Capital City Half Marathon Race Report

A week ago I ran the Capital City Half Marathon in Columbus OH for the first time. I've run several other races in and around Columbus, but this one was new to me. I picked a good year to run it, as this edition was also the host to the USA Track & Field (USATF) Half Marathon Championships, and several elite runners took part. Desi Linden took 2nd place for the women; she'll also be on the team representing the US in the Olympic Marathon in Rio this year. It was pretty cool to say I shared the same course with the elites, even if they finished way ahead of me.

My weekend started Thursday night when I few into Columbus late and stayed with my mom. On Friday she went with me to the race expo. There were a number of vendors, but nothing that either of us wanted or needed to buy. We didn't get to see any of the elite athletes while we were there. Later, I had a quiet happy hour with my stepmom Kim and then dinner with friends Shelly and Nikki at my favorite Mexican restaurant El Vaquero. It was a little disappointing that they had changed the menu, removing menu items that had been offered for 20 years or so. But I was still able to get what I wanted by creating my own combo (for a higher price, of course).

Entering the expo
Saturday was race day. Mom went with me to the start. We had some time to kill waiting in the warm car inside the parking garage. Eventually, we went out into the chilly morning air. I needed to hit the port-o-potty before getting into my corral. The starting corrals were crazy crowded. I didn't feel the need to get into mine right away as I was in Corral H and wouldn't start for about 20 minutes after the gun. Instead, we went to the front of the corrals and watched the elites warming up. The elite corral would start at 7:55 AM and then the regular Corral A would start at 8:00 AM. I saw fellow Marathon Maniac Brian in Corral A. While it was too noisy to call out to him, I zoomed in and snapped a couple pics. Then we saw the elites lining up. The men and women started at the same time, with men on the left side of the street and women on the right side. Desi was in the front row of women. After the gun, the elite runners took off pretty fast and cleared the area for the sub-elites to start. At this point I started walking back to my corral. I had plenty of time.

That's Brian in the center wearing red

The elites are ready to take off; Desi Linden can't be seen as she's in the very front of the women, and she's shorter than most of them
Video of the elites starting 

And here's my pre-race pic, feeling great in my NYC Marathon "in training" shirt (I'm still fundraising for Migraine Research Foundation)
It was exactly 23 minutes after 8:00 that I finally crossed the start line, toward the back of Corral H. My plan was to do 3:30/1:00 run/walk intervals, but I would skip the first one until the crowd thinned out. We headed north on Front Street and eventually cut over to Olentangy River Road, which continued north to Lane Avenue on the Ohio State University campus. Part of this route was opposite what I ran in November at the Hot Chocolate 15K.


Selfie with Ohio Stadium

The Greystone Apartments, where I once lived

The course was mostly scenic and with periodic spectator support. The aid stations were frequent and all had water and Gatorade. I didn't carry my own fluids, so this was good. Around Mile 6 they handed out Carb Boom gels. So far, better supported than my last half in New Jersey.

I mostly kept to my run/walk intervals. I only walked a little extra at aid stations. I did not walk extra on the uphill portions, and in fact, I ran extra on the downhill portions. I felt pretty good the entire way.

Beautiful houses surround Schiller Park in German Village
In the last couple miles we ran north up High Street

With a few miles to go we ran within shouting distance of the finish festival, but had to keep heading south to German Village. This was fine. It's not often that a race runs through German Village. I think I got to do it at the 2006 Columbus Marathon. It was nice to run around Schiller Park and see all the nice houses. Then there was another tease. I knew we had more than a mile to go, but we were running up High Street straight to the finish line and it was really close. Then we had to turn off, make a loop and cross a couple bridges before coming back. At this point I was skipping walk breaks because I wanted to finish quickly. But most of the last mile was uphill, and I did have to add in one walk break so I could run strong for the rest of it. Finally, I rounded the last corner back onto High Street and finished.

After my finish, selfie with the Ohio Theatre

Finish selfie with the Ohio Statehouse

I received the absolutely huge and heavy medal, and was routed through the finish chute past the Ohio Theatre and the Ohio Statehouse. All runners got water, a banana, a NutriGrain bar and a Panera bagel (yay, asiago!). Then I was reunited with my mom in Columbus Commons, the park hosting the after party. It started to rain lightly, but I wasn't going to leave without getting my post-race beer, even if it was only a Miller Lite. We also got two slices of Papa John's pizza. Mom and I sat at a table under an umbrella while I ate and drank, listened to the band, and enjoyed the people watching. It was a little cool, but we were dressed for it. I felt a little bad for the runners behind me who would be finishing the race cold and wet.

I've got my huge medal and my cheap beer; bonus: my mom brought my jacket to me

The stage and commons area looked like this as it started to rain

This was a very nice event. I believe this race will also host the USATF Half Marathon Championships again next year. They did it very well. The elite winners each got a Tag Heuer watch and a nice ring from the Diamond Cellar (not to mention the title and the $12,000 cash prize). The rest of us got a great medal and shirt, a well-done event and nice after party. This race has a half marathon, a quarter marathon and a 5K, so there's something for everyone. I highly recommend it of anyone looking for a race to do in Ohio.

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