Monday, September 1, 2014

Mahomet Half Marathon – Race Recap

August 16, 2014

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I think I discovered this race on the Running in the USA website or maybe on the Half Fanatics calendar.  I seriously have no idea now! I verified with them that there was no increase in the registration fee so I waited until July 28th to sign up.  I would still get a shirt by that date – you know, because I’m starting to run out of those – and I could ease the pain on the wallet by waiting. With taxes and fees, registration was $49.20.

I contemplated getting a hotel room but Mahomet is only two hours away from where I live and I would gain an hour with the time change difference of Indiana and Illinois so I decided to just drive it that morning.  This also meant I would need to do packet pick-up the morning of.

The race start time was 7:00AM (local time) and I wanted to be there no later than 6:30AM.  I would need to leave my house no later than 5:30AM (my time).  You don’t know how many time I had to/needed to work through the timing differences.  It was a little stressful on my brain!

I was out the door (mostly) on time and ran into my first “issue” not far from my house.  One of the back roads that I should have taken was closed so I had to follow a detour route.  Not that big of a deal but it did add some time to my drive.  Then there was some construction on I-74 and I got stuck behind a semi that was going the speed limit as if construction was underway!  So THAT slowed my down.  And then I had to stop and pee.  I don’t remember which little town I stopped in but was in and out of the McDonald’s in no time.

I ran into some heavy rain while driving over and the forecast was iffy during the actual race time frame.  However it was not raining as I entered Mahomet.

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All of this added to my drive time and while I initially thought I had plenty of time, I pulled into Mahomet at 6:45AM (local time).  The start line was at the high school and they already had the street close so I had to park at the secondary school.  It wasn’t a far walk but I still had to pick up my packet.  I heard the announcer say that the race would be starting in 8 minutes!  Got my packet, went into the restroom and changed shirts (I’m a fan of wearing the event shirt) but knew I wouldn’t be able to run the bag to my car so luckily someone at the registration table did a “bag check” for me.

Side note:  As I’m walking up to the high school I noticed that the line for the porta-potty was fairly long but just outside of the high  school was another set of porta-potties with a shorter line. BUT(T) – get it? -there was no line for the restrooms inside the school!  Why would anyone want to use a porta-potty when there are REAL restrooms with running water?

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So, as I’m walking out from the school the National Anthem is finishing and they fire the starting gun.  YIKES!  It’s a mad sprint to the start line.  Luckily it wasn't that far AND I had my watch fired up and the GPS had already located me.  I didn’t have any time to stretch or anything.  Needless to say, this has not been the best start I’ve ever had for a race.  But I was only a minute behind the official clock when I crossed.  And I didn’t feel too bad because some other guy went flying past me a few feet after the line; obviously he started late as well.

As we made our first turn I suddenly had this sinking feeling that I didn’t look closely in the race bag and that there was a timing chip in there that I needed to put on my shoe.  Our bibs were the RoadID bibs and usually they don’t have a timing chip on the back.  Now I’m in panic mode even more!  So for about the first mile(+) I keep trying to look at everyone else’s shoes to see if there is a chip on them or not.  I never saw anything and plus what was I going to do at this point?  I’d just have to let it play out.  (By the way, there was a timing strip on the back of the bibs)

The first two miles were somewhat residential but we would then be heading out to some country road.

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Around the two mile marker, there was an aid station and what looked like to be the high school drum line.  I regret not taking a picture of them.

This was the view as we were running north and crossed over I-74..  It was a steady incline.  The folks that lived in the house were out in the yard cheering us on as we passed.

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Mile Marker 4 was in front of this gorgeous house and there was a rock band playing.  There were chickens roaming around in the side yard!  #Country

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Approximately 1/4 to 1/2 mile past this house, the male leaders would pass us headed back in to town.  It would be the 9 1/2 mile point for them.  This was a long stretch of road to run on but eventually we came to our turning point.  Although we were turning right, over to the left I could see this cemetery.  I always seem to notice them now since my husband is really into genealogy and Ancestry.com.

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As I was approaching the Mile Marker 6, I could see that there was a mascot in the distance.  Since I’m a very serious runner - or not, I stopped & had my picture taken with him/her.

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This old farmhouse was just after we made the turn from mile marker six.  It would be perfect in some horror movie!

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It was then on this stretch of the course that the wheels fell off.  I started having the worst hip pain and began taking some walking breaks.  The view at this point (as well as most of the course) was this: soybean fields and cornfields.

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Approaching Mile Marker 8, I saw some cows.  They were not impressed me…and rightfully so.

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We turned south after the aid station at Mile Marker 8 and then it started to rain.  It was just a drizzle/mist at first but then it came down a little heavier.  I was worried about my cell phone getting wet.  This stretch of the road was also where we were given GU at Mile Marker 9.  The website said that it would be given at mile 7.  That is why I always bring my own.  The guys handing out the GU asked me how many people were behind me.  Ummm…I don’t really know that answer but I told them a handful, maybe 20.  I was probably pretty close with that guess.  I’m sure they wanted to be done standing in the rain!

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And just as I turned onto the road where I was earlier passed by the race leaders, the rain subsided.  If only my hip pain had.  It now turned into a mental battle of running for two minutes and then walking for 1 minute.  Or I would tell myself to keep running until I reached the next road sign and then I could walk.  This mind game would continue for the next 2 1/2 to 3 miles. I was even running with my eyes closed at certain times.  Probably not the safest thing to be doing.

Once again we ran across a road that was over I-74 (but different than the first one) and I could see the high school in the distance on my left.  But I barely had anything left in the tank.  My hip hurt so bad and I couldn’t run the entire time.  I had to continue the run/walk method.  It wasn’t until I got on the track that I mustered up a continuous run until I crossed the finish line.

Got my medal, a Gatorade and took a few pictures.

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Then I walked over to the food area.  For a small race, they had lots of choices: Einstein bagels and some other roll/pastry from there with butter & cream cheese spread options.  There were traditional Oreo cookies and the golden ones.  Quaker chewy granola bars and fruit options.  There was a massage table that I really wanted to wait on for my turn but I had to get back to my house no later than 1:30PM.

I was a little discombobulated with my surroundings but eventually found my way back to where packet pickup was.  Of course there wasn’t anyone there so I had to walk back to the track side of the school and eventually found where my bag was being held.  It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal to have left it there.  I had an older running shirt in it and that was all that had any “value” per say but glad I finally retrieved it.

As I was walking back to my car, I saw the high school sign and a group of people talking in the parking lot near it.  Luckily one of them was nice enough to accompany to the sign so that I could get my finishers picture.  And bonus, she is a photographer so she took lots of options and knew to look at the background & surroundings so that random stuff wouldn’t be in the photo.

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Overall, this was a good event for being a small race and I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed it more had I not been in so much pain the last third of the course.  There were aid stations every mile and they were stocked with both water AND Gatorade and had plenty of volunteers to hand it out.  Even the rolling hills weren't THAT bad.  But I doubt I will ever do this race again.  It fit my schedule and was race number 19 in my quest to complete 31 this year.  The medal was about what you would expect from a small race.

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Unfortunately, the drive home was miserable.  I was in tremendous amounts of pain.  Randomly I had a baggie in my car and took ice from the cooler and tried to keep it on my hip for the 2 hour drive.  By the time I pulled into my garage, I could barely get out of the car and was near tears.  Sleeping that night was almost impossible.  Monday morning I called a hip doctor to make an appointment but couldn’t get in for a week. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Columbus Challenge Triathlon – Recap of my Husband’s Race

August 9, 2014

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As part of my husband’s upcoming Full Ironman training he has signed up to participate in a few other distance triathlons, if they fit within his schedule.  He did the Olympic Distance of this event.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 8th:  We decided to drive down the night before to pick up his packet.  So glad we did because the GPS in his car wasn’t very accurate and we had some trouble finding it at first.  That would NOT have been a good thing on race morning. 

The small parking lot of the Marina was already full but we found a place on the street very close.  It was drizzling so I took an umbrella.  I probably DIDN’T need it but since I wanted to take pictures, I had it just in case.  I was not just being fussy or high maintenance.

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Packet pickup was super easy.  Racks for the bikes were assembled and staged in the grass, there was a place where you could get you bike tuned up (the line was long!) and registered athletes could get food for free.  Others could buy food à la carte but we were supposed to stop for dinner on the way home so I didn't get anything.  “Supposed” to stop…more on that in a bit.

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There was ONE chocolate chip cookie on the tray and he was going to get it for me but the lady in front of him took it.  Sadness. Crying face2014, 08-08 (14)2014, 08-08 (15)

And that was pretty much it for packet pickup.  Since he was offered free food, my husband got a sandwich, some chips and a cookie (but not one that I was interested in – good thing/bad thing) and ate in the car as we were driving back home.  But since he was eating that meant HE didn’t need to stop for dinner on the way home.  Long story short…our going out to dinner after packet pickup ended up with stopping at Wal-Mart so that I could get a sandwich and something to drink.  Definitely not what I had in mind when we said we’d get something to eat later.  Once we got home, he started getting his stuff stage for in the morning – so much more to organize than just doing a half marathon – and then it was somewhat early to bed.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 9th:  It is only a one hour and 15 minute drive from our side of town to Columbus, IN and since the race started at 8:00AM, we wouldn’t need to leave super early in the morning…or would we?  Totally understandable to he wanted to get down there and set up and not be rushed so I was instructed the night before that we’d be leaving the house at 6:00AM.  When I asked if that allowed time to get my coffee (which was on the way), I was informed that we would be leaving the house at 5:45AM.  EEK!  Since I wanted to take a shower in the morning that meant getting up at 4:30AM.  So early.

The weather forecast for the day had cleared up a little from what it was showing on Friday night so that was a good thing.

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By the time we had arrived parking was already crazy but found a spot just down the road and didn’t have very far to walk.  I left most of “my stuff” in the car and helped him with his gear.

He got his transition area set-up and then walked over to the body marking area.

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We randomly saw our neighbor there which was fun.  We wondered if he would be doing this event.  Transition area was starting to fill up.

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After the pre-race meeting, he went down to the lake and got in the water for a bit.

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An announcement was made during the meeting that the athlete that was competing with her son (who has spina bifada) was already starting the swim to alleviate the potential challenges of getting caught up with the other athletes.  You can read more about their story HERE.  I’m always so impressed with folks that can do this.  I get very emotional when I see them on the course.  I took a few pictures as well which I’ll post at the end of this recap.

The swim was NOT a mass start and although it takes a little longer to get everyone in the water via a time-trial start, it’s a better option.  I have pictures of him starting the swim but I am not allowed to post those (because “no one looks good in a swim cap”) so here he is already in the water.  Since you can’t really tell its him, I think its safe to post!2014, 08-09 (81)

While he was in the water, it was my opportunity to visit the porta-potty (…those just aren’t as tolerable when you aren’t the athlete needing to use it but at least it didn’t smell bad) and then went to the car to get my chair and lunch bag.

Here he is coming out of the water. 2014, 08-09 (24)

Lots of volunteers in the water at the SWIM OUT because it was very slippery there.  I was able to run with him (but out of the way of the other athletes) up to the entrance of the transition area and then positioned myself at the BIKE OUT to take photos there.

2014, 08-09 (25) He is such a serious athlete! 2014, 08-09 (27)2014, 08-09 (29)

I set up my own transition area while waiting for him to return from the bike course.

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Looks like most people are out on their bikes: 2014, 08-09 (85)

I got to see our neighbor come in from the bike course.  Luckily he saw me and hollered at me first.  Its also tough to tell athletes apart when they are wearing bike helmets!

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Next in was my husband.

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Then it was time to run:

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They would be doing two laps of the 5K course so I’d get to see him 4 times. 

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And then the finish!

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Both of the finishers:

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I am very proud of him but…who wants to hug a sweaty athlete? 2014, 08-09 (88)2014, 08-09 (87)

Overall he was pleased with this event.  He said they really needed more safety personnel in kayaks out on the water and a few more directional buoys would have been good too.  The bike course was a little hillier than he was expecting.

Unfortunately we didn't stick around for the awards.  We would find out when the results got posted, he placed 3rd un his age group which meant he got a medal.  YAY!!  So I contacted them and they FINALLY sent it to us in the mail.

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Here are the pictures that I took of team Booher. (HERE is the link again as well)  What an amazing team.  I highly recommend that you read the article.

When they were coming in from the swim, he was waving at people as they were cheering him on.  As they got closer I could here him talking to some people and he told everyone that he was eating a donut.  And sure enough he had donut in hand as they came out of the water  So funny.2014, 08-09 (15)2014, 08-09 (21)2014, 08-09 (52)2014, 08-09 (62)