2016 Columbus Marathon Recap

Race Recap: 2016 Columbus Marathon Review

The Columbus Marathon is one of my favorite races, mainly because it was the first race that I qualified for the Boston Marathon. Qualifying took me a few tries, but was finally to do it in Columbus.

The typically fast, flat race usually is accompanied with cooler temps with a race date in the middle of October.

I thought this would be a good race for my first race recap as I figured I should start writing about something other than shoe reviews and discounts.

Just to give a little background, I recently started a new job that requires me to travel to Columbus one day a week and a newborn baby. Both of which have made me appreciate so many more things, but at the same time impacted the amount of sleep during training.

Race Expo and Dinner

The Columbus Marathon Expo is always a solid expo. The size of the city and entrants always draws great vendors that have plenty of cool gear. I typically cruise through expos now because most of the gear is the same at every single race.

The only things I normally will look at either shirts that support local shops or a unique item that doesn’t cost $100 like a beer mug or pint glass.

After picking up my bib and shirt, I heading out to the North End Market. Below is the shirt that we received for running the marathon.

After the Expo, I checked in to my hotel and rested until dinner at Marcella’s, an Italian restaurant off Polaris Parkway. I ordered the wheat pasta and meatball hoping that would help me run well on race.

After dinner, I headed back to the hotel to hydrate and relax. Even though this was my 21st marathon, I was anxious because it was my first marathon in a year and the temperature at the start was expected to be 60*F with 90% humidity, something that is far from ideal. Unfortunately, the weather isn’t something you can control so you have to fight through the challenge it provides.

Starting Line Area/Corrals

After a decent nights sleep, I was up and moving at 5am, getting my breakfast and coffee ready. Typically before a race I will have a bagel with peanut butter and a banana. This is a simple meal that usually sits well with my stomach. I checked the weather once again and it was going to be a warm race for sure. I still had the mentality of just going out and doing my best knowing that I may not run the time I want to.

After I was ready, I packed up the car and headed downtown Columbus. Since I am not that familiar with driving in Columbus, I made sure I had a map of all the places I could park. Something like this really helps minimize the stress on race morning.

After parking and getting ready, I was on my way. About a half block away from the car, I realized I forgot my sunglasses, something I know I would want with the forecast.

I finally arrived at the A corral. The setup was great with plenty of bathrooms, space, and people to chat with before the race started. I showed up at 6:45, so I had plenty of time to stretch, relax, and hydrate. The weather was warm and the humidity felt high, which I knew was would be a concern once the race started.

Around 7:25 am, the race announcer welcomed everyone followed by the Star Spangled Banner. Shortly after, the gun went off and the race started.

The Race

As I mentioned earlier, the starting temps for the race were a little higher than expected. The thing that concerned me was the humidity. As long as it stayed cool, I was optimistic about being able to run a decent race.

The gun went off at 7:30 am and we were off! The first part of the race is downhill so things immediately seemed easy with my first mile split in around 6:45. My “A” goal for the race was to run between 6:45-7:05 splits through 13 miles and see how things went on the second half.

After a few miles on Broad Avenue, I was still feeling strong. The thing that concerned me though was how much I was sweating. The humidity was in full effect and this was something that concerned me from the start. I took my first Gu Energy Gel at mile 7 hoping that would help with the electrolytes I was losing.

Here are a few pictures from early in the race.

As I continued through mile 9, I felt ok, but my split times kept getting hard and harder to keep. This was not something I expected so early in the race. I kept up with a group of guys and gals that were trying to run between 3 hours and 3:05, something I wanted to do.

As I approached the halfway point, I started to get fatigued. Again, way earlier than I wanted to. I went through the halfway point a little under 1:31. I knew the last 13 miles of this race were going to be tough. I realized though that I was going to have a tough time hitting my goal so I kept moving along at a pace that continued slow. As I hit mile 16, things just started to slow.

I have run a number of races and I have never been hot enough to take my shirt off until this one. For some reason, I thought this would help keep me cool and allow me to keep moving at a pace that was closer to my goal. During mile 16, I moved my bib to my shorts and took my shirt off in hopes I would start to run faster.

After a mile or two, I felt a little better, but my legs continued to get tired. At mile 18, I knew the time I wanted to get wasn’t in the cards for today. Instead of trying to continue at a pace I could keep, I started to high-five all the kids from the Columbus Children’s Hospital.

They were really the main thing that motivated me the last 10 miles. The smiles on their face made my pain go away and allowed me to appreciate every step.

The last few miles were downhill so that helped me work my way back to downtown Columbus. When I hit High Street, I only had a 1 mile to go. The uphill finish motivated me to speed up and pick off a few people in the last 1/4 mile.

I finished in 3:17, 7:31/mile.

After the Race

After the race, I drank water, relaxed, and tried to find my buddy who was at the race with me. He was nice enough to carry my clothes.

I sat on the curb and reflected on the race. Although I was disappointed in my time, I still enjoyed every moment of it. One thing that surprised me was the number of Trump signs. I think I saw one at least every mile.

I had a great round of training and thought things were going to go way different. Even with a newborn baby and less sleep than normal, I still was able to put in the mileage needed to run a marathon.

Running and marathons are like life. You can only control so much about race day, but like life, you have to keep moving forward and do your best.

As soon as I finished, I immediately thought I could have run better. This is the reason I run these races. They continue to motivate me to run another one.

Moving Forward

I’m not going to make excuses for a bad race, but last Sunday just wasn’t my day. I will sign up for another race soon and start riding my bike more. The one thing I missed this summer was riding my bike. With a newborn (now 10 weeks), I really didn’t have time to bike as much as I wanted to.

As you age, priorities change and I’m lucky to have had the opportunity to complete another race. Thanks to Columbus and the Race Director for an awesome race.

Have you ever had a race that didn’t go as planned? What steps did you take to move forward and prepare for your next race?

Please leave a comment, questions, or feedback!