Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nationwide Childrens' Hospital Columbus Half Marathon Race Recap

Wow! I honestly don't even know where to start for this one, so my apologies in advance. I'll keep it as short as I can. This is the first race that I was not either worried about finishing since it was a new distance for me, or stressing out about running a PR (personal record). The 2012 Columbus Marathon was about the children who are fighting for their lives and raising money to fund the research and care, and helping and supporting my friends.

Race morning started with a 4:00am wake-up. Ouch, that kinda hurt! But, we wanted to be sure to get downtown in plenty of time. With 18,000 runners and walkers expected, it was going to be CRAZY! Jamie, Kate and I drove down together and found our (FREE!) parking spot. Yay for being earlybirds. It was COLD, at around 37*F, so we enjoyed the warmth of the car as long as we could. We found Jen and she came to join us while we waited for the time to head toward the starting line.  6:00 was the planned time to meet everyone from RunDMC (our running group) for a group picture and meet-up prior to the race start. It was fun to see everyone before the race and I even got to (briefly) see my high school friend, Jessica. (Wish we could have chatted more, Jess! Hopefully next race!)

Loved the Children's Champions shirts. So proud to wear mine!
(still can't figure out why they are sideways, but you get the point)

The starting area was very well organized and marked. There were plenty of port-a-potties (extremely important pre-race! I know you other runners understand), the bag check was right there and the corrals were clearly marked. Good start to our race experience. At this point, we had also met up with Erin and Sarah so we could all wait around and start the race together.

Our Saturday morning
running group (most of us)
We got into our corral and watched it fill up. (Thankfully, it was filling up quickly, it was cold after we checked our jackets!) The amount of runners was awesome to see. After the Star Spangled Banner, the cannons went off. (ok, that made us all jump a little, I could do without the several cannon shots again) Then there were fireworks. Yes, fireworks! So fun!!! We watched the first wave of runners go, then FINALLY it was our turn. I think by the clock we were about 14 or so minutes behind the gun at that point. But, no worries as it was chip timed.

We finally crossed the starting line and we were off.  I was running with my friend, Jen, during her first Half Marathon. She wanted to finish the race in 2:15, so our plan was for 10:18/mile. The first mile was slow as was expected, but I had counted on that and it gave us a nice warm-up. We were patient and saved energy by just going with the flow and NOT trying to run around all the slower people. (I'm finally learning!)

The Patient Champions were stationed at each mile and every single one of them brought tears to my eyes; especially the Angel Mile at mile 12. The children gave me such Inspiration! I also thought of all of YOU that sponsored my fundraising efforts; about how thankful I am to have you in my life.

The crowd support was AMAZING! Bands, DJs, large groups cheering, just so much energy. I'm sure it helped that I was running with Jen and Colette (Jen's friend had joined us too as she thought our pace sounded like a good plan for her). At most mile markers, we compared our overall time with where we needed to be to meet our goal and we were ahead of pace. Luckily, Jen had picked up a pace band at the Expo (brilliant idea for those of us that are bad at running the tangents!) Around mile 12 we passed the 4:30 pace group and at that point, we knew we would come in under our goal. We were on the final uphill and I was yelling encouragement to Jen and Colette that we were almost there (not that they needed it, they were both crushing this race!)

We kept speeding up and finally made the turn to the finish. The finish chute was lined with yelling, cheering spectators. The energy was FANTASTIC. Jen kept speeding up (yay, Jen!) and I tried to keep up with her. (Jen is an incredibly strong runner and I cannot wait to see what she does in the future). During that final sprint, my Garmin registered a 5:08 pace. Holy smokes! That's the fastest pace I've EVER clocked and it was after 13 miles! Yay, we finished! By my Garmin, it was 2:10:50, so we knew we had definitely beat our goal! We received our huge medals and I headed to the Children's Champions tent for some food.

Forgot to get a finish line picture
so Jeff took one when I got home. (who forgets that?!)
Pizza, ice cream bars, water, pretzels, bagels. Excellent selections for re-fueling. Do we eat to run or run to eat? Definitely a post for another day.

A few minutes later, Jamie and Kate were across the finish line with Kate's shiny new PR (by 15 minutes!). So proud of them for a great race!  They got some food and water, then we went to cheer for other friends that were finishing both the Half and the Full Marathon. Our good friend, Christa, was coming into the finish for her first half marathon and we must have sounded like lunatics shouting for her! I cried. Of course. And, yes, I've got tears in my eyes right now as I am so incredibly proud of her!!!

We then set off backward along the course. Several friends were running the Marathon for the first time and we wanted to go help them out. 

Friends helping friends. That's what running is all about!
Jamie, Kate and I cheered for the Marathoners at the "1/2 mile to go" sign. We took turns running with friends to the start of the finish chute and then all came back to wait for our good friend Andrea. It was so much fun seeing friends accomplish their goals, finishing their first Half or Full Marathon, or setting new PRs!

As a reminder of WHY I ran as a Children's Champion, above is a video from the race. You can also see me crossing the finish line around 2:24! Thank you to everyone that donated to my fundraising efforts. I know the children and their families also thank you! The money raised at the raise will help to fund live-saving care and research at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

Shortly after the race ended, I received an email with my official race stats. The coolest stat was that I passed 650 runners in the overall race. That makes me feel super speedy! 

I think the Columbus Marathon has replaced the Air Force Marathon as my favorite event. I will definitely be back again...for another Half...or if Jamie gets her way, the Marathon.  

Official results
Time 2:10:45
Overall: 4804/9903
Age Group: 389/942
Women: 2519/6390
Passed 650 runners in the overall category.
Passed by 73 runners in the overall category.


  1. Great recap, Anne! I'm writing mine now and I also mentioned the free parking! Ha! Frugal minds...
    You can expect me to keep hounding you about the full next year. I told Randy I want Cbus to be my next full and his head didn't blow off, so I'm totally in! :)

  2. So proud of you and all the moms, dads, and everyone who did it for the children!

  3. Thanks again Anne! You guys didn't sound like lunatics, it was just what I needed at that time. And I cried when I finished...and cried again reading about it. I need to write my recap, haven't had a minute.

  4. Congrats on a great race for a great cause!

  5. Love this! Thanks again for dedicating to be a Children's Champion! Glad you enjoyed the race :)


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