I’m a sucker for cheesy hashtags so #medalmonday seemed an appropriate time to recap this! The OhioHealth Emerald City Half Marathon was half number 17 for me and another fun event executed by M3S Sports so a quick recap seems worth it!
I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of this race. I had been putting in the training and mileage over the summer, but with school starting I had really cut back on runs for the two weeks prior and probably not getting as much sleep as my body would like. Our running group has been training for the Scioto River Run half on September 23, so Emerald City was supposed to be an easy training run. My mom & I got a free entry through Fleet Feet with a summer buy-a-pair-of-shoes-get-a-free-entry special (woo hoo!) and I was supposed to run 11 miles for my training plan anyhow, so a complimentary half seemed like a no brainer.
The best thing about treating this as a training run (vs an actual “race”) was I had no anxiety the days leading up to the event. When I’m training to race or attempting to PR, I tend to get inside my head and stress for a few days prior. This “training run” mentality allowed me to relax and I even got decent sleep the two nights prior! The night before the race I had a great salad & pasta meal from Piada, laid out my gear and headed to bed.
Although most would call this perfect running weather, it was a chilly 52 degrees at the start, requiring a light zip up for me. I almost always wear crops (a post for another day), but I decided to start with the hoodie and would just tie it around my waist as I warmed up. This bothers some, but has never bothered me!
I really planned to just run & enjoy it, perhaps beating my 2:05 finish at our last half in Kentucky. I felt like I was in better shape after all those summer miles, and this course was MUCH flatter and easier than the Bluegrass. Although the website had stated there was a 2:05 pace group, the 2:00 and 2:10 pacers assured me there was no such thing. So after some debating, I decided to hang in between those two pace groups and create my own 2:05. I found a few fellow runners who had the same strategy and off we went.
The sunrise race was beautiful. The weather was perfect. I was feeling good by the middle of mile two so I decided to try and catch the two hour pace group. It took me four miles, but about 36ish minutes in, I got ’em! I hung with the pacers and runners for the next several miles, sometimes chatting with those around me, sometimes just taking it all in. By mile 10 I still felt great. I thanked the pacers and the girls I’d been gabbing with, put in my headphones, turned on my power playlist and went for it.
I felt great even as I crossed the finish line (thanks for the photo mom!) and was very happy to see a sub-two on my watch. This used to be common for me, but add in babies, life, too much work, too little sleep…. and its been a while since I’ve seen it! 🙂
We celebrated at the end, hugged some sweaty familiar faces & of course, grabbed our snacks and hydration. Congrats to all the finishers, including our girl Mary who took over 10 minutes off her PR! She attributes hard work and sessions at OTF Perimeter!
A few days later, with the help of some running friends, I finally figured out how to look at my mile splits on my new iWatch! I was very happy to see negative splits the last few miles, a goal I always strive for. #NegativeSplitsPositiveVibes they say!
Thanks for sticking around this long! Moral of the story… sometimes NOT preparing to race turns out to be the best strategy!
What is your race day strategy? We’d love to know!