Like every year for the past 13 years, the running community in Akron Ohio comes together in September with their eyes set on a blue line that weaves its way through our city. Many of us consider the last Saturday in September to be the most wonderful day of the year! This year was no different. My social media accounts were blowing up with #blueline, and #runAkrun. I love this weekend! In 2011, and 2012 I had my eye on winning the full marathon. In 2011 I raced well running 2:45, and met my goal. In 2012 I had the flu and finished a heart breaking 3rd, running my slowest marathon ever in 3:00:02. 2013 saw me running with a small injury and finishing 2nd in the half in 1:18. Last year 11 weeks after having the twins I went to the line knowing that I did this because I loved it. It is more than winning. It is being a part of something huge in our community. I finished 4th in 1:24:3x, and was very very sore! I have run 6 total races since then, and still feel like I am finding my legs. Training has been going well, but with only 3 weeks to the Columbus Marathon, my main goal of the fall, I had to race smart. I was nervous. Nervous that I would run too hard, nervous that I would feel uncomfortable at the "controlled effort" of 6:00-6:10, and nervous because I never want to let a running community that stands so strongly behind me down. My coach could see the nerves in my eyes and reminded me to relax and work with the other CED'ers that had the same goals that day as I did. Ellie and Josh are both preparing for a marathon the same day in October so we all had the same instructions.
As we warmed up the nerves slowly started to fade. Finally the race was here! As we lined up for the start, my heart was pounding, and per usual on this start line I had to do all I could to hold back tears. 14,000 runners around and behind me with a common goal of using their fitness to propel them toward their goals. My heart wells with pride for my city, and my race. I love this race so much it almost always brings me to tears. Finally I could see 7am approaching on the clock next to the start line. This race has NEVER started one second early or late. So the countdown from 10 began, and we were off!
Heading toward the Y-bridge, a very fast first mile sees nearly 170 feet of elevation drop, and really helps to get the race moving. 5:54 through the mile with Ellie, Kelsi, Nicole and Josh. Perfect. We all eased up a bit and began the climb to mile 2. 6:09. The course was new this year and much hillier than the past 2 years. So I knew our splits would roll with it. 5:53, Ellie, Josh and I were working really well together and keeping one another honest. 6:03 through mile 4. The 5th mile is fast and we were 5:45. 5:59 for the 6th mile brought us back downtown. I looked up and we marveled at Beth Cruising about 60-90 seconds ahead of us! I saw my family, and gave them a smile and a thumbs up, were right on pace! 6:07 for the 7th and one of the hardest miles on the course. miles 8 and 9 are both a bit down hill and we were 5:48, and 5:50. At this point Josh had started to push and Ellie went with him. I knew that staying closer to 6:00 was where I needed to be so I backed off a bit. 6:13 ooops too much! I could hear Ryan, my very undertrained husband talking to someone behind me. He caught up to me and we ran together for about a mile and a half. 6:07 good back on pace! 6:16 was another oops, but it is coming back up the 8-9 mile so it was slow. 5:52 pace for the last 1.1 brought me into the stadium and a 4th place finish 1:18:45- 6:00.4 pace. I smiled knowing I had executed the race plan perfectly. Beth had finished in 1:16:3x for 2nd, Josh was 1:17:40, and Ellie was 1:18:20 for 3rd. Ryan was 1:19:04 and he says I beat him fair and square, but I think he was letting me win! We were all very happy with our efforts. Kelsi and Nicole didn't have great days but finished 5th and 7th.
|Ryan and I running together around 11 miles I believe. Enjoying the beautiful Blue Line.|
|Ryan pretending I am faster than he is.|
|Having fun with Nicole and Jeanine Marks (race founder)|
The only issue I had was a weird thing with my shoe. The insole moved during the early stages of the race, and made for a good sore spot on the ball of my foot. I was happy this happened now and not in 3 weeks during the full!
|I don't think this is what it is suppose to look like.|
The rest of the day and evening were spent catching up with friends, enjoying the beautiful September day, and having some fun! Another great Akron Marathon was in the books! It was a fun weekend to remember!
3 weeks until Columbus! I am excited to line up with Ellie and chase after the Olympic Trials standard that morning! Wish us luck!