For every good race, there's going to be one that doesn't go as well. I've had a really lucky (okay, maybe not lucky... I've worked hard!) string of solid races and big PRs since I've started running half marathons just 2 years ago. I've already dropped about 20 minutes in my time!
I honestly think it's important to have runs or races that don't go well. How will you appreciate the ones that feel "effortless" or like everything just flows if you don't have ones that you struggle through. Plus, there's always a lesson to be learned.
We hit up the expo and there was a wall asking why you run, and a giant pile of sticky notes and sharpies. I love when races do this! Any chance I have to educate one more person about Rett Syndrome during a race it's a win, so of course I had to share a little bit about my girls.
We didn't stay too long at the expo as we wanted to go to the aquarium just across the river from downtown Cincinnati. We opted to walk there and back, which in hindsight may not have been the smartest idea.
We also had a decent walk race morning to the start line, so we were up a little earlier than normal to get started. The morning was dark, but warm and humid already. I didn't even need any extra gear on our walk to the start.
Our race started right at sunrise, which gave us some amazing views as we climbed the first of many hills of the day to cross the river into Pennsylvania for about a mile. I could tell right away that today wasn't going to be about a PR. It was going to be about survival. We ran for about a mile in Pennsylvania before having to climb another bridge to cross back into Ohio. This one was even steeper than the first! Little did I know just how much of a theme this would be for the day.
I didn't get to see Thayne until about mile 4 and he told me after the race that he'd never seen me look so miserable while running.
Right before mile 6, we started climbing a massive hill. I mean it was huge and lasted a solid mile. Luckily this is where a huge gathering of spectators were, including a man with a mega phone holding giant pink wooden "F"s yelling "Get the F up the hill!" He would hand them out and the goal was to take it to the top. I definitely needed the extra boost so I grabbed one and took it to the top!
We still had more climbing after a few downhills but I knew I just needed to get to about mile 10 and the rest of the race was pretty much downhill.
What I didn't know is that once I started those big down hills my stomach would also act up. Now, ask any runner and I'm sure they will tell you of a time or two during a training run when they had to stop mid run to take care of business. I've had my fair share as well, but never in a race. Until today.
Luckily there were some port-o-potties midway through mile 10 that I could hop into. I don't think I would have made it to the finish line without stopping. After my short pit stop I felt so much better! My last few miles were definitely the fastest of the day.
Even though this race wasn't one that felt great and had the extra pit stop, I still ran a decent time of 1:41:43 (7:47 pace). I took 20th in my age group and was the 96th woman overall. I learned that if I want to run well, I shouldn't be walking all over the city the day before the race and to not eat chicken wings the night before a race. All in all, Ohio is another state checked off the list!
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