Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Columbus Marathon Recap!

It’s race morning!! I woke up around 4am to get ready for the race. I had a really calm morning. Ate some dry cereal and watched the news while waiting for the time to leave for the race. It had gotten a bit chilly outside, and I was very excited about my choice to bring throw away gloves!

Around 5:30am we made our way downtown. Joe told me he would see me around mile four then mile eight. He would try to get to the horseshoe, but wasn’t making any promises. We walked around the area to get a feel of where we would be meeting.

Gloria and I took a last trip around the area and then we entered the athlete area. Gloria was in corral D and I was in B so we said our goodbyes and good lucks, and then it was just me and my thoughts. It was a little before 6:30 and the corrals were to close at 7am. They had portable heaters out and I make sure I stayed in front of one as long as I could! About ten minutes before 7am I made my way to the corral. I noticed right next to my corral was a line of port-o-potties with no lines! Why not? I have time!

I entered back to corral B and noticed the corrals never closed. The race start time was 7:30am and I was just trying to stay warm. All of a sudden, it was time for the national anthem! Fireworks went off, the wheelchairs were off and I was ready to go! “Born To Run” was blaring and we were moving!

As the race started we saw our first sign about our mile one patient champion. The sign was located on the side of the street that the champion would be located at. I always run on the right side of the road, and I made it my mission to high five as many of those kids as I could. Throughout the mile there were signs up about each of the champions, and reading them really made the time go by faster.

Small truth here, I didn’t really look at my watch for the first half of the marathon. I wanted to just run by feel and cheer on as many people as I could.

Close to mile three I saw a man on a bike. He was with one of the wheelchair athletes. His name was on the back of his chair, Brad. We all cheered him on. He ended up being around me for the next four miles or so.

Mile four is where I saw Joe. I told him I started about four minutes behind for the clock time. Well, I just screamed out “FOUR!” and he knew exactly what I was talking about. It was around this time we could see the leaders coming up to mile seven. We all cheered them on. It was really cool to see!

Miles five through the 10K were through a really pretty neighborhood. People were out on the front lawns cheering us on and taking photos. It was around this time I ditched the gloves. I was feeling really good! When I got to the 10K mat, I realized my watch was off by about .2. Really not that bad for a marathon!

Mile 1: 9:33    Mile 2: 9:09    Mile 3: 9:09    Mile 4: 9:13    Mile 5: 9:14    Mile 6: 9:10   10K Split: 58:33

Mile seven was all uphill. I wasn’t complaining. I looked over to the right and there were the charity walkers on the half marathon course. You couldn’t help but cheer for them! We turned down what felt like a side street when I saw a proposal sign! Luckily, Joe saw it too and took a picture! 

I saw Joe not too far down the road and he screamed to me that I was on 4:05 pace at mile eight. I knew I wouldn’t see him again, but it was nice to see him twice. As we continued through a park, I could see runners ahead of me running on an overpass, the hospital was coming up. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital is huge! The amazing amount of support through this mile was so moving! This was around mile 10, time for me to fill up my water bottle. The most wonderful volunteers had water cups ready for runners filling up bottles! I thanked the woman, put a crushed piece of a nuun tab in my water and continued on my way.

Mile 11 was the angel mile. The entire mile was filled with families who have had children treated at the hospital that were no longer with us. I never thought I could be so moved in my life. I applauded the entire mile for them. The entire mile was uphill and I didn’t even care. Around mile 12.5 I saw the split for the half marathon. I kept my pace and ignored all the people turning off. My journey was continuing north.

Mile 7: 9:30   Mile 8: 9:12   Mile 9: 8:59   Mile 10: 9:12   Mile 11: 9:26  Mile 12: 9:20  Mile 13: 9:09  13.1 Split: 2:02.

At mile 14 I did something I never EVER do in a race, I used the bathroom. There were no lines and I just really needed to go. In and out in under 20 seconds! I think that might be a record! Mile 15 was pretty dead, but I could see Ohio State in the distance. I was really excited to get to run on the horseshoe! As I was getting closer to campus, I felt very alone. People ahead of me and people behind, but no one was with me. I feel so amazing I can barely believe it. I start cheering with the crowds and fist pumping with the DJ’s. As I got to the horseshoe I actually said, “Wow this is awesome” out loud. Some guy started an O-H-I-O chant, and I made sure I chanted along. The stadium was amazing. I came out of the tunnel and just looked around.

As soon as we were there, we were out. We made our way outside of campus to a toe path through a cornfield. This mile was the encore mile for the kids who have been patient champions in the past. There were funny signs and distractions along the way. They all looked to be having a great time. In mile 19 we were through another neighborhood. Again, people were out having parties and generously sharing their beer. Yes, I took one and yes it was amazing. Right before mile 20, I had to fill up my water bottle again. These volunteers were not as prepared to fill up a water bottle, but three nice boys took the time to fill up my bottle. I lost some time but I didn’t mind.

Mile 14: 9:36   Mile 15: 9:02   Mile 16: 9:11   Mile 17: 9:01   Mile 18: 9:19   Mile 19: 9:52   Mile 20:10:17   20 mile Split: 3:09.

At this point, I know I am going to PR. I took a slight sigh of relief and continued on the journey. 

There are more people out at this point in the course, and I think it started to go downhill. I never really noticed the down. Around mile 22 I was praying for someone to be handing out candy. I looked to my right and there was a girl handing out jolly ranchers! This must really be my day! Mile 23 was a brick road. NOT FUN! I really thought I was going to fall flat on my face. I took is slow so I didn’t fall. When I hit the 24 mile mark, I really didn’t want to be out there anymore. I walked and I was alright with it. I was still pretty much by myself so I filled up my water bottle, took another energy chew and then started running again. It was my slowest mile and I didn’t care. Right before mile 25 was the final hill and I just didn’t want to run up another hill, so I walked. I wasn’t cramping, I felt really good I just didn’t feel like it!

At the 25 mile mark I was running right next to a guy and I told him I was going to stay with him until the finish. He told me he wasn’t going to PR so he didn’t mind. I said I was going to and he got all excited. He talked to me the final mile or so, asking about where my other races were and whatnot. I had guessed I was going to PR by 15 minutes and he was really excited for me. We rounded the turn back to the finish line and the crowd is growing. I can hear the PA announcer. 

The finish was up a hill. Ugh, really! I could see a woman in front of my cramping up so bad they had a wheelchair waiting for her. My new friend is telling me we are almost done and all I could do was smile. When I crossed that finish line all I could do was hug my new stranger friend. I also hugged the lady that gave me my medal, as tradition and then my new friend was gone. I finally looked at my watch and I saw 4:14!!! I just broke my PR my 15 minutes!!

Mile 21: 9:47   Mile 22: 10:07   Mile 23: 10:03   Mile 24: 11:02   Mile 25: 10:47   Mile 26: 10:18   26.2: 4:14.

I went back to the meeting area to meet Joe and Gloria and all I could say to them was “I get to ring that @#$&ing PR gong!” Gloria ended up breaking her half marathon PR by 15 minutes as well!

I highly recommend this race. The hills were barely noticeable, the crowd support was amazing and getting to see all the patient champions along the way really let you know you were helping others through your journey! I would love to go back some day and run the half!


  1. Fantastic! I am glad that you were more mentally coherent than me during the last 10K. I knew that cobblestone path was in there, but definitely could not recall the mileage there.
    So proud of you for PR-ing!!!

  2. CONGRATS on a fantastic race and a huge PR!! I love the video and PR Gong - that had to feel awesome hitting it!

  3. Congrats on your huge PR! I am really looking forward to this race next year!

  4. Steffany Smith RubelOctober 21, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    Thanks Emily!! It really was a great race, a lot easier than Akron! You will love it!

  5. Steffany Smith RubelOctober 21, 2014 at 5:56 PM

    He was the nicest person! So happy I had him with me! Thank you for all the love and support Tara! I cannot wait for you to finish your first full!!

  6. Steffany Smith RubelOctober 21, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    Thanks Amanda! It was the best feeling in the world!

  7. Steffany Smith RubelOctober 21, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    Thank you Emily! I was actually a lot better mentally than my first two marathons. It definitely reflected in my time! Congrats to you as well!!

  8. Congrats on the monster PR Steff! I agree that race is so well done and the crowds are amazing. When I ran it, geez back in 2009 already, we didn't get to run inside the Horseshoe but the finish was a massive downhill. Ha!

  9. Yay, so happy for you! Congrats again!

  10. Steffany Smith RubelOctober 23, 2014 at 7:24 AM

    Thank you Kristy!!!