“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Monday, August 27, 2012

Emerald City 2012 Recap

Race: Emerald City Quarter/Half Marathon
Distance:  13.1 miles
Date:  August 26, 2012, 7am start
Finish time:  2:51:06*
What sets this race apart:  One of the first big races in Columbus area to feature the quarter marathon as it's main race distance.

*Ran this race as part of the pace team. My goal time was 2:50
It's all about the bling! Gorgeous medal.  Same medal for both half and quarter finishers
The Emerald City Race will always have a special place in my heart.  This was my first ever race - I ran the quarter marathon during it's inaugural year in 2010.  I actually had to walk a bit back then because I was still so new to running.

This year, I ran this race as part of the "World Famous MIT Pace Team."  It's kind of fun to get emails addressed to "World Famous pacers."  :D   Pacers typically get assigned based on preferences, but are expected to pace a time much slower than your best time.  The idea is that the goal time should be an easy pace for you.  My assigned time was a 2:50 finish.  I was assigned to pace with an experienced pacer so that she could help us hit the splits.
The pace team pre-race
I had a lot of fun pacing this race!  I talked most of the time - I know, you're all shocked!  I actually had people tell me post-race that hearing "Mandy" coming up behind them was motivating.  HA!   I did lose most of the people running with my pace sign (and my fellow pacer) somewhere after mile 10.  They all fell back a bit.  
Coming around the corner towards the finish line.
Some of the volunteers joined me because pacers shouldn't finish alone.
I finished 13.24 miles in 2:51:06.  I missed the goal by a minute!  How did I go wrong?  I didn't allow for enough time per mile for the extra distance most people (myself included) run on a course.  I will do better next time!   I now know that I need to pace at a 5 sec per mile faster pace to allow for that extra distance.  Lesson learned!

What I love about the race?

  • The course - it's not all a road race.  At least half of the race is on paved trails through wooded areas and Glacier Ridge Metro Park.
  • It's a smaller field, with a different atmosphere.
  • All the cute young cheerleader groups that cheer us on!
  • The post race food and clean port-o-potties.  M3S Sports has this part of races down to a science.  Post race food: chocolate milk, water, bagels, apples and bananas.  GU was provided around mile 9.  I stopped to pee around mile 6, the potty was clean, and there was actually a fully stocked sanitizing foam in the potty!

What is NOT my favorite about this race?

  • The section where we run on a boardwalk.
  • The lack of big crowds - I do like the extra umph you can get from lots of adoring fans.
  • Smaller field.  (I know I listed this in both section).  I ran miles 10-13 mostly by myself.  At the quarter marathon turn-off, a large portion of the group following our pace banner turned for the quarter distance.  I need people to listen to me blabber!  HA!
  • The sport drink.  I've begun taking salt pills and drinking water (instead of sports drinks) at these races because GU Brew is the new Gatorade - and my stomach hates it.
The weather started cool, because sunrise was at 6:55am.  Pretty awesome to see the sunrise as the race started!  It got pretty warm by the end of the race.  This brings to me to the other thing M3S sports did right - in the finish chute, first you were handed a cold bottle of water, next station was ice cold wet clothes to help cool you down.  Then, you exited for the food and a massage/stretch station.  Afterwards, you could cross the the parking lot to BW's for free food and beverages.

Of course, I didn't stay to enjoy all those things.  I snapped a quick photo with my husband.  Mark ran the quarter marathon in under an hour!  He went and enjoyed the free food and decided to wait for me to finish (pretty easy to guess my finish time since I was a pacer - ha!).
And yes, he got the same medal for half the distance.  :)
Then - I topped off my fuel belt bottles and ran backwards on the course.  I stopped to GU because it'd been several miles since my last one, and then ran out to the first water stop.  I ran back, and stopped to walk once I hit 3 extra miles.  I did the extra 3 miles in 32:40, including stopping time.  A bit faster than I should be doing any portion of my 16 mile long run, but that's okay.

Amazing how much emptier the finish line was after those bonus 3 miles.  I still searched out a bagel and a banana.  Then, I went to BW's, but all the free food was gone.  I stayed anyway, and ate a lot of hot wings with friends to "refuel."

I was so jazzed after I got home and attempted my first water ice bath, that I wouldn't shut up.  (I'll post about the bath experiment separately).  My husband is so lucky to get to hear endless recaps of my runs!  I know he treasures every single second.

I really enjoyed pacing the race - what a different way to do a race.  It was a lot of fun meeting other runners as we were pacing and helping them reach their goals.  I'll definitely pace again!

Have you ever gone back out for extra miles after a race?  Did you notice a big difference in the post-race festivities as well?

Would you ever pace a race?

Do you ever do the same race year after year?  This was my 3rd year doing Emerald City.

Do you ever bore your friends and family with endless recaps of your long runs?  Please tell me I'm not alone!


  1. I guess I don't get the Quarter Marathon since it's so close in distance to a 10k. The medals look cool though. I like when medals are race specific, but I guess it doesn't matter. Most races near me don't give out medals for anything shorter than a half marathon.

    1. I think it's just a name/marketing thing. Just like some people want to call half marathons 20K's. At least it's not as bad as calling 5K's mini marathons! :D

      I think it's also not coincidence that this race is schedule almost exactly a month prior to the huge Columbus Half/Full marathon with half those distances available. Training race anyone?

  2. LOVE the medals!

    I don't think I'll ever be brave enough to pace a race like you did - I'll get all kinds of nightmares beforehand about getting awful side stitches that won't allow me to run a single step...!

  3. FUnny, my post race experience was very different. No bagels, no water, no massage. In fact, all of it was being taken down. Even the MIT pace team didn't wait for me to return my sign. Apparently 3:20 is too long for them to wait. I need to send a letter to the race director because if the course closes at 4 hours, support should be there 4 hours. It was BS. Only later did i actually hear that Snowville was there and Panera. PRetty disappointing if you ask me. Otherwise, it was great to see you! I wish I had paced 13 with you! Would have been fun!

    1. Oh and the port-o-potty I went to was out of the hand sanitizer stuff. Ridiculous!

    2. The bagels and water were still there, because they were still there when I finished my bonus 3 after you. There definitely weren't as many volunteers making them obvious though. Luckily, I knew where to look. ;) Nonetheless, it was much more "put away."

      The last aide station on the course was still fully manned and very friendly when I ran out to them as well.

    3. Yes, the aid stations were fine. We did get water.....I meant to say no "Snowville." Boo. Yeah, I guess you had to know where to find the bagels. Running out of food at BW's was strange too.

    4. Agreed!!! I didn't get Snowville either. After I left, I realized that must have been the unmanned station with cups out at the end. :/

  4. My husband, like yours, LOVES to hear all of my blow by blows. He is also (not) an avid reader of my blog. :^)

    I'm so impressed that you paced--I would still be far too scared to do this for any distance! Congrats!

  5. First water bath? Do you normally prefer another substance?

    Kidding, I know you meant ice. I have to say, I have zero interest in pacing a race. I'm too ADHD to commit to a pace like that. Nice job!

    1. HA! I normally take my baths with sand, you don't?

  6. I would love to be a pacer someday! I must think that it has to be a little nerve wracking though!

    Long race recaps is the reason why I have my blog! My husband was sick of hearing about them :)

  7. I bore my husband with all the mile by mile details, but write nice long recaps for everyone else :) glad you had a good experience for your first pacing. I think that would be tough to stay so consistent. Great job!


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