I don't even know where to start with the race review, so I'll start at the beginning.. Good idea, huh?
The day started with a wake-up call at 4:45am. As early as this sounds, I get up at that time everyday anyway so it wasn't a big deal to me. Breakfast consisted of a bottle of Gatorade/Powerade and a chocolate chip bagel with cream cheese. We slowly woke up and got dressed and ready for the 7am start.
As we walked from our hotel, it was foggy and cool. There was a slight mist from the fog and the lake. We dropped our bags off at the bag check in Cleveland Browns stadium and headed out to the start. I said goodbye and good luck to Hubby and our friend, and headed back towards my pace goal markers. I had figured I wanted to stay close to the 5-hour marathon runners since I wanted to do a 2:30 half. There were so many people that I couldn't even get into the coral until well after the start. I decided to wait until the pace groups passed in front of me instead of going backwards to them. I got impatient waiting for the right group, so when the 4:45 marathoners came up, I got onto the pavement and started heading towards the starting line. Seven minutes after the actual start of the race, I crossed the starting line.
I was amazed at how many people were running this race. I knew there were thousands registered, but to see the sea of people ahead of me and behind me was amazing. I had decided not to take my camera with me but I wish I did just to show people how amazing it was. I'm an emotional person, so I got choked up--choked up at the start, when I finally crossed the starting line, when I saw the mass number of people...
I was taking it all in... the people, all the fun and different things on the back of people's shirts, the signs. We got to the water stop at mile 2 and I couldn't believe the number of people that were stopping for potty breaks already. The port-a-potties were all full so the men took it upon themselves to find an open tree. Just something I found humorous... Because of all the things going on, I never once thought about my running. I was in a rhythm and never thought about being in pain or hurting at all. I'm used to running alone and noticing every step and minor pains. I was so distracted taking in my surroundings that I never had that problem.
I saw my father-in-law around mile 11.75. Knowing I was so close to the finish, I got a second wind and started to speed up a little. Unfortunately, the next mile was mostly uphill--over the Carnegie Bridge and up the hill to Tower City. I powered through that and kept the momentum going. The last half mile was downhill towards Cleveland Browns Stadium and I picked up the pace again into the finishing coral. Man.... that was awesome!!!! Finishing time--2:27:03! Words cannot describe how I felt, and still feel.