Monday, November 4, 2013

2013 Towpath Half Marathon Recap

The Towpath Half finally took place on Sunday, November 3, after the government shutdown put the kabosh on the original October 13 date.

After spending weeks obsessively checking the weather and planning how to dress, I spent last week watching the forecasted low drop by 1 degree each day the race drew nearer. And this gave me an excuse to find crazy color combinations for my layers!

By some crazy alignment of the stars, my brother's family's schedule was clear and I managed to talk him and the kids into running the 10k. I was super excited since we didn't get to have our usual pre-race slap-happiness for the Air Force this year with the whole traffic debacle. Score!

Sunday actually turned out to be gorgeous! It was a bit nippy in the morning, but I never needed to use the handwarmers I'd bought. My gabbing with my new porta-potty line friend must have warmed me up, (and man was the line long!) My feet and fingers did end up going numb though, and didn't thaw out until about the 3rd maybe I should have!

And then I saw her.... For weeks I'd been stressing about competing with the "wench" who beat me in the Ten Miler in June (who, coincidentally, stumbled on my review of the 10 Miler...woops..if you're reading this I meant it in the most complimentary way! It means your fast!) I knew she would more than likely be there and I dreaded the idea of running 13.1 feeling like I was being chased or chasing her. Memories of racing RRB to the death  in the 2008 Towpath Half still haunt me. I'll never forget seeing how close he was behind me at the turnaround that day, and imagining him breathing down my neck for the remaining 5 miles...(I won!) We've sworn never to enter the same race ever again. I feared that thats what yesterday would become.

"Run your own race, Tink", I kept repeating to myself. Ha, like I'd buy that garbage for a second.

I'm thrilled. Really.

Anyway, she showed up at the start line and I felt my stomach drop. Grrrrrrreeeeeeeeat. I wished her good luck and she said she wasn't going to be competing with me. This is when the start of an entire 13.1 of delirium began. I thought she meant she wasn't planning on trying to beat me, ya know, to take it easy. It didn't occur to me until the race results came up and I couldn't find hers that she was wearing a 10K bib. We weren't even in the same race!!!!!! Ohhhh... information that would have been so useful to me at the time.

So, the bell went off a min or 2 after 8 and off we went!

I'm especially proud of my tights/sock combo

Mile 1: I pass my nemisis and then she passes me and takes the f off in the first half mile. She put so much distance between us I was actually relieved. There'd be no way to catch her so I could just forget about it. Then 2 more women pass me...After a quick age check, I was cool. They were definitely a group or 2 above me so go on ahead..Knock yourself out by sprinting the first mile dumbasses, (like I'm one to talk!)

Mile 2: My left foot is so numb the ball is starting to really hurt with each step. Please God, please make it just be cold and not an actual problem! A quick Our Father and some begging and I tried to ignore it. Then I attempted to subtract 2 from 13.... that was a fun game. I was pretty sure it was 11 by the 3rd mile.

Mile 3: Man, I can't wait for this thing to be over! Shit, usually this thought doesn't hit me til around mile 8...well this is certainly going to be a fun run. At least my feet and hands have thawed.

Mile 4: Mile 4? Mile 4? Bueller? What do all races have against Mile Marker 4? I never ever see them! Approach signs for the Akron Marathon....ummm...maybe I'm not in the right place afterall...

Mile 5: Get so excited as I reach the clearing where my mom is waiting. I toss my gloves at her as she takes my picture...and she is so intent on getting the shot that she doesn't notice the gloves flying at her.

Mile 6: See Aid Station aid station. Lies! All lies!

Mile 7-8: Feeling good, pass a sign that says "You're running better than the government!" Awesome! Run under the Station Rd. Bridge, which is the subject of my next painting, as I approach the turnaround.

Mile 9-11: And then it allll falls apart. I see at the turnaround that there's an ok gap between me and 2 women, and then a huge one until the next. And none of these women are near my age. I'm pretty sure I'm in 3rd place overall female, 2nd in my division at this point..with no hope of catching Ms. Nemisis. So, I can just put it on cruise, right?

Not so fast, says my lungs. That would be just too easy. Suddenly, I notice that I can't get enough air. My throat feels closed up and I can't take deep breaths. WTF. I can barely breathe. Did I suddenly develop asthma? Ever since September, I have battled off and on with this problem, whether running inside or outside. Never in my life have I had allergy issues so bad than this year.

Also working against me? Friday night I took a knee to the face when my neice and nephew decided to wrestle their Auntie T. 2 minutes after the attack, blood was dripping from my nose and teeth (not that you could tell from looking at me today, hmph) I had some decent swelling going on in my nose too!

I got my ass kicked by an 8 yr old

Mile 12: The battle for air continues. I'm so proud of myself for making it through this far. My speed has slowed down to between 7:15-7:40 pace, depending on when I get a good stretch of oxygen. As I finish the. longest. mile. ever., I think happily about how I have almost 2 full months ahead of me until the Disney Half. 2 wonderful months when I don't have to torture myself with 13.1. Oh, race delirium is a wonderful thing.

Mile 13: I see the crowd as I come out of the trees and am ecstatic when I see the clock read 1:36:00! I forgot we started late! Here I was thinking I'd be coming in a full 2 minutes slower. Wahoo!

Finally! Now give me some cookies!

Finish time: 1:36:15, 3rd woman overall! And totally squashed my age group. The woman who came in 1st in my age group finished a full 10 minutes after me. Shweeeeeeeeet!

When they called my name for 3rd place, I was thrilled! I've never placed in the Top 3 overall in a Half before! This was sooo beyond anything I ever expected! I can count on 3 fingers how many times I've happy cried in my whole life, and 2 of them have to do with races....this was one of them.

Annnnnd, my 2008 record for the Half in the 20-24 division still stands for another year. Mwahahahaha!

Yesterday was a good day :-)

Meanwhile......The woman who won overall will be in my age division next year.... a new nemisis emerges!


  1. CONGRATS TINK! What a great race. Oh how I love the glove pic. And the tights/shorts combo. Awesomeness all around!

  2. Congratulations! You did great! So, did you get your cookies, ha ha?

  3. Congratulations!!
    What a great race recap! I'm so excited for you...awesome job!