Monday, October 22, 2012

Columbus Marathon (Half) Review

Buckeye Striders from left to right: Barb, Cindy K, Deb, Nancy, me and Pat.
The temps were in the low 40s as my friends and I headed to the start of the Columbus Marathon at 6:30 Sunday morning. Though chilly, the skies were clear and there was no wind. It looked like it would be a perfect day for a half marathon!

Because we are walkers, we went straight to the last corral -- corral F. This year the last corral was on High Street around the corner from the starting line instead of straight down Broad Street. Unfortunately, the speaker pointed in our direction was shorting out, so we couldn't hear much. We could hear that music was playing, but we couldn't hear anything through that speaker. I hate when we can't hear the National Anthem.

The start was signaled by the shooting of a cannon and fireworks. Though very cool, we couldn't see much of it because we were around the corner. The cannon went off three or four times with fireworks following. I heard that the start would be slightly staggered with fireworks for each start and that seemed to be what was going on.

I tossed my throwaway sweatshirt as we approached the starting line and accidentally tossed my gloves, too. I regretted losing my gloves as my hands were cold for most of the race.

The women's half marathon shirt
with medal and bib.
Because I had a goal in mind, we were looking for the 3:00 pacer and found him pretty easily. (He was with the 6:00 full marathon pacer.) My intention was to walk with the pacers until mile 10, then go as fast as I could for the last 3 miles. My entire group of friends -- Deb, Barb, Pat, Nancy and Cindy -- started together and tried to keep the pacer in sight.

Our first mile was 14:19, which was way too slow for my goal. The pacers picked up the pace and our second mile was in 13:10. Their pace was inconsistent, so I decided to get ahead of them and do the best I could on my own.

Pat, Nancy and I were together for a couple of miles. In Bexley we passed the Governor's mansion and some lovely neighborhoods! Around mile 4 I started to move ahead of them. We also met a nice powerwalker named Jane from Cincinnati. She and I were together for a couple of miles until we looped back onto Broad Street.

The course changed around Franklin Park. We used to go along the back and around the west side of the park. This time we came around the front of the park hitting Broad Street much earlier than in previous years. It was nice to go around the front for a change.

Around mile 6 I made a pit stop and afterward was back with Pat and Nancy for a little bit on Broad Street. (My delay was only about 1 min.) I picked up my pace and I caught up with Jane again right before we hit Olde Town. I love the homes in Olde Town and one of the first houses on the left always has a big marathon party that looks like a lot of fun.

We went through German Village, the Catholic Priest gave me a high five, and then we were back on High Street heading north toward the Arena District for the last 2 miles. I love hitting High Street at this point in the race because I know it is almost finished! I tried to pick up my pace.

The crowds on High Street get bigger and louder the closer you get to the Arena District and the final turn. This is my favorite part of the race -- the half marathoners turn to the finish, the full marathoners keep going straight. As you turn, you can see the finish line and the crowds are great! It is so exciting!

Me celebrating my new PR: 2:53:58!
I pushed  harder and harder and felt great! I finished mile 12 in 12:45 and mile 13 in 12:25! I finished with another PR -- 2:53:58! three minutes faster than last year's PR of 2:57!

After crossing the finish line, I received my medal, a silver blanket and a bottle of water. At this point I had a difficult time breathing for about 5 seconds, and it was over. While waiting for the other Buckeye Striders, my legs ached horribly. I'm not sure why they hurt, but it didn't feel like cramps.

Pat and Nancy were a couple of minutes behind me. I waited with Steve, who was just a couple of minutes ahead of me. We were handed chocolate milk, a bag with some food in it and as we walked through the food area, we were handed bagels, bananas and cookies. It was very well organized. At this point it seemed as if there should have been plenty of food for all of the full marathoners!

Those of us who finished the earliest went to Celebration Village to turn in our Competitive Walker bibs and to wait at our designated meeting spot. The walker booth was much easier to find this year with a prominent sign. It was VERY crowded and pretty uncomfortable waiting in this park. As soon as everyone was together, we left.

A highlight of this year's race is the team up with Nationwide Children's Hospital. As part of this partnership, each mile of the race featured a patient hero treated at Children's. The children were so inspiring and many of them were on the course cheering us on! Some miles had tons of people cheering with the patient hero! Mile 12 was the Angel Mile -- in memory of many children who died. I was impressed with the number of family members at this spot cheering. I'm not sure I could have done it if I had been in their shoes.

I was also impressed with the large number of bands and musical entertainment! From a bagpiper to members of the OSU alumni band, folk singers and rock bands! I always love seeing the Army band near the Statehouse. I missed the steel drum group that we usually see not too far from Franklin Park.

Overall, it was a very successful event! The weather was perfect, the course was nice, there were plenty of bands and the finish line was exciting! The shirt is great, the medal is very nice and there was plenty of food and it looked as if there would be plenty for late finishers!

I won free entry into the race this year, so I can't really comment on the cost. That said, I would have entered regardless. Over the past couple of years this race has improved in quality every single year. I can't wait to see what they do to up the ante next year!


Amber said...

Congrats on a new PR!!

Cindi said...

Thanks, Amber!

Laurie said...

Great job! I wish we had gotten to see each other! I did the full and the food was not ample when I got there after 5:10. But I agree - the walk sign was easier to find this time and they took the bib off! I really love this race though!

CONGRATULATIONS on your shiny new PR!

Meg said...

Congratulations on your PR!

Jane is a friend of mine from a walking group in Cincinnati. My partner and I ran into you guys around mile 5. I have been following your FB page for a couple of weeks, had no idea that was for the race. I am with Laurie. The last couple miles of the marathon I got to see bands packing up. Then when I got to the celebration village the only people celebrating were my family. I didn't even get a bottle of water. They were handing out cups like at the water stops. Kind of sad.

Cindi said...

Thanks, Laurie! I'm sure we will meet at a race sooner or later. I can't believe that as fast as you were there was so little food left! It was so well managed when we were there, it definitely was not the fault of early people hogging the food.

Cindi said...

Hi Meg! I remember meeting you! In fact, around mile 11 or 12, I was right behind the two of you. I read on FB that there was no water for a lot of the full marathoners. I just do not understand how that happens. If you know there are 18,000 people in your race, how do you not prepare for 18,000 finishers?

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindi, thanks to Meg for printing off this article & giving it to me.
I too had a PR at Columbus 2:29 & a lot of that is due to your pacing for those couple of miles that we were together. That was my first time breaking the 3hr mark.
Thanks for the assistance in reaching my goal. I will follow you on Facebook.
Hope to walk with you again

Cindi said...

Hey Anonymous! I am assuming you are Jane.

Congratulations on your PR! As you already know, sometimes having someone who is just a tiny bit faster than you around can make all the difference in a finish time.

It was fun meeting you! I hope we can walk together again, too!

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