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[wprunkeeper activity=”83272114″]I was a bit anxious going to bed on Saturday night as my legs had been a bit sore all day despite not running since Thursday. I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning from a dream where I had somehow bashedbut it does look rather peculiar. the back of my head in and it was covered with maggots… Not a very nice way to wake up and I hadn’t eaten any cheese the night before -honest. It was a bit of an ominous start however I soon cheered up when I checked my email and had a great offer from Groupon – Weightloss Hotpants…err no thanks – I’ll think I’ll go for a run instead.

I got to Cosi nice and early and saw Tina and Heather by their car and honked my horn giving Tina a fright. Thankfully she didn’t jump too much and did not bang her head on the roof of the car (maybe that is what the dream was all about?). I parked up and discovered that the meters were free on Sunday (after I put the first quarter in) – a nice perk.

I headed into Cosi and picked my race packet up as I hadn’t gone to the store beforehand. Then back inside the warmth –  a great perk of having the race held from the back of Cosi is being able to hang out inside the building in the warmth and with real toilets is a nice treat. Unfortunately for Tina I had drunk all my coffee at this point – if they had a stand selling coffee before the race I think they’d make a killing.

I met up with Heather, MelanieI think this is me next to the blue lamppost, Tina, Heather and Mike, posed for the usual shots inside and then headed out to the race. I think you can see me just to the left of the blue lamppost in this picture but that might be someone else, especially as I don’t see anyone else from the group.  Mike and I were running in shorts and a tshirts – after all – it was above freezing and I get too hot when running if I don’t wear shorts. I was surprised at the number of people who were wearing leggings, full trousers and jackets – it wasn’t that cold (at least not at the start).

A couple of minutes before the start of the race the inflatable starting line started to collapse much to my amusement – for a moment it looked like the start might be an obstacle course but it didn’t take long for them to fix the issue and a few minutes later the horn sounded and we were off.  Like last time I immediately lost contact with the rest of the group but I couldn’t find them despite hanging back for a while so in the end just got on with running.  The first few minutes is pretty intense – a flock of people all around you – most of whom are treading and running in the exact same space you want to be, you have to ensure the garmin is started, the itunes started, the run/walk timer started and runkeeper started…..or at least I did on the last race.  This time I ran with just the Garmin. My original intention was to use the run/walk time on the third loop but in the end I ran the whole way – including all the hills. Initially I didn’t start the ipod as I was waiting for the others to catch me up and then I was enjoying the running with no music so just left it off.

Anyway, as we’re heading down towards the start of Broad Street I’m fiddling with the camera on the phone and almost run smack into the barriers at the end of the road.  Who’s smart idea was it to put barriers in the middle of the course stretching across the width of the road? Thankfully I heard the Woah! from the people in front just before they swerved, giving me enough time to avoid having to do a very bad impression of a hurdle, which I would have failed miserably at.

Action shot as we start up Broad StreetUp Broad Street we went and I managed to snap an action photo , the only one I took of the entire race – I don’t know how Tina does it. As we turned off Broad and headed (the wrong way) along Wall St, the race felt different from last week – this time there wasn’t anyone yelling at everyone to get off the sidewalk. I checked the Garmin and saw that my pace at that moment was 24min miles…I put that down to the bad satellite reception as there was no way I was going anywhere near that pace.

I settled into the run and it was pretty uneventful. The aid stations had very vocal helpers which was a nice incentive to hear as you approached the bridges. I still managed to get water all over me and up my nose once despite pinching the cup together.  One day I’ll get the hang of it.  No homeless people on the path this time grunting incomprehensible messages to everyone as we passed them.

I was running about the same pace as the 10k 3 weeks ago but this time I spent more time looking around and being aware of my surroundings – there is a ton of art and nice views in downtime Columbus. If I wasn’t racing I would certainly have stopped to take more photos.

The out and back portion of the race was horrible (again). Under a dark underpass and a narrow footpath with people going in both directions and up and down the hills a lot means it’s a tough portion of the race. It was made infinitely better by running down the hill and seeing and hearing Melanie and Heather cheering me on as we approached each other on the second out and back – nothing like your own personal cheer team 😉 On the first out and back I ran past Heather who gave me a high five – with the cold and the combined speed we were doing, that stung for a couple of minutes afterwards to my amusement.

Towards the end of the race, around mile 8.5 I was doing pretty good. I was running alongside another runner who was about to run a marathon the following week. Scary to think that a 15k is considered tapering… Anyway we talked a little bit as we approached – he wished me luck and then I looked at my watch – about 2.5 minutes to get to the finish line in under 90 minutes.  I started to sprint to the finish line…

With the occasional glance at the Garmin it looked like it was going to be close but passing people at the end, whilst running fast feels good. The only hard bit is trying to run around pairs of runners and avoid the goose poop.  As I approached the finish line, Michael was standing there cheering me on – a glance at my watch and I gasped “15 seconds to go”. I didn’t have the spare energy to give a high five as I ran past Michael and through the finish line . By the time I slowed down and stopped the Garmin it read 90 minutes and 5 seconds…my official time ended up being 90 mins and 2 seconds – a slight, very slight disappointment but still over the moon that I had run 9.3 miles in 90 minutes and really enjoyed it.  Besides, if I had broken the 90 minute mark, what would I aim for on my next 15k?

Final results were 1:30:02, 357th out 645 runners, 44th in my age group of 62 runners.

After grabbing some water and a banana I headed back to the finish line to cheer in the rest of the Turtles.  My hands were freezing and the camera was slow/ I wasn’t really thinking straight, so the photos I got were not very impressive…oops. The photo I have on the left is the best I could do.

After we all had finished we did some stretches in the warmth of Cosi and then headed downtown to get some coffee.  I can’t believe how hard it is to find an open coffee shop.

I think we passed about 5 coffee shops before we ended up in Tim Hortons. Food and coffee tasted *really* good but I was totally ripped off when I pulled out the Boston creme doughnut from the bag and left half of my chocolate attached to the inside of the bag.  Adding insult to injury I then watched everyone else tear their bags open and start eating their fully coated chocolate covered doughnut. I was very tempted to go and get another one – after all, I *had* just run 9 miles!

As usual, thanks to the Turtles for keeping me company and thanks to Tina for the use of some of the photos.

I’m now less than 10 days away from my first half marathon and very excited – after all I now get to put a 13.1 sticker on the back of the car.  My question is, should I wait until after the race to purchase the sticker or buy it beforehand so I can put the sticker on the car with great ceremony as I get back to the car? – Do you have a 13.1 sticker (or more) and when did you put it on the car?