This weekend I traveled down to the capital for the Columbus Marathon. Kelly came down to cheer me on. We met my friend Marc, who was also running, at the expo and then grabbed a beer at Gordon Biersch Brewery right by the hockey arena.
We stayed a little outside the city, but still only 15 minutes away. I woke up early to get my stuff together before the 7:30 AM start. I like to get to the start line early, so I ended up having to wait in the cold for about half an hour.
I knew coming into this that I hadn't put in the training for a full marathon, so I was a little nervous about how the day was going to unfold. I met Marc by the 7:20 pace group.
Columbus was my first marathon and first Boston qualifier, so it's a fun race for me that brings back memories. The course is nice and flat and perfect for a PR. I hadn't run it since they changed the course to go through the Horseshoe. I'd never been in the Buckeyes' football stadium so I was pumped to see it.
A band at the start line played some good music, a lot from the 70s, to get the runners pumped up. A guy with a good set of lungs belted the national anthem, the mayor counted down from 10 the start of the race, the gun went off and to everyone's surprise some fireworks went off over the start line.
For the first half of the race I felt great. I had gotten new shoes just a couple weeks before the race and only went on a 4 mile run in them. Not something I usually do or like doing. I was going to stick with Nike Pegasus since I've had 13 or so pairs, but after looking at the other shoes at Second Sole, the Pegasus seemed clunky. I ended up getting a light pair of florescent yellow New Balance shoes.
So back to the race... I felt good up to mile 13 and that's when things started declining....quickly. Usually in marathons I start to feel my legs tighten around mile 18-20. This was too early and not a good sign. I tried to keep form and landed every stride with purpose not wanting to expend any extra energy.
I came through the half in 1:36:23. Way too fast!
By the time I got to the Horseshoe, my legs were beat. The crowd at the stadium and excitement of seeing it pushed me through there. I heard someone yell my name, looked back, and it was Allison Holko!
The next 8 miles were torture.
I was relieved when I finally got to the final turn and headed downhill to the finish. The crowd was really rooting on the runners and I feel especially for me since I probably looked spent.
It's funny because I wasn't sure if I was going to run this race since I hadn't trained enough to run a PR. I talked to my dad before deciding to do it. He said whether it was a PR race or not, he always felt satisfaction when finishing a marathon. Inside I wasn't sure if I'd feel satisfaction with doing another road marathon in a time way off my PR.
When I crossed the finish line, I felt a great deal of satisfaction and pride and knew what my dad meant. Each race has a different struggle and you never know what that will be until you toe the line. In this case, the satisfaction came from not giving into the pain. Even though I didn't train nearly hard enough to run a sub-3:08, I gutted it out and finished in 3:33:46. That could have easily been over 4 hours if I had packed it up at the stadium and coasted in to the finish.