Latest reviews by Casey

"Well Organized Flaaaat Race!!!"
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Race Management

This was so fun.

Getting There:
We live about 2 hrs away from Columbus so on Saturday, we loaded up the kiddos and all of our accoutrements and set out. (tip: one night or five, with kids you bring the same amount of stuff!!). Minimal traffic until we got to downtown C-Town and still it wasn't as bad as packet pickup in Cincy.

The expo was busy with people!! I didn't buy a single thing! The shirts are really nice. It fits great but could be at least 3" longer. Le sigh.

Sheraton! 14th floor, super efficient
check-in. They charge $10/day for WiFi, no free breakfast, no fridge in room, but has a restaurant and Sbux in hotel. No bedbugs!! I hope.

Carb-loaded at Noodles and Co. Located in the college district post OSU game. O-H-I-O!

The girls were exhausted so they fell asleep pretty quick. And by "pretty quick" I mean, "Not quick at all." In fact, they were so excited and so tired that they both were slap happy little goobers that insisted on having a late-night draw-a-thon on whatever paper they could find in the room. The hotel was so quiet--runners were sleeping early. Bee was teething, so between that and being concerned about sleeping through my alarm, I was awake every hour.

Seriously, how cute are Bee's shoes?

Race Morning:
We had to be in our corrals by 7a, so I was up at 6a and out of the room by 630a. I got a pack of cheese crackers and a Powerade from the hotel store and ate in the lobby and on my way to start. It was freezing. I am so glad I packed for every possible weather!! A lot of people were surprised by the colder temps. It was 36-degrees this morning when even up until Friday they were predicting the low to be in the 50s.

The start line was two blocks away from the hotel, which was so cool. Not having to drive to start: priceless. Actually, that's a lie. The Sheraton was not cheap, but seriously worth it. So, in the corrals, we waited. And waited. A stage was set up by the start linewith live music but my corral was so far away from the start that all I heard was bass and "wawwoo wooo pps sstt waaawaa". Tip: if you are traveling and do not to be woken up early by loud Journey covers at 7am, don't travel on weekends that races are being held.

At 730a, a cannon went off (to signal the start? I have no idea). A freaking CANNON. No one was expecting it, and I think being in a crowd of 20k people, we all were a little nervous and thought we were under attack. Then there were fireworks and two more cannons. Non-running visitors of Columbus, I can imagine how you felt because I kept picturing what my family was doing with the randomly-spaced cannon blasts. After the second cannon went off and everyone recovered, a giant smoke ring floated off in the sky. It was really unexpected and everyone watched in awe as it floated away.

They did a wave start, which meant that corrals A, B, and C went first and then after a few minutes, D, E, and F went. I did not cross the start line until 18 minutes after the cannons went off. "Highway to Hell" was being belted as I started my race (though it sounded like "Hoooowaaaa to hooooo" as it came out of the 15 foot tall speakers 4 feet from my face!).

As you can tell by the pictures, I had my phone with me. I felt like a weirdo running with my phone but whatever. I wanted to bring it because I knew I would not be able to find my way around town without it once I finished my race. Once I got to my corral, everyone and their brother had their phone. True story: more than once during the race, I heard a phone ring and someone answer it WHILE RUNNING A HALF/FULL MARATHON and someone was checking Facebook. Really.

This is the Nationwide Children's Hospital Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon, and with all the other charities that it supports (like my fundraising for RunMS), it raised money for the Children's Hospital. Every mile had a big mile-marker with a photo of a patient and then that child was at the end of the mile giving high-fives. It was awesome and touching and emotional. Brave little boogers.

I tend to tease about people wearing the official race shirt to the race. I don't know why, but I always think it's funny. I take back everything I've ever said about that because today these shirts are the best-designed race shirts I have ever seen. Although I did not wear it, a ton of people DID and it had the freaking course map on it!! I always knew where I was! I even RAN FASTER to catch up to people so I knew when the next turn was. Think about this. THIS IS AMAZING AND EVERY RACE SHOULD DO THIS!!

My dad's side of the family is from Columbus, so it was neat running in a city that is so integral to his life. I ran on streets and passed buildings that have been mentioned in anecdotes my whole life.

The only person I saw running barefoot. I did not see a single person in Vibrams and only two people wearing minimalist shoes. Is this fad on the way out? Also, I only saw a handful of skirts today (I am just realizing that this guy is representing both of those trends). I wore my skirt/tights combo. Has anyone noticed a decline in running skirts?

This guy is running with some sort of signage on his back. I didn't read it when I passed, but this thing was huge and was probably very heavy. Also seen during the race: people running with American flags, two military guys running with a stretcher loaded up with things, parents pushing their Children's Hospital patients in special stroller/wheelchairs.

Mile 1--crowded!! At 1.7, the Elites were along the route that doubled back onto our section. It was so amazing to see the first place runners on their way to winning! At that point, they were on their 7th mile.
Mile 2--a lone bagpiper under a bridge. I thought of O and wondered if he and his fellow pipers would ever do that for the local races.
Mile 3-- 5k time of 30 min! I knew I was on pace with my goals, but didn't let myself get too excited.

Mile 4--It's a really crappy feeling to "only have 9 more miles left".
Mile 6--almost half-way! I took my first gel (Honey Zinger) and water at this point. I perfected the art of running and drinking out of paper cups during the race and did not have to stop! This is when I started to hurt.
Mile 7--Gu! Volunteers stood with Gu in outstretched hands, shouting their flavors. I grabbed a chocolate and held onto it for later.
Mile 10--I got a text from my mom. Seriously, it was the most amazing thing. I was exhausted and giving it my all and this simple text of "Yea!!! Casey!! Good job!!" gave me a kick. I tore open my chocolate Gu and thought of my mom.
Mile 11--On track to hit a PR.
Mile 12--It's a great feeling to only have 1.1 miles left.
Mile 13--DOWNHILL!!

These were my goals as listed in September:
1. Finish.
2. Finish happy.
3. 2:20
4. 2:15

I finished in 2:11!! All my goals were met! And I raised $525 for MS!! I call this race a success!!

Thank goodness I had my phone because I would not have found my way back to the hotel! It was a mile away. In retrospect, it would have been nice to be closer to the hotel at the finish than at the start, but whatever. A mile isn't too bad to walk post race.

Window art that I saw on my way back.



The girls at home. Neither one wanted to wear the medal, so this photo will have to do.

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