The Year of 26.2 x 4

Since 2019 was my fourth year running (2016-17-18-19), I wanted to do something different and challenging.

My life fitness/happiness goal is to run 50 full marathons by the time I’ve turned 50. I ran my first two in 2017 (Columbus and Indy) and two more in 2018 (Glass City and Indy), so I got the brilliant and/or dumb idea to run ….

Drumroll please … four full marathons in 2019.

Four in the Year of Four.

Get it?

And I registered for four races:

1.) The Glass City Marathon in Toledo on April 28th.

2.) The Cleveland Marathon on May 19th.

3.) The Columbus Marathon on October 20th.

4.) The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 9th.

26.2 x 4 in a year. And it was a year.

1.) Glass City

I ran Glass City last year and had a rough time, so I had already decided I was going back up to redeem myself. Glass City has a smaller field and from what I remembered the year before, the course could be a little challenging in some areas.

My boyfriend came with me this year, and being the doofus I am I completely forgot that he wouldn’t be able to get back out after we parked on UT’s campus for at least a solid three hours.

So while I was running toward and around Sylvania, he wound up walking on foot to find a coffee shop while talking to my mom (A/N: they’re friends and I’m pretty sure Mom prefers him to me.)

Poor guy got lost. He found a Costco though, and eventually found his way back to campus and the finish line.

Meanwhile, I felt good miles 1-14. At the 14 mark I got tired, which I expected to happen.

I kept pressing on until Mile 18, the uphill of W. Sylvania Ave. From Mile 19 until the finish line I felt like I was running on tacks and wanted to be done.

My final time was 4:59:14, which was a letdown from the 4:50 I was aiming to break. But my boyfriend and I survived our first travel race. Victories are sweet no matter where or how they come.

2.) Cleveland

I went through a period of disappointment and disillusionment following Glass City, and started to wonder if maybe the 4:50 PR wasn’t going to happen. Maybe the 4:51 I finished 2018 Indy in was a one-off thing or a fluke. That disillusionment stayed with me until the morning I loaded my car up, went over to my boyfriend’s to pick him up, and started the journey north.

Then I got excited. I had only been to Cleveland once before, for a getaway with my mom in 2003.

This was the year the rolling black outs hit.

So 16 years later I told my mom I wanted to go back and see what the city looks like with the lights on.

And holy crap – downtown Cleveland in May is beautiful. And fun too – Boyfriend and I were both impressed and had a blast walking to Flats East Bank and all over.

The night before the race I decided I wasn’t going to focus on a PR and instead enjoy myself.

Come the following morning – race day – that’s exactly what I did. I finished in my slowest time yet at 5:52, but I was enjoying that moment. Well, the 5-plus hour moment of running downtown Cleveland, along Lake Erie and back in. But the slow time helped me get my love of the distance back, so it was worth it.

3.) Columbus Marathon

I last ran Columbus as a full 2017. Actually it was my first full and a functional hot mess, so more than anything I was curious if this time around would be as rough or easier.

The running part went better and I felt good physically. Emotionally was a completely different story.

I’ve been a Children’s Champion fundraiser the last two years, and seeing the Patient Champions at each mile motivates and simultaneously strikes me right in the heart. A lot of the kids on the course are battling rare diseases or disabilities, or survived them against the odds.

I cried about four times during the race. The first was at Mile 11, the Angel Mile dedicated to the patients of Nationwide Children’s Hospital that are no longer here. I cried at Mile 22 when I heard a DJ play “Thunderstruck” and then again at Mile 23 when I saw that Patient Champion. I cried the last time when I came up to the finish line and realized I did this.

Final time – 4:56:40.

4.) The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Indy was good to me the first two runs, and I was confident it would be good to me again this year.

My Garmin wouldn’t load up that morning and I didn’t feel like fighting with it, so I told my mom I would run without the watch on and pace myself by feel. I had a gut feeling I could break 4:50 this time. The weather was a perfect 40 degrees and sunny, I felt strong, and there was no way anything would go wrong.

Plot twist: everything did go smoothly.

I felt great the first half and started to slow down around Miles 14 and 15, which had a few inclines. I took a few walking breaks at Miles 16 and 17 through Butler University.

The latter half of Mile 18 is one of my favorite race miles – a slight downhill through the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Nature Preserve at Newfields. It doesn’t feel like you’re on a marathon route. If anything, I feel like it’s just me running through the woods under the last red and yellow canopy of fall.

Too bad I never think to take a picture.

Then came the moment of truth. Mile 26, with .2 to go. Since my watch wasn’t on I was watching the clocks at the mile markers and I had a rough idea of what my time would look like.

Final time – 4:43:58.

I finally beat the 4:50 time and PR’ed!

And if that isn’t an awesome way to end the Year of Four, I have no idea what is.

I hope you all enjoyed this recap. I had fun writing it. Happy December and happy running, friends!

– Allison

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