Team G(race) hit the road last weekend, as members of our group participated in several races. The majority of the team traveled to Columbus for the Capital City Half, a race that is growing every year despite going up against other popular races like the Flying Pig. We started our winter/spring training session at the beginning of February, and finally the time arrived when it was time to cap it all off.
I took the afternoon off from work last Friday in order to get over to Columbus before 4 pm and have plenty of time to go to the expo before dinner. When I thought about my expectations going into the race, I wasn’t sure how my ankle would hold up, so all week the thought in my head was that I just wanted to finish the race. I can recall what I started thinking as I was getting closer to Columbus on the interstate. I stopped thinking about my ankle and the unknown, and I began to get excited about the race overall, and another great experience with Team G.
After checking in at the Westin in downtown Columbus, which by the way was a very nice hotel in a great location near the start and finish, I met up with Casie, Katie and Kyle to make the walk up High Street to the Convention Center. When we arrived there and made our way to the exhibit hall where the expo was being held, we were surprised what we saw when we came up the escalator and turned in the direction we needed to go. There was a tattoo convention that you had to essentially walk through to get to the expo, and there were quite a few interesting people there. We briefly considered getting a Team G tattoo though.
There wasn’t anything special about the expo. It wasn’t as big as the Flying Pig expo, but there were plenty of booths to look at, from the local shoe stores to other races marketing their events. I normally don’t buy anything at expos, but Casie, Katie and I were able to get a deal on CEP compression socks, $45! I was always hesitant to buy a pair because of
the cost, but for $15 off the normal price, I figured it was time. While there, a few other Team G members showed up, and once we had our packets, we walked over to North Market to get something to drink and a pre-dinner snack, since our dinner reservations weren’t until 8. (Tip: if you are ever in Columbus, make sure you go to Jeni’s Ice Cream. It is not cheap but it is the BEST ice cream ever!)
By the time we were done hanging out at North Market, and we walked back to the hotel, it was nearly time to go to dinner. We would have preferred to eat earlier, but it was a challenge finding a restaurant in the downtown area within walking distance, and could reserve an area for 16 people. When we arrived at Due Amici little before 8, the hostesses told us the group that was occupying the section prior to us might be there a little longer. What we thought might only be 10 minutes, soon became 30, and then 45 minutes. I believe it was around 8:30 when we were told the group had their checks and should be paying and leaving soon. By the time we were seated at around 9, needless to say we
were a little grouchy, and really hungry. It was a nice gesture by the restaurant to comp us a bunch of appetizers, so once the drinks and food arrived at our table, our attitudes improved and there was a lot more laughing and merriment. It was a rocky start, but dinner was great, and the company was even better. We were happy to have Andrea from Food Embrace and her husband join us for dinner too. Andrea did a healthy living workshop for Team G last summer, so we consider her a “Friend of Team G”. Thanks to Andrea’s urging, I tried steamed mussels for the first time in my life. Maybe not the best idea to try something new before a race, but I did like them.
The start time for the race on Saturday morning was 8 am (much better than the Flying Pig’s 6:30 am start.) We met in the hotel lobby at 6:30, walked to the finish line area to go to gear check, and then a couple blocks over to the start corrals. Do you think our group stood out with our purple shirts?
We had plenty of time to use the porta-potties, and there were plenty open so no waiting, then we had a prayer, wished each other luck, and went to our respective corrals. Out of our eleven team members, I was the only one in Corral C, but I was plan on meeting my friend Molly, who was in town from NYC visiting family, right at the border of B & C. As it approached 8 am, the corrals were pretty packed and there was still a large amount of people outside of the corrals trying to get in. Fortunately Molly and I were able to find each other with no problem. Standing right at the front of Corral C put us in a unique position, one that neither one of us had experienced before. Once Corrals A and B started, the volunteers dropped the rope and we were directed to make our way to the actualy start line. Rather than just starting the corrals one after another without pause, each corral was started with a gun. Molly and I found ourselves standing right at the front, toeing the start line, and we remarked to ourselve how unusual it felt to be at the front. Here we are waiting for the start.
Molly and I ran together for the first three miles, at about a 9:20 pace. My ankle was feeling ok, but I had no plans to try to keep that pace up for the rest of the race. My plan was to run for a few minutes, then walk a minute, and repeat, for the rest of the race. It was great running with Molly for those three miles – we had run together before but never in a race – but at that point, I slowed my pace and went into my run/walk plan. Throughout the rest of the race, my ankle felt okay, but I could tell my endurance wasn’t where it should be since I hadn’t run in a couple of weeks. Not to mention the humidity was a killer, 94% according to my weather.com app. Luckily it wasn’t hot, but many people still needed medical attention during the race. With about a half mile to go, according to my run/walk time interval, I should have had a mnute walk, but I just wanted to finish. About this time, there was one final hill heading into downtown, and I was going up the hill, I changed my mind and decided I was going to walk a bit. Right when that thought crossed my mind, Molly was standing on the side encouraging me to keep going because the finish was just on the other side of the hill. That was perfect timing, because I kept going, and finished strong. My time was 2:30, which was over 30 minutes off my personal best, and 19 minutes slower than my last half in March, but considering my sprained ankle, I was just happy to be able to participate and finish. I found the Team G(race) runners who had already finished, and we waited for the rest of the group. Although there was some disappointment among some of the individual performances, it was great to see the smiles on everybody’s faces for just having run 13.1 miles. We also ended up with two PRs so as a team we are very proud of our overall accomplishments.
We have a little break before we resume training for our next big race, the Air Force Marathon and half marathon. We also plan to continue fundraising for Eli and to raise money for children’s cancer research. The Cap City half was just one race, one milestone, on our journey to improve as runners, and to make a difference in others’ lives.