 - 9:16
Mile 2 - 9:07
Mile 3 - 9:10

We continued along Broad Street. We saw the wheel chair racers on the other side of the road (it seems as though they started around the 10K mark. I am not entirely sure how all of that worked out). We stopped and got water at a water stop, we kept our pace up. We went through a lovely area, with some beautiful homes. It was definitely the kind of area that I would like to live in, if J and I were to choose to move to Columbus. (Although, I am afraid if we did that, J would want our kids to be Buckeyes, and they wouldn't be because it would be "home" for them, which would break J's heart - lol!) Around mile 5.5 we were running along a main road (I actually think it was Main Street!) and a DJ was out and he was playing Ganghem Style. And yes, I pulled off the dance while running and maintaining my pace.
Mile 4 - 9:02
Mile 5 - 8:59
Mile 6 - 8:45

- By the way, my Ganghem Style is EPIC.

Eventually we ended up BACK on Broad street. This was the area where we saw the wheelchair racers on our way out. At Mile 7, I had enough of "holding it" and decided to make a port-o-let pit stop, and hope that relieved a little bit of pressure and would continue to allow me to run on strong. It helped and once we were out of there, we kicked it up a bit to keep that mile time in check.

The whole time this was going on, I was dealing with a bit of shin and foot pain. Admittedly, I outright lied to my foot doctor when I saw him the week before the race. I had definitely been having a decent amount of foot pain (same foot as I fractured a year ago) over the last few weeks, but part of me was (and is still) convinced that it was imaginary. I had taped up my shins prior to the run, just like I did for the Bourbon Chase since I had been regularly suffering from shin pain during my shorter tapering runs (and also during the Dayton River Corridor the prior week). The tape was helpful, but at 7-10 miles in, it was still hurting. But not unbearable. And we were keeping a great pace, so I was feeling awesome about the race. I was on track for goal A!

Mile 7 - 9:58 <--- potty break!
Mile 8 - 8:42 (got it back!)
Mile 9 - 8:40
Mile 10 - 8:49

We were running through German Village and the crowds were still spot-on, lining the streets. There was a band or a DJ every mile (just like the water stations) and I had taken my first gu and my first drink of lemon-lime gatorade. (Honestly, I hate lemon lime, but it is what they always have on courses if they are going to have it, so I have just adjusted to drinking it. It doesn't make me sick, so I go for it!)
From Marathon Foto

The above picture was right around mile 10. They had a crane created archway over the road and two photographers over above us. It is always nice when you see the photographers and you are still feeling great. Then you can get some more epic race photos. Apparently around this point was when Jes and Andrew (Jes, my Flying Pig training partner and Andrew, one of my Bourbon Chase teammates) saw Karen and I. They were running all over the course to see us and Jes's brother who was running his first full.

This is where things start to get real. At 11.5 miles in, something just snapped. I don't know what it was, I didn't HEAR anything, I just FELT it. I was running close to the curb on the street, so I was a little bit on a slope, I think. It was my right knee. The next time I stepped down with my right foot, my leg buckled underneath me. I pulled it together, but I was in SERIOUS pain. There was absolutely NO WAY that I was going to run another 15-ish miles like this. So I made a huge decision. I was going to turn off at the half. I just couldn't do it.

I started crying as soon as I made the decision, but I knew it would be better to finish something, even if it was not what I intended to finish, than to finish nothing. I kept up with the running though and got Karen's attention by tapping her arm. I told her what happened, that I was pulling out at the half, and that she should go on. She shouted "I love you!" and sped up! I decided that I was ignoring this feeling, and I was going to finish strong, no matter what and no matter how I was feeling since I couldn't run the whole race without walking it in or even the dreaded DNF (yes, I was getting a DNF already, but at least I would be crossing the finish line!) So I changed up some music, turned it WAY up, and brought it home.

Mile 11 - 8:50
Mile 12 - 8:56
Mile 13 - 7:48 (!!!)
Mile 0.18 (Garmin) - 1:10 (or 6:37/mile!)

Half Marathon official finish - 1:57:13. An official Half PR, since the Corridor ended up being short.

I fell over the finish line in such a dramatic fashion only an experienced theater actress could have pulled it off. Haha. One of the medics immediately came to my attention and I spent a little while convincing them that other than my knee (and my pride/ego) I felt absolutely fine. Eventually they were convinced and set me up on the concrete, taped me up, and taped a bag of ice to me. They handed me my medal (blue for the full marathon), I tried to refuse it as I was feeling super ashamed about the whole thing. I would rather go no medal than have one for something I didn't do. But they insisted, so instead of putting it on, I just held it, stayed wrapped up in my space blanket and sat on the ground.

I had crossed the finish line at just under 2 hours (clock time) and new J would be hoping to finish around 2:45 (chip time). I didn't have my phone, so I couldn't track where he was (based on his crossing of the 10k mat) but I knew it would be at least 2:45 clock time and it depended on how long it took him to start other than that. But this did not stop me from looking for him immediately. At around 2:30 clock time, I got up and made my way to the back of the finish area, they wanted to keep people "behind the white line" if they were waiting for others.

When I saw J, I hobbled over to him as fast as I could and wrapped my arms around him to let him know I was so proud of him (a half marathon is a HUGE accomplishment. I have to keep reminding myself of that as I feel so down about myself). We got a finishers photo together.
And that was the end of our Columbus Marathon journey. I am not sure where I am going or what I am doing next as far as lifting/running/fitness. So I guess we will see...


  1. Oh no! So sorry to hear about your knee! Sending you positive vibes for a quick recovery so you can kill your next marathon!


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