Saturday I headed to the University of Toledo's Savage Hall Basketball Arena for packet pickup and the expo. The expo was laid out just like last year and featured pretty much the same amount and vendors from last year, which unfortunately again was the weakest part of the whole event.
I got up at 4:10am, hopped in the shower and got dressed. I woke Mandy up and while she was getting ready I drank a bottle of water and ate a little cereal to get a little something in the stomach. We left the house around 5:10am and made really good time, which you should when no one else is on the road, and arrived a little before 6:00. The temp was hovering around 40 with a light breeze so we made our way into the the basketball arena to use the restrooms and stay warm while I stretched.
With 15 minutes till the start we made our way down to the corrals where we met up with my friend April who was also trying for a sub 2 hour finish. We planned on running together because we were going to run at the same pace and also to push each other as we needed it.
Here is a picture of me with the sign later that day!
After that April and I seemed to keep a pretty steady pace for the most part, the course is pretty flat with small rolling type hills that weren't to bad to deal with. We crossed another major road and headed into one of the area metro parks. This was a little tough, mostly because we were on the narrow paths so occasionally I was on the grass passing people. I think it was around mile 8 where the marathon and the half split from each other. A mile and a half on the boring bike trail before we headed back into some neighborhoods and more hills. Now compared to southern California these were nothing but one was pretty steep and I really didn't need that! Right on cue some of my more motivating music had hit my ears and I was able to power through the hills. A little Battery immediately followed up by Whiplash from Metallica was timed so perfectly, I couldn’t have planned it any better myself. When we hit mile 12 I asked Siri to text Mandy so she would know I was almost done.
We finished exactly the way we started, back on campus running over the creek right through the starting corral area. When we hit the end of the corrals we made a hard right turn, right where my wife was standing cheering me on, but of course, I turned my finishing song on and had it cranked up and didn’t hear or acknowledge her. Sorry Honey! Once around the corner there is a sweeping uphill left turn entering the football stadium, otherwise known as the Glass Bowl. Once I crossed the finish line grabbed a water and my finisher’s medal and felt such a wave of accomplishment come over me at what I had done, a sub 2 half marathon after just over a year of running.
Mandy and I headed home to shower and get ready for a post race party with my friend Katie’s family. We enjoyed some of the best fried perch I have had in a long time along with some other great dishes. We had a wonderful time, but after a couple hours we were getting tired from being up so long and wanted to head home to relax on the couch with a movie and each other. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the day.
Here are a few more pictures from the day, including a couple that were on Facebook, shot by a local photographer with a quadcopter hovering overhead.