So we have officially done our first race out of state. This past weekend we went to visit my in-laws in Marietta, OH. It’s literally the first exit of I77 once you enter Ohio. A few weeks ago we decided we were going to make this trip and when we did so, we thought we’d check around and see if there were any races that weekend. Turns out there was a 5k/10k about an hour and a half north in Coshocton, OH and the funny part is that we actually have very close family friends that live in Coshocton. So we signed up (me for the 5k and Andy for the 10k) and packed up our running shoes for our first out of state race.
I didn’t think ahead and realize how little sleep we were going to get this weekend though. Friday afternoon we got off work at 6. We hurried home and grabbed the dog (thankfully we already packed and loaded the car) and then proceeded to drive the 7 hour trip to Ohio. With a couple of potty stops for the dog and a subway stop for dinner, we finally made it to my in-laws about 1:30am. After unpacking and prepping for the run in the morning, we got in bed around 2. The alarm was set for 5 and I was looking forward to a hard 3 hours of rest. Roughly 5 minutes before the alarm was supposed to go out, Yota woke me up asking to go outside. Really! I know it’s only 5 minutes..but on so little sleep, 5 minutes is very precious!
So we got up, showered and dressed. By 5:30 I was upstairs in the kitchen (Andy’s parents have a split level home with the kitchen being on the main floor, 3 bedrooms on the top floor, our bedroom & the living room on the level below the kitchen, and the basement being the lowest level)…so anyway I was upstairs in the kitchen about 5:30. I made a quick piece of toast with a dark chocolate peanut butter spread and grabbed a starbucks iced coffee (love these lately, taste so good, light on the calories and on the stomach). We all hopped in the car and got on the road. Much thanks goes out to Andy’s dad for getting up early and driving us all to Coshocton and props to both of his parents for braving dark thirty to come watch us race. Andy, myself, and Yota all piled into the backseat and snuggled in for the next hour and half. I scarfed my toast and then mentally prepped for the run. We had an 8am start and I needed to make sure that mentally I was going to be prepared.
I was already skeptical about doing well in this race because of the lack of sleep, the fact that my legs still felt tired despite having so many rest days, and that I would be running with Yota. So I didn’t get my hopes up. Oh I still had goals of course. Just no hope of meeting them. My best 5k thus far was a 33:28 and I really just wanted to get a sub 33.
About 20 minutes before we got to the race, I ate a banana for my fuel. Toast and a banana may seem to be a bit much for a 5k, but my body is always starving in the am. If I only ate the toast, I would be keeling over in starvation by mid race at the latest. So banana it was..besides I basically had to split it with Yota. That dog is a nut for a banana (and apparently Skittles as well).
When we got there, I asked Andy’s dad if he would take Yota (and encourage him to use the bathroom) while Andy and I went to packet pickup. Thankfully we were there early enough that the line wasn’t long yet. We grabbed our bibs, tshirts, and the free american flag they were handing out and headed back to the car to get prepped. As we were getting prepped, our friends Bryan & Jen showed up along with their daughter Alyssa. Bryan and Jen were running as well.
As we started getting closer to start time, I took Yota (who still hadn’t used the bathroom) and we moved closer to the starting line. It was a very small race in comparison to the races we do in Columbia, but it was still a nice group of people. The weather was PERFECT. I think it was right around 60 degrees with ZERO humidity. I never really took into account how much the humidity in SC sucks until I ran a race without any humidity…it was bliss.
The horn sounded and we were off. Unfortunately, Andy and didn’t have signal in Coshocton, so our tracking programs weren’t working. So we swapped phones with his parents (who thankfully both have iphones), logged into our mapmyrun accounts, and then loaded up a workout station on Pandora. It wasn’t horrible for a last minute freak out moment. However, at the start..everything worked easily and therefore Yota and I could just get started. He was extremely excited. He didn’t bark a ton like he did at See Spot Run, but he did jump up and down a lot. He just loves to run and he REALLY loves to run with a bunch of people.
I’m not going to be able to relay the course very well because I was lost when I was on it. About the only thing I remember is a hill that came out of no where and a very sharp left turn (I think everyone said this was at 5 points). About half a mile in, Yota decided that now would be the most opportune time to use the bathroom..so he stopped right in front of me in the middle of the road and I basically had to leap frog over him to avoid tripping. Thankfully I still had doggy bags hooked to his leash, unfortunately it was the lost one. I prayed the whole time that he wouldn’t have to go again. Thankfully he didn’t.
So, post Yota bathroom stop..we are just moving along. Right before the race, Andy and I signed up for the MVP part of MapMyRun and it includes coaching. So basically, every 2 minutes, this woman can tell you what your pace is and if you’re going to slow or too fast based on the goal pace you set. My goal pace was a 10:30. After the bathroom stop, I started getting feedback from her… we were currently doing an 8 something pace. I mentally told Yota that we were going to have to dial it back a notch or else I wasn’t going to make it. He didn’t listen. So we took walk breaks instead on this race. We would sprint at his 8 something pace (I swear Andy programmed this in him) and then we would like for a short period so I could catch my breath. We went at this for the rest of the race pretty much. I still didn’t have any high hopes of getting a PR…I was just enjoying my run with my dog at this point. I vaguely remember hearing my times at each mile from my app, and the race organizers forgot the time clocks for each mile..so it felt like I was running a little blind.
My goal for this race was to run a sub 33 (my best was a 33:28) and my uber goal was to do a 32:33. Like I said before though..I felt like it just wasn’t the day for that. So, Yota and I are running and I have no idea where I am on this course or where in relation to the finish I am, but we start running down this long road and I see my father in law way down at the end taking pictures. I figure we have to be close to the finish if he’s on the course. So..I make a promise to not walk anymore of the race and Yota and I start putting in the final kick of the race. We come to the end of that street and there is another man there who yells something at me. So I rip out an earbud and give him the universal look of “can you repeat that please”. He yells a time… 32 minutes. As I hear this and round the corner at the same time..I can see the finish line..I didn’t know it was so close..holy cow..I can actually meet my goal and PR this thing. As I cross the line I’m pretty sure it says like 32:20something. I’m way excited at this point. That did not feel like a PR race. At All. I’ll take it though.
I hand off Yota to the inlaws for a minute so I can catch my breath. I grab some water and then we take Yota over to a water bowl while we wait for Andy. I ended up taking Yota back because he was just way too excited about the other people and other dogs. Now that I was done with my run, we could then use my father in laws phone (that I was using on the run) to track Andy on the course. That was a really cool feature. This way, we knew when to expect him. He had already come by of course and I later learned that he saw the clock at his 5k point and would have had an awesome 5k time as well. Despite that, he was doing the 10k..so he got to do the course twice. I believe he wanted to finish in under an hour and when he came across the finish line, it was in the 54s. That was so exciting. We talked later about how easy the course felt and how good the race felt. It just seemed to come easy that day. Our official times came in at 54:42 for Andy and 32:17 for me.
Once we visited for a bit after the race, we got back in the car to head back to Marietta. It was nice to have already run so that we could enjoy our weekend and pig out without guilt. Someone was knocked out on the way home.