This was a fall-back weekend for me (my last one!) and I was supposed to run 5 miles. Luckily for me, it was the weekend of The Ohio State 4 Miler, so I decided to skip a mile and do the race as my run for the weekend. This was the second year for this race. Last year 10,000 runners signed up and this year they extended the field to the sold out 12,000 participants. Going into it, I wasn’t sure if I was going to race it or just run it so I decided to just see how I felt.
I signed up for this race for the medal. It’s the first time I’ve ever signed up for a race simply for the medal. Last year it was an overhead view of the stadium and I thought it was pretty awesome. This year’s medal turned out to be a football helmet.
The race started at 10 a.m. so we left our house around 8:15 knowing there would be traffic. It only takes us 15 minutes to get down to campus, but then we sat in traffic for 30 minutes to get to parking. This was very frustrating, traffic moves faster on game days. We randomly decided to get into a different lane and a police officer directed us into a garage that hadn’t been on the parking map. I guess they ended up opening another garage. Parking was $5 because OSU doesn’t do anything for free, but no one was collecting money at our garage and when we left the gate lifted without us putting our ticket in the machine – so our parking ended up being free!
We headed over to the start line and there were a lot of different food vendors and things going on. There weren’t traditional corrals for this race, instead they asked people to line up by pace by the minute. I had been planning to run between an 8:30 and 9 minute pace, so I went in with the 8 minute pace group. Before I knew it, they were calling the 7 and 8 minute pace group to get ready for the first wave. My first time in ever in the first corral! I tried to hang towards the back knowing I wouldn’t be up with the 7 minute pacers, but looking around I could tell there were people that definitely wouldn’t be running in the 8s, at least not for long. Not to sound rude, but sometimes you can just tell! Plus, this is more of a fun-run for big time Buckeye fans and I think some people underestimate 4 miles, so it was bound to happen.
They played Carmen Ohio and the National Anthem and then, after a lot of waiting, we were finally off. I started out easy, feeling good, and glanced down at my watch to see I was running 7:30. Way too fast! I knew I had to slow down, but I felt good, so I decided to ignore my watch for a while and just go with it. Cardio-wise I felt great, but about a mile in my legs were burning and I knew I had to slow down. My first mile was 7:57. It was also very warm! I felt bad for the runners that wore their long-sleeved tech shirts because it was definitely not a day to be in anything more than a short sleeved shirt and shorts. Even with that, I was wishing for the first time all summer that I was in a tank top.
The heat was getting to me and the course was surprisingly hilly, so it really became a mental game after the first mile. At mile 2 there was a water stop and I drank a little, but ended up dumping most of it down my back to cool off. Around 2.5 miles I stopped for about 10 seconds to stretch out my shoulders. I got back going and went around a corner and noticed a lot of people were dropping off to walk. I think it was a combination of the unsuspecting heat and runners going out much too quickly. I wasn’t feeling too great, in fact I questioned if I was going to puke at one point. Then up ahead, like a shining beacon of light, I saw one of my Saturday pace group runners, Cory, in his bright yellow tank. Even though I knew I couldn’t catch him, this gave me a good boost. I’m pretty sure my 3rd mile was my slowest.
We finally hit 3 miles and I knew I could get through one more mile. I picked up speed a little when we turned the corner to the stadium. Luckily, entering the stadium was a downhill path. I really picked up speed when I got into the stadium because I was so ready to be finished and get some water! Running on the turf was a bit tough, but I sprinted through to the finish line on the 50 yard line. I caught my breath and walked it out a bit before catching up with Cory. Another one of our pace group members, Dan, was hanging around as well. Cory commented that he also felt sick at one point and, even though he ran about a minute per mile faster than me, it made me feel better to know I wasn’t the only one struggling that day. I grabbed the photographer to get a picture of the three of us together before heading up the finisher’s chute. The food was great – cold water, bananas, pretzels, fruit snacks, and granola bars. I grabbed all except for the pretzels and met up with my husband in front of the stadium. My official time was 32:45, a 8:12 pace. I am pretty happy with the outcome considering the heat and that I haven’t been doing speed work this training cycle due to coming back from injury.
I would recommend this race to anyone that is a big OSU fan. I myself am not the biggest fan considering I didn’t go there, but I definitely wanted the awesome medal and to show off my bit of OSU pride. I’m not sure if I will do the race again, though. There were a few things I didn’t like. First, the shirts fit funny! They seem to be cut wrong. Though the race organization is offering to exchange them, mine is too short and the next size will likely be too baggy and still short. It will still be cute with a white tank underneath to wear to watch games. I don’t usually run in my long-sleeved tech tees so this wasn’t a big issue for me, but still disappointing. Next, the traffic/parking situation was horrific. I really don’t mind sitting in traffic for half marathons, but 30 minutes of traffic for a race that took me 32 minutes to run was a bit much. I am definitely glad I did it and am hoping for cooler weather for the half.
Just 4 more weeks until the half marathon which means 3 more big runs before tapering! Almost there…