Well, after a winter of an injury, then injury after trying to come back to soon I finally got a marathon in. Thanks to the generosity of a friend who knew someone looking for FMDSA charity runners, I got an entry for the 2017 Cleveland Marathon, their 40th (I ran Glass City’s 40th last year, and the OBX’s 10th the year prior; mmk).
The plan for the race: just wing it. I had two weeks of 66 miles, including one 20 miler, but that doesn’t bring back all of my endurance I lost. I figured the marathon would at least be an awesome workout.
The cool thing about the race is I knew a number of runners from the 614 (read: Columbus) also making the trip. So, I could spend a couple of days in a city hanging around people I already know.
Because I did miss much of the winter, I had no real goals for the marathon. Except, of course, to not get injured. A few weeks ago I finished the Cap City Half Marathon. And by finish, I mean I got through before the canceled it because of the inclement weather. That kind of kick-started my three-week Saturday-night-mini-skirt-length cycle. In other words, two 60-mile weeks and a taper. And by a taper, I mean four days the same as normal, then a rest day, then a travel day in which I took 20,000 steps and went mini-bar hopping. (Which may or may not have affected the race.)
The weather was PERFECT on Saturday in The Land. 60s, sunny (for a bit, then storm, then niceish), and a little breeze. I decided to take a photo walk en route to the expo for my bib (not baby-related) pickup. The sky was perfect and it felt amazing — 365 weather.
I found my way to a local bar (by local, I mean a 30 minute walk from the 30 minute walk I had taken), which turned out to be the rendezvous point of a local hash harrier club. My group of friends had a group text going, and one girl mentioned meeting at a bar, and I thought why not. It’s not a goal race. Anyhow, ff you don’t know hashers are, they’re basically people drinking, running about a mile, then drinking at a different bar. Yeah… So, there was another stop I went to before walking an hour back to the hotel.
I probably stayed out one bar too far just because it wasn’t until about 630 until I got back. Too late for proper nutrition for a race (I generally want to be done eating for the day by 6 for a race). And I drank water like crazy. I figured the race would be a struggle bus when I couldn’t fall asleep for, several hours.
I think I fell asleep a little after midnight after lying down at 9. Yes, three hours. And I woke up at the “ungodly’ time of 330 (thanks, Andrea). I like to get up early so I can confuse my fruit smoothie, coffee, water, and I needed a banana as well (to try to loosen up my legs after my 20,000 steps from the previous day…).
I found the start of the race, right next to Gund Arena. Eventually, Brian found me, and we wandered about before the start of the race. For some reason, he got an elite bib (my PR is faster).
My rough plan was to go out between 7:30-7:40. That became 7:18 and 7:20s , with I think a 7:06 somewhere in there. When I started to sweat during the first few miles I knew I wasn’t in for a good time. At least it wasn’t raining, yet, as predicted by many forecasts, for many days. And there was a little breeze.
The Land liked putting lots of rolling elevation at the beginning of the race, so if you were rambunctious, you really weren’t going to have a fun time a couple of hours later. By 10K in, I kind of accepted defeat of the Cleveland Marathon and just wanted to have the best race possible.
I think by mile 16 the wheels started to fall off, and before mile 20, I was at a jogging pace. I know I could finish, it’s just be a slow race. By that time, it started to rain. The last few miles were a downpour. My feet hurt from the blisters, and the fact that Lakewood’s budget for asphalt ran low.
So, I learned that you need more than 3 weeks – one being a taper – for a proper cycle, I back from injury, and that I need to pick better-weather races. Oh, and take it easy the day before a race.
Parts I liked about the race:
- The finish line
Parts I didn’t like:
- A billions turns
- The rain
- My lack of physical fitness