Monday, October 18, 2010

Columbus Marathon (Half) Recap

Me and Deb after the race. Thanks for taking it Laura!
Today's Columbus Marathon started at 7:30 with temps in the high 40s. Several of the Buckeye Striders were entered, and I started the race with Deb, Pat, Nancy and Jack.

This year's race introduced corrals for the first time. We were in the last corral -- number 4. Not only were there tons of walkers in this corral it included anyone who planned to finish slower than 2:45 for the half or 5:30 for the full. Because proof of a faster finish in a previous event was required to move out of corral 4, this ended up being a catchall. There were tons of faster runners in this corral. Though we tried to get to the back, and though we were near the pacer for a 3:45 half, we were way too close to the front of the corral and were in the way of many runners. Sorry about that.

Because we were pretty far from the starting line, we could not hear any announcements or the national anthem.

Fireworks were set off at the start, which was very cool! As we walked toward the starting line, we passed some speakers and we could finally hear a band playing way up at the front. Again, very cool for those who were up close enough to hear the band! There was also a big screen TV so we could see ourselves crossing the starting line.

The race course has not changed, but the amount of entertainment on the course has definitely increased! It was fun seeing such a wide variety of music -- rock bands, folk singers, drum groups, OSU alumni band and more. Though it was really good, the marathon staff said there were 80 groups on the course and I don't think there were 40 bands in the first half.
We tried the same plan we used at Air Force, using my HR monitor to set our pace. After a couple of miles my monitor lost contact and it didn't work again the entire event. We ended up basing our pace on how we felt and trying to maintain a 14-min mile or less. We actually did pretty well!

The course is nice, going through Bexley, German Village and around Franklin Park. We even saw the governor outside his mansion!

It's a pretty flat course with just a few inclines (no real hills), including a long one heading north on High Street the last 2 miles. The closer we got to the finish line, the more exciting it was! With less than a mile to go, I was able to pick up my pace and went ahead of Deb. The crowds got bigger and louder, and I could feel the excitement. When I turned the corner to the finish line, the crowds were crazy! Of course, part of the reason the crowd was so loud is the runners finishing the full marathon in 3 hrs were coming down the stretch beside me.

I crossed the line in 3:04:55 according to my watch. Though I'm happy with my finish, I thought I was faster than that. After getting a silver blanket I didn't need and picking up my medal, I waited about a min for Deb.

We were handed bottles of water and immediately went to the food section, which was a little bit different from anything I've seen before. First there were freshly made hot pretzel bites, then warm chicken broth. (It tasted surprisingly good!) We then walked by tables with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, chocolate milk, bananas, a selection of generic chips and finally bagels. Unfortunately I ate one of the delicious doughnuts and then felt guilty. The bagels and chips were not that exciting, but there was a lot of food except doughnuts. Shortly after we went through, the doughnuts were gone. It might have been because of people like the guy behind me who took 6! (I actually confronted him and suggested there might be people still on the course who would like to have a doughnut.)

We met back up with Pat and Nancy in the food section and Steve and Sharon outside the food area. We also met up with two other Striders who didn't enter the race (Elaine and Laura) but were there for support. It was great having friends cheering us on near the end!

Overall, it was a good race and I think the new race director is on the right track!

  • The pre-race e-mails were great! Made me even more excited to do the race. Nice Job!
  • The women's shirts are a bright pink and fit perfectly!
  • The corrals didn't seem to work as designed. Too many fast people in the last corral. Reports from others closer to the start say there were people from corrals 3 and 4 in corral 2. So, what was the purpose?
  • Though there were speakers set up halfway to the back, we still could not hear a thing except the fireworks at the start. I know you were trying, but loud speakers are needed farther back.
  • The aisles at the expo are too wide. It is really easy to walk down the middle and totally skip every booth. That is great for the people who don't want to stop at any booths, but I can't imagine it is good for exhibitors.
  • The medal was nice and large and the ribbon was cool.
  • There were lots of photographers at the start of the race taking photos. Nice touch!
  • The finish results web page is very cool! It looks nice, it's easy to read and it has lots of stats. Nicer than a simple listing in Courier.
  • There were a lot more bands. Though I don't think we saw 40, there were still a lot more than in previous years. Nice!
  • I received a congratulatory e-mail from the race director the day of the race. And the e-mail included a note from the marathon doctor explaining what to do after the race to aid recovery.
  • The weather was perfect! And I still over-dressed. Thank goodness Deb talked me into wearing shorts. Still, I could not ditch my jacket before the start.

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