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Columbus Winter Run Race Report (Read 565 times)

eshep


    I ran a PR in the Columbus Winter Run yesterday! It was, however, my first 15-miler so I would have PR’d if I had walked it. Less than 200 people turned out to run in the worst weather conditions that I have raced in. It was 24 degrees with 20-30 mph winds, a driving snow at the start, and a wind chill of 12 or 13 depending on the source. Everyone stayed huddled in the high school cafeteria where the race was held until minutes before the start. As we filed out to the starting line, a wind gust blew the start/finish banner over, race officials scrambled to put it back up, and the guy next to me turned to me and said, “That’s not a good omen.” At the start line, two crazy people were in shorts, which had everyone talking about them. Everyone else was bundled up in multiple layers of clothing. Once the race officials got the start line resituated and things got under way, the race started out well for me despite the weather conditions. We were running with the wind at our backs and I was not cold at all. My goal was to break 2:00:00 so I wanted to run the first half at around an 8:00/mile pace and then see what I could do over the second half focusing especially on the last 3 miles on the advice of Mikeymike. My adrenaline was pumping a little too hard though and my first mile was 7:27 so I backed off a little so that I didn’t end up dying at the end. I felt really comfortable at a 7:50 pace so I settled in there. The snow eased up after about three or four miles and, not thinking about the fact that we were running an out and back course with the wind on the way out, I began thinking that I might do much better than planned. A little before the 7 mile mark, the police car guiding the leader appeared up ahead. As it turns out, the leader was one of the guys in shorts. He was all by himself out front so I guess he knew what he was doing. I ran almost another 5 minutes before the second place runner appeared. It was the other guy in shorts. And then came a steady stream of runners following behind him. I hit the turn around at 58:20 and immediately ran into a wall. We were running directly into the 20+ mph wind. I tried to pick up the pace as planned but, even though I was running harder, was going nowhere. From the turn around to the 12 mile mark, we went back through several rolling hills, which had not been bad at all with the wind. Into the heavy winds, they were absolutely brutal. We were out on country roads so there were no trees to break the wind and the wind just whipped across the empty fields. The gusts felt like they brought me to a complete stop at times. My face was numb and my eyes wouldn’t focus because they kept watering and then the tears would freeze up. At the next aid station, I spilled water on the front of my jacket and it turned to ice within a half mile. To make things worse, no one else was around me. All of the good runners had pulled away and all of the slower runners were farther back. I couldn’t see anyone in either direction. Needless to say, it was really tough going without someone else around for motivation. I turned in five consecutive really slow mile times (8:40s) over that stretch. I was getting pretty discouraged because my goal time was way out of reach and I still had a ways to go when I could see someone up ahead. Although it was just a dark figure in the distance, I could tell he or she was hurting and knew I wasn’t the only person struggling with the difficult conditions. I just focused on that figure ahead and ran. I ended up catching the guy a little past 12 miles and then could see some more runners up ahead so went after them. I am usually the one being passed at the end of races but ended up passing 10 people from the 12 mile mark to the finish yesterday and was only passed by one (one of the guys I passed got a second wind and came back to finish directly in front of me). Thanks for the pace advice Mikeymike. It sure does pay to start off slow and be strong at the end. It is a tremendous psychological boost every time you catch and pass someone in the latter stages of a race. I ended up finishing 49th overall with a pretty slow time of 2:03:16 and my final 7.5 miles were really awful but, given the conditions, I am satisfied. According to my forerunner, I actually ran 15.2 miles and I felt really strong at the end (my final two miles were both in the 7:50s into the wind). In talking to other runners afterwards, they all said that they lost 30-40 seconds per mile over the last 7.5 miles because of the wind. My brother (who finished 14th overall with a 1:46:30) said that he was planning to push it hard for the second 7.5 but also ended up losing over 6 minutes over the 7.5 mile stretch into the wind. The winner was the guy in shorts who blew everyone else away with an unbelievable time for the conditions: 1:23:59 (5:36/mile). In a distant 2nd place was the other crazy guy in shorts at 1:28:59. In all, it was a well-organized race. The Columbus Running Company did a good job of securing a warm place for the runners to gather before and after the race and they provided great hot soup and other goodies afterwards. I would recommend the run to others as long as they check the weather forecast before the race. Eric
    Mile Collector


    Abs of Flabs

      Eric, that was a darn good race report. I felt like I was there behind you running in the winds. That was a tough race, especially because you didn't have anyone to help you block the wind. Congrats on finishing strong!
      eshep


        Thanks, mile collector! I don't think I will be complaining about race conditions in the near future and I will certainly train harder so that I can stick with other other runners in case the wind is a factor.
          Nice job! Way to finish strong. As a result, you probably suffered a lot less than most of the people you passed in those last few miles. Long winter races on hilly terrain are great mental training for later. You sort of feel like a crazy person when you're out doing it. But if you can race in that, you can race in anything. Sounds like a race we have in New England--which I've run once and Mile Collector has run a few times--a VERY hilly 16-miler in Derry, New Hampshire in January.

          Runners run.

          eshep


            Thanks, Mikeymike! I agree. I definitely thought "What in the world am I doing out here?" during miles 7.5-12 but I was actually loving it over the last 3 miles. I didn't really think about the cold or the wind because I was focused on catching the people in front of me. Now, I am even more motivated to train because of the way I finished and for once am not sore the day after. I think this was a great choice in preparing for my HM in April. Thanks again!
            Mile Collector


            Abs of Flabs

              Back in 2004, I was training for my first marathon and was told that I have to do Derry. Supposedly, the RD just found the steepest hills in the area, strung them together and called it a race. I remember that race fondly, but wasn't the case back then. It was 3 F out (not counting windchill). Just like what Eric had described, we all huddled in the gym. There were several jugs of Vaseline being passed around and everyone took a good goop of it. The cups along the way turned into ice. There were talks in the crowd that there was a bare foot runner amongst us, and he had to wear socks because it was so cold. As Mike said, it sucked while you're running it, but nothing beats the accomplishment you feel afterwards.
              eshep


                I agree, although I don't think I would have handled 3 degrees as well as I did 24.
                  Good report and well done to you for finishing so strong in those conditions. We have had some fairly fierce winds here of late and it is the one weather condition I dislike running in. Couple that with your wind chill and I can appreciate how tough that must have been. Respect!

                  2013

                  3000 miles

                  Sub 19:00 for 5K  05-03-13 Clee Prom 5K - 19:00:66 that was bloody close!

                  Sub-40:00 for 10K 17-03-13 Gainsborough 10K - 39:43

                  Sub 88:00 for HM

                   

                    I ran a PR in the Columbus Winter Run yesterday! It was, however, my first 15-miler so I would have PR’d if I had walked it.
                    Nice job, Eric! I'm sure you were too cold to notice or remember, but I was the volunteer standing at the 7.5 mile turnaround cone for that race last weekend. I can definitely vouch for your description of the conditions. Every single runner that turned around at that cone seemed to hit a wall and lost whatever smile was on their face as soon as that cold wind blasted them in the face. It was probably almost as painful to be standing and facing that wind until the last competitor (an 85 year old racewalker) came by close to 2 hours into the race. I give you a tremendous amount of credit for running that race and finishing strong despite the 2nd half conditions! Even Matt, the guy that tied for 2nd, was telling me how much more difficult the second half of that race had been. Any chance that you'll be looking to brave the elements again this coming Saturday in the Columbus Running Company's Fantastic Frigid 5k? If so, I'll see you there... only this time I'll be running with you in the freezing cold. The forecast calls for a high in the teens and a temperature in the negatives with the wind chill. Chris
                    eshep


                      Haven't read this thread for a couple of days. Thanks Chris UK! Really enjoyed your video and thread on the 50 miler. I know I couldn't go 50 miles right now. That is an amazing accomplishment!
                      eshep


                        Thanks also Chris from the Columbus WR! I actually do remember you if you were the guy standing by yourself at the turnaround because I felt sorry for you standing out in the cold alone. And, that was before I was cold. I won't be running this weekend. I have been taking it easy this week with some slow runs so that I can get back into quality training mode. I was actually training for the Columbus Distance Classic Half Marathon when I just happened to find out about the Winter Run two weeks before the race. I thought it would make me stronger for the HM so I did it even though I had not trained for or raced that distance. Good luck on the 5k! It will be cold. I just looked at the forecast-high of 12 with winds of 17 mph. Doesn't sound like fun to me. Let us know how it goes. Also, just found out that the guy in shorts who won the Winter Run was Derrick Butler, who ran cross country for OSU, was the Ohio cross country runner of the year in 2002, won the Columbus Marathon in 2005, and set a new record for the US Air Force HM in September with a 1:09.
                          That was definitely me at the turnaround. It wasn't too bad standing out there by myself until all the runners had passed and I had to wait for the one race walker to come by about 20 minutes later. I never heard of the guy that won the WR but those are some pretty impressive accomplishments. That explains why he smoked everyone! Thanks for the well wishes for tomorrow's 5k. I'm definitely a bit nervous about how it's gonna turn out. I've never run a race in weather that cold before. I even went out and bought some gear that I swore I'd never buy (like spandex tights). Good luck with your training for the Columbus Distance Classic. I may be running in that as well. Haven't decided yet. Chris