Cleveland Rocks!

11 Jun

Uhhh, so much for blogging more!

It’s been a few weeks since I ran the Cleveland Marathon.  Three and half weeks, specifically.  The details are sort of fuzzy by now, so you can go ahead and stop reading here if you’re looking for a detailed recap… 😉

A little background on what went down in the months/weeks leading up to race day:  T proposed we do this race sometime in January.  We both signed up, drew up training plans for ourselves, and promptly followed them…ahem,  loosely.  The winter sucked.  I ran LA in March as a training run and as a gauge for what time I could realistically aim for in Cleveland.  I ran a 3:56:34, felt great at the end, and then had nine weeks to recover from that marathon and finish training for Cleveland.

I did very little speedwork, but managed to get most of my prescribed runs in.

came up a "little" short the week of Mar 31 and Apr 28...

came up a “little” short the week of Mar 31 and Apr 28…

As race day approached, I had NO idea what time to aim for.  I figured something in the mid to high 3:40s was realistic, but really had no plan when I toed the line on May 18.

Chilling with T before the start.  Literally.  It was cold!

Chilling with T before the start. Literally. It was cold!

I had read race reviews that mentioned the lack of corral system and the ensuing chaos in years past, so I was prepared for that, but I actually found the race start to be decently organized and easily slid in just behind the 3:40 pace group.  Maybe it was more clustered further back, but I had plenty of room to stretch and move around, and crossed the start and began running with no issue.

Miles 1-5 went as follows: 8:38, 8:40, 8:25, 8:24, 8:18.  I was super paranoid about going out fast and bonking at the end — I was even worried that those paces were too fast– but I didn’t think too hard about it and just kept on going.  My stomach wasn’t feeling too hot,  I couldn’t seem to get into a comfortable rhythm, and I very clearly remember thinking pretty early on, “This isn’t going to be my day and that’s OK.”

The weather, by the way, was absolutely perfect for a marathon, but very chilly for May.  No complaints!  The sun was pretty intense, so the temperature felt nice.

Miles 6-10 were 8:38, 8:33, 8:26, 8:42, 8:24.  I saw T’s mom at mile 8, which was a nice quick pick-me-up.

At some point in there, I overheard two dudes near me chatting about how many miles they had left– and from that, determined that they were running the full and not the half.  I decided to stick close behind them because for some reason it felt comforting to have fellow marathoners near me.  They seemed to be running at a good pace that was similar to the one I’d been running, so I thought they would keep me from slowing down.

I drafted off of them for a while and at one point, 2 women joined up with them and they all started chatting.  I joined their conversation and learned the 2 women were from Cincinnati and that it was their first time running Cleveland, but they had done 30-some odd marathons.  I almost always run alone (I need running buddies!), so it was nice to have companions for a while.  It made the miles go by very quickly.  11, 12, and 13 were 8:21, 8:33, 8:28.

My watch was being really wonky, so I wasn’t sure what my time was for the half, but I also didn’t really care.  It was nice to just run and enjoy the absolutely gorgeous day.  Somewhere around the half, we saw the leaders coming back on the other side — there was a turnaround at mile 15 up ahead.  I absolutely love race courses like that where you can see the leaders — I find it so incredibly inspiring.  I  cheered my head off as the woman leader ran by (she went on to win with a time of 2:34:58.)

I had at some point lost my companions and was back to running alone.  I spotted a pace group up ahead and since I was suddenly feeling oddly strong, I decided to chance pushing the pace a bit and pass them.  As I approached, I saw that it was the 3:45 group.  I kicked past them and cruised on to the 15 mile marker and the turnaround.  Miles 14-16  were 8:31,  8:10, and 8:07.  My brother texted me asking how I was feeling.  I responded that it was tough but I was feeling good with about 10 miles to go.  Soon after, I saw T’s mom, aunts, and uncle and was elated at this sighting.


I knew I was going down a hill before the turnaround and I remember dreading the uphill portion.  It’s obvious here that I was on it, but I don’t remember feeling like I was suffering.  In fact, I look pretty stoked.  I also look like I’m the only person running the marathon(?)  Just FYI, I wasn’t.

here's proof

here’s proof

Miles 17-21 were 8:17, 8:26, 8:45, 8:28, 8:46 .  I felt myself slowing down and getting kind of over it.  I needed something to focus on, so I spotted an older woman up ahead who was absolutely cruising and decided I needed to catch her.  G-d bless her, she was speedy!  She was difficult to catch and kept me going for a while, but I was finally able to pass her at a water stop (I cheated and didn’t stop; she did.)

Around then, I found a second wind and started passing people.  I felt like I was flying!  I wasn’t– but I was going faster than I had been.  I turned on some tunes for the first time that day and listened to some pump-up songs.  I pretty much never listen to music in marathons, but there weren’t too many spectators at this point, so I indulged.  Mile 22 was 8:22, then 23 was 8:08 and 24 was 7:53.  I’m not sure what happened in mile 25, but it was my slowest one of the day– 8:54.  I think I was paying a bit for the previous faster miles.  But as I hit 26, I was super stoked and excited.  I turned off my music and took my headphones out so I could enjoy the best part of the race– the finish!  Mile 26 clocked in at 8:25, and I flung myself into the finish area and through the chute, spotting T (who had run the half) and his best friend Eddie in the final .2 (7:29 pace.)


eye on the prize

eye on the prize

My official time was 3:41:47 — a negative split and my second fastest marathon time.  Definitely wasn’t expecting that.

In summary:  I felt pretty darn good and far from destroyed at the end of the race.  I really loved the course– which went through some charming Cleveland neighborhoods like Tremont, Rocky River, and Lakewood– and the weather was freaking perfect.  Did I regret going out slowly and conservatively?  A bit.  Did I regret not training harder?  Absolutely.  My time was good, given my less than awesome training.  But all-in-all, it was a wonderful experience  that I’m very happy with.

Cleveland rocks!

4 Responses to “Cleveland Rocks!”

  1. Emilia @ Run for Your Life June 11, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    Awesome job! Negative splitting a marathon is no easy feat…I hope to achieve that someday!

    • Katie June 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

      Thanks, girl! It’s called “going out very wussy” 😉 Hope you’re surviving running in that TX heat!

  2. Kristy (@RunTheLongRoad) June 16, 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    Damn girl!!!!! Nice job! Sometimes less than awesome training >>>>> awesome training. I’d definitely rather toe the line with a little less mileage under my belt. Never underestimate a runner with refreshed legs 🙂

    • Katie June 17, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

      Thanks, Kristy! Yes, it was a pleasant surprise!

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