Bibrave Race Review: Capital City Half Marathon

Disclaimer: I received an entry to the Capital City Half marathon to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review find and write race reviews!

After taking a few days to swallow this past weekend, I’m finally up for reviewing Cap City. I grew up outside of Columbus and actually ran Cap City back in 2012. I was excited when Bibrave partnered with them because it gave me an excuse to get back home for a few days. I flew in Thursday (since going from West to Midwest takes all day) and got in around 330. My mom picked me up from the airport and off to the hotel and for a late lunch we went before heading to the expo.

The Expo: held at the Vue in the Brewery District, which was a first. In the past, it had been held at the convention center and had more vendors, races, etc. The Vue was a smaller site and really only had Fleet Feet, Front Runner and Second Sole. I wouldn’t be a fan of going back to the site, just because parking wasn’t the easiest and it wasn’t close to anything or necessarily easy to get to if you were coming out of town. I forgot about being upped to VIP, so when the regular bib pick up didn’t have my bib, I had a mild panic attack until I went to VIP pick up. There was also a shirt exchange for getting different sized shirts, which I volunteered at on Friday (and had people assume that the small shirt sizes were the volunteers fault. Really?).

Swag: T Shirt (cotton) from Second Sole and a sturdy string bag. I loved the design of the shirt, but they definitely ran small. I was seeing women up a small to a large at the expo because they were running so small.



Race Time: 8 AM, which was nice for getting a decent night’s sleep the night before, but with weather coming through, hindsight 20/20, I wish it would have been a 7 AM start.

The Race Itself: Starts in downtown Columbus at Columbus Commons. It took you through the Arena District, OSU, the Short North, Downtown, German Village and a few other areas of Columbus. The course is fairly flat which is nice, though a hill towards the end.  The start was divided into corrals with the elites heading off at 7:55 and corrals A-I being started every few minutes after, so I didn’t start until about 8:12.It was cloudy at the start, but not raining. I was making good time, but we got our first round of rain trying to figure out what to do with itself around mile 2-3. It did let up and onward I went. I was pulling probably my best time in a few years until thunder and lightning hit right before mile 9. I was at the split for the 5K/quarter marathon going to the finish and the half marathon going towards the last 4 miles of the course and ended up getting diverted to the finish, as the race was black flagged. Some friends of mine were a mile ahead of me and were out in the open and had to figure out how to get back to the start. I was pretty bummed out after because of how well things were going. I’m not sure how much of the 8 AM start time was due to the US Half Marathon championships, but a 7 AM start time would have probably avoided post race issues and let more people finish the half (really only 1200 people were able to finish the half). I ended up doing another 4 miles at the hotel to get the full 13.1 miles in.

Post race: most of the activities were cancelled because of the storms that came through. I was able to see the VIP tent for a brief period of time and got some food from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants that was really good, but the line was long for drinks, so I missed out on that with the chaos of trying to get to safety.

Things to work on

  • So for future races, I think there needs to be better planning for weather in terms of if the race needs to be altered or cancelled. There was no real direction on where to go, etc. At one point, a bunch of us were in an alley between 2 buildings. There were also people stranded on an open course and were essentially on their own with trying to figure out what to do.
  • The shirts: I get wanting to go for a local company, and in fairness, there was  a sizing chart prior to registration, but they run really small. I was seeing women switch smalls for larges because the shirts weren’t fitting chests well at all. I would go with a different company
  • The expo: I wasn’t a fan of the location. It wasn’t easy to get to and there wasn’t a lot that endorsed the local running community that I know. There was nothing set up in terms of other local races, running groups, etc which was kind of sad. I know there was construction going on at the Convention Center, which is where it’s been held in the past, but I feel like there could have been a better place to have this.

Overall, weather wasn’t on my side this year, but I’d still go back for redemption of Cap City. It’s been a fun race to do in the past and at some point, I’ll get back to running it again!


Race Review: Hot Chocolate 15K Columbus

A little over a week ago, I was back in Columbus for the weekend for the Hot Chocolate 15K. Unlike a few days ago when it was pouring down rain, it was actually pretty nice out for the race, which is always a plus! My furball Moe the Cat got to take his first car ride for the weekend with me and hit in the back seat the entire time, but what can you do.

The Expo: I missed out on this. My mom had to be in Columbus earlier Friday and picked up our bibs and swag bags. This year’s jacket was sweatshirt like or so. Easy in and out and fairly consistent expo from what I’m told.

We stayed up in Columbus for the race. We stayed at the Hyatt Convention Center, which was <1 mile from the start. Good location for sure by the Arena District and < 1/2 mile from the finish (even better!)

The start: Off of Long and Spring street in downtown Columbus. 2 waves of people, each with ~6 corrals in each

The Course: very similar to last year. The first 2.5 miles were with the 5K, before they split off back to the finish in the arena district. The 15K spent a few miles down High Street and around OSU’s campus. This year, we were more around campus than through campus compared to last year (or so I thought). We hit OSU stadium, the Schottenstein Center and a few other must sees in Columbus. We also ran through German Village and a few other areas that were the same from last year. Finish was in the arena district, same as the 2015 race. Greeted with medals and water. Kind of a short walk to get to the post race chocolate and I hit a post race rush of people in line.

Weekend swag! #hc15k #bibchat @hotchocolate15k Columbus

A photo posted by Christine (@cgincle) on

Post race, I went back to the hotel to shower and met my mom and a friend of hers back there. Love the million dollar showers for sure. Good race put on, so one could say RAM Racing has redeemed themselves some

Hot Chocolate Columbus 15K….

…yup, you read that correctly.  I ran the HC 15K race series after I swore up and down I’d never run again due to the disaster of Hot Chocolate 15K DC in 2011.  Don’t remember said hot mess of race? Anyone who ran or attempted to run the DC race does, but head over here for that race review.  I had been searching high and low for a race this weekend leading up to the Philadelphia Full Marathon next weekend.  My mom and some of her friends have done this race the past 2 years and had nothing but decent things to say about it.  But when you’re bitter and annoyed, it’s hard to say yes.  I finally caved (with the prospect of free laundry afterwards) and signed up a few weeks ago.  The nice thing about 2 of us doing it is my mom picked up my bib and sweatshirt jacket on Friday so we could avoid the expo on Saturday

I drove to Columbus yesterday and met my mom and sister at church. We had a hotel room for the night to avoid a 45 minute drive this morning and checked in before heading to dinner in Clintonville.  Freshly made pizza for everyone before dropping my sister off at her place and heading back to watch some college football.  We turned in around 1030 and were up bright and early.  We headed over to the race and found a parking garage less than 1/4 mile from the finish (a perk after a longer run).  We jumped in the port a potty lines (or lack there of) before heading to the start, wearing trash bags to keep us warm.

We were in the first of 2 waves (with corrals being released evers 3 minutes or so).  We started on time (which was already better than the 1 hr delay of the DC race for an accident that no one could find a record of) and we were off about 10 minutes after the first gun.  The start was similar to this year’s Columbus Marathon course, which was nice since it was already familiar.  We ran along the river before heading on to High Street.  We were with the 5K runners for the first 2.5 miles, where they split off.  We continued down high street through mile 4 before heading into the OSU campus.  Obviously, students had too much fun watching the OSU game on TV yesterday and too much fun last night, because no one was out.  We ran by the football and basketball stadium, by the Vet school and crossed the river at some point.  Around the 10K mark, I was having mild flash backs to DC due to running next to the highway (in 2011, the first 4.5 miles were on an active highway).  Close to mile 7, we turned onto 5th Ave for a while before running on Neil Ave and Victorian Village.  We passed the road by my sister’s place and waved as she was in her warm apartment.  We ran around Goodale park and met up with the 5K runners again, shortly before mile 9.  The finish was in the arena district (Go Blue Jackets!) with downhill finish (I can’t complain!).  I finished in 1:30:25, not bad considering it was cold and we had flurries for part of the race.  I grabbed some water and went and enjoyed some chocolate at the finish while waiting for my mom.  We drove back to the hotel for the million dollar showers (and some left over pizza for me).

I don’t know how DC and Columbus were run by the same company, since it’s a 180* difference in how things played out.  Columbus was flawless and went out without a hitch and DC was a hot mess.  I would probably run Columbus again to be honest.  I admit, I know how to hold a grudge, but I think nearly everyone still holds a grudge against the DC race (and for that, I will not apologize for).  Bottom line, the Columbus HC 15K is a decent race!

Happy Football Season and Labor Day…Race Discounts for all!

Because I didn’t have these discounts before I signed up for races!

1. Philadelphia Marathon (Nov 22-23): $5.00 off with LABORDAY14 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM September 1st

2. Columbus Turkey Trot (Columbus OH, Nov 27): $5.00 the Five Miler with EARLYBIRD  Through September 15th

3. North Face Endurance Challenge WI (September 13): 10% off with D30JZWI

4. Women’s Running Series 1/2 Marathon– Nashville: $10 off with BRUNCHER



The Nationwide Columbus Marathon (in Review)

It’s been a week and I’m finally back in the world of the living.  On 10/20/13, 18,000 runners took to the streets of Columbus, OH to take in some pavement.  For me, it was marathon #5 and probably the one I trained the least for and I can thank residency for that one.  I left work about 3 pm and headed from Cleveland to the Expo and it took about 1/2 hr longer than it should have.  I can thank 2 stalled vehicles along 71 over the course of a mile for that one.  I did a power pick up my bib and shirt and stop at a few booths sort of day.  The plus side of the expo was that I could exchange shirt for a different size as long as that size was available.  I headed to Lancaster and got a massage (thanks mom!!) .

Saturday rolled around and I got some errands done.  I went up to my sister’s and dropped my bag and my laptop.  We headed off to the OSU- Iowa game.  Thankfully, the rain that decided to come Saturday morning disappeared and avoided the game, but that didn’t prevent it from staying cold.

Sunday was marathon day.  Thankfully, my sister’s place was a little over a mile from the start.  I walked over, which bought me an hour more of sleep and a nice laugh of drivers who were sitting in traffic and trying to find parking.  I checked a bag that had some warmer post race clothing in it and made my way to some port a potties and corrals.  The race started at 7:30 in front of the State House and I crossed the start about 8 minutes later.  There was a whole bottle neck of runners since both the half and full marathoners started together.  Since the Columbus Marathon benefits Nationwide Children’s Hospital, each mile was dedicated to an inspirational kid.  It was so fun to see the kids with their families and friends and their different themes.  There was superman, bumble bees and a whole host of funness.  The foam fingers were awesome!  The first few miles were very flat and you forget that the weather is a bit on the chilly side.  Come miles 4-5, I ran past my old high school.  Holy Construction CSG!  About a mile later, we ran past Graeter’s Ice Cream.  I so wished I could have stopped!

We ran by Capital U, down some slight hills and back on part of the course we’d already hit up.  Next up was German Village.  I gotta love the houses with like 40 people tailgating for Sunday football with their front doors open cheering on runners.  It makes the day so much more fun!  After miles 10, 11 and 12, I was still feeling pretty good.  No wall yet and the crowds were in full force.  Come about mile 12.5, the half marathoners split off and headed towards Nationwide Arena and Downtown Columbus.  I hated seeing the “You’re Almost Finished”…except when there’s 13+ miles left.  Come mile 14.5, my mom met up with me and ran for a bit with me.  Thankfully she had some water with her too.  Come mile 16, I started picking up Gatorade in addition to water.  After mile 17 and some bridges, we hit the Horseshoe.  Looks sooooo empty without 105,000 screaming fans:

OSU Stadium

OSU Stadium

After mile 18-19, it was all down hill.  I said hello to the Marathon Wall.  My legs were dead and I could feel the lack of training catching up with me.  We began through the scenic part of the run and even The Big Bang Theory posters (Bazinga!) couldn’t help me out.  The miles dragged on, but at mile 23, there were oranges, gummy bears, candy and pepsi max (if only they had Coke Products!).  The last few miles were through Victorian Village.  People were out and it was painful to see finishers coming back towards you.  At mile 25, you knew you were almost done.  I felt bad though for the runner down who needed paramedics.  with less than a mile to go, I passed a first timer and promised we were really almost done.  You could here the finish a mile away.  We came up on the last 1/4 mile and I began passing people.  I refused to let people finishing together and holding hands pass me.

I finished in 4:55:41.  Not my best but hey, Marathon #5 is in the books.  I liked being able to walk through the finish and they hand you your medal, water and a bag of food.  I picked up my bag and aimed to meet up with my mom.  She gave me a ride back to my sister’s and some pumpkin Tidbits and I hit a shower before heading back to Cleveland.

Bottom line: Run Columbus, It’s Kind of A Big Deal. You get to run through The ‘Shoe and you have a good time!

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