April 6, 2014
I signed up for this race back on December 31st and mailed in my entry form (to avoid those annoying surcharges!) and it was only $25. I wasn’t really sure where the heck Xenia, OH was but MapQuest said that it was only a 2 1/2 hours away…and that was close enough.
After completing the Hoosier Half Marathon (read about that HERE), I came home, showered and rested for a little bit but then needed to get things ready for my drive to Ohio.
Originally I was going to drive over race morning but since I paid so little for the entry, I went ahead and “splurged” on a hotel room. I got lucky and was able to get a room at the Xenia Ramada which was less than a mile away from the race start line.
I must say that it felt like a LONG drive and I’m glad I was getting there the night before instead of that morning.
The hotel was a little rundown but I had a room on the end and no room across from me so that was a bonus. It had a refrigerator, microwave and a coffee maker and with tax, I only paid $112 (and some change). It served its purpose.
I did the typical “slept on and off” throughout the night and got up at 5:45AM. I was happy to have hot water for my shower because when I went to wash my face before going to bed, it never even got warm.
Although the start / finish line was within walking distance, I drove over because I wasn’t sure:
- how long this half marathon would take me since it was part 2 of my first ever back-to-back,
- how long I would stay AFTER the race since they were going to be providing food for us
- how I would feel.
The weather was going to start out chilly but warm up. I went ahead and put on my ear-warmer headband and gloves. I did have to scrape a thin layer of frost off my windshield. There were times during the race I felt over-dressed but mostly I think I had the right “mix” on.
There seemed to be plenty of parking and I got a spot directly across from the YMCA.
Getting my bib and shirt was a breeze and once I had them I went back to my car to change into the event shirt (BRIGHT ORANGE!) and put the timing chip on my shoe. Then it was the never ending question of “should I get in line to pee before the race or just hold it?” I decided to go back in and use the restroom. The line was forever long and it was already 7:55ish but there were tons of people still getting there packets. I thought to myself, “Well this race won’t be starting on time.” I later discovered that when I read that packet pickup was from 7:00AM until 8:00AM race morning, that did NOT mean that the race started at 8:00AM. It was scheduled to start at 8:30AM. Chatted with some “local” ladies that had done this race before but they were doing the marathon. Two of them had even done Boston.
They eventually made the announcement for all runners to go to the starting line. A group (kind of sounded like kids) sang the National Anthem and then they shot off the starting gun…and we didn’t move. After about a minute, finally everyone proceeded forward. I’m still not sure what the issue was. The course starts out going through some neighborhoods, back through “town” and then gets on a paved trail / bike path that I think used to be an old railroad route. It reminded me of running up in Muncie, IN. When standing in line at the restrooms, the girls said it was the most boring course ever but I didn’t really think it was that bad.
I was surprised to catch - out of the corner of my eye - a drone flying above us when we were running through the neighborhood! It caught me off guard.
The Marathon and Half Marathon split around the 7.5 mile marker. The half would then do less than a mile and a half out, turn around and then pick the main trail back up. At some point though, the marathoners would take this loop as well but would “turn around” before the half marathon turn around marker. I’d never seen such a thing.
Although I wouldn’t say the course was boring, there weren't many things to take pictures of. But I did see this guy (I think I’ve read about him on some other blogs before):
The leader of the half marathon passed me at when I was at the 5.5 mile marker and he was flying! There wasn’t another runner behind him for about 1/4 of a mile. I think that would have put him between the 10 & 11 mile markers.
I was surprised that at the start of the race my legs felt pretty good, especially after having done a hilly half marathon the day before. I did have some random right ankle pain at the very beginning but it went away quickly. However, I really started feeling fatigued around mile 10 and then the ankle pain returned as well. It was the same pain that I experienced during the Santa Hustle so I don’t know if my gait was off or what. I certainly wasn’t as bundled up as I was in THAT race which is what I thought caused it then. And at one point, I looked at my watch and thought I had less than a mile to go but I was only in the 11th mile not the 12th. What the heck? I’ve never spaced it like that before.
Coming back into town, I saw the group that was doing the The One Run for Boston Relay Across America. From the ORRRC website:
One Run for Boston:
The One Run for Boston Relay Across America is scheduled to pass by during the ORRRC marathon. Leg 243 of the relay, run by Aneta Zappettella, will go from Beavercreek to Xenia that morning. Leg 244, run by Josh Mitzen, is due to run along the marathon/half marathon course from Xenia to Cederville, staring at 11am. Marathon and half marathon runners that are on the course at 11am may see Josh and are encouraged to cheer him on. The relay is raising money for the OneFund for the bombing vicitms. You can find out more at www.onerunforboston.org.
The finish line was pretty basic but there were lots of people cheering runners on. I got my medal and then looked around for an appropriate place to take my “finishers photo” and the YMCA sign was the best I could find.
You can’t tell from this picture but I had to climb up on that brick wall. Not as easy to do after 13.1 miles and 13.1 the day before. I noticed that my medal ribbon had some “dirt” on it so I took it back and exchanged it for another.
I went to my car to drop some of my stuff off and then went in to check out the food. They offered 3 types of soup: chili, chicken and noodle and cheese & broccoli. Those were all homemade and the chicken & noodle was delicious. Then there were some fruit options and THEN…an assortment of homemade cookies. I think I heard angels sing! Needless to say, I took my fair share and then some!
Back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the drive home. I asked for an extended checkout and could stay until 1:00PM. Normal checkout was noon and I really only needed an extra 30 minutes but it was nice not to be rushed.
I doubt that I will ever do this race again but I certainly would recommend it to everyone. For $25 you get quite a bit. Showers are available at the Y for runners to use but you needed to bring your own towel.
Thanks Xenia, OH. It was pretty good.