Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Canton Half Marathon- Race Recap


Wow! Canton, very impressive inaugural marathon!  

I decided on a whim to sign up for the Canton for the half marathon since my training plan for the Air Force Marathon had me running 12 miles this weekend.  I knew that it might be risky to run a 13.1 race in June in Ohio.  It could be hot and humid or a pleasant 60 degrees.  It's Ohio after all, which means you could experience 4 seasons (sometimes) in one week.  But my mom lives in Akron (30 mins away-for those of you out of state) and made for a great excuse to head up for a visit. 

Took my dh to explain the tee is supposed to look like a football jersey, duh!
The Expo:
I didn't have much expectation for the race expo, since this was going to be a smaller race and it was the inaugural year.  The packet pick up was painless- no waits, very friendly (love the midwest!) volunteers.  Then we wondered through the expo.  They had a nice group of venders.  It took my dh and I about 40 mins. or so to wonder through.  I looked at fuel belts for carrying H2O but couldn't commit so just browsed.  I have a hand held water carrier right now but I'm thinking I'll want more H2O and I'd like to carry Nuun while I run as well on the longer runs.  Any opinions on fuel belts? I've looked at Fuel Belt and Nathan brands, also the Amphipod versions but not sure...
McKinley Memorial, Canton, OH

After the expo, my historian hubby wanted to stop by the McKinley Memorial since President McKinley was from Canton.  It was on the map and nearby so we headed there after! Wow! Talk about impressive!

Race Day:
Self portrait with DH before the race- looking pretty good considering it was 5 am!
 Race started at 6 am, so 3:30 wake up, 4:15 departure.  30 min drive to Canton.  The only people on the road were cars with 13.1 or 26.2 stickers on them.  Looked like we were all heading to Canton.  It was awesome to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the stadium all lit up along I-77.  We parked at the fairgrounds and they had the Canton buses stacked up and waiting to take us to the start line.  I was afraid we'd be get to the fairgrounds and have to wait or worse try to walk back to the start, but it was very well run. 

Pro Football Hall of Fame aka "the juicer"
We were there plenty early to hit the restrooms (yes, flush toilets at the stadium!).  Thank goodness, since I have a super sensitive nose when I'm nervous (so any gross smells sends me into gagging).  Anyways, time to stretch, chill out before hand. 

Around 5:45 headed down to the corrals and I thought was the start line.  We stood around and people watched.  Then we started walking, and walking and walking (probably about .25-.5 miles) under the I-77 overpass to the park.  It makes sense not to have the first .5 mile downhill- I can imagine there would have been lots of people running into each other trying to take advantage of the downhill.  Anyways, delayed start by about 25 mins.  I didn't mind that too much, after all, it was the first year they were doing it.  Although, a few port-a-potties would have been good to have near by. (They were all up the hill by the stadium).  Guys were sprinting towards the treeline for one last pee. 

Finally, the race started.  The course was hillier than I was expecting.  I had looked online at the elevation chart and it looked like there was only 200 ft difference, and I figured after the Flying Pig, that it wouldn't be too bad.   The hills just kept coming!  They weren't huge, but at times, I wanted to scream "mercy"! 

Photo by dh Finish line was ready to go!
The course support was amazing, all the volunteers had smiles on their faces and the fans were out there!  Once again, I wasn't expecting much since it was the first year but people were out there.  Only in a few places, mostly between miles 6-8 the support was a little thin.  I'm glad I had water for that section as well, since there wasn't a water stop once you went back into the neighborhoods.  Overall, I was very impressed by the course volunteers!  Thank you!

I felt pretty good the whole time.  I experimented with my nutrition this time.  I've always gone conservatively with the Cliff Bloks that I take generally 2 at mile 6/7 this time I popped 2 at the start, 1 at mile 5,  mile 7, mile 10.  I took Gatorade on the course as well.  Usually, I'll drink Nuun after my runs.  I felt pretty good the whole time, and my pace was pretty consistent until miles 11-13 then it was consistently slow! That is when my pinky toe started to protest- honestly- do I need a toe nail there? It's so annoying that every race it starts bothering me.  Grrrr- funny how something that small can bother you so much!  
Race Stats:
Official time: 1:52:16 (mine was a minute less-since I had a potty break during the race)
Age group: 17th/153
Overall: 307th/1788

It was a good race/training run.  I finished strong and I got to run a great race.  I will be planning on doing this one again.  Smaller scale than Cincy or Columbus but Canton put on a great race.  I'd recommend it!

2012 medal- that thing is solid!
Happy Finisher!

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