Photos by OHventures
I always tend to geek out when it comes to the Akron Marathon. I can't help it. Since I have moved here just over 2 years ago, I have truly been smitten with the Rubber City and the energy that pumps through its streets. The Akron Marathon is a capstone event for me each year where I get to run with great friends through the city that just truly feels vibrant and alive - which in turn makes me feel vibrant and alive.
For the third year in a row, on September 26, 2015, I took part in the Akron Marathon through the relay team option (see previous Akron Marathon Relay posts from 2013 and 2014). And, for the third year in a row, I am running with 4 different people who have become great friends through the power of running (if you have not felt the power of running firsthand, you should look into it - it's pretty amazing).
My team this year was "Team Torchbearers" (named after the young professional leadership group that myself and my teammates are all a part of). The team was: Getta (Leg 1, 5.8 miles), Samantha (Leg 2, 5.7 miles), Patrick (Leg 3, 5.5 miles), Jonny (Leg 4, 3.6 miles), and Myself (Leg 5 - also known as the anchor - 5.6 miles)! The legs were completely different distances than in previous years. In the past, the legs varied greatly in distance, but now most of them were close to the same distance.
PB = Patrick B. or Peanut Butter?
We decided to don matching "I Heart PB" t-shirts, which are campaign shirts for our teammate Patrick, who is running to be re-elected as a member of Akron School Board (how is that for a plug?). The PB can also stand for "Peanut Butter" if you would like (there were many people who really thought that is what it stood for!). It's a simple thing, but having us all wear the same t-shirt definitely brings a feeling of unity!
Being the final leg of a relay has its pros and cons. Pros: get to sleep in longer, you get more time to stretch, the sun starts to come out so it's not so cold, and you get to take all the glory by crossing the FINISH line! Cons: you have to wait longer to start drinking beer with all of your friends (especially for those of us with FOMO), and you have much more time for the anxiety to build up anticipating the start of your leg!
The pros by and large outweighed the cons. However, I have come to realize that I have a major case of the "running jitters." I get knots in my stomach, I worry about injury, I panic about my time and pace, and I fret about whether or not I have trained enough (I didn't). It's definitely unnecessary worry that takes over my thoughts, but I can't help it. I just always want to perform to my potential and not let myself or anyone else down. I am sure I am not alone, and that many others also experience the pre-race jitters. I just never have time to think about it when the start gun is first thing in the morning!
Once I am off and running, all of those worries go out the window and I remember why I always sign up for these things. There was a definite pep in my step and I felt like I was floating through the streets during my leg of the Akron Marathon Relay.
The blue line making its way in to Canal Park!
For the first time in years, the Akron Marathon's blue line was painted on an almost entirely new course. My 5.6 miles started at Hardesty Park, turned on Market Street, to Castle, to Garmin, to Portage Path, and back to Market. There was a final turn on to Main Street and the finish line on the baseball diamond in Canal Park!
Photo by Akron Marathon. The finish line party at Canal Park.
It was a great feeling to cross the finish line with my teammates cheering! I gathered our finisher medals and distributed them to each member of Team Torchbearers. We found out that our final time was 4:38:25, with my 5.6 miles taking approximately 48 minutes (8:35/mile). I was extremely proud of my time, and proud of the team for finishing such a huge feat!
Celebrating with Getta and Kyle
We celebrated with some Michelob Ultra, pizza, and other finish line goodies, and we even got to appear on the jumbo screen! I think today might have officially cured me of my "running jitters" because this ended up being one of the most enjoyable runs I have ever done. My mind was in the zone, and there was no reason to worry with such a strong support system in my team. After all, worrying never has added a day to anyone's life.