Wowza. Like for real guys. The Cleveland Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon has officially come and gone. And you know what? I totally rocked it!! Whew! I still can’t believe it is over. My first half marathon. Now, keep in mind…. My definition of rocking it does not mean I was breaking any records here. I not only finished the race, I finished under my goal time! Not knowing what to expect, I aimed for trying to complete it in under 2:45. Now for anyone that knows anything about half marathons, that is no where near considered a fast time. The woman that came in overall first had a time of 1:23. Crazy! I ended up coming in at 2:37. Not bad people!!! I was incredibly proud of myself. I actually felt pretty strong until around mile 9-10. This course had a lot of hills. I was not expecting this. Anyways here is my overall race recap!
The Race Expo:
It was nice! Compared to the Cleveland Marathon Expo, this one was fairly small. It was held downtown at our new Medical Convention Center place. There were various booths set up offering clothing, GU gels, sunglasses, Therabands, etc. Brooks was one of the main sponsors, so they had a large assortment of running gear on display for purchase. I decided to pass, seeing as their clothing was pretty expensive. I did however, come across a booth from one of our local running stores, and the had a pair of Brooks running shorts that I ended up buying. They were the exact color I needed for my race outfit, and they were 50% off! Can’t beat that. I also picked up my 13.1 magnet for my car. I really liked the Expo. I went around the last hour of it being open, and still found a wide selection of products available. Packet pickup was a breeze. Everything was very organized and well spaced out. I picked up my packet right away, and then changed my corral. This was also very simple to do. I then headed over and picked up my race shirt and swag bag. The shirt is awesome. It was made my Brooks and the design on it is cool! We even got a little backpack as our swag bag. Pretty neat! Overall a nice Expo! The only downside was that you had to pay for parking. It was only $5, but I would have preferred to not have had to pay.
The weather forecast leading up to race morning was less than ideal. They were calling for isolated thunderstorms and rain. No bueno. I got up around 4:45am to find it unusually warm. It was still a little chilly, but not chilly enough for race day. Runners, you get this. My one friend was driving down with us and met us at my house. We left around 6:10am and got downtown around 6:30. We found quick parking, and cheap too, only $5. We drove through some light rain, but it wasn’t raining when we got there. We hung out in the car for a bit, gathered our things and headed up to the start area. Holy cannoli was I nervous. The start area was already bustling and full of runners and spectators getting ready for the race. We had some time to relax, use the bathrooms, and stretch before getting into our corral. We met up with my other friend, Legal Ballerina, right before we got into the corral. There were so many runners! This was by far the largest race I have participated in. I even made my own shirt for the race letting other runners know this was my first half marathon.
You wouldn’t believe how many runners cheered me on during the race! Hearing people yell out your name and cheer you on is the best feeling. The running community really is amazing. Everyone is so supportive. I even got to chat with some other runners. Such a great experience! LB started the race off with me and stuck with my slow butt until around mile 4. Then she took off like the experienced runner she is! I’m glad she got to run with me for a little bit! I then ran into my other friend (no pun intended there lol) and ran with her for a few minutes. The weather was crazy. It was so muggy and hot. It was easily 70 degrees when we started and it was almost 80 when I finished. Yikes. Lots of sweat! I surprisingly did very well. I kept a pretty steady 10-11 minute pace through the first 8-9 miles. The last few miles kicked my butt. It was hot, muggy, and my left IT band was pretty sore. I kept chugging along though and walked for a few seconds when I needed to.
I couldn’t be happier with my results. I wasn’t fast, but I finished, and that’s the important part. I finished quicker than I thought I would, which was an added bonus! It was a tough course due to the hills and heat. The communities we ran through though were very supportive and cheered us on! This race series provided live bands at almost every mile marker on the course. Pretty cool! They also had local cheerleading squads on the course cheering us all on. Also very cool! All in all, I really enjoyed this race. I think the Rock n’ Roll company put on a great inaugural race!
Overall Pros and Cons:
~ Easy race day parking
~ Plenty of bathrooms
~ Nice corral starts
~ Plenty of water/Gatorade stations
~ Great volunteers
~ Challenging course
~ Awesome Finisher’s Medal and tshirt
~ Nice assortment of post race snacks (water, chocolate milk, fuel bar, banana, ice cold towels)
~ Challenging course
~ Expensive Race Entry Fees
I picked up this Finisher tech shirt after the race. My mom also bought me the glass pint and shot glass. Since we bought $50 worth of merchandise, I got a free Brooks tshirt! It was a nice shirt too! It’s the dark blue one on the left.
I really had a great time at this race. I’m proud of my accomplishment and I look forward to planning my next half marathon! Here are the pictures of my race shirt, swag bag, finishers medal, and magnet:
They had a post race concert for runners and their spectators. Gavin Degraw was the headliner. We didn’t stay, but we heard him playing as we were leaving, and it sounded good! They also had a few bands playing while all the runners were racing. My husband said they were pretty good! It was very easy to find your family and friends post race. They had large letters on the poles, so you could plan to meet up with your loved ones after the race. I’m so glad my husband and mom were there to support me!! They got to see me around mile 2 and they saw me run in across the finish line. My husband even got a bunch of pictures of me crossing the finish line! So awesome!! I’m so glad my first half marathon was such a positive, good, experience.
And here are my before and after pictures! Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos with Legal Ballerina 😟