Monday, September 29, 2014

Team MARS at the Akron Marathon

 A few of my siblings signed up for the Akron Marathon and Half Marathon awhile ago and convinced me that I should come and run it. After this year's Boston Marathon, I swore off marathoning until I finish nursing Oliver. So I ran the half marathon instead: I could train and still have a life, didn't have to do ridiculously long time-consuming long runs, and could justify more speedwork. That's the plan for the next year anyway: get fast again. It would be nice to PR in the 5K before I get much older. Anyway, back to Akron.... I flew out with Oliver on Friday. Our travel plans were complicated by a fire at the air traffic control center in Chicago, which we were supposed to connect through. After a long day of delays, cancellations, and finally getting rerouted, we made it to Ohio. We came home to a pasta party that included my cross country coach from high school (awesome!) and went to bed. The race started early in the morning - 7 a.m. - so we were early to bed and early to rise.
 Dave (pictured at the top) sneaked me into the elite waiting area and corral by the start line. My bib number was a lot higher than everyone else's, but no one kicked me out. I didn't apply for elite status because I'm not feeling so elite lately, especially after my crappy 20K a few weeks ago. But it was nice to not have to elbow a thousand people in the first mile.
 I didn't actually run with my siblings during the race - we all ran different paces - but it was nice to know that Team Mars was running along the same course going up the same hills and feeling my same pain!

My goal was to run between 1:25-1:30, so I went out at a 6:30-something pace and held it for a few miles. I slowed down on a few hills, but picked the pace up over the last few miles and even caught a few women. I ran with another red-head for a few miles and we got some cheers for "the gingers." I got lots of cheers for the nubby hair and even a few "Go Emily Mars!" shouts. I finished in 1:27:23 for ninth place. At the finish line, I collected my medal and snack bag and wandered back out to the course where the rest of the family was. 
We cheered Janis to a 1:40 (8th in her age group!), then cheered for Marissa and Tevita and Latrisha in the half-marathon. The marathoners, Dave and Dan, started at the same time but split to finish the 26.2-mile course after the 11-mile mark. The half marathoners finished before it got too hot out, but the heat didn't help Dan or Dave. They weren't too pleased with their times, but I think everyone was happy to be done!
And here we are posing afterward: Tevita, Marissa, me, Dave, Latrisha, Janis, and Dan. TEAM MARS!

Getting back to Boston was almost as crazy as getting to Ohio. The Chicago airport was still dysfunctional, so my flight was cancelled and I was carted off to another airline to get back to Boston. I think the calmest part of my weekend was actually running the half-marathon. 

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