Race Recap: Rite Aid Cleveland Half-Marathon (2012)

As a preface, to those of you who do not live in the Cleveland area, the high temperature Sunday was 86-degrees and humidity was at 80 percent at the start of the Rite Aid Cleveland Full and Half Marathon.

Skies were sunny and clear and it was a great day to go to the beach. But to run a race? Not so much. The weather played an integral role in the performance of every runner on the course Sunday. I spent much of the race praying I would not overheat. As I saw more and more runners begin walking, sitting on curbs and being taken away on stretchers — finding the will to continue became even more challenging.

The Results
Official Time: 2:48:48
Age Group Placing (F 25-29): 766 / 1,555
Placing Among Women: 3,528 / 8,262
Overall Placing: 6,406 / 14,635
Pace at 10K Split: 11:32 / mile
Overall Pace: 12:52 / mile

The Pros

Can you spot me?

Mile 1-2: Within a half mile of the race start I already knew this was going to be rough. I was almost immediately covered with sweat as we tackled some gradual hills. The first water stop was at Mile 1.9 and despite drinking massive amounts of water the 24-hours before the race, my lips were already parched. I came to regret not having a handheld or even a disposable water bottle with me.

Mile 3-5: We were still by the lake at this point so at times there was a cool breeze. The first real cheer section was around Mile 4 and kept me distracted. I felt like I was already exerting myself a lot even though I was not even halfway done with the race, however, I kept my pace on target with my previous half-marathon times.

Mile 6-7: Around this time I think is when I spotted Kimi. I also remember running into the sun and feeling like my face was on fire. When I reached a water stop I took some water with me and carried a folded cup another mile or so trying to savor every last drop. I was so thirsty!

Mile 7-8: This was just past the 10K split and when I first remember walking due to an overall exhaustion from the heat. Around this time I also bumped into blog reader Lindsey, and we ran together for what seemed like maybe two miles. We reached another water stop and again I had to walk and told Lindsey to continue on.

Mile 9-10: This is where I encountered what I’d like to call a “beastly” hill. From what race organizers said, construction altered the course and this hill became a part of the route. Soon I realized the mass of runners in front of me quickly became a mass of walkers as they tried to trek up the monstrosity. Around this time my left and right IT bands began to flare up. I continued to struggle with IT band pain through the end of the race.

Mile 11-13.1: I remember coming up on Mile 11 and hoping it was Mile 12. I also started to experience extreme chafing, despite slathering BodyGlide all over myself! I ran/walked more here. I wanted to finish the race running but kept debating at what point I would begin running again and not stop. Somewhere between 12 and 13 I did — just in time to see yet another runner leaving on a stretcher. I prayed she would be OK — along with everyone else receiving medical attention.

The last mile was a blur. I do remember a spectator beating a large, loud drum just before the finish and that helped pump me up. There was also a bit of a downhill at the end of the course, which was a welcomed reprieve. The husband spotted me near the finish and yelled out to me. As soon as I crossed the finish line I focused my attention on getting out of the sun ASAP and putting my flip flops on my now blistering feet.

In Summary: I have tried to separate the issues caused by the weather, along with my own personal training struggles, from the race itself. Overall, I was impressed by the amount of post-race food and refreshment provided to runners. I enjoyed the crowd support along the course, especially the spectators on Lake Avenue and in the Ohio City area. And the race volunteers were more than appreciated!

Using the Cleveland Browns stadium as a race facility allowed easy restroom access, seating and some shade. I loved the race medals and the customized (full or half marathon) technical finisher T-shirts. Mine actually fits! The course was challenging with the hills, including the “beastly” one. While I was disappointed in my performance, I had to remind myself of the challenges the heat caused for all of the runners on Sunday.

I have no doubt I’ll be back again. Next year’s race is set for Sunday, May 19, 2013.


Thanks again to race organizers for having me be a part of the 2012 Run.Write.Blog team!

*Read my 2012 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon Blogger disclosure here.


  1. says

    You stuck it out on a tough day–congrats! This is especially tough when you are struggling with IT issue combined with the heat. You are mentally strong!

    I know no one was happy with the conditions that day, but then again, it was May and there’s always that chance. The hard thing is that there was no stretch of time leading up to it to acclimate. I have to say, though, the 7 am. start was a godsend. Running Boston starting at 10:20 in even higher heat gave me a little different perspective on it all.

    I forgot all about that drum guy until you mentioned him!

    • Holly says


      One of the other bloggers for the event is from Texas. I read his recap and even he struggled in the heat. That says a lot!

  2. says

    Was this your first half? Sorry to hear about those rough conditions. Living in a hot climate makes it REALLY difficult to stay in the game. Way to stick it out though and finish – hopefully next year will be a bit cooler for ya!

    • Holly says

      This was my third half. Normally in May up here should be about a high of 65 to 70 degrees — which would be perfect running weather.

      No one had trained in this kind of heat so it really wiped the Midwest runners out. A fellow blogger from Texas came up to run the full and even he was in for a shock — and he is used to the hot weather training!

    • Holly says

      Thank you!

      I know how much you wanted to run, but I’m guessing the stories of the heat and misery probably have to take the edge off a bit. 😉

  3. says

    I have a fear of running a race in the heat. Great job getting through. I always really feel for the people needing medical attention during a race, too. Ugh!

  4. says

    It was a beastly hill! People thought I was making that up!! You did amazing given the conditions! And excellent recap. I try and take mental note of thoughts I have and what mile I had them, I can never retain them after a race. Theres a reason you were on the blog team! I will def be out next year. Might even try the full!

  5. Jen says

    I found your blog when looking for articles re: the heat + race on Sunday. I only ran the 10k, but by Mile 1 regretted not having a hat & knew it was going to be a rough race, not matter what the pace or distance. In an odd way, I think that added to the memories of it all. Congratulations.

    This is from someone that is part of the running group I belong to & he posted this a few hours after the race on Sunday. It’s a good FYI:

    “For those of you curious about what heat does to your pace, here are estimates I saved from an article by Jeff Galloway. The percentage is the increase in your pace as the temperature exceeds 54 degrees. Here he uses an 8 minute mile as the example.

    Adjusting Race Pace for Heat: Estimated temperature at finish – Slower than goal pace – 8 min mile becomes…
    55-60 degrees – 1% – 8:05
    60-65 degrees – 3% – 8:15
    65-70 degrees – 5% – 8:25
    70-75 degrees – 7% – 8:35
    75-80 degrees – 12% – 8:58
    80-85 degrees – 20% – 9:35
    Above 85 degrees – Forget it… run for fun”

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