Happy Tuesday! Today I’m here with the Rock Hall Race Recap! I’m very excited. It was such a great race. I simply cannot say enough good things about this race.
I may be slightly biased as I was already really amped up for this race, but race day itself was perfect. Beautiful weather, awesome police and volunteers on the route, great post-race food and music. Greater Cleveland XC nailed it.
So here’s how things went on my end, as a runner:
The morning started “bright” and early with a 4:45 am wakeup. I grabbed some peanut butter toast, filled up my bottle with some Tailwind, and headed out to pick up Noemi. After driving around aimlessly for about 10 minutes downtown, we finally settled on a parking spot and headed to the Rock Hall.
|Sunrise over Lake Erie|
We met up with so many awesome people before the race. It was an electric atmosphere. Everyone was so happy to be there. Except for Noemi. But we’ll talk about that in a minute. On our way to meet up with our crew for a pre-race photo opp, I bumped into my friend from grade school, Julie. This is Julie. 🙂
She and I go way back. And we’ve reconnected over the years and have run into each other at races here and there. I’m going to go out of my way so we run together going forward. 🙂 Right, Julie?
Noemi and I then headed over to meet up with Heather, Janeese, Bryan, and Rachele. It was so awesome finally putting faces to names after all this time. We all follow each other on Instagram so it was about time we met up in person! Looking forward to many more runs with this crew.
|Would ya look at that backdrop?!|
Okay so back to Noemi… For weeks she was just not feeling this race. She doesn’t know why. I certainly don’t know why because I have been feeling it amidst all the moving craziness and IT band shenanigans. So she was totally not looking forward to this run. Which is totally not like her because I’m the pessimist. She’s the optimist. But after we met up with everyone, used the potties, and headed to the starting line, she seemed to brighten up a bit.
Speaking of the starting line… Once there, I spied with my little eye the INKnBURN logo. I tapped the lady on the shoulder and who was it but a fellow INKnBURN ambassador! Sarah had messaged me on Facebook on race morning and I hadn’t gotten it so I was so surprised to see her. Another great person to meet in real life. She and her family live in Toledo but they still have family nearby, so I’m looking forward to running with her when they’re back in town. Plus her husband was really awesome, too.
|INKnBURN represent! Me and fellow ambassador, Sarah!|
After this last photo opp, we checked our watches and realized it was go time!
Janeese, Noemi, Sarah, and I started off near each other. Noemi decided she was going to run with the pace group so we got a bit separated. Janeese and I both had music in so we were both doing our thing. I caught up with Noemi and by this time she had a big smile on her face! I was happy to see that. 🙂 It just took a little running to get her amped up, I guess. 😉
The course took us through Cleveland and headed east. It was a nice mix of areas. We started through the industrial city-scape, and then wound through the Cultural Gardens on MLK. Very beautiful.
Pretty unremarkable miles for me. I went out too fast, and I knew it. I wasn’t planning on chasing a PR but I started to reel it in a bit around mile 5. This is the first race I ever had a pacing issue. I must have been really amped up at the starting line!
Splits: 9:47, 9:11, 9:24, 9:36, 9:55
After 5 miles of running through broken down neighborhoods and industrial buildings, we headed into the Cultural Gardens. Just before the gardens I had a nice kick of speed and kinda went with it. I knew I was going too fast, but I was also running downhill so I wanted to use gravity to my advantage. Especially because by this time I was kinda, sorta hoping for a PR. I still wasn’t chasing one because I knew I went out too fast… but the seed had been planted.
Splits: 10:02, 9:41
Just gorgeous. It was so quiet. No traffic. Just the park, trees, and birds. I took my earbuds out to hear the nothingness around me. It was very peaceful.
Around mile 8 I checked my watch and decided I wasn’t going to PR. But then I did the math and realized I could, realistically speaking…
At the end of the Cultural Gardens, I was spotted by Shannon! Shannon is another social media friend who I’ve never met in person until race day. And coincidentally, she’s moving to the same area I just moved to. I’m hoping we get some runs in together, but she’s super fast so who knows if we’ll be able to make that work or not. She shouted out to me and snapped this pic. Thanks for capturing the moment, Shannon!
I came up to a fellow runner at mile 9. She was looking really strong and all of a sudden started walking. I thought to myself, “oh hell no.” So I tapped her on the shoulder, gave her the “we only have 4 miles left!” pep talk, and she started running again. I hope she PRed, or was at least happy with her time. Sometimes we just need a little encouragement. (Oddly enough, she’s the runner behind me in the photo above. Go you, girlfriend!)
Splits: 10:04, 10:00
Mile 10 is where things started to go downhill. My IT band on my right leg was starting to bother me. It wasn’t enough that I had to stop, but if this were a marathon course I would have been in trouble. It was definitely a mental battle. I knew I had to push through. I’ve never really had to dig deep in a race before but this time I knew I had to.
Plus, by mile 10 I was chasing my PR. Unfortunately I had two things working against me. My IT band and the fact that I went out too fast. But as every runner knows, we are stubborn folks, so I pushed on.
At mile 11, I drank some of my Tailwind that I had and because I was getting tired, I was sloppy. I let some kinda leak out of my mouth and then I was sticky on my hands and face. Ugh. So annoying. Definitely not a race ruiner. Just a nuisance. And I didn’t realize there would be another water stop, so I was kinda sulking in my own Tailwind stickiness for a while.
Mile 12! Water! I was thirsty at this point, and yes, still sticky. I drank some water and poured some on my hands. It kind of helped but not a lot. This was the first, and only, time I stopped. Only one mile left! I checked my watch. Most likely not gonna PR. Major bummer. But I still pretended like I could just so I wouldn’t give up.
As soon as I saw the corner where the race course turned toward the finish, I was so happy. I kicked it up a notch. As I got closer, I got into sprint mode. It was a fun finish, and I was proud of myself, but I definitely didn’t reach my time goal. As I told my coach, I’m not too broken up about it. I went in with zero expectations. I just went through a big move, and my IT band isn’t completely healed, so overall I’m pleased with my time. I really need to work on my race strategy, though. I have no idea how I let it get so out of control.
Splits: 9:44, 10:05, 10:32, 10:19, 2:19
|What do you do while you’re waiting for your friend in the finisher’s area? Why take a selfie, of course!|
Official finish: 2:10:24
Overall, the Rock Hall Half was amazing. It was so fun meeting so many awesome runners in person, and meeting up with ones I’ve known for years. The course was fantastic. The atmosphere was great. I will definitely be back next year.
|Rock Hall Half Marathon Finishers!|
Remember how bummed out Noemi was before the race? She was all good by the end. Plus, I got this awesome text from Noemi on Monday morning. 🙂
|That’s what I’m talkin’ about!|
If you like half marathons, like music, enjoy a great pre and post race atmosphere, I highly recommend running the Rock Hall Half Marathon. Runners received a comped ticket to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, an awesome shirt, a rad race bib, and superb bling. Plus, the post race festivities were off the hook. Ice cream sandwiches, mini subs from Jimmy John’s, watermelon wedges, water, music, massages — so much awesomeness in one place it’s hard to remember all that was there!
Add Rock Hall Half to your 2016 race calendar and I’LL SEE YOU THERE!