Race Report: Inaugural Cedar Point Run & Ride 5K and Half Marathon or That first hill is gonna be a…

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WTH?!?! That first hill is gonna be a BITCH!..

Generally speaking, in order to #RunAllTheRaces, we have to spend a fair amount of time coordinating schedules, planning travel, and making reservations to ensure we both get to the same place at the same time.  Occasionally though, the stars seem to align and we get the chance to run a race together that we just normally wouldn’t think could happen.

The 2014 Inaugural Cedar Point Run & Run Weekend was just one of those races.  Kimberly and her family had a relative’s wedding in Ohio and Perfectly Goofy Gail had parents that live in Ohio and were begging for a visit – and BOTH events just happened to be scheduled around a race weekend.  Talk about a cosmic alignment!

Entrance gates to Cedar Point welcoming all the runners, families, and friends.

Entrance gates to Cedar Point welcoming all the runners, families, and friends.

We even managed to cajole everyone into participating in the weekend’s fun.  Kimberly, her 2 kids, and Gail ran the Millennium Force 5K on Saturday and Kimberly and Gail ran the Half Marathon on Sunday – while Gail’s parents volunteered at the Mile 5/12 water stop.  Kimberly’s husband Jack assisted by volunteering to #RideAllTheRollerCoasters – what a team player 😉

Packet pick-up was held outside the theme park at one of Cedar Point’s hotels, Castaway Bay.  This was a local race, so it was billed simply as Packet Pick-Up, and it was exactly as advertised.  It was not a full scale race expo but we didn’t mind.

As part of the entrance fee for the Half Marathon each runner received entry into Cedar Point after 4:00 pm on Friday and all-day Saturday and Sunday – and we were all about #RideAllTheRollerCoasters.  Additionally, runners received a discounted parking rate of $15.00 for Friday – Sunday (instead of $15.00 a day).  So for $105.00, you got entry into the half marathon, entry into Cedar Point theme park after 4:00 pm on Friday and all-day Saturday and Sunday, and 3 days of parking.

The entire Markey Family and Perfect Goofy Gail screaming through the Magum XL-200.

The entire Markey Family and Perfect Goofy Gail screaming through the Magum XL-200.

For those that were running the 5K or coming to the race to cheer on family and friends, a discount was in place that allowed purchase of theme park tickets: $55.00 for after 4:00 pm on Friday and all-day Saturday and Sunday or $33.00 a day.  This was a steal, as standard admission to Cedar Point runs $50.00 a day, or $25.00 a day after 5:00 pm.

Cedar Point, know as America’s Roller Coast, is located in Sandusky, Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie.  Opened in 1870, it is the second-oldest operating amusement park in the United States.

Cedar_Point_Ohio_037_Historic_MarkerCedar Point has 16 roller coasters – which is the second-most in the world – 16 thrill rides, 10 family rides, and 3 water rides, excluding the rides in Soak City (a separate water park located just outside Cedar Point).

The park has reached several milestones. It is the only amusement park in the world with four roller coasters taller than 200 feet (61 m) – Magnum XL-200Millennium ForceWicked Twister, and Top Thrill Dragster – and is the only park with roller coasters in all four height classifications. Cedar Point has also received the Golden Ticket Award for “Best Amusement Park in the World” from Amusement Today for 16 consecutive years.  As of 2013, the park is the most visited seasonal amusement park in the United States with an estimated 3.38 million visitors in 2013.  The park also has several buildings that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In other words, Cedar Point kicks some serious roller coaster butt!

Over the course of the weekend, we managed to get in both the Millennium Force 5K and the Half Marathon as well as all the great roller coasters in the park.

Kimberly, her daughter, and Gail on Top Fuel Dragster. When built in 2003, it was the first full circuit roller coaster to exceed 400 feet (120 m) in height, and was the tallest roller coaster in the world. The ride launches, accelerating to a speed of 120 mph (190 km/h) in 3.8 seconds. Shortly after reaching its maximum velocity, the train begins its ascent up a 90-degree incline, twisting 90 degrees counter-clockwise before climbing over the 420-foot (130 m) top hat. Upon descending, the track twists 270 degrees before leveling out, allowing the train to be stopped by the magnetic brakes.

The gang, ready to run the Inaugural Cedar Point Millennium Force 5K.

The gang, ready to run the Inaugural Cedar Point Millennium Force 5K.

Saturday: Millennium Force 5K

Early morning car selfies with the Markey Family on the way to the Cedar Point Millennium Force 5K

Early morning car selfies with the Markey Family on the way to the Cedar Point Millennium Force 5K

Saturday morning came early and Kimberly and Perfectly Goofy Gail managed to drag the Markey kids out of bed, into their running gear, and to the start of the 5K.

The ENTIRE 3.1 miles of the 5K course was in and around Cedar Point.  What a way to run a race – surrounded by roller coasters.  While the rides were not open to jump on, many of them were running.  There’s something awesome about hearing that roller coaster “swoosh” as you go running by!

On course, there were PLENTY of water stops staffed by enthusiastic volunteers that really seemed happy to be there.  We finished the course right outside the main gate, next to the shore of Lake Erie – which gave us a lovely breeze.

As part of the 5K, all participants received a race-specific T-shirt.  Rubber medallions were given to all the younger finishers.

Sunday: Cedar Point Half Marathon

Looking pretty happy (and not that hot) at the start of the Inaugural Cedar Point Half Marathon.

Looking pretty happy (and not that hot) at the start of the Inaugural Cedar Point Half Marathon.

Sunday morning, Kimberly, Gail, and Gail’s parents all jumped in the car and headed to the race start a bit early, as we needed to drop off Gail’s parents at the Mile 5/12 water stop and then make it to the start line with time for a pre-race potty stop.

About 700 runners started the Half Marathon on the banks of Lake Erie.  This was very much a local race that just happened to be held at a theme park.

We began with a loop around the parking lot before heading into Cedar Point.  The first 5 miles covered most of the 5K course (with some additional loops to add distance) before heading across the Cedar Point Causeway into downtown Sandusky, once again along the banks of Lake Erie.

Halfway across the Cedar Point Causeway was Mile 5 and our first chance to say “HI!” to Gail’s parents.  They got a great location – in part because we would double-back and get to see them twice, but also because they were on the causeway and got an amazing breeze.  The day was WAY hot and humid and the causeway offered the best breeze of the ENTIRE course.

RUUUUUUNNNNN! Save yourself from the heat.

RUUUUUUNNNNN!
Save yourself from the heat.

Miles 5 – 12 of the course went into downtown Sandusky in a loop back towards the Cedar Point Causeway and the theme park.  As the race started about 10 minutes late at 6:55 am, it got hot FAST and the miles outside the theme park (and away from the distraction of the roller coasters and breeze of the causeway) got sticky really quickly.

Mile 13 gave us our final chance to get a personalized “Way to go!” from Gail’s parents before finishing the final trip across the causeway and crossing the finish line with a view of the Cedar Point area marina.

The Half Marathon finish line and our new on-course friends: Melissa Schmitt & Mike Rigelsky (who just happen to runDisney!).

The Half Marathon finish line and our new on-course friends: Melissa Schmitt & Mike Rigelsky (who just happen to runDisney!).

All Half Marathon participants received a long-sleeved race-specific tech shirt and an medal with an AWESOME ribbon, as well as two 13.1 race magnets.  Wasn’t really sure about a long-sleeved shirt in July but, if you’re from somewhere where it gets cold and snowy in the winter, wearing the Cedar Point Run & Ride Half Marathon shirt while training in the yuck would definitely get you jazzed up about the return of summer and the opening of Cedar Point.

Half Marathon schwag!

Half Marathon schwag!

All in all, this was great inaugural race and we’re pretty excited about what’s in store for next year and the other Run & Ride races that are held at King’s Island and Carowinds.  After all, #RunAllTheRaces and #RideAllTheRollerCoasters!

UP NEXT: An interview with the Run & Ride Race Directors on the race and their future plans and input from Gail’s parents on their volunteer experience.

Are you a roller coaster person?  Have you been to Cedar Point?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @RunAllTheRaces and like us on Facebook/runalltheraces.

Perfect Goofy Gail & (soon to be Delightful Dopey) Kimberly

 

 

Race Report: Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Hat Trick Challenge or Hey, did we tell you it was hot and hilly?..

We love us some Runner’s World and when we heard they were hosting a series of races that included the chance to run Heartbreak Hill of Boston Marathon fame – WITHOUT having to cut 1+ hours off our marathon times to qualify for the Boston Marathon – we were IN.

Our first Runner's World Cover...we're kinda a big deal (at least in our own minds...)!

Our first Runner’s World Cover…we’re kinda a big deal (at least in our own minds…)!

Why run just one race with Runner’s World when you can #RunAllTheRaces?!?!

The inaugural Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon & Festival took place on the campus of Boston College in Newton, MA, June 7 – 8, 2014. Thousands of runners – including kids and dogs – showed up for a weekend of racing, seminars, movies, and more.

We were ALL IN as usual and this entailed running the 5K, getting about a 30 minute break and then running the 10K on Saturday morning and then coming back for more in the form of a half marathon on Sunday morning.

Or, in the case of the Runner's World Heartbreak Hill Hat Trick, they eat us - 2 days in a row!

Or, in the case of the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Hat Trick, they eat us – 2 days in a row!

 

 

The weekend included the privilege (or horror, depending on how you look at it) of running the infamous Heartbreak Hill and surrounding Newton hills 4 TIMES. Yep, you read that correctly, 4 TIMES. #RunAllTheNewtonHills

Down Heartbreak Hill and Kelley Hill at the beginning of the 10K (Opportunity #1), a 3 mile-ish “break” [NOTE: The course description states that the course flattens after Kelley Hill. We will tell you that FLAT is a relative term…it was “flat” only if you call “flat” not going up a giant hill], followed by slogging back UP Kelley Hill and Heartbreak Hill at Miles 5 – 6 (Opportunity #2). And another chance to get at it during the Half Marathon the next day. Down Heartbreak Hill and Kelley Hill – this time at Mile 3 (Opportunity #3) – before getting a 5 mile-ish “break” and the final opportunity to conquer the hills of Newton at Miles 10 – 13 (Opportunity #4).

We weren’t the only crazy people to come out and take on Heartbreak Hill. We got the chance to see, run with, and meet TONS of our runner friends, which made the weekend (and the hills) worth every sore leg muscle.

Mickey Milers: Caryn, Jennifer Teig Von Hoffman, Liam Scribner-MacLean, Mike Scopa, Perfect Goofy Gail, Michelle Scribner-MacLean, Rudy Novotny, and Kimberly doing “The Eddie.”

Stop running and take a photo? Sure (we're up for ANY reason to take a break)! Alison Jakeman Nicklas, Perfect Goofy Gail, the Heartbreak Hill Running Company Gorilla (he was out BOTH days cheering us on), Kimberly, and Pamela Potter Frost.

Stop running and take a photo? Sure (we’re up for ANY reason to take a break)!
Alison Jakeman Nicklas, Perfect Goofy Gail, the Heartbreak Hill Running Company Gorilla (he was out BOTH days cheering us on), Kimberly, and Pamela Potter Frost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So just how bad IS Heartbreak Hill?

On paper it doesn’t seem so bad. It climbs a mere 88 feet over four-tenths of a mile.  It only goes up at a grade of 3.3%.  What makes it so hard, aside from running it several times over the same weekend, is that it is the first or last of the series of 4 Newton hills (depending on whether you were coming or going on the Runner’s World courses). The thought of hitting this series of hills in the UP direction at Mile 21-ish of the Boston Marathon makes our legs hurt just thinking about it!

Hey Pammy, did we tell you it was hot and Hilly?..  Note the forced smiles - and we're not even at the up portion of the Newton hills yet!

Hey Pammy, did we tell you it was hot and Hilly?.. Note the forced smiles – and we’re not even at the up portion of the Newton hills yet!

Add to the hills of Newton the heat and humidity of a New England summer’s day and we couldn’t resist commenting on how hot and hilly it was to everyone and anyone that would listen – especially our friend Pammy – who joined us on Sunday for the Half Marathon.

In spite of the heat and the hills, we managed to take enough pictures and video for a recap of the entire weekend.  Good news is that by the 10K and Half Marathon we were “running” slow enough that everything is in perfect focus 😀

NOTE: Bonus points for doing a burpee every time we mention that it’s hot or hilly or hot and hilly!

 

Check out the 2014 Participant Guide here.

If you are interested in receiving notification when next year’s event dates are announced, click here.

#RunAllTheRaces #GetAllTheBling

#RunAllTheRaces
#GetAllTheBling

Have you qualified for Boston and run this storied course only to experience Heartbreak Hill at Mile 21? Do you dream of racing up Heartbreak Hill? Tell us about it!

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @RunAllTheRaces and like us on Facebook/runalltheraces.

Perfect Goofy Gail & (soon to be Delightful Dopey) Kimberly

P.S. Hey, did we tell you it was hot and hilly?..

 

Race Report: Going the Distance Marathon – Is it a DNF if you finish an “official” race distance, but not the distance you set out to do?

This past Saturday I was pretty excited about attempting my 4th marathon in 2014 at local race, the Going the Distance Marathon, in Phoenix, AZ.

Rio Vista Park: Great race location. Lots of parking right next to the ramada - and what a spread they had pre and post race.

Rio Vista Park: Great race location. Lots of parking right next to the ramada – and what a spread they had pre and post race.

I went to bed early on Friday and even managed to bound out of bed at 3:30am, get dressed, and be out the door by 4:00am for the 2-hour drive to Phoenix. I arrived at 6:15am to Rio Vista Park (technically in Peoria, AZ – just around the corner from the University of Phoenix stadium where the Arizona Cardinals play).

This was my first race with StartLine Racing. It was the last race of their Going the Distance Series, designed to help runners work up to their first full marathon by starting with a 5K and progressively running longer races over the course of several months. The day’s offerings included a 4-miler, half marathon, and the full marathon.

I was the only sparkly runner out of the course, but I did get a lot of compliments, which helped what turned out to be a “not so great” race. Maybe I jinxed myself by wearing marathon #3 shirt for marathon #4 attempt…

About 30 runners lined up at 7:00am for the start of the marathon – including a guy with a giant Camelback that was sporting flip-flops. It was an out-and-back race, consisting of 2 different loops for the marathon and 1 loop for the half marathon.

I had a great first quarter of the race (for me) and managed to cover 6.5 miles in the first 60 minutes. A bit of running math in my head and I was thinking to myself I could actually PR this marathon if I just keep up the pace.

This was the last happy runner thought to cross my mind as the wheels came off the race (and any hope of a PR or even 26.2 miles) about 8 miles in.  Truth be told, it was not my day.

It was getting hot (mid-80’s) and my legs were toast. As the next agonizing 4 miles ticked by I slowly realized that the right thing to do was to stop at the end of the first loop, finish the half marathon distance, and not press my luck by heading out away from civilization (and my car) for the second loop of the full marathon.

While I was able to complete the half marathon in a respectable if not speedy time for me (but no negative split), my 4th full marathon of 2014 was just not in me this day.  In fact, I technically got beat by the guy in the shower shoes, since HE managed to complete the full marathon…

This is the first time I’ve set out to run one distance and ended up running a shorter distance.

So, I’ve been asking myself the question: Is it a DNF if you finish an “official” race distance, but not the distance you set out do?

Race shirt and medal from my DNF-ish performance.

Race shirt and medal from my DNF-ish performance.

In my mind, it’s DNF-ish or DNF enough to eat at me (and make me hang the race shirt in the closet unworn and put the race medal in my shoe box instead of on the medal rack).

The good news is that I have a chance for redemption later this year. StartLine Racing will be hosting a NYC in AZ marathon in November.

Even better?… Kimberly is running the ACTUAL NYC Marathon! I can have her send me actual NYC race photos during my run – so it will be like I’m there with her.

And worst case?.. They have a half marathon option that day too if it’s just not my day in November either. 😉

Perfect Goofy Gail