Not your average race recap: Cleveland Half Marathon

So I’ve been going back and forth since Sunday whether or not I wanted to do a recap of this race since as those of us who ran Sunday know, it wasn’t the ideal conditions to run a great race.

My half marathon experience was like running through HELL. The rising temps with the blazing sun shining down on us with little shade to find relief made running a challenge. After I went through the first water stop just around mile 2, I was already pouring water down my back and on my head to cool my body temperature down. By mile 5  I could quickly feel my legs growing heavier and not cooperating. By mile 6, I decided that this was going to be a survival race, and not one to write home about with a fast time.

No breeze and very little shade made it really tough on my body. About a third of the way down Detroit Avenue, I took to running on the sidewalk to escape the sweltering sun and grab some shade. But the further down Detroit I ran I was forced back onto the road because of all the spectators lining the sidewalks. My race became a run/walk to the finish line, with a lot of walking. Too much walking for my liking. But my legs did not seem to want to go for long periods of time. I did have some moments where I pushed through and ran comfortably, but then my mind would get sidetracked and I’d focus on the weather conditions and break my streak and begin to walk again. My mental state during this race was horrible. I tried running with one of my friends when we caught each other, but I lost her at a water stop that again was jammed packed with runners waiting on volunteers to fill cups. Which happened at EVERY water stop I came to. I think it was a combination of inexperienced runners and volunteers not having a good system to keep the supply up with the demand.

But this race only went as well as my training. I admit while I did all my long runs, I slacked a lot in my shorter runs during the week. The only goal I had for this race was to finish faster than my first half. I didn’t do it. A combination of the weather conditions and my slacking in preparation showed through on race day. I also had time to realize that I need to simply get in better shape. I am not the same runner I was a year ago at this time. I am slower and a few pounds heavier. I realized that I need to put getting back into shape first while working on getting my speed back. Thats going to involve keeping my mileage low and ramping up my cardio and strength training to get the results I want. I also think scaling back my running will help me fall back in love with it. Honestly I did not enjoy racing Sunday. I was relieved to finish and did not experience any runner’s high what so ever. That is a true sign that I need to step back and not make it the only thing I do, but one of several things I do.

But I digress since this is suppose to be your not so average race recap.

When I found out that race photos were already available online, I went straight to see how mine turned out. I took Jess’ “The Logo’s” advice about keeping your eyes open for the cameras and I stayed on the outside of the runners to be seen. I saw plenty of photographers in the beginning of the race and tried to made sure I was seen, basically being a camera whore. haha

(Last year I only had finish line photos from the race and they were AWFUL and cluttered with other runners.)

So when I saw THIS photo, I knew I had to do a race recap, letting the photos tell the story of my CLE experience.

I immediately laughed out loud when I saw this photo.

Yes, I look like a dumb ass. But, there is a back story to this photo. Like I said, I saw a bunch of photographers within the first mile of the race. I knew one of my friend’s from the Plain Dealer was covering this race so I kept my eye out for him in the front half of the race. As I am running along the shoreway, I am quickly approaching a photographer that I believe to be my friend.  So I jump out in his line of vision to try and get his attention. As I pass him I notice that it indeed is NOT him, but a brightroom photog.

Giving me exhibit A. The most ridiculous race photo EVER!

You think Cleveland Marathon will make me the new “logo” with this shot?!

Now this photo is just after the mile 11 marker as you make your way down Ontario in front of Tower City. At this point I was walking. But I saw a photographer up ahead so I told myself I will NOT have a photo of me walking. So I picked it up back into a run and gave the best smile and thumbs up that I could.

This is my “I want to quit right now I’m so hot and can barely run” smile. Pretty good, eh?!

These last photos are my finishing photos. As I was running down Saint Clair mid mile 12, I told myself this is it. You are running the rest of the way, no excuses. I was so relieved to charge down E. 9th St and make the final turn to the finish line. I knew the clock time and my chip time were about 9-10 minutes apart, but it still would be my worst half time to date. But I was just glad I finished and didn’t quit like I wanted to after mile 11.

I give major props to all those people who rocked the full marathon under the brutal temps. You guys are true warriors! But I firmly believe all of us, whether we ran the half or full, are part of a special fraternity of runners who conquered the heat, pains, and mental battles to achieve a goal we set out to do.

“We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.” ~Emil Zatopek

I know we all swear we look horrible in 99.9% of our race photos, but have you ever had one that made you laugh or you looked completely ridiculous?


5 thoughts on “Not your average race recap: Cleveland Half Marathon

  1. I admit, I creeped your photos before I saw the blog. And, I giggled.. Only because I’m sure mine would be no better. I don’t know if they didn’t have any photogs along the 10k route, or if I just missed them. But my finish line photos were so far away, if I didn’t have a chartruse (sp) headband on, I couldn’t have picked myself out of them. So, be glad you don’t have to mind wrestle whether to spend the dough on the photos. Upside 🙂

    See you at K5K?

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