Happy Tuesday and thanks for joining me back here today! In addition to the usual marathon training shenanigans, over the weekend I ran a half marathon — the Northern Ohio Half Marathon. In 2015 I ran this same half as my ‘A’ race and I PRed that sucker. This year I ran it as a training run and had a great day.
Northern Ohio Half Marathon Review
First, the race review. I’m basing my review on a few factors: parking, swag, crowd support, course, and post-race party.
Parking is always a cinch at the Northern Ohio Half Marathon. It’s a pretty small race and the parking lot is fairly large. Plus it’s at a park so it’s not like you have to navigate city streets to find a suitable spot.
The Northern Ohio half marathon has some of the best swag. And by swag I mean awesome race shirt and fantastic medal. The lighthouse on the medal lights up!
If you’re looking for a race with a ton of crowd support, this isn’t the race for you. Since it’s a small field, the supporters just aren’t there in droves. But if you like the small races where you can zone out and relax, this one might be up your alley. I totally dig it and I have a lot of fun doing races like this one.
The course is pretty great. It meanders through residential roads and quaint lakefront neighborhoods, along wooded paths in parks, and next to the shore of Lake Erie. It’s scenic and has something for everyone.
The post-race scene is top notch at the Northern Ohio half marathon (and all the Greater Cleveland XC events). After you run through the finish, you’re presented with your medal and a bottle of water. As you make your way through, you come to a row of tables and tents full of granola bars, pizza, Rice Krispie treats, Gatorade, coffee, hot chocolate, and multiple massage tables. Coupled with the music and the race photographers and it’s like a red carpet event — except it’s for sweaty, stinky runners and not swanky, stilleto’ed stars.
If you’re in the greater Cleveland area in October, the Northern Ohio half marathon (did I mention there’s a full marathon and marathon relay event as well?) is well worth your time. It’s a really great race and I highly recommend it.
Now, onto my race recap!
Northern Ohio Half Marathon Race Recap
As I waited in the starting area with my friend (no corrals since this is a small race), we discussed our race strategy. Our ‘A’ race this year is MCM. We were using Northern Ohio as a training run only. I’m her coach and she likes to run fast so I had to really drill that in while we were waiting around. Do not start too fast. Do not continue faster. Do not race! Luckily for me, I already had this pep talk with myself over the few days leading up to the race. Sometimes my adrenaline gets the better of me and I go balls to the wall when I shouldn’t. Not this time!
We were off. Within the first quarter of a mile I was already running too fast. I said goodbye to her and we parted ways. I needed to slow way down and I did.
Unfortunately I was plagued with back pain for the first four miles. I wasn’t planning on taking any ibuprofen unless it was an extreme emergency. I grappled with the decision to take said medication for at least the first four miles. At mile 5 I decided that I would take some at the next aid station. I was in pain and I couldn’t shake it. Ordinarily when this pain comes on, I can drop down to child’s pose or roll it out. Obviously both options were unavailable to me. #desperatetimes
I was running side by side with a gentleman for many miles. I started behind him in the first mile and I was going to use him as my pacer. It worked. We stuck together for most of the race. I was secretly thankful I had a “buddy” on the course in case I keeled over from rhabdo.
At the same aid station I grabbed a pouch of Honey Stinger gel. It was pretty good. I think I would have been better to stick with my chews but it looked tasty and I figured why not.
Miles 6-8 were fairly uneventful. I stopped for a photo opp, though, which was something I missed out on doing when I raced this course in 2015. I also lost the guy I was running with which was kind of a bummer.
The last five miles of the race were fairly easy. I stopped for the photo I had been waiting a year to take. It was totally worth it.
I also caught up with this woman that beats me at every single race. Literally every single one. She does intervals and I had to know her secret so I hit her up. Turns out she’s a race-walker. When she would drop to her walk I would try to mirror her. No dice! I couldn’t keep up! She had won a silver medal in some race walking championship last year. Go figure. And, as luck would have it, she’s running MCM in October, too! I’m so glad I stopped her. She’s a really awesome lady. Her name is Cindy. (Hi Cindy!)
I turned up the heat for the last couple miles. I was feeling really, really good. No leg pain to speak of and somehow my back had stopped bothering me, though it came back something fierce when I was in the car on the way home. I felt really great crossing the finish line.
Overall I had a really great race. I love the course, I felt strong, and the community of runners that show up for Northern Ohio are incredible and amazing people. I saw Cindy at the finish line and the guy I had been running with as well. He came over to say ‘good race’ and I told him thanks for pacing me. Turns out he just kinda fell apart around mile 8. I’m sure his next run will be better.
I know it was “only” a half marathon and come the end of the month I’ll have an entire other 13.1 miles left to go, but I’m hopeful this is a sign of positive change in my training. Fingers crossed.
This week is week 15 of marathon training. My peak week, people. After this week I’m into taper mode. I can’t believe how fast this training has gone. It’s always baffling how many months worth of work we put into training for races and how quickly the time seems to fly.
Official finish time: 2:11:45
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What’s your favorite race?
Have you revisited a PR course even though you weren’t going for a PR?
Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run, and HoHo Runs and MissSippi Piddlin’ for the Weekly Wrap. Also linking up with Nicole, Annmarie, Jen, and Michelle for Wild Workout Wednesday, and myself, Susie, Debbie, and Lora Marie for the Running Coaches’ Corner linkup.