This race recap is a little late, but I still wanted to share it with you. This was my third half marathon I ran in one month’s time. It was originally supposed to be on October 13, but due to our Government Shutdown, it got rescheduled to November 3. This portion of the Towpath Trilogy took place in Cuyahoga National Park. Although I have run other portions of the Towpath, I had never ran this stretch. The start area for the Half Marathon and the 10k was at Brandywine Ski Resort while the Marathon started at Boston Mills Ski Resort, about 5 minutes away. The weather was a little chilly that morning- in the mid 30’s when I first got up around 5am and then closer to 40 degrees by start time at 8am. Being the “bad” runner, I did not run at all between this race and my previous half marathon on Oct. 13. I know, stupid. Really stupid. But between dancing and teaching due to my teacher’s injury, I was really busy. I know it’s not an excuse, but since I had so much pain in my foot at the last race, I figured a few weeks off wouldn’t hurt.
The start area was definitely low-key compared to my other races. There were plenty of bathrooms available, about 20, but there were still really long lines. Luckily, we got in line when it wasn’t too bad and only waited about 10-15 minutes. This was a much smaller race- I could tell by the crowd around the start area. It most likely had something to do with the race being rescheduled. My female age group only had 38 runners. Very small!
Before I knew it, the bell rang and it was time to take off. I placed myself in the middle-middle back and immediately fell right into my target pace. I held it for the first 3 miles, which is when we actually went from running on the road to turning on to the actual Towpath. This race was my first “out-and-back” half marathon. And I can now tell you that I do not like courses like this. Sure, the first 7-8 miles were ok. But then you had to go back where you had just spent the previous hour running. This is a huge mental block for me. I do better mentally when I just keep running, not really sure of what is next. I also started to have horrible left foot pain by mile 5. Unlike the last race, instead of the bottom of my foot, it was the top of my foot. The pain was so bad I almost started crying. I ended up having to stop and walk more than a few times because of it. I honestly did not know how I was going to make it to the finish line. When the pain was at its worst, around mile 9-10, I had just stopped at a water station when I started to run again. I looked up and saw my mom and my husband screaming and cheering for me! They had totally surprised me! Seeing them made me smile and my eyes tear up and I realized I had to do this. They were counting on me. So, I sucked it up and kept running. I stopped a few times to walk, but tried to keep it minimal. I had no intention of beating my previous time when I realized the pain was so bad. When I got to the last straight away before we turned down the little grass hill to the finish line, I took off sprinting as fast as I could. Even though I was in pain, my adrenaline took over and pushed through. Hearing the crowd cheering for you when they see you finishing strong is always so amazing. That’s something my friend Legal Ballerina had taught me- always finish strong. You got this far, now power through. And when I rounded that corner and saw the finish line- and the clock- I realized I had set yet another PR. I ended up taking about 1 minute off my previous time! All I could think of when I crossed that finish line was: Give me my medal- Ouch my foot really hurts- Holy crap I beat my time- I need a banana STAT- and where is my family?! Whew! I was so happy to be done. That was definitely my least favorite half marathon to date.
Oh- you’re probably wondering what happened to my foot. Ya. This is what happened- I freakin tied my shoe too tight. Yes, that’s right. I tied my stupid shoe too tight. I wasn’t used to running in the cold weather, so when I re-tied my shoes at the start line and double knotted them- I tied them way too tight. It ended up causing what is called “extensor tendinitis” which basically means my tendons on top of my foot were getting squished when my foot was trying to expand when my body started to warm up. *FACE PALM* Like, seriously- who the heck does this? Apparently a lot of people, because when I googled my symptoms a lot of other runners have had this problem. It took about a week for it to feel better. I’m still feeling a little discomfort when I try to dance, but nothing like what I felt in that race. I learned my lesson there!
Overall- the race went ok. The Towpath Half Marathon was itself a very well put together race. The course was flat- but slightly inclined the whole way back. The course aid stations were well staffed and the volunteers were very encouraging! They had some hilarious signs.
Overall Pros & Cons:
- Plenty of bathrooms at the start area
- Water at the start area
- Great volunteers
- Plenty of Aid Stations
- Nice, mostly flat course
- Fun Finish Line area with activities for kids
- Slightly confusing map for specators
- Out and back course (not my cup of tea)
- Not too many places for spectators along course (due to where course is)
Enjoy some pictures!