Sunday, May 21, 2017
~60°F, 7am, Downtown Cleveland
This race was going to be one for the books from the minute we registered. We knew that after the craziness of last year, no matter what happened the 40th Cleveland Marathon would be a different race.
- It was the 40th annual Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, so things were a little different in general. A massive participation medal and a new race route were the biggest changes that everyone got to experience.
- The weather was potentially very scary. Not only was it the hottest and most humid half we’d ever run, there was also a huge chance of thunderstorms during the race. Thankfully, the temperatures remained safe, tolerable, and we missed the rain by under an hour.
- Our friends, Laurel and Zack, planned their wedding for May 20, 2017. It didn’t occur to us right away, but a few months before the wedding, we realized what we were taking on. We both had roles in the ceremony and knew that we would want to celebrate the wedding afterwards, but had to control ourselves and manage our exhaustion/intoxication/hydration/rest just right in order to make sure we survived the jam-packed weekend.
The wedding went off without a hitch, but K had nearly every minute of Friday and Saturday booked, so her sleep schedule wasn’t exactly what it would be during a half marathon race weekend otherwise. On top of the exhaustion of the weekend, there was also the fuel management to consider. Planning meals, snacks, and proper race weekend hydration was important–this caused some anxiety, but ended up going well. Frequent water bottle refills and bathroom breaks weren’t too disruptive and everyone was supportive.
Then came the reception. There was a lot of temptation, but we managed to contain our excitement and celebrate responsibly.
5am came quickly, though. After barely a handful of hours of sleep, we managed to pull ourselves out of our beds and hit the road on time. We dabbled in some caffeine assistance and got downtown with some time to spare in the fresh, not-too-cold, not-too-hot air.
For me, this race was a blur, but the whole weekend was a bit of a blur. I had to write my thoughts down as soon as possible, passing up a nap opportunity to make sure I got everything out before I forgot.
The beginning of the race felt great. It always does–hearing “Cleveland Rocks” and being a part of this big event is so exciting. The first few miles went well and I remember thinking “wow, I’m doing way better than I thought!” Between mile 4 and 5, though, I decided I had to shed my tank top. It was getting soaked through with sweat and rolling up my torso, so I pulled over and transferred my bib to my shorts and wrapped my top in my waistband. This made a huge difference and I could stop thinking about how uncomfortable my sweaty shirt was making me. As usual, mile 8 was when I started to falter. I’m not sure why, but that’s when I lose control a little bit (mentally and physically). My left ankle started hurting for some reason, so I had to stop to walk a few times in the final stretch. Otherwise, the race went smoothly and I finished smiling and happy to grab some chocolate milk and meet up with my dad and E to recap.
Knowing that this race would be a struggle because of the busy weekend, I think I subconsciously slacked a little in my training (I also combined my training with a 4-week PIIT program–check out my thoughts on that!). I also went into the race realistically knowing that I might not be able to push myself and I maybe wouldn’t be able to run my best time. Saturday night, I told E I would probably hit 2:10:00. I crossed the finish line when the clock read 2:09:53 (my chip time was 2:07:46). The race overall felt great, but it also felt really good knowing that I am so in tune with my body and what training works and what doesn’t. There wasn’t a point during the run that I thought I couldn’t do it (compared to last year when there were moments that the weather made it all feel utterly impossible). I didn’t really focus on pace very much while I was running and I ran a little more relaxed than usual, letting myself lip sync some songs and skip a little because I just couldn’t not dance. It was FUN race. It also gave me time to look back on the weekend and how beautiful the wedding was. 🙂
While I knew ahead of time that the time leading up to the wedding was going to be crazy busy, what I didn’t know (until a few days ahead) was that the days after would be crazy as well. I had a last-minute trip to D.C. scheduled, leaving at 4:00pm the day of the half! Yeesh!
The race was a fun one for me as well. Despite our fears about the temperature, it actually ended up being amazing. A little on the warm side, perhaps, but there was a breeze to cool us down, and thankfully no rain.
Having been tired from the night before though, I relied on a couple sugar-free red bulls to wake me up. That, combined with waters to stay hydrated, led to my needing to pee just as we were lining up. On mile two, after turning the corner past the rock hall and seeing the first of many live bands set up to cheer us on, I saw a set of port-a-potty’s and headed over to stand in line. I have to say, it’s kind of demoralizing watching droves of people sail past you while you stand there waiting. But I headed back in the fray feeling much better.
I started off strong, and then my pace quickly dropped after the first four miles. Likely due to not training much at those volumes, this will definitely have to be a focus of mine in the next few months.
After the race, we took an hour to get ourselves cleaned up before having brunch with some friends at one of our favorite spots, Paladar. Despite the fun food and the bloody marys and mimosas, the two of us were quickly hit by post-race weariness. There were a lot of zombie-like stares at the brunch table that morning, but the exhaustion of the weekend was totally worth it!
-K & R