Monday, October 12, 2015

(10-10-2015) Bedford Half Marathon

This was the second year for the Bedford Half Marathon. I contemplated doing it last year but didn't but I can't remember why now. It probably conflicted with another race. I registered back on June 1st before any price increase and with taxes and fees paid $54.32. Three race distances are offered: the half marathon, a 5K and a 1-mile Family Fitness walk.

Bedford is 70 miles south of Indianapolis and would take me approximately an hour and 25 minutes to get to. That was a little too far to justify going the night before to packet pickup so I would just need to get my bib race morning since that was an option. They really encouraged everyone to come Friday to get packets but I just couldn't rationalize driving that far two days in a row. They said that we might not get our shirt size, if we didn't get our packet the night before. I don't understand that. I realize that there are people that sign-up the night before a race but if you have people that have registered in advance and you asked them what size shirt they want/need, you should save those shirts back for people who have preregistered. People that signup last minute can have THEIR shirts mailed to them if the race doesn't have their size. So I decided that I would just wear a "generic" running shirt down there that morning and hope for the best.

Since I wasn't 100% sure where I would be going in the morning I wanted to leave earlier than I normally would "need" to. Race Directors - please put an address for the start line (even if its the address of the closest building) so that people coming from out of town can MapQuest or OnStar directions! Luckily my friend TR did the race last year and she gave me an address to use for OnStar. The race was scheduled to start at 8:00AM so I wanted to leave my house at 6:00AM. That meant the alarm needed to be set for 4:45AM.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 10th: I left the house at exactly 6:00AM. I probably should have gotten gas the night before but I had enough to get down there so I would worry about filling up on the way home. It is still so dark outside that early in the morning and when taking back roads, I always worry about hitting a deer. While I didn't see any deer, less than a 1/2 mile from my house there were 2 raccoons in the middle of the road. Their beady eyes were shining in my headlights but thankfully they scurried across the road to safety. And I wasn't 15 minutes from my house and I had to stop to use the bathroom! It is situations like this that makes me not want to carpool with people! But after that, there were no more stops until I got to Bedford. While the drive down there was uneventful, it was the trip of a thousand orange construction barrels. They weren't all necessarily blocking off a lane but they were lined on the side of the road for at least 20 miles!

I didn't exactly make it to where TR had told me to park but I figured I was fairly close to the start line when I saw several runners in a bank parking lot. I found a spot on the side of the road and headed toward the music. I was about 1 1/2 blocks away. I saw the "Race Day Registration" sign but it didn't register that I would get my packet in that location. After walking around for a bit, I finally asked someone where packet pickup was and they pointed me back to the sign I had just walked past.

It was so nice and warm in the packet pickup building! I got my bib number and I'm happy to report that I was able to get the correct shirt size. Since it was a chilly start to the day, I went ahead and put it on over the long sleeved tech shirt that I wore. The race shirts were black so I hoped that I wouldn't get too warm wearing it - as well as a shirt underneath - once the sun came out.

Unfortunately there was no public restroom in this building and I really needed to pee one more time. There was a single porta-potty just two doors downs. I don't think that it was technically a "race facility" but there was no line and another lady had just exited from it so used it. did not smell nice in there!

Volunteers were setting up the post race goodies as I walked over toward the starting area.
The forecast looked to be a perfect day for a half marathon.
But it was still chilly and I tried to find a storefront nook to stand in to stay a little warmer. It is interesting to see how people tolerate weather differently. For example these two guys: one clearly has no problem with cooler temps while the other guy is sporting the popular trash bag ballgown for warmth. I too have used a trash bag but I've never had one "floor length" so I was impressed!
The mayor gave a few words of wisdom (she was participating in the half marathon as well), there was a prayer, the National Anthem and then it was time to get in place for the start. They did a good job of announcing that the 1-mile Family Fitness Walk participants should be in the very back, the 5K-ers in front of them and then the Half Marathoners and it looked like most folks were lining up appropriately. There were A LOT of kids; not sure if most of them were doing the 5K or the 1-miler. But this event also had a school challenge program which is probably why there were so many children.
This isn't a very big race yet so all distances started at the same time and after just a few blocks the half marathon continues straight while the other distances turn right. This caused some "dangerous" conditions as young children who were on the LEFT side began darting through half marathoners to get to the other side of the road to make their turn. I realize these kids don't know any better and they are just running all nilly willy being excited about running a race but (IMO) it would be wise for the organizers of the race to perhaps separate the course - with cones maybe - for these few blocks so that only half marathoners are on the left side of the street. I had one lady tell me she was worried that she'd be taken out by a kid!

I really have nothing else to post about this race. It was one of the most visually unstimulating course that I've participated in. It was so boring. Even the leaves hadn't started to change much down there so I couldn't be in awe of the beautiful fall colors. Usually during a first time race for me, I am taking lots of pictures but I barely took any during this half marathon. But here are some of the items of interest that I noted along the way:
  1. The aid station near mile 3 was very energetic. I think it was sponsored by a realtor (maybe a bank); one lady had a sign that said "run fast like you are late for a loan closing" and I should have taken a picture for my friend that owns a title company. It was at this section I saw a younger man - maybe in his early 20s, if that - who was wearing grey fleece sweatpants and they looked like they were the heavier material. He was taking a walking break when I passed him and I couldn't help but wonder how hot he might get later in the race. Fast forward to entering Murray Forest Park - just before the 11 mile marker - and he is COMING OUT of the park! How did that happen? I never saw him pass me and I would have recognized those sweatpants. He had to have cut the course at some point.
  2. Just past the 5 mile marker we ran through Hillcrest Circle (the first subdivision of the city) and this was what I would consider the most scenic portion of the race but was probably only 1/4 mile in length.
  3. The aid station (mile 7 I think) was associated with a hospital or health care service provider. They were very energetic, had some great music playing and had a gurney on display. I asked it they were giving free rides.
  4. Around mile 10 1/2, there were some residents out cheering us on and they had made and posted some clever signs. This was the very first time I took a picture of anything on the course. 
  5. As I was coming out of the park, I saw two people running in wearing Shawna Girgis for Mayor T-shirts. The city of Bedford was also plastered with signs to re-elect her. And as they got closer - having seen her photo on some of those signs and billboards - I recognized that it was her. I now had some added motivation that I at least needed to finish before the Mayor.
  6. I ran past a young man before the 12 mile marker who appeared to be just walking in the area but he was walking IN the street where we were all running. He said to me, "God Bless You. I'll be praying for you." Hopefully that wasn't a sign that he thought I didn't look so good and maybe I wouldn't finish! But it was nice and I thanked him.
  7. The final aid station (after the 12 mile mark) had another set of enthusiastic volunteers. I was offered not only water & Powerade but a slice of pizza. I tried to talk this gentleman in to running in front of me with the pizza as motivation but he wasn't up for it. They said they had handed out several slices on this day. 
This course was full of ups and downs (and I mean that literally; lots of inclines) and there was a nice downhill not far from the finish where I came into some speed (by my standards) and passed three people that were walking. But that was short lived as there was also one last incline to ascend before the finish line. As luck would have it, one of the guys that I had just passed came blowing by me to finish in front of me. I was too over this race to care.

But I am pleased to report that I finished 10 minutes before the Mayor. I contemplated tracking her down and getting a picture with her (she's the first female Mayor of Bedford and was elected back in 2008, ) but was just in the mood to get home.

  • Race day packet pickup was easy.
  • The aid stations always had plenty of water and Powerade and enough volunteers to actually hand cups to runners. Although the first aid station had water in the Powerade cups but the rest of them had done it correctly.
  • This is a "challenging" course for someone like me that doesn't do any hill work. I know I should but I don't. Here is a description of how the course flows:
  • I didn't enjoy this race and not because I am a wimp when it comes to hills. There was just nothing to it; it was unspectacular. In contrast to the Hotlanta down in Georgia that I did back in August which was just as hilly. I enjoyed Hotlanta more...and it rained on me the last 6+ miles!
  • Looking at the statistics from this year to last, attendance for the half marathon was down by over 100 participants (312 in 2014 and 208 in 2015) but the 5K number was up. It will be interesting to see how it does next year. I think they are going to give away a "Streaker" medal to those that have completed all three years. I will not be back however.
  • They did give a really good medal.

Friday, October 9, 2015

AUGUST 2015 - What I Did / From What I Remember

We kicked off the month of August by attending the Kid Rock concert. We saw him back in the early 2000's but I don't remember too much about that concert but this concert was great!  And an added bonus surprise was that Foreigner opened for him and they were fantastic! They sounded just like they did back in the late 70's and early 80's! And being able to use the VIP entrance and parking makes all the difference in the world. The client that my husband took knew some back ways to get there and then to leave afterward. That was the fastest we've EVER gotten home from that venue. AMAZING! 

Not many of our Kid Rock pictures turned out. Once it got dark, the harshness of stage lights and not being super close to the stage (although we did have good seats) most of the pictures were washed out. But it was a GREAT show!

On August 12th, I attended the Indy Honor Flight Guardian Training. Although I went to the one back in April because I was on stand-by, I felt like it would be good to get a refresher since I was actually GOING this time. I was so crazy excited to be doing this; you have no idea!!! The only thing that would make this trip better would be if my father was still alive and I could have taken him.
This is my Dad's service picture. He was so handsome!

Lastly, my brother and I headed to Atlanta, GA to participate in the Hotlanta Half Marathon. Hotlanta ended up being WETlanta and it was a difficult race for me. And although he had a tough trip home, it was nice to get to do another road trip with my brother K. You can read all about that HERE:


(10-03-2015) Evansville Half Marathon


I signed up for this event back on July 30th. At least that's when I mailed in the "old school" paper entry form. The cost was $57; no extra fees or taxes!

If I am remembering correctly, I believe this race (or some form of it) used to be call the Southern Indiana Half Marathon) and I have a friend that had been recommending it to me for years but it finally just now worked out with my schedule.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2nd: The plan was to work until 2:30pm and then head directly to Evansville. There is no "direct" route (no interstate) from Indianapolis to Evansville so you have to take some older State Roads. But leaving at 2:30 would give me plenty of time to get down there. But then I decided - since I thought I would have plenty of time - that I would swing by my house and load up all the items that needed to go in the cooler and then leave. I anticipated that this would take 30 minutes but I would still have plenty of wiggle room for a restroom stop and to not feel rushed.  Fast forward to 2:30pm and the "comedy of errors" that was about to ensue.

I needed a few items from the store. I debated whether I should stop at the store near work or wait until I got closer to home. I decided to stop by work and get it out of the way (mistake #1?). The area in which I work in under A LOT of construction so I've been trying to find new ways to get home. And I'll admit that some of the roundabouts up here are confusing. Thus I got turned around and was headed in the wrong direction and somewhat lost. Long story short, by the time I got back on track I was about 15 minutes behind schedule. Had I gone the way I normally go home obviously this wouldn't have happened (mistake #2?). Anyway, I'm on the interstate and approaching an exit that many people say that I should try because it will get me out of the interstate traffic. Well, since it was late afternoon and not as busy I figured that it might be a good time to test out this theory (mistake #3?). While this route wasn't as heavily traveled, I did have to slow down during two school zones and then once I got into the town that is just north of my town, there was a major traffic jam. Best I can tell there was some accident maybe a half a mile south ahead on the road I was on. Shouldn't be that big of a deal since I could/should be able to get on a different interstate, head a little further west and then get home through a different town. Well it took FOREVER to get to the on ramp because of the congested traffic and there was construction at that on ramp. Now I'm about another 20 minutes behind schedule but I figured I could make up time being able to travel 70mph (don't worry-it was the posted speed limit). But eventually I have to get on a country road and a bunch of us are behind farmer Fred who wants to drive under the speed limit and we can't pass!

I finally get into Danville and traffic is busy. I'm about 4 cars back from a stop light that has now turned red. We are all slowing down to stop...except for the kid behind me. BAM! He hits me. Oh my gosh. Did this really just happen?!?! I get out and am thankful to see that there is barely any damage to my vehicle. I think I'm okay. Luckily I was far enough behind the car in front of me or I would have hit him. So I have to call the police. It takes them awhile to get there. It is almost 4:00PM. I should have already been at my house, loaded everything into my car and been on the road to Evansville. Packet pickup was to close at 7:00PM. It takes THREE HOURS to get to Evansville from my house. The only thing I have in my favor is that they are on Central time so I will gain an hour. I've got a little bit of a buffer. I knew ONE person doing the race and thankfully she quickly answered my Facebook message and offered to help if she could. She did find out for me that if I got there 5-10 minutes late, I could still get my packet and that there technically was also an unadvertised packet pickup in the morning if all else failed.

I was finally on the road at 4:40PM. I didn't dare drink much on the trip down there because I didn't want to lose time by having to stop to use the restroom.

I arrived at packet pickup at 6:45PM (local time). Nearly all the vendors had already packed up and were gone; which shame on them for that. I was wearing my Indy Mini Ambassadors shirt so a girl struck up a conversation with me about it. At first she thought it was referencing the Indy Women's half from two weekends ago. She was there. That should have been her 2nd half marathon and Evansville would be her 3rd, qualifying her for Half Fanatics. But since Indy Women's was black flagged she was now going to have to find another race.
As seen at the Expo, a race bucket instead of a bag. One of the sponsors makes these.
Obviously I didn't stay long since nothing was there and they were closing up shop but I did take some pictures and had someone take this one of me and my running friends, Meb and Kara!

Although it had been drizzling on the way down and as I walked in to packet pickup, it had mostly stopped as I left. I headed to the hotel to drop off my stuff and then went to look for some place to eat. I was hoping to find an Applebee's close by but didn't see one. I saw an O'Charley's and decided to go there since I had a gift card. But two things went wrong with dinner; I didn't pay attention when I was ordering and thought I was getting chicken AND pasta but only chicken came out. It was fine; I'd had pasta at lunch but you know how it is when you are expecting one thing and you get another. And then...I couldn't find my gift card. Well, at least I had my 20% off coupon. Then it was back to the hotel to get things ready for Saturday.

As I settled in and was about to go to bed, I noticed that my neck was starting to feel a little stiff and sore. So I slathered on the Biofreeze and took 2 Aleve.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3rd: Race morning and I woke up with my neck feeling pretty good so that was a relief. The race was scheduled to start at 7:00AM so I initially set my alarm for 4:45AM. I wanted to give myself plenty of time to find parking since I wasn't sure where I was going to find some. I actually didn't crawl out of bed until 5:00AM. Took my shower, ate breakfast and was out the door at 6:15AM. There was a slight hiccup with the first set of directions that OnStar gave me but I immediately called them back and they got me back on track. I found a parking lot just a block up and over from the start line.

It was chilly walking to the start area and at that point I wished that I had packed a "throw-away" or at least some gloves. The Tropicana Hotel was just west(?) of the start line so I popped in there to use the restroom and stay warm until it was time to venture over to starting area. This hotel was recommended to me to stay in while I was in Evansville but it was $50+ more a night thus I didn't stay here.  But it sure would have been nice to just roll out of bed and on to the start line!

I headed over toward the starting area around 6:50AM and walked around, checking things out. For a sizable race I was surprised by the generic start line / banner. Lots of people were huddle up by the Vectren building staying out of the wind. I stayed on the sidewalk but not by my correct corral during the singing of the National Anthem. I started heading toward the back after the Anthem but stopped again when it was time for the prayer. It was funny that the minister prayed for us to have less winds and PRs! I continued to the head back to a more appropriate pace corral.

Just in front of me were three girls wearing this shirt.  I'm right there with you ladies!
The announcer said that there were 2500 participants from 27 different states and 70 military personnel had registered. Not sure what the breakdown of that was for the relay which was the only other option this race had.  If I remember correctly, we were broken down into 5 waives to start. I was in the 4th waive.
The sky looked suspicious but we didn't experience any precipitation during the race but it was incredibly windy at times!
I'm not sure if this lady had an athlete in the race or if she was just a super fan but I saw her in 4 different places along the course. When I saw her for the 3rd time, I told her she really gets around. She laughed. But just prior to this I also saw a male participant in "jorts" (jean shorts) and a Hawaiian shirt!  Now, I don't want to judge another runner but...I should be able to finish this race before someone dressed like that, right?  I tried to get a picture but didn't. I did not see him again...once I passed him.
EEK! Hope this alligator/crocodile didn't come out of the Ohio River! Not sure if this is better than a pink flamingo or not. Random Yard Decorations!
How cute is this cheer team? Half Marathon pajama party. Later on the course I saw the Half Marathon Beach Party but I didn't get a picture of them.
This was sectioning off the road at the 5K timing mat. It made me chuckle because at first glance all I could think of was "I hope I don't have to limbo under that." If you look to the left of the cones you can see where runners completely ignored crossing the mat.
First time I've ever seen a lady playing an accordion during a race. Actually first time I've seen ANYONE playing an accordion during a race!
While I always try to say thank you to the police officers that keep us safe at intersections, imagine my surprise when - just as I was about to say thank you - this guy says my name! DJT was a high school classmate of mine. So glad he recognized me.
And then, you know, just a dog wearing a T-shirt cheering on all the runners. Actually he was also sitting in a lawn chair but as I ran over to take his(?) picture he jumped out of it.
Don Mattingly who played for 14 years with the New York Yankees and is currently the Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers is originally from Evansville. This was located at the Garvin Park Youth Baseball Fields.
Around Mile 6, we entered the Garvin Park Trailhead. Garvin Park is one of Evansville's oldest parks. This was the start of about a 4+ mile stretch of the course. This was a great running path and I was surprised at the crowd support we saw along the you will see by ALL OF THE PICTURES below.
This was the first race where people were blowing bubbles and I saw it three different times. Its a great idea and I'm going to try to remember to do that at the next race where I volunteer.

This was a great sign...except that we were in the middle of Mile 8!
Around Mile 9, we entered the Industrial Corridor of the Greenway. It wasn't necessarily the most scenic portion of the race.
This guy was playing "CHARGE" as we ran by.  FUN!!!

Had it been warmer, these Popsicles handed out by the Courier Press (the local newspaper) would have been even more refreshing. It was still tasty even in chilly conditions.
The most Patriotic homeless person and he was very happy to be cheering us on.
The last portion of the course takes us through Sunset Park and back down by the Ohio River.  
I'd love to come back down some weekend and see this Warship. I know I could temp my husband with this!

I wonder who took the time to count all these steps? And for someone like me with a shorter stride, I bet it would take me even more steps!

Someone had written all sorts of  message on the last .2 portion of the course. I figured this would make a good picture and went back after the race.
Medal photoshoot


  • I loved, loved, loved it! If it works out with my schedule, I will try to do this again and again.
  • Great crowd support
  • Scenic
  • There is no race day packet pickup but I live too far away for that to be a concern. Plus I like getting my stuff the night before.