Posted by: Drew | October 21, 2007

2007 Columbus Half Marathon: Race Report

After long weeks of training and anticipation, it was finally here. The Columbus Half Marathon.

This was not only my first half marathon, it was my first race of more than four miles. When I began my HM training in late July, I’d decided to shoot for two hours. This was based on some previous race times and what I was capable of doing in training at the time. Before this weekend, I set a series of goals for myself. Bronze was finishing, silver was finishing in under 2:15, and gold was finishing in under 2:00. Things had not been going swimmingly in training the last few weeks (I missed more workouts than I felt I could afford due to life), so I felt that achieving that goal of 2:00:00 would be a great accomplishment.

Alright, already… the race.

I didn’t sleep much the night before (anticipation/nerves/excitement, take your pick). I think I fell asleep at about 2:30 or so, and got up at 5:30. Still, I felt pretty good. It was perfect weather for a race, clear and maybe 55 degrees. Until the sun came up, it was pretty cold standing there in my shorts and shirt. My friend Cletus (the one who suggested this whole running thing) and I managed to find my Dad and Wicked Step Mother (WSM) in the crowd, decked out in sweatshirts bearing their monikers (Dad and WSM) on the front, and Team Harris (our last name) on the back. They told me they would try to find some way to embarrass me (or at least that’s what I heard), but I thought it was funny.

8 AM was near, so Cletus and I headed towards the back of the pack (it’s a chip timed event) to line up. I didn’t really hear the gun, but people started moving so we followed along. Right before the start line, Cletus and I gave each other the obligatory low five, and we took off. To hit two hours, I knew my average pace had to be right around 9:09, but I didn’t have any intention of starting out that fast. The first mile, I took what I felt to be a pretty comfortable pace. With all the people dodging I was doing, it ended up being a 9:57 mile. I was okay with that, but I knew that I’d have to start working a little bit harder. Apparently, that’s what I did. I forgot to hit my lap timer on my watch, but the next two miles were an average of 8:50. The effort didn’t feel too much more, but I guess whatever I did worked out.

Somewhere between mile 3 and 4, I picked up a running buddy. A very chatty young lady told me that she was going to use me as her pacer. She found out I was trying to run 9:10 miles, and decided she was along for the ride. She was nice enough, but I’m not much of a talker so I was pleased when the full marathon course (which she was running) broke off from the half and I was back alone with my thoughts. While we ran together, we hit 9:33 for mile 4, and then 9:13 for mile 5.

I was back on my own during the sixth mile, and here is where things started to get a little… weird. My major concern going into the race was that I hadn’t done enough running at a 9:10 or faster pace, and my body had forgotten how to do that. As my body started to fully loosen up after five or so miles, I was feeling pretty good as we came back towards downtown. Mile 6 was done in 8:32. Mile 7… 8:29. Mile 8, 8:32. I hadn’t run this fast in a while, and certainly not for three miles in a row. As we neared the next place I’d expected to see the fan club, the crowds got larger and louder. I saw the crew, consisting of the aforementioned Dad and WSM, my wife, Cletus’ wife, a couple of our friends, and Cletus’ sister. They yelled and cheered, I cheered for them as a thanks for showing up, and heard my dad yell “You da man!” as I passed by. Who knew he could be so loud?

This seemed to be just the boost (ha!) I needed, as I forgot to hit the split button on my watch at the next mile marker. But the two mile average was 8:15 each. Pretty freaking good for the latest two miles of the longest non-stop run I’d done in my life. Mile 11 was 8:36, and I was still feeling good. I wasn’t breathing hard, but I could feel the pain building up in my legs. I knew I had two miles left, so I just sucked it up and ran. Mile 12 was completed in 8:20, and by now I can see the final turn in the distance. Even though the last mile was mostly uphill, I did mile 13 in 7:49 and the last tenth in 0:47. As I made the final turn, I could see the finish line and for some reason my stomach decided that this was the time to pass on this message: “If you run any faster, I’m going to expel your breakfast all over the course.” I listened for 10-15 seconds, but quickly decided that it would be worth it if it happened.

My stomach contents stayed put, and I crossed the finish line in 1:54:07. Breaking my goal time by almost six minutes, that feels pretty good. Actually, it feels real damn good. I don’t feel like dying right now, and I think a full is definitely in the cards for next year. But first, I’ve got the Flying Feather Four Miler on Thanksgiving morning. As for the immediate future… I’m off to sleep.

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Responses

  1. Congratulations on a job well done! 6 mintues ahead of schedule…your dad is right “You da man!”

    I am looking forward to the FFFM on Thanksgiving…should be fun and so much shorter! 🙂

  2. GREAT JOB! This is so encouraging for my first half, coming up on December 9!! Congrats!!

  3. Outstanding! I’ve never run that fast in any half-marathon (I’ve finished 3 now). Unfortunately, I can’t say great things about my half on Sunday. I did finish, but just barely. I now realize that I didn’t train anywhere near where I needed to be. I don’t suppose you can send me your training schedule for your half? I’d be interested in seeing it.


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