Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Half Marathon

I ran the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Half Marathon this past weekend.  It was a combination between a race weekend and a reunion with old friends that I had grown up with.  These are people who are my oldest friends and who have known me longer than anyone except for family.  So clearly that makes for an intense weekend!

It started out with flying into Columbus Friday morning.  My parents also live in Columbus so my dad picked me up at the airport and also joined me for the expo.  The expo was at the convention center downtown and really well organized.  Pre-race communication had also been great so I knew exactly where to go and where to park.  There was plenty of parking in the convention center garages for $5.


We were there Friday before 5pm so the crowds were minimal and I didn't have to wait in line at all to pick up my bib.  But they had separate lines for bib pickup for full and half marathoners.  You just had to show your license and that was it.  Once you had your bib, there was a separate section to pick up the shirt and clear plastic bag. There was also a booklet that had race information and a write up about each of the patient champions.  More on that later.

Those lines were in an upstairs balcony section so separated out from the rest of the expo, which I'm sure is handy if you just want to get your stuff and go.  We did wander around the expo a bit since there was some stuff I wanted to look for.  I ended up getting a couple headbands and some body glide.  My dad ended up finding some shoes that he wanted on sale.  It was all very well organized and not too crowded at all.  After we finished up at the expo, we went and checked in to my downtown hotel.  Another great thing about this race is that there are a lot of hotels in the area around the race start within a 2 mile radius.  My hotel was a little more than a mile away.  Apparently hotel rooms were in short supply this year because of other things going on in the city at the same time so the race even added an option for a limited number of racers to be able to do race morning bib pick up.   The rest of Friday was filled with spending some time with friends and finding a restaurant for dinner.

Saturday morning I got up and had a 60 minute easy run on my schedule.  My dad decided to join me for part of it so it ended up being a walk for part of it but it was nice to have the time to catch up with him.

Saturday evening was carb loading with other friends that were running the race.  Most of us were running the half but one friend was doing his first full.

And then back to the hotel for an early night.  The race started at 7:30 and corrals opened at 6.  The race had sent out multiple emails about getting there early if you were driving, and there was an option for pre-paying for your parking spot.  Since I was just planning to go on foot from the hotel, I didn't have to leave so early.  And, my friend doing the full marathon had an apartment right by the start line so we were all gathering at his place.  I left the hotel room around 6:30 and had a nice little warm up to get down to his apartment.

We stayed there until we heard the national anthem and then we all went downstairs to go to our respective corrals.


There were only 4 corrals so each one was pretty big, given that there were around 18,000 people registered between the two races.  It was really convenient to have had our friend's apartment to gather up at because I'm sure it would have been hard to find everyone otherwise.  And it minimized the amount of time we had to wait outside.  I think we were only there for about 5 minutes until our corral started moving up.  One of my friends and I were planning on running together for a bit and a couple other friends were in our corral as well.

It was a weird weather day.  We'd been getting emails from the race for days about the potential for hot and humid weather.  I had chosen to go with capris and a tank top.  According to my Garmin, the race started out 68 degrees and 94 percent humidity but then got super windy with the threat of rain and lightning.


Back to the patient champions I mentioned earlier.  One of the amazing things about this race is that the children's hospital is very involved.  So every mile has a specific patient champion.  And this patient and their family are actually on that mile cheering and giving out high fives.  It was so inspirational.  The mile also has signs with fun facts about that particular patient as well.  So you really get a view into the people you're helping by participating in the race.  And mile 11 is called the Angel Mile because it's dedicated to patients at the children's hospital that are no longer with us.  Their families are at that mile cheering for the runners and encouraging us.  That was amazing, and it really helps to keep the race in perspective.  After all, how can you feel bad about the pain you might be experiencing at mile 11 from something that you chose to do when compared to what these kids and their families are going through?  All I could feel was gratitude that I was able to take part in this race and contribute to such a wonderful institution.

The half course itself was fine.  It had some rolling hills and a small out and back portion but was otherwise a loop.  It started and ended downtown among the sky scrapers but went through a pretty residential area in the middle, as well as by a local college.  We also went right by the children's hospital itself.  It was a nice enough course but the people were what made it special.  There was a good amount of course support, a lot of water stops, and amazing volunteers.  Another great thing about the race is that it's walker friendly.  They even had specific pace groups from a local walking club.  The 1/2 Marathon course was open until Noon, requiring a pace of at least 18:20 per mile. The Marathon course was open until 2 p.m., requiring a pace of at least 13:44 per mile.

As far as my race itself, it went ok.  Like I mentioned, I started out with a friend and we were going at about race pace for about the first 4 or 5 miles.  We separated around then and it was a bit of a battle going forward.  I just kept getting slower.  I think I started at race pace and ended at marathon long run pace!  But I didn't have time goals for this one, it's part of marathon training and I was doing it for fun.  I gave all the high fives, enjoyed all the signs, and thanked as many people as I could.  The conditions kept changing as far as the weather and I alternated between hot and cold depending on the wind.  I think around mile 9 and 10 the wind was really strong and we were fighting it to keep moving forward.  At the water stop around mile 12, I saw that the conditions sign had been changed from yellow to red.  I asked a volunteer about it and she said it's because there was lightning in the area.  Well, how's that for incentive!  My pace picked up for the last mile (mile 13 was more than 2 minutes faster than mile 12) and I was able to finish strong at least.  I did hear that some of the back of the pack marathoners were diverted to the half course because of the threat of lightning.  I felt bad for those individuals after putting in all that training for the full.


I met up with my dad and we walked back to the hotel, so, a bit more than a mile again.  I'm happy to say that I felt good after the race.  Obviously I had some soreness but by the next morning, I felt like I was almost back to normal!

So that's my recap of the Columbus Half Marathon.  It was a great race and I would highly recommend it to anyone.  It was really well organized, well supported, and the involvement of the children's hospital really put it over the top.  And I was able to finish it off with meeting my brother and his new fiance for post-race tacos and mimosas.  The place even had 3 options for vegan taco fillings, yum!

Monday, October 16, 2017

WDW Marathon Training - Week 6

Well, it's been another busy week but I'm pretty happy with how the week of training went.  It involved lots of catching up time with friends and family as well as a fun race.  Here are the details.

Monday - Rest day with recovery yoga from Yoga With Adrienne

Tuesday - 45 minute easy run in the morning before work

Wednesday - Strength training

Thursday - Tempo run after work.  It was supposed to be 10 minutes of warming up in zone 2, 20 minutes in zone 3, and a 10 minute cool down in zone 2.  I was a bit crunched for time and only did 32 minutes instead of the full 40 minutes.  The cool down was just a couple minutes but I did get in the full amount of zone 3 running.

Friday - rest day and walking around the expo for the Nationwide Columbus half marathon.  I skipped my scheduled strength training

Saturday- 60 minutes easy in the morning in my parents neighborhood, part of it was a walk with my dad.

Saturday evening we got together for dinner with a whole bunch of old friends.

Sunday - Columbus half marathon - this was a great race!  There was also a 1 mile walk to the start and after the race back to the hotel so 15 miles total with the walking. Full recap to come.

Here's Coach Laura's plan for this upcoming week.

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - 45 minute easy run
Wednesday - strength training
Thursday - 45 minutes to include 20 minutes speed work
Friday - strength training 
Saturday - 60 minute easy run
Sunday - 14 mile long run

I'm linking up with with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

How is it October already!?!

I cannot believe how fast the year is going by.  I'm already on week 6 of Marathon training.  And I have a bunch of fun plans for the Fall that seemed so distant and now they've crept up on me and I'm feeling unprepared.  In reality, it's all fine and I'm sure things will fall into place but I've just done less research and planning then I'm used to.

First, this weekend is the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Half Marathon.  I'm so excited for this one because I'm running it with a bunch of childhood friends and there will be a bunch of family spectating.  Two of us have run half marathons before and it will be my friend's first full marathon.  It will be a first half marathon for the others.  But I haven't figured out much about transportation, logistics, food, etc.  Thankfully, my parents live in Columbus and will drive me around a bit, and one of my friends lives right near the start/finish and has offered his apartment for the group to use before and after.

Me in the middle with 2 of the friends running their first half this weekend

And then yesterday, Mike reminded me it's a month before we leave for our big Fall vacation!  This has been in the plans for a while as it's my 40th birthday celebration :)  We're going to Disneyland and I'm doing the Infinity Gauntlet challenge. And then after that, we're going to Maui for a week.  I'm really looking forward to the time to relax in Hawaii and I'm sure I'll need it even more after a weekend at Disneyland.  We've booked hotels and stuff and I've done some general research but we haven't made too many specific plans yet.  This may be a vacation where we play things by ear and have less structure than usual. 

From our last trip to Disneyland, back before I had even started running

And of course, then we're into the holidays and we still haven't done anything to prepare for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  I'm sure that will be here before we know it.  And then right after that is the trip to Disney World for the marathon in January. So with all the trips and with marathon training, I'm sure I'll continue to feel behind for the rest of the year.  But at least it's all for good reasons!  And at least training is going pretty well.  I definitely won't feel untrained for the half marathons.  I did 12 miles two weeks ago so should be trained up for this weekend's half.  And I'll have done a 16 mile long run before the Avengers half so I should be ready for that one as well.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

WDW Marathon Training - Week 5

I had a pretty good week and I hope all of you did as well :)  This week felt pretty routine, which I was happy about after all the recent travel.  And on the training front, this was scheduled to be a bit of a cut back week with 2 rest days and no speed work given the army 10 miler.  Which I ended up deciding not to do.  But here are the details. 

Monday - Rest day

Tuesday - Strength training

Wednesday - 30 minute easy run before work.

Thursday - I moved my rest day from Saturday to Thursday since this ended up being a hard day at work and I was exhausted.

Friday - 45 minute easy run before work.

 Saturday - 45 easy run in the morning.

We also went to the expo for the Army 10 miler to pick up bibs and then had a delicious brunch with a friend who had moved out of town earlier this year but was back for a visit.

Sunday - 10 miles on the treadmill. 

I was supposed to do the Army 10 miler but decided not to do it at the last minute.  I had initially signed up because two of my friends were planning on doing it but they both ended up backing out a couple weeks ago for various reasons.  And when I checked the forecast Saturday night, there was a risk of thunderstorms.  As my main goal is training for the marathon, I didn't want to risk the race getting shortened or cancelled and not being able to get in my assigned 10 miles.  It turns out that the thunder storms didn't materialize but it looks like the race did get shortened a mile for the back of the pack (which I would probably have been in) for heat/humidity.

We also spent some time checking out the Halloween store to get some decor for our house.  There were some pretty creepy things available!  We did not go with these but couldn't resist trying on some of the masks.

Here's Coach Laura's plan for this upcoming week.

Monday - rest day
Tuesday - 45 minute easy run
Wednesday - strength training
Thursday - 40 minute moderate run
Friday - strength training + flying to Ohio
Saturday - 60 minute easy run
Sunday - Columbus half marathon + 1 mile warm up for 14 miles total

I'm linking up with Courtney for the Training Recap.  I'm also  linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap.

Monday, October 2, 2017

WDW Marathon Training - Week 4

Last week was a tough week for training, which I knew it would be.  I'm glad I shifted things around a bit and got in my speed work at the beginning of the week.  So I got in speed work, 1 easy run, and a long run.  I did miss 1 easy run and didn't get in any strength training.  But traveling for work always ends up exhausting since it's meetings non-stop from 7am to the evening.  At least we were staying in a different hotel than where the conference was so I got some pretty walks around Chicago in.

Monday- speed work - this one was fun.  It was a 15 minute warm up and then a ladder with 1 minute fast, one minute recover, 2 minutes fast, 2 minutes recovery, 3 minutes fast, 3 minutes recovery, and back down ending with a 15 minute cool down.


Tuesday - Easy 30 minute run


Wednesday - Rest day. I flew to Chicago and got in a 20 walk at the airport as well as a walk in Chicago.


Thursday- Rest day with more pretty walks around Chicago.


Friday - Rest day with just a walk around O'Hare.  I did at least get in 10,000 steps every day I was in Chicago.

Saturday - Rest day.  This was supposed to be a 45 minute easy run but I was just so exhausted.  I actually ended up taking two naps!  I did get some errands done and got in a 30 minute walk in the evening.

Sunday - 12 mile long run with a friend.  It was a cooler morning than my last couple long runs, which was much appreciated.  We also drove over to the C&O Canal tow path, which is an unpaved trail and pretty flat.  It was beautiful and we saw 3 separate groups of deer.



I hope everyone else had a good week!  Since I'm official in training now, I'm linking up with Courtney for the Training Recap.  I'm also  linking up with HoHoRuns and MissSippiPiddlin for the Weekly Wrap.