Beautiful day for a race. Cool temps. As I walked into Mikey’s house he commented on my “carefully chosen marathon shoes” which were dirty. I had just picked up one of my pairs of Saucony road shoes and brought them.
After listening to some cool Daft Punk in the car, we started for the start line. Mikey got felt up by Rob but I got nothin’. Sigh. I went to stand in the potty lines, but they were too long, and I got back to the 430 pace area so as not to lose Mike. Here we met up with Brett,Red and Bob. Kurt was there, gave me a quick hug, then shot off toward a faster group.
Mike and I had goals. First goal was to see Tony the Tiger come back across the Y Bridge. I told Mike he would be shirtless, and Mike said no-first bet. Yep, we saw Tony and yelled wildly for him. I also got to see Wendy, my elite runner neighbor, as she headed back across the bridge too!
Seeing as I hadn’t made it to the potty before race, I told Mike I wanted to stop at the second group, but it was too crowded. But we lucked into seeing the lovely Debi, who was back from her broken leg, looking good out there!
We headed back into the city of Akron, and the second water stop was out of water, to our surprise, and to many others dismay. Wow, there must be many more runners out there. The next two water stops were rather sparse, but after that, everything was fine.
Mike and I were having a great time, talking about everything, still running a nice slow race. The course quiets down after the 1/2 marathoners peel off at around the 10 mile or so mark, and we hit the flat towpath, very humid.
Where we find food
The Summa Health folks have the water stop at around mile 13. Mike spots blueberry muffins and asks we can have one. Yes! Real food! Solid food! We slow down to walk and stuff our faces with our muffins. Ok, I am much happier! Running through the woods, eating!
I’m glad Mike was with me. My hamstrings were getting very tight, and I knew I would have been even slower had Mike not been with me.
We turned onto the Sand Run portion of the race, and were so involved in talking that we were up the section, and I was “oh, we’re at the top already.”
Around this area, we start encouraging runners that we overheard were running their first marathon. Mike was very good about telling them what was upcoming on the course. Mike kept talking about Garmin hill, and I finally remembered it. Oh geez, it’s only about 20 feet long!
Probably the hardest section for me was the concrete section through the “Neighborhoods” because the concrete sucks all energy out of my legs. But the folks who have persevered through partying for 4+ hours and still yelling encouragement helps. I had started yelling “you can do it”!! around mile 2 or so. And a couple times I had to yell back to people “Yes, I can do, I will finish!!!”
We had just passed out of Stan Hywet hall, when Mike remarked we had not heard the infamous “you’re almost there” yet. A traffic control person (some 20 feet away) must have had awesome hearing, because he bellows out after us “Hey,you’re almost there!!!!” and just cracked us up!
Elizabeth comes running toward us around this point. She’s finished the race, pacing her group in, and now she’s turned around, and running back to pace her cousin Noreen in! Man, Elizabeth is a bundle of energy out there!
We caught another first-timer running along this street, and tried to pull her along with us. This street is notoriously longer than it seems, and I finally saw the light for West Market Street, and yelled out to Mike. At least 4 others around us said “What’s West Market Street” and we were happy to give them the news that it is the left turn for the almost two mile downhill to the finish.
We turn onto Main Street, and Mike coaxes a relay runner to break into a jog with us, and she manages a few blocks closer to the finish.
We hit the finish line in a blistering 5.30~~hey, plenty of time to clain our free pair of Brooks running shoes!!
Special mention: Our friend Tony the Tiger set a new course record for the masters in 2.56.34!! Nicely done Tony!!!