To many runners, the thought of running a 1-mile loop marathon course in an industrial park in the middle of winter would be pure torture. But, the idea sounded intriguing, especially since it would be a good simulation of the 24-hour race in Italy coming up in May (minus the freezing temperatures).
I woke up the morning of the race greeted by snow flurries. Since I was driving from Cleveland, I hoped the weather would warm up the further "south" I drove on I-71. By race time in Dublin, Ohio, I think the temperature had improved to a balmy 26 degrees. I was very happy that I had chosen to wear my CW-X tights and long-sleeved top as well as my cold weather Drymax socks. I was set for the chilly run.
As there was a 5K, 10k and half-marathon on the same course as the marathon, the marathon and 10K started a 10th of a mile behind the half-marathon and 5K to ease the congestion. The raced started promptly at 8:00 a.m. The loop course was laid out pretty well. There were no sharp turns. There was some crowding initially but people spread out quickly and as the 5K and 10K runners dropped off there was usually no problem getting the inside lane of the course. The only complaint I had were the lumpy timing mats that I crossed every mile. I kept thinking I would trip on the mat and slowed down crossing it to be extra careful.
With all the different races going on, people were constantly passing me. I think this helped to make me run faster too. By the half-way point, my time was 1:48. I was OK with that. I was just using this as a training run and was happy with any time under 4 hours.
As the laps added up, however, I realized that I would actually have a decent time. I was consistently hitting 8:15 splits and I wasn't getting tired. The temperature only climbed to about 32 degrees by the end of the race. The sun was out on one side of the course and was hidden by buildings on the other side of the course. I was always happy when I hit the sunny side!
I had been keeping track of my laps on my watch which was a good thing because there wasn't alot of information as to which lap you were on. The last time I received any information was when I had just finished lap 22. When I crossed the mat for what I believed was the 26th time (and the end of the race), I had to stop and verify this with the timers as I didn't want to stop unless I was really done. I was a little bit in disbelief as my finish time was 3:36.43, good for first place in the 40-49 age group and I was 5th woman overall. I haven't had this fast a time in probably the last ten years. Bottom line is that this course definitely give you the potential to run FAST!!