Lessons from Columbus

| October 26, 2012

by: Amber Cable (newsletter 10/31/12)

My goal for Columbus was for it to be my “redeeming” race: Ultimately, to redeem my experience at Pittsburgh. (I had MS issues flare up due to nerves, ran most of the race nauseated, finished with a much slower time than I knew that I was realistically capable of, and spent the afternoon hunched over with heat exhaustion) Despite all of my difficulties, all I could “see” was my finishing time, and it was yet another reminder of how slow I was.
I’ve never been an athlete, and am the least competitive person I know. But focusing on this was draining the new love I found in running last year. I hoped to find it again with Columbus. So I chose a flat course, away from the pressures of home, with a dear friend, and much cooler weather. I trained with Mojo’s Buffalo Creek Training group, hoping that I might be able to keep up with some of them for the long runs. It was a very different view of training, with mostly tempo runs, and running a lot more often, with less cross training. I felt like focusing solely on my running really helped me to run better (and faster), and the fun started trickling back in. I stopped worrying about achieving a certain pace for the long runs, and just spent my time enjoying the actual experience. My husband, Scott, recently started increasing his long run miles, so I was able to run some of my miles with him- and supporting him (as well as some other new-to-running friends) is truly where my love for running lies. Not that achieving a PR isn’t exciting, but that’s not where my heart is.

Race morning, my nerves are usually through the roof, but for some reason, Sunday morning they were relatively under control. I was pretty excited because I actually got put in Corral “D” (there was A-F), and it felt so good not being in the “last” group to start! I knew that my projected time “just” made it into the D category, so, honestly, I anticipated being the last in that corral to finish, and I was okay with that. (I finished BEFORE 151 of them!) At 7:30am, it was definitely not the 65 degrees I prepared my clothing for… it was closer to 40. Not bad for running, but it was still pretty cold for a skirt and short sleeves! (Thank goodness for Jenn’s Mojo arm warmers!) The beginning of the race was very exciting with loud music and FIREWORKS! There were sparks going up from each side of the starting line as we went through, it was quite a send-off!

The race route was fairly flat (with the exception of the 4 mile grade back into town, and a hill around mile 12, ugh!). It started in the city, ran out through a beautiful neighborhood, and around many parks. Each mile was dedicated to a child from the city’s Children’s Hospital- and they actually had a lot of them sitting at the mile markers!! Others were being pushed in strollers through the race! It was so motivating! With 18,000 runners and walkers, it was very crowded, but well organized. I was running arm and arm with others until mile 6, when I finally got a little breathing room! I had a lot of cramping and side stitch issues that I don’t typically deal with. I ran through them as much as I could, but I did have to walk a lot to get them to go away.

Scott and the girls were waiting for me outside the hotel at mile 11.5 to cheer me on for the final stretch! It was so nice that he didn’t have to drag them down through the crowds! The finish line was lined with cheering fans- one in particular that kept me going, shouting, “Come on Amber, you’re thiiiiiiis close! You can do it!!!” And I did!

I didn’t make my PR, but I did make my Plan B time goal. I’m trying not to put my focus on that anymore. Comparing myself to others in a group full of elite athletes is just nuts (but very hard not to do). So compared to the person I was, I did amazing. I completed my third half marathon! I found that my true love in running is supporting those around me, and inspiring others in my position to step out and try something they never have before. To help pull them through races, to give advice based on my own experiences and struggles, to show them they really can run, even if it seemed like an impossibility in their life—I did it!

I learned that my “crowd claustrophobia” is probably going to prevent me from PR’ing in a large race like Pittsburgh or Columbus or New Orleans. But that’s okay. There are lessons to be learned in each, and ways to use them to grow my love for running, rather than adding to expectations that only lead to stress. If you are looking for my time, it’s easy enough to look up. But my “win” is finishing, and learning to enjoy the story, not just a happy ending.

Category: 2012, Team Blog

Comments are closed.