My favorite part about the 2012 Columbus Marathon is that I’m not running in it.
I’ve run it twice before, in 2010 and 2011, but this year I decided to mix things up and ran in the Oct. 7 Chicago Marathon instead. About a week-and-a-half after the race, my legs have stopped feeling like jelly and I can walk without issue.
Feeling much better than I was last week, I’m looking forward to watching my Dad and some friends run this Sunday. However, the memories of last week’s race have lingered, and inspired me to offer some advice to my fellow runners.
When it comes to the race in Columbus, I would suggest starting out slow. The morning of the race is expected to be chilly, and straining a hamstring in mile four won’t do you any favors. While I’m on the topic of temperature, I would suggest that everyone bring gloves. In Chicago, it was about 45 degrees when the race started, and didn’t get more than 10 degrees warmer. Throughout the race, when I saw friends on the sidelines cheering, I couldn’t even move my hand or separate my fingers to wave to them. Rough.
My next suggestion is an obvious one: carb up. The week before my marathon, I didn’t carb up like I had in previous years, unless you consider eating cookies, popcorn and pizza “carbing up.” Eat well and drink lots of water during the next few days. You’ll be glad you did.
If you’re running the half marathon, you’re lucky. The majority of the race will be in the heart of downtown Columbus where you will be surrounded by cheering fans. The marathon runners aren’t so lucky: you’ll be routed out to West Campus – and I don’t mean Lincoln and Morrill Towers, I mean the agricultural campus and beyond. Be prepared for miles of pavement and a decline in the support system you felt downtown. I’ll warn you now, almost no one will be out between miles 19 and 24, just where you will want them the most. I don’t want to discourage anyone, but you’ve been warned. Try to encourage friends and family to venture out there to cheer you on.
The race course is pretty flat overall so there will be a lot of people starting out fast. I would definitely say if you’re running the full marathon and feel like you keep getting passed by other runners, check their race bibs as they run by. Most of the runners are registered for the half marathon, so don’t worry about them. They might be flying by, but you’re running twice as far – an important detail.
I will leave you all with a piece of advice from our good pal Henry Ford that I have always found helpful: “If you think you can do it, or you think you can’t do it, you are right.”
Attitude is everything, and I’ll see you from the sidelines.