Last year after doing my first half marathon,Disney Princess Half, without any training due to injury, I was searching to run my first well trained race. A friend of mine that lives in Columbus,Indiana told me that her town was having an inaugural marathon,half marathon,and 5K weekend. After reading up that it would be a fast,flat course,in the cool Indiana fall weather,I was sold. I had such a great race last year that I decided to do this one again.
Columbus is only a little over 4 hours away from me. I left Illinois a bit before noon on Friday hoping to get in,pick up my packet,have some dinner,and relax.
I cruised through IL, over the Indiana boarder… ( No driving and picture taking,I was passenger to my fabulous driver named mom who was also running) 🙂
And BAM! Huge backup on, I-65. There was construction and a major accident. Didn’t end up getting into Columbus till after 6pm. It took over 6 hours! Crazy.
Checked into my hotel and headed to the Commons in downtown Columbus. This town is known for its architecture. If you are ever driving through the area,there are definitely some sights to see here.
Packet pick up was a breeze. I walked up,showed my ID,and was given my stuff. There was a small expo,which included many local businesses,a few other booths with sign ups for other Indiana races,and a few booths selling clothes,fuel,etc. For a small race it was nice.
Race swag was a long sleeve tech shirt that is sadly way too big for me,and a drawstring bag.
After the expo I grabbed my unhealthy race dinner of fettuccine Alfredo and a breadstick from Fazoli’s. I know,horrible,but its something that sticks with me and I don’t have issues the next morning. Then it was back to the hotel to lay everything out and try and get some sleep.
I always have a fear of oversleeping for races despite setting my alarm on my phone along with getting a wake-up call. I think I woke up 3 times before all the alarms went off and it was really time to get up.
I heated up some coffee I got the night before at Starbucks and toasted my bagel in the lobby breakfast area. Went back to my room to eat while I got dressed,stretched,and rolled on my foam roller.
Getting to the race area was a breeze,not even 10 minutes. Parking passes were distributed at the packet pick up,so everyone had a place to park in lots or parking garages near the start.
The race started at 7:30am. Last year it didn’t start till 8,and the sun was already up. They also added corrals according to your estimated finish time. I loved this,seemed to really alleviate the crowding issues that they had last year. I was placed in corral B of A-E. I was going to do a run/walk of 1:45/:30,so I started in the back of the corral,even though I run my first mile straight through. I didn’t want to go all out on this race, with my marathon soon approaching,but I really thought I had it in me to maybe,just maybe hit an under 2 hour half marathon.
The National Anthem was sung,and at 7:30 corral A was off. There was about a 30 second delay between A and B corrals,so not soon after I also was across the starting line. The weather was feeling great and before I knew it I hit mile marker 1. I turned my gymboss on and was ready to get into a groove with my intervals to see what kind of times I could hit.
About a half mile later, I turned a corner going through Mill Race Park area and see all these people cutting through the grass. I look further ahead and oh wow,whats that in the course path up ahead? A TRAIN!!!! At that time it was stopped, and runners were climbing over, under, and running around it up a gravel hill, to get back on course,all while getting yelled at. So, I did what I’m sure was the wrong thing to do..followed a big group to the front,and ran around the stopped train.
My Garmin beeped soon after to signal mile 2,and my only thought was,I just lost all chances of a PR,due to this darn train obstacle. Mile 2 was a 9:34. I kept on running,but was a bit down and wished we were further into the race.
Not long after,my Garmin beeped for mile 3, 8:49. I was shocked. I rarely pull off miles in the 8’s when I do intervals. I didn’t want to get too wrapped up into my time,but thought I was possibly making up time.
The course brought us through neighborhoods, and past some of the architecture sites of downtown. The course continued on into more of the outskirts of town before winding up back to the center of Columbus. As the miles passed,and my Garmin continued to beep,I continuously was hitting just under 9 minute miles. Around the half way point,I took my Hammer Gel apples and cinnamon, and was feeling great. I was back on pace,and if I could hold it, I could get my under 2 hour half. I remember while winding through a neighborhood headed back into town,at mile 10 checkpoint, a police officer yelled out, “one hour 28 minutes in.” I knew that was clock time,so I was under that. I kept telling myself,keep this pace for a 5K,you can do that in under 30 minutes.
And, keep the pace was exactly what I did. I turned the final corner,and saw the finish line,of which seemed like a mile away,and sprinted as fast as my legs would let me with a huge smile on my face. 😀 There is something about crossing a finish line,especially knowing you have a PR,that is a major sense of accomplishment.
My text messages beeped,since I was getting updates on my phone,and said 1:55:00 was my unofficial time! (this also turned out to be my official time) I was ecstatic! Way under my under 2 hours that I was hoping for.
After crossing the finish,I was given my medal. For some reason they chose to use the exact same ones as last year,except changing the lanyard. The engine represents Cummins engine,which was the main sponsor and the headquarters are in Columbus.
I was given a cup of powerade, bottle of water, and they had a table of snacks that I could pick whatever I wanted from. I ended up taking one from every pile since I had no idea what I would be in the mood for later.
water bottle and sunglasses from QMIX crew
Not long after,my mom finished her 7th half marathon!
I also finally qualified for Half Fanatics at this race!
Back to the hotel we went,showered,and checked out. We headed back downtown to the cutest ice cream parlor restaurant, Zaharakos.
Grilled cheese avocado sandwich and a brownie sundae. Delish!
Since this race is sponsored by Cummins, something very different at this race is that they give away a Cummins engine powered Dodge Ram truck. Anyone that finishes the marathon or half marathon in the allotted amount of time gets their name entered in this drawing. My mom and I waited till the drawing at 5:30pm. Unfortunately,this year wasn’t our lucky year to win. Next year! 😉
I would recommenced this race to anyone that enjoys smaller races, also anyone looking to get a PR on a fast and flat course. Hopefully no train next year. 😉