This race review is written from the back of the pack… no judgement on that at all just information… the experience is probably different for the people who were nearer the front.
The Made In America Half, in Massilon Ohio was last weekend. I was torn as to whether (weather) or not to do the race. I kept thinking that it was going to be 25 degrees Fahrenheit. The race only cost me $35 to register. Bear was feeling really really crappy and wasn’t going to be able to go even sit and wait for me (for three hours) in the car in a parking lot. I was torn as to whether or not it was going to be worth going.
I wanted desperately to come in at about 2:43 start to finish.
I finished at 3:01:50. Not awful. Not time to turn in form corral placement for Disney, but not awful.
I’m used to being at the back of the pack. I’m not fast, but I am strong (~Baymax). This race only had just under 300 people who started the race. I didn’t finish last. I didn’t not finish. It was all okay.
It was a really hard race, though, in a lot of ways.
The first four miles are hilly. They don’t actually close the roads. For a ways they close one lane. For a ways they don’t close any of the lanes. For a ways the route is sketchily market at best. But it is a $35 race. And you get a shirt and a medal.
The last 9 miles is on the Towpath. The Towpath in Massilon isn’t as well kept up as the Towpath in Brecksville. I think it might have been paved at some point in its life, at least parts of it, but now it isn’t. It’s packed dirt. So this can actually be said to be a combination road race and trail race. They did (I think they did) salt the course so the ice that likely was there melted even where the tree cover was heavy.
For a while I was sort of traveling near people, but the herd soon thinned out considerably. There were a couple people I could see (if the trail bent right) ahead of me (the yellow jacket helped), and there were a couple people who were behind me that I knew for sure were still back there (there the red jackets stood out) but I was kind of the half way point between people who were a half or 3/4 miles apart. One woman passed me at about mile 9, I passed another woman at about mile 11. For most of the race, though, I was alone. I had entirely too long to think.
There wasn’t an issue with being in the way of anything after mile 4. I passed a couple water stops, but for the most part it was flying alone. There was a train track for a while, there was road for a while, there were even a few houses, but when you are all alone, you are pretty much all alone.
It was a good race. I would probably do it again. The biggest thing that was a let down for me was, at the end, there were no bananas. There was nothing even resembling healthy. There were cookies and chips and water. I would have given anything for either chocolate milk or bananas or even an apple… but… it was not to be.
I did it. I finished. I enjoyed the scenery and I did use it as a training “run” but… it was a very hard morning in a lot of ways.