Tag Archives: Race Report

Berlin Ohio Amish Country Half Marathon (10k) race review

So, yesterday was (finally) the Berlin Ohio Amish Country Half Marathon.  This was one race I was actually looking forward to with anticipation and dread.  Running the back roads of amish country was something that really spoke to me (given where I grew up and everything, it seemed like a great race).  Running the hills that were reported to be the course was kind of terrifying.

I watched the weather pretty closely for the whole week last week.  I was dreading the hills if it was going to be 90 and humid.  For a while, it looked like it was going to be a cool and mostly sunny day.  Turned out it was a very chilly rainy day.  It wasn’t a hard rain, but it was mostly a steady rain and it was cold.  I was planning on being able to just run in my Goofy suit.  But it turned out a jacket was a welcome addition to the day.  On the up side, it was very comfortable wearing my goofy hat and it wasn’t too terribly warm for it at all.  AND I got compliments along the route on my hat.


Turned out my feet were soaked in the first mile.  But it was neat to see the shine on the parking lot.


I met Aiden Jaquez and his mom while I was waiting for the race to start.  Aiden is 10 and he is on track to be the youngest person to ever  complete 50 halfs in 50 states (and he will go on to be doing the 50 marathons in 50 states if he gets his wish).  Aiden will be finishing his final half marathon in October 2019.


The starting line was just ahead.  It was on the other side of the neatest American flag I’ve seen at a race yet.  The fire truck hoisted it up over the parking lot and we were off.

The country side was beautiful, even if I was soaked and cold by the time we crested the first hill.DSCF2061

The course was riddled with smells.    Silage, apples, cow and horse manure, goldenrod… It was neat watching people try to dodge the road apples along the way.  I’ve gotten used to people running the tangents to try to make better time.  It was great to watch them adding dozens of steps to their run trying to avoid the ‘dangers’.DSCF2054

I got to listen to some interesting snippets of conversation along the route.  For a little while, I was running close to a couple of people who were doing the half.  They were discussing the bat houses that were perched on fence posts along one farm.  It was the topic of conversation for about half a mile or so… how the bats eat a crap ton of bugs.DSCF2045

The pacer buggy pulled over at about the first mile marker.  The horse was gorgeous.

And then there was me.

I finished third in my age group.  Not as well as I would have liked (time wise) but given the weather and the hills, it was better than I actually expected to be able to do, though.  I finished with an average pace of 13:06 and finished at 1:21:24 (9 minutes off of average).  141st out of 200.  Not fabulous, but respectable.


Better than that… I finished strong.  I finished feeling pretty good (if very soggy and cold).41250490_2009647699056153_290775676850536448_n

The race venue had some neat picture opportunities.  And… I did conquer the hills.



And, for what it’s worth… I’m planning (right now, anyway), on doing the half marathon next year.

It’s a hard course, but it was an amazing race.


Love and Light




Cleveland Marathon Weekend Half Marathon Recap

And already it is over.  Already it is the week after and I am wondering where the time went.  All of the training for this one is in the bag… The hard work is done (for this one) and now it is time to sit back and reflect.


My first thought (because I just read a Women’s Running magazine article on oooo look at me, I ran my half marathon despite having the flu… isn’t that admirable… look at how awesome I am despite spewing germs over 13 miles and an expo!!!) has been… thank goodness I didn’t get sick through the last few days.  Autoimmune disorder chick doesn’t appreciate the INCREDIBLE ADMIRATION OOOOOOO people get for deliberately spreading germs to 50,000 of the people they contact…  If you wouldn’t go to work and slobber all over your co-workers, don’t slobber all over the race event…

Bear isn’t incredibly thrilled with my reflections… but… it is what it is.  A lot of it is that I’m proud of myself (he’s good with that) a lot of it is that I’m beating myself up (not so good with that).  Now I know, basically, where I stand, and where I need to improve.

My takeaways on the race…

    1. even when the weather apps say it isn’t raining and that rain is pretty far away, don’t believe them.  While it wasn’t exactly rain rain… it was heavy enough foggy drizzle to make the day very chilly and humid.  For not rain… there were a lot of puddles and a LOT of people standing inside for the half hour leading up to race time.  Personally, I thought this was hilarious.  You are going to be out on the course… running… walking… run-walk-running… woggling… whatever you do…. for well over an hour and you are worried about getting wet before the race started.
    2. ‘walkers keep to the right and runners to the left’ gets you run over and knocked sailing if you are stupid enough to be doing intervals and are walking on the right.  WORSE, if you are at mile 12+ you have marathoners RUNNING inches from you despite the fact that you are all the way to the right of the right side of the street and they have FOUR FREAKING LANES to run in… nope, have to run close enough to you that they fling sweat as they pass.  YAY.
    3. Flat course is relative.  There are some kind of big hills.  One is down which was great one is up which I handled better than I thought I would when I saw it… but there ARE hills of varying sizes.
    4. Every other race I’ve done has done a better job of cleaning up after the runners who discard shirts/sleeves/pants/shoes/whatever along the route than Cleveland did.  It’s Tuesday and there are still clothes laying in brightly colored puddles along the sidewalks.  Not cool and it makes Cleveland look very sloppy.
    5. Mario (at the end of the Detroit street bridge was the best cheering section I passed on Sunday.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


It was nice to see people out in the rain cheering everyone on


That is a LOT of cups


Yeah, yeah, I have a thing for boats and reflections… Didn’t actually realize what pictures I did end up getting but this wasn’t bad with Tower City in the background.


It was very cool running across the lift bridges and seeing the G-Tugs hanging out in the fog…


It was kind of neat running where I walk every day anyway.  It was much more comfortable on the street running than I think it would have been on the sidewalk.


I kept up with the “3 hour half” pacer for about three miles… but then I lost him along below Tower City.  Shame, too because at that point I really had my heart set on making a 3 hour half.  I wasn’t FAR off… but I wasn’t quite where I would have loved to have been .


See… this is totally a hill.  Not quite as long as the one in Austin, but a hill none the less.  I loved the signs you pass going up, though… cheering you on…


This is most true!!!


I loved passing the interesting artwork.


and the cool photo ops.


I had never had Honey Stingers before.  It is my new go-to race food.


This is an interesting house.  Architecture is kind of interesting in Cleveland.


Next to the artwork… the people were awesome to pass


I loved this shirt at the point I caught up to her.  It made me smile because it’s very true.


This was… interesting… it was kind of annoying when the marathon pacer decided that it was imperative that he cut off the people in the half marathon side of the road so he could high five the people on the stationary bikes because… you know… I was kind of busy running my own race that probably wasn’t as exciting or important as the high fives or the full marathon race… but hey… it was interesting…

I have to kind of pat myself on the back a little, though… I PRed both my races.  I have NEVER EVER run as fast as I did for the 8k and even my Half Marathon time was better than I ever dreamed it would be.  I was hoping to make it (before I set off in the race) in under 3 hours and 25 minutes.  I did.

Now, all I have to do is better my time so I can better my corral in the Princess challenge and I will be set!

Now… onward and upward…

Rock and roll 10k in August
amish 10k September
towpath 10k October (maybe the half??? )
princess challenge 2019
and… next year’s Cleveland challenge series.

I’m trying to not hold out too much hope of being a race ambassador… but I think it would be wicked awesome cool to prove that someone with RA and who is more than a little overweight can ambassador a race and raise awareness!!!


Love and Light

Santa Hustle – Sandusky Ohio – 2015 Race in Review

It’s still O-Dark-Thirty (go figure) and the wind is blowing.  Last night’s coffee (with OODLES of peppermint creamer) is my closest (4 inches from my elbow) friend.  The lights (Hue was the BEST investment, I think, ever) are turned way low and are dancing like a Christmas Tree this morning. I’m wrapped in my hoody and enjoying listening to the world around me.   The more I spend time this time of day, the more I love this time of day.


Race day (yesterday) dawned gorgeous.  It was 23 degrees.  The sunrise was beautiful, but the wind left MUCH to be desired.  It wasn’t bad at the start of the race, but by the half way point, it was really playing its part in the timing.

Hung out in the car where it was warm until about 12 minutes before the start.  It was time to head over and wait in the paddock with the rest of the herd doing the half.  There has to be a reason they call them corrals.  Bear and Squirrel were chatting up the race.  I was people watching.  I loved the Darth and Stormtrooper outfits, but I don’t think you could have paid me enough to run in the kilt.  It’s funny… we never saw the kilt guy after the start of the race…

There weren’t as many, I think, doing the half this year.  It sure seemed like the corral was thin, anyway.

It is really neat ‘running’ through the park this time of year.  All of the cars are off of the rides and it is just skeletal.  I was impressed, this year, they had a couple interesting decorations in the park to keep it a little more interesting and they actually had Christmas music playing over the PA system.  THAT was a really nice change.  I felt bad for the cookie and candy people manning their stations.  no one seemed to want to stop to partake this year.  I hope the 5K runners did.  I remember last year and all the M&Ms and chocolate chip cookies did was to gum up my mouth and make me need water worse… There seemed to be more water stations this year, or maybe it was the way they were positioned that made it seem so.  More porta-potties, too.

A lot of people started the race with the free Santa hat and beard on (I think to keep warm) but like last year, those soon started to end up hung on things or just discarded along the route.  Mine never left home.

I LOVED seeing the ship across the bay!  I even STOPPED to take a couple pictures of her over there.  It felt like a good omen.  Also, I loved the change (due to construction of Valravn and other things) in the race course.  It was great to get to go the back side of the park, along the lake.  The lake is the BEST part of this race for me (I think Presque isle is my next race… in July).  I realized that the wind was really going to play a part in the race when I saw the sand across the sidewalk next to the lake (especially since there were straw bales being used as sand fence/ snow fence).

There were some interesting costumes this year.  A few elves, Olaf, and the firefighter in his full gear.

Passing the signs cemented into the roadside saying “Please Keep Moving” was a good pick-me-up, too.

After about mile 6, speed slowed from the 15 minute mile we were maintaining, and we finished 15 minutes behind where we should have finished.  BUT we all three finished.  The wind got REALLY bad and walking got just a bit (bullshit… it got REALLY REALLY) difficult in places.  It’s sad, but the hardest part of the whole race wasn’t the hill up the causeway, it was going across the dead flat parking lot because the wind was in your face and it was hard to breathe let alone keep pushing into it.

My knee, the one that was threatening to be not happy for the past several days, was indeed not happy.  It slowed me down.  It ached.  The cold didn’t help.  I think if I hadn’t had the prednisone in my system it would have been way worse.  I did finish without my hips feeling like there was ground glass in them though, so that was a big win over the races in Austin.

BUT… the photographers stayed till the very end.  The people handing out the medals stayed till the very end.  The water stations stayed manned with water available till the very end.  There were no bagels or bananas by the time we finished, but there were Cliff bars and water bottles still for us.

We finished with a time of 3 hours 31 minutes.  Not too shabby.  Bear and I walked the last three miles in talking and laughing… me keeping him going, him keeping me going.  It was a wonderful way to finish the race.  I’ve never finished WITH anyone before.  I let Squirrel finish the Run For The Water ahead of me… and we didn’t really talk that race, we bitched about how being at the end meant no water because they already emptied it at the last three water stops all out on the ground.

If I could make one more suggestion to the race people for this race… if the course stays the same as this year (and I REALLY hope it does, the lake was a nice addition), please please PLEASE mark the last mile better for those of us who are not the elite or the middle of the pack.  Being one of the last 10 runners meant that there was NO traffic to contend with but it also meant that the last mile was very confusing with the cones through the parking lot… it was nauseatingly well marked the rest of the course… but we had a hard time figuring out which way to go without a pack to follow and the man who was behind us was standing in the middle of the parking lot confused and frustrated by the lack of direction.  I get that we are not cheered on by the crowd, but we shouldn’t have to struggle to figure out how to finish the race without inadvertently cheating because the course is poorly marked.

And just two last parting thoughts on the race…

  1. if you are on your way back on a turn around and you are passing people going the other way… STAY ON YOUR OWN DAMN SIDE OF THE course.  No one shoved you out of the way when you were on the outward side, if you don’t stay the hell out of my way, I will run head long into you.  I’m walking, I don’t have the momentum to fall on my ass and make a spectacle of myself.  I have as much right to be where I am as you have to be on MY side of the road. NOT running five across for ten feet isn’t going to kill you.
  2. I hope my fingers and toes soon start to warm up.  A hot shower, a hot bath and wool socks are not helping… Next year, I plan just a little better.

And there WILL be a next year!!!

Author: April Wells
Updated December 21, 2015


The Christmas Story House 10K

This gallery contains 6 photos.

This has to be some kind of record, I think.  A race report the same decade as the race!!! 🙂 Cliche tag line?  It was (one of) the best of races it was (one of) the worst of races. It … Continue reading