Columbus Distance Classic, Ohio-6th state

This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Ohio was my 6th state.

When I ran the Columbus Distance Classic in 2006 it was on April Fool’s Day, which I thought was ironic given my circumstances, which I will get to in a bit. The race was 13 months after my previous half marathon Valley of the Sun Marathon and Half Marathon, Arizona-5th state but a little over 6 months since I gave birth. I had run through about 7 1/2 months of my pregnancy but once it became too uncomfortable because of the pressure on my bladder, I switched to the elliptical trainer for the duration of my pregnancy. At my post-delivery 6 week checkup with my doctor I was given the go-ahead to run again, and I was thrilled to be running after having some time away from it.

Then I discovered all of the little ways a woman’s body changes during pregnancy, some of which don’t go away once you give birth. For instance, my hips were incredibly tight and that probably led me to develop Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS), which consists of inflammation and tightness along the outside of your thigh from your hip to your knee. Most people feel pain along the outside of their knee after they’ve been running a few miles or so. My knee pain didn’t start until I had built up to running 5 or 6 miles, then it flared up with a vengeance. I tried to run through the pain but ultimately would end up hobbling back home.

I had started seeing a massage therapist before I had gotten pregnant but she had moved out of the area so now I had to find another one to help me deal with my ITBS. Fortunately I found a wonderful therapist who was able to work on my leg but unfortunately not in time for the half marathon I had signed up for.

The morning of the Columbus Distance Classic, I limped to the start (Happy April Fool’s Day to me but the joke was on me). Limping to the start of a half marathon is certainly not something I would recommend anyone do, but I was determined to run, walk, crawl, or do a combination of all three to finish this race.

The course description stated that we would be running past the Ohio State University football field, but we literally ran past the closed off outside without so much as a glimpse inside so it could have been any other college football stadium for as much as I saw of it. The course was about as boring and uneventful as they come for a race. I would pay dearly for running this race with an injury as well, as it took me quite some time until I was walking without a limp and even longer until I could run without pain.

I didn’t like anything about this race. It was too cold at the start and an overcast dreary day (although overcast is good for racing) but the worst part was the complete lack of scenery along the course. There was not a single thing about this race that was exceptional or even what I might call “pretty good.” It was also difficult to find my family (some of my extended family even came for this race) at the finish because of the confusing setup.

My finish time for the Columbus Distance Classic was 2:06:39.

Although there are tons of fun things to do in Columbus, I only went there for the half marathon and to see friends and family so I didn’t do any of the touristy things.  There is a Botanical Garden that looks really nice, the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens and I’ve heard the Center of Science and Industry is a fantastic science museum. If I ever go back to Columbus I will definitely check out COSI and the Botanical Gardens.

The Columbus Distance Classic doesn’t seem to exist any longer, so I can’t put the link here. Hopefully it has been replaced by a better race than the one I ran! You can find all of the half marathons in Columbus here.

Valley of the Sun Marathon and Half Marathon, Arizona-5th state

This is part of a series of posts from my quest to run a half marathon in all 50 states. Arizona was my 5th state.

This was the turning point in my life where I started to think about all of the half marathons I had run and the fact that I had run in a few different states. I had heard about other people running a marathon in all 50 states, and I knew about people who ran a half marathon in half of the states, but that just didn’t seem right to me. Why only run half of the states? I thought maybe I could run a half marathon in all 50 states.

I was planning a work trip to Colorado in 2005 and wanted to extend my trip out another week and go to the Grand Canyon and Sedona, Arizona for a vacation afterwards. While I was planning all of this, I saw there was a half marathon in Phoenix, the Valley of the Sun Half Marathon, so I signed up and came up with a plan. I was to fly to Colorado for a week then from there fly to Phoenix, where my husband would meet me and we’d spend a week in Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Everything was all set.

Then I found out I was pregnant. Oh boy. What to do? I asked my doctor and she said since I had a strong running base to go ahead and run the half marathon but to listen to my body and not go out for any PR’s but go easy. I would only be a few weeks pregnant at the race and there were no complications in my pregnancy so she said everything should be fine. I had been having morning sickness all along my pregnancy and the day of the race, I felt queasy as usual but nothing I couldn’t control. After some crackers and ginger ale, I was good to go.

All of the runners for the race were bussed out to a park surrounded by cacti. Even though it was pretty cold waiting for the sun to come up, it was beautiful and even a bit surreal for someone like me from the east coast who had never been to Arizona before. The course was pretty flat and since we started so early, it didn’t get too hot. I made sure I never got out of breath and went slower than if I hadn’t been pregnant but I felt really good during the whole race.

The course only had a couple of hills, although one was a long one that seemed to go on forever. We finished on an outdoor track, which was fun and still a novelty at half marathons for me. I received a bright yellow short-sleeve cotton t-shirt and a cute medal with a red chili pepper on it at the finish. The finish area had the usual foods and water. At this point, races were still pretty low-key compared to what they’re like now.

My finish time for the Valley of the Sun Half Marathon was 2:06:50.

Sedona is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been and I highly recommend going here. It’s about a 2 hour drive from Phoenix to Sedona and the Grand Canyon is about another 2 hours from Sedona. The Grand Canyon is one of those places everyone should see at least once in their lifetime.

From what I can tell, the last year for this race was 2010, so I can’t add a link to the race site. There are however, many half marathons in Phoenix so I’m adding a link to these plus others in Arizona here.