2018 Races: #6 - Cleveland Half Marathon!
This was an AWESOME race!
I was not looking forward to this race as much as I have in the past because I haven't trained nearly that well. But I knew the weather was going to be a lot better than in years past so I was trying to stay positive. Well, unfortunately a cloud decided to camp out over the city of Cleveland that morning so there was a constant misty drizzle which was definitely soaking through my clothes. UGH >:-[
My dad and I ran back to our car to get an extra shirt for me--which was a lifesaver--and also some garbage bags to poke holes in and use as makeshift ponchos. BEST IDEA EVER!!! Seriously, I used to laugh at runners who did that but not anymore--it saved me from getting completely soaked for a while!!
We got back to the start line just in time for the gun and waited for a few minutes to cross with our pace. The first few miles were pretty easy, even with the misty rain, and I knew what to expect because we ran the same parts last year. But right before mile 4 the route changed. We ran through some not-so-pretty areas of Cleveland--they weren't bad but they just weren't the most scenic. The roads were also filled with puddles thanks to the rain so I weaved quite a bit to avoid as many puddles as I could, but I wasn't super successful and my feet were wet the whole race.
It stopped raining around mile 6 so I took a longer walk break to peel off my layers and get down to my tank top--I was getting way too warm, which was a good thing!! But my other shirts were soaked and I didn't want to throw them to the side so it took longer to get situated. THANKFULLY, that was also in the area of the 3rd hill from hell that I was NOT expecting....it was short & steep and pretty terrible. So I walked a little more to get up the damn thing.
I don't have many other high/low points about the rest of the race itself, but it was fun to see people still out on the sidewalks cheering us all on. My dad got a bottle of beer handed to him somewhere around mile 7 and he chugged it and kept running, haha!!! He makes me laugh :)
Going into this race, I was just looking to enjoy myself and didn't want to force myself to run faster than I felt like running or feel guilty if I decided to walk longer at some points. I tried to pay attention to my time vs. mileage when I was walking, but somewhere in the middle of the race I just stopped thinking about it and took a break when my body/mind really needed a break. I think this was the BEST decision I made, because I finished the race with a MUCH better time than I thought I would!!! I wanted to run less than 2:44 and even though I was almost a minute more I am still SO HAPPY with that time!!! :)
HOWEVER....I discovered after the race that there was a part of the route that was mismarked by the race group. Many people were complaining that their watches/phones showed that they ran 13.5, 13.6, 13.7, etc. My watch says I ran 13.52 miles in 2:44:56. I've gone over the distance in most other races but not by that much. Well, according to the race directors, we "missed a turn" that made us go further than planned. I disagree and think they put a cone at the turnaround in the wrong spot--plenty of other runners agree. In the end, it really doesn't matter to me since I wasn't trying to win or anything....but my time could have been a few minutes shorter and THAT makes me irritated. But I know I ran an awesome race, and I am counting this as a PR even if it's not technically one :)
I am going to call out the Cleveland Marathon here, though, because they are not taking responsibility for their mistake and are just blaming us runners who DID NOT miss a turn. We followed the course exactly and turned around at the cone as it was marked. If someone accidentally moved the cone they still should have said they were investigating it rather than instantly blaming the runners--the people who PAY THEM.
Along the route, I saw a few of my friends who I knew were running and it gave me a little boost to see them and cheer each other on! When I finished, I got to see my friend Laura again and met her husband as well. I love seeing friends at races!
The BEST part of this whole race, however, was that my boyfriend got to be there to see me finish :) He was texting me positive vibes and encouragement the whole race--he was trying to make it to a point on the route to surprise me but I was too fast (according to him, lol) and ran past it before he could get there! But he was waiting right at the finish line cheering SO loudly for me and gave me the biggest hug :) That truly made me happier than ever--I rarely have people waiting at the finish line for me so this was just very, very special. We walked around a bit and waited for my dad to cross the finish line, then grabbed a beer to celebrate at the Beer Garden before heading to breakfast.
I am so very happy that this race went so much better than I had planned. I love the Cleveland Marathon race series, even if the routes change year after year. Running through my hometown is just something so special and I hope that I can do this as long as possible!!