After mentally and physically having a rough couple weeks of training, I needed to have some accountability for this past week’s long run. I have also been dealing with weird stomach nervousness and anxiety before I leave for my runs. Since I was traveling to Ohio for graduation, I searched for — and found — a half marathon for early Saturday morning: the Movie Madness Half Marathon in Lewis Center (about 30 minutes from downtown Columbus). My training run called for a total 16 miles, so I planned to do the race at an easy pace then add another three miles to it. But… well, there was a plot twist.
Registration and Cost: Registration was easy and online through Active.com. Since I made my decision a couple days before race day, it cost $59 (plus fees).
Expo and Packet Pick-up: No expo, as this was a super small race. There was race day packet pick, which started an hour before race time. I planned for about half hour before race time and there was no wait. I even had some extra time to relax in the car beforehand.
Bag Check: No bag check, but the state park had PLENTY of available and close parking near the start line.
Weather: When we left the hotel it was about 55 degrees and RAINING. Thankfully (smartly), I packed my rain jacket — so I ran back up to the hotel room to get it. The weather apps all said that the rain would move out of the area by race time (8 a.m.), AND THANK THE WEATHER GODS, it ended up being a beautiful, cool fall-like morning. LOVE.
Course: This “all right turns” course took the scenic route around Alum Creek State Park and its lake.
I liked the course (there were water/snack/Gatorade stops at Mile 3.5-ish, 6, 9, and 11), and there was a relentless climb after Mile 10 as you can see in the elevation below; however, the roads were NOT closed off, so we basically ran in pace lines on the shoulder of all the streets. Mile 10-ish also was the area where the dam is, which I’ve never seen. It was really neat.
Fans and Experience: No fans, and the course was quiet and peaceful (save for passing traffic). I did run with my earbuds and music for the duration of the race. I honestly felt like I was having some sort of spiritual awakening on this run. It was beautiful.
Random Bullshit: Running on the side of the roads, you see the amount of litter that people disgustingly toss out of their cars. I passed at least three dirty diapers. People are just gross. There was also, um… roadkill. I legit had to jump over the carcass of a possum at one point.
Finish Line: There was music playing at the finish line approach, and I sincerely loved hearing my name and time called out when I finished. I played a serious game of mental skill for that last mile. And somehow, my mile 13 split was only 9:37.
Medals and Swag: I like my new pink short-sleeved tech shirt! It’s not race-specific, but has the US Road Running logo on the front. The finisher’s medal is pretty sweet too.
Bonus: Because this was a “Movie Madness” theme, there were several runners dressed in costume. The best of which (and the costume winner) was the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. He was hilarious (and said that he bought the costume the night before and never trained in it).
Double Bonus: Well… I couldn’t run my extra three miles because I GOT A TROPHY AND PLACED 3RD IN MY AGE GROUP!
The Great: The realization that I really, REALLY like the half marathon distance. Also, small races are awesome!
The Good: I had a pace friend for most of the race, which was awesome. I chatted with her a bit after the race and it seemed like we both needed/used one another. Kinda cool experience.
The Bad: I started going into disaster scenario solution mode when Mile 3 didn’t have a water stop (it was about .6 miles after that). But OMG could you imagine?! I was planning in my head the logistics of my boyfriend tossing bottles of water out of the car at random course points for me. LOL
The Ugly: Car drivers. I mean, COME ON. If you obviously see a pace line of runners on the side of the road and there is traffic in both directions, SLOW DOWN — don’t speed up just to pass more quickly. I kept my left ear bud out for portions of the race because I was nervous about getting run off the road at a few points.
Splits: 11:08 (1) / 10:58 (2) / 10:57 (3) / 10:41 (4) / 10:33 (5) / 10:43 (6) / 10:23 (7) / 10:19 (8) / 10:38 (9) / 10:09 (10) / 10:11 (11) / 10:38 (12) / 9:37(!!!) (13)
Official time 2:18:36 – a new PR by two minutes!
3rd (!!!) in my 30-39 age group