|Twenty minutes to go-time!|
Packet pick-up was at Orange Theory in Dublin and I got my race packet the day before the race. On race afternoon, I drove up to Muirfield a little early because I didn't want any issues with parking or rush hour traffic. Parking was free and plentiful, but we had to walk across a wet, soggy field of grass to get from the grass & gravel lot to the club. I tread carefully in order to keep my shoes as dry as possible. I reached the pavilion where bag check and the post-race party were located, and then it started pouring outside. The good news was that the weather radar showed the rain ending before the start of the race; and, it did.
|Runners getting ready|
My last 4 miler was in March at the St. Patrick's Day 4 Miler at Kinsale. I did better than expected there and knew that I was very close to earning a PR at this distance. Because I've been doing speed work and running my training runs faster than in the recent past, I felt great going into this race and planned to bust that PR.
A couple friends from Columbus Westside Running Club were at this race, but I didn't see them before the start, or after my finish. It looked like there were going to be a lot of walkers at this race, so I seeded myself up closer to the starting line than I would normally do. I was learning my lesson from other local races where I had to bob and weave around throngs of walkers at the start. This time I think I make the right choice. I started out at a good pace and was feeling great in spite of the humidity. There was a nice downhill early in the race, and I got a high-five from Tracy, who was volunteering on the course.
I raced this race, as opposed to going at an easy pace, walking a lot, and taking photos. I really wanted to earn my new PR. I walked only on my designated walk breaks, and in fact I cut some of those short. I did not allow uphill sections to slow me down too much. I kept this focus as we ran out of the golf club and through suburban neighborhoods. The rain held off, but there were puddles on the course and few spectators. I clocked each mile as faster than goal pace. I was really zooming along...for me, that is. In that second half of the course there was more uphill, but I managed it, in spite of some abdominal side stitch cramps. Late in the race I saw another on-course volunteer I knew: Tara, who has been running with me at the Columbus Running Company speed workouts on Wednesday nights. It was great to see another friendly face and be cheered on by name as I finished up my last half mile.
|Coming into the finish strong, my otherwise great pic - BLOCKED by this woman's arm|
And then, there was the finish. I finished strong, and got that PR! It was hard. I hadn't run for time in so long. I hadn't pushed myself this much in quite a while. I had to stop and catch my breath before taking my medal and post-race food. This race offered water, bananas and protein bars in the finish chute. We were routed to the post-race party via a walkway along the 18th hole of the golf course, so I stopped there for a photo.
|Finished, with medal and a new PR|
Back in the pavilion I redeemed my drink ticket for a beer. There were a couple other drink choices, but I wanted the beer. And then I hung out for a while with other runners while the cover band Swagg entertained us. These guys were great! They were very upbeat, the lead singer did a great job of getting the audience dancing, and they played decent versions of pop hits. I never saw Sally or Karen from CWRC; I think they went home after their finishes.
|I'm in this pic to the right of the red-panted guitarist, so gracefully chugging my beer|
|Swagg was such a fun band|
It rained while I was at the party and I felt bad for the walkers who weren't able to dodge the rain like I was. I hope they had fun anyway. After my beer it was time to head home. Walking back across the wet field, this time I didn't care how soaked my shoes got. But I had a great time at this race, and felt a sense of accomplishment for setting a goal to PR, and then by achieving it.
As far as race perks, we got a great medal with the logo for the Memorial Tournament. And in our race packets we each received a free pass to attend a practice round at the tournament. I have to say that the t-shirt was nothing special. They could have done a great design playing off the golf course theme, but they didn't. Still, it's a fun race. I recommend doing it with friends. Even if you don't run at the same pace, you'll have a great time together at the party.