|Quarter Marathon success!|
The race expo was held at a much smaller venue than last year. It was in the Brewery District, where parking was a challenge. I went to the expo on Thursday evening because part of the Short North Running Club's route was just a couple blocks away. I would adjust the route in order to run to the expo and then back to the club's start/finish location Pin Mechanical. It was a good run through downtown Columbus. I arrived at the expo out of breath and sweaty and quickly grabbed my bib and shirt, only to find out that I couldn't get the drawstring backpack that I was expecting. They didn't run out of bags, but the stock of them was misplaced, or locked up and the person with the key wasn't around. I begged the Fleet Feet booth for a plastic bag just to have something to carry my race kit while I ran the two miles back to my car near Pin Mechanical. This was a minor inconvenience (I was able to get my bag on race morning). I can't say I liked the smaller, harder to get to expo, and other friends said that it was very crowded at peak times. The shirt was a cotton blend shirt which I didn't like as well as last year's nice tech tee.
Race morning came early on Saturday. My primary running club (Columbus Westside Running Club (CWRC)) had a tent at the festival area at Columbus Commons, so we got our own private gear check and a place to gather before and after the race. We met up early and got some pre-race pics. We had club members registered for all three distances.
|The stage in Columbus Commons before the race; note the weather radar on the right screen|
|Columbus Westside Running Club tent|
|Columbus Westside Running Club runners and walkers pre-race|
|I thought these pace signs should have had the advertisement a little smaller and the pace time a lot larger!|
This race hosted the USATF half marathon championships, so we had to wait for the elite runners to set off before the regular corrals were released one by one. I was in corral E, in the middle of the pack. We headed north on Front Street, half and quarter marathoners together (the 5K started later).
I did a great job pacing myself and felt good. My effort was not easy, but it was doable. I maintained consistency with my walk breaks, never walking more except at aid stations. I even skipped or shortened some of the walk breaks on downhill segments. I didn't stop and take any pictures, so I'm sure that also helped with my pacing. The quarter marathon course split from the half marathon in Victorian Village and then met up with the half marathoners again in the Short North. The route was a nice tour of the central and downtown areas. We quarter marathoners missed out on Ohio State campus and German Village, but that was OK since I'd run that route last year.
Late in my race it started raining lightly, but not enough to cause any issues. I felt good the entire way and was excited to be running the home stretch up High Street. Looking at my watch, I knew I would beat my time goal. In fact, I beat it by more than two minutes!
I got my medal, which was smaller than last year's medal (and classier, I think). I grabbed some post-race food and a photo and then made my way back to the festival area. This race gives each runner a ticket for a Coors Light, a Patrón Margarita, and a sparkling wine. That's a lot of drinks for one runner after running just 6.55 miles. I was driving home, so I would only have one drink. I chose the margarita and then headed back to the CWRC tent. It was now raining a little more steadily, so we huddled under the tent and shared stories of finishing our races. The 5K runners were all in, the quarter marathoners were trickling in, and the very fastest of our half marathoners came in.
|With my Patrón margarita, a much better option than the Coors Light|
While hanging out in the tent, race officials announced that severe weather was imminent and they were shutting down the party, as well as rerouting the half marathoners to the quarter marathon course. It was raining steady, but we hadn't seen thunder and lightning yet, so some of us wondered if this was overreacting. Club members who were shortened on the half marathon course started showing up and we stood around discussing the decision and the weather. Runners who had a time goal in the half marathon weren't able to meet their goal because of the reroute. This included most of the half marathon runners, even the fairly fast ones. I felt bad for them.
|CWRC members after the race; I've earned my club shirt but have not yet taken delivery; hope to wear it at a local race soon!|
After finishing my margarita I needed to leave because I had to travel for another race the following day. As I pulled out of the parking garage, the real storm began, complete with heavier rain, thunder and lightning. I was on the interstate with very little visibility, and there was flash flooding. I chose to take an early exit and drive on side streets where traffic would be lighter, or at least I could pull over if I needed to. Sullivant Avenue was flooded along the curb, so I drove in the middle. And then the road was so heavily flooded; it looked like 10 inches of water blocking the road. I saw some drivers continue, but there was no way I was driving through that. I chose a less-flooded parallel road and took that for a few miles. When I finally got home, my street was flooded too. The sidewalk was completely under water.
What a crazy morning! I can't believe how well I did in beating my goal time. This bodes well for my upcoming training and PR attempts. I believe the race officials made the right decision in calling the race, but I still feel bad for all those runners who didn't get to finish. I would still recommend this race. It's well-organized and a great tour of Columbus, no matter which distance you run.