Race Review: Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Half Marathon

This past Sunday, I ran my 10th half marathon – and 3rd half marathon while pregnant!

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Flat Caty

To be very honest, I have barely run in the last month.  The pregnancy-related fatigue, the busy-ness of trying to build a support system up here, doctor appointments, and dealing with the demands of two adorable, but very needy boys has left me feeling too drained to pack up everything to go run.  But, that is not to say I have been just lying on the couch all day!  Instead, I’ve been doing 2-3 Barre3 classes every week.  The classes are so physically challenging, but feel so good!  I felt very confident that I would finish the race on Sunday, though I knew I would not come close to a PR.  I just wanted to come in under 2:15.

Sunday morning didn’t exactly dawn when I had to leave the house.  It was still dark at 05:45, and freezing cold!!!  Like, 29 degrees kind of cold!  But, I felt very well prepared.  I ignored the old runner’s rule of “Don’t try anything new on race day!”, and wore a new long sleeve tech shirt I found at Costco the day before, plus my favorite Running for Two, and a throw-away vest and jacket.  Hat, gloves, neck warmer, and my merino wool socks kept my extremities warm!  I also brought hand warmers and a back heat pack I placed on my core as soon as I got out of my car.

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All dressed for the cold!

Breakfast was also something new – my Overnight Oats, with apple and peanut butter.  Since I got up 2 hours before the start, I figured everything would have enough time to digest before running.  I also had my usual morning cup of black espresso.

I bought a parking pass for a garage a few days before the race, which meant 1) I automatically had a parking spot, and 2) I didn’t have to stress about figuring out where to park on race morning in a new city!  Such a good idea!  I found a garage close to the start/finish, and parked around 06:15!  I finished my breakfast, drank my coffee, and read my Kindle in the warm car for 30 minutes before heading out into the dark, freezing cold morning.

Everything was very well laid out at the start.  However, the line for the bathrooms was ridiculous, no matter where I went!  I managed to finish and get into my corral 4 minutes before the gun went off – not much time for a warm up!  But to make up for it, the fireworks during the National Anthem and after the gun went off were pretty awesome!

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The course was really pretty – through downtown Columbus, old neighborhoods, and little business clusters that reminded me of Main Street back home in Richmond, VA.  Despite the cold, there was amazing crowd support!  So many signs, people cheering or dressed up in costumes – I’m recognizing that is something I really enjoy in a race!  Every mile also featured a Patient Champion – a patient at Children’s Hospital who has a mile dedicated to them.  It was really cool to see the different faces at each mile, all the support they got from the racers and spectators, and the signs throughout that mile about them.  Such a unique experience!

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We finished in the same area as the start, so it was easy to navigate.  Since it was still really cold out (I think it got up to 35 degrees when I finished), my first stop after picking up my gear bag was the Emergency Kaffee Unit – a coffee food truck!  I totally burned my mouth from drinking it too fast, but I was so cold!!

Despite my lack of running, the cold, and being 16 weeks pregnant, I finished in 2:05:38 – at least 5 minutes faster than I anticipated!  I give full credit of my success to my Barre3 classes!  However, my elation over my time – and the fact that I managed to avoid requiring a visit to the medic tent – was hampered by the fact that this race has easily become my most expensive race to date.  Back at the start, I was wearing my prescription glasses since the sun didn’t rise until 07:45.  But just before the gun went off, I put my Oakley (prescription) sunglasses on and placed my prescription glasses in my pants pocket, where I assumed they would be safe until I could hand them off to Hubby because my pants were compression.  But after the first quarter mile, I looked down and realized my glasses were missing – along with the Bonk Breaker chews I was planning on using!!!  After searching all my pockets, I accepted that they were gone.  But, since I had no idea where they fell out or if they were still intact with 15,000 runners, I decided to worry about it afterwards and enjoy my race.  After I showered at home, I went to LensCrafters and bought another pair.

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New glasses!

Overall, I highly recommend this race – though be prepared for cold weather running!  I am looking forward to running it again in the future – just keep track of your glasses!

What are your favorite fall races?

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