Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Henry County Mini Marathon–Race Recap


Henry County Mini Marathon

It was the inaugural year for this event and I had been signed up since early January, if I remember correctly.  I figured it would be a small race but didn’t realize they were limiting it to 500 participants.  It also had a 5K & 10K option.

I drove to New Castle the day before to get my packet.  Its less than an hour east of Indianapolis and although I could have picked up my packet race morning, I wanted to see where I was going, was there any road construction I should know about & how long would it take me…knowing my drive time would be quicker oh so early in the morning.

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Packet pick-up was at the YMCA.  I didn’t have any problems finding it and although it wasn’t supposed to open until 5pm, I saw other people coming out with packets so I went in around 4:45.  The course would be (mostly) a double loop of the 6 mile route.  I’ve never done one like that & must admit I had some concerns.  Don’t know why; I’m just a natural born worrier.

As I was driving back to Indy, I noticed that the Steve Alford All-American Inn had advertised a King bed room for only $55.  I was so tempted.  The extra 1 1/2 hours of sleep sure would be nice.  But decided to stay with the original plan. Side note: Steve Alford is from New Castle, played basketball at IU and now coaches at the college level.  He’s the local celebrity to say the least!

I got up at 4:00AM (UGH!), took a quick shower and ate my usual pre-race meal of peanut butter on wheat toast, a banana and a Starbuck Frappuccino. I went to the bathroom as many times as I could before leaving the house at 5:15AM.  This was really too soon to leave but;    1)I wanted to give myself some wiggle room in case I needed a bathroom stop, 2) you had to pick up your timing chip that morning and 3) there was a pre-race meeting at 7:00AM.  I was pretty sure the meeting would be worthless & I was correct.

I did stop at a rest area in Greenfield on the way and used the bathroom again.  I think mentally I was making my stomach more nervous because this wasn’t my regular routine.  I got to the park with plenty of time, got my timing chip and then got in line for the bathroom.  Luckily this was an indoor facility – The Smith Building – but only one women’s restroom and there were only two stalls.  At about 6:50AM I ate a packet of Sport Beans and then waited for the meeting.  Just like the last event I did with this organization, the main purpose of the meeting was to go over the course.  If you aren't already familiar with the area, are you really going to remember all of this 30+ minutes from now while you are out there?  I highly doubt it.  After a few minutes I went back inside to wait and get in the bathroom line one more time.

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There was a nice sunrise to start the race.  It was cool and windy.  I had taken a throw-away and some gloves but decided not to fool with them.  All three distance started together and the race started on time. Probably two-tenths of a mile into it we are running up our first hill.  There was elevation chart so I had no idea want to expect.  I told myself to run the hills the first time around but could walk up them during the second loop if I needed to.  I had my iPhone with me and there were a couple of things along the course that I wanted to take a picture of but decided against it.  I thought if I really wanted to I could just go back after the race and take them then.  The course was well marked but the roads through the park/golf course were in bad shape; lose gravel and lots of pot holes.  Between miles 2 & 3, I felt like I needed to make a bathroom stop but the restrooms in the park were still closed for the winter!  Luckily, this feeling eventually subsided. The first loop wasn’t bad although the wind was still crazy and it wasn’t at my back very often.  Some of the roads in the park were banked so I tried to stay in the middle when I could.

Since this was a small race and I’m a slower runner, I approached the second loop alone.  And I was confused at one point when some runners were headed back toward me and was worried that I was doing it wrong. I remember passing the 7 mile marker and then some time later looked at the time on my iPhone and thought I was having the slowest race of my life in quite some time.  The phone said that it was 9:00AM and I still hadn’t seen the 8 mile marker.  Seriously?  Were the hills really taking that much of a toll on me?  Then I remember that we started at 7:30 and not 7:00 so I wasn’t 30 minutes behind…but I still hadn’t seen the 8 mile marker.  Well I must have completely overlooked it because when I came upon the 9 mile marker I certainly felt better about things.  The strangest thing about the course was an extra “turn around” on the second loop.  It was on the south side of the road but they didn’t want you to do it until you had gone through the main turnaround point.  So that meant as we are running east we now had to cross the road so that we could run this little loop (maybe two-tenths of a mile) and then cross the road again to get on the proper running side of the road. (it wasn’t a closed course and there was a officer there but there was some traffic).  It just would have made more sense to do it first while we were on THAT side.

The best thing that the last part to the finish line was downhill.  Wheeeee!  It also had a hairpin turn that you had to be cautious of but going downhill was fun.  When I crossed the finish line I was fairly certain that I had a new PR but I wanted to wait until the final results to be sure.

Back inside the Smith Building and the Optimist Club was serving breakfast – FREE!  I enjoyed two pancakes and a water.  YUM!  The award ceremony was scheduled to start at 10:30AM but they started early and again, small race so I hung around…just in case.  Well, you gotta love being an older runner in a small race because I got an age group place award! 

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I got a PR by one minute and a place award  I’d say it was a pretty successful Saturday.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Some Bunny Loves You

My niece is training to walk her first half marathon and signed up to do the Bunny Rock 5K in Indianapolis.  She had tagged me in a Facebook post about it so after confirming that she wanted me to walk it with her, I signed up as well.  I had received an email for $5 off and it was still before the rate went up so registration was just over $30 with taxes & fees.  Not too bad in my opinion.

This seemed like one of those races that I could dress “themed” especially since I would be walking it instead of running.  However, I didn’t realize how difficult it would be to find something Easter-y and/or Bunny themed.  Eventually, I found a T-shirt and “skorts” in the Girls Department at Target that I thought would work.  The T-shirt was a little tight but I figured with a sports bra it would fit better.

Hannah drove over Friday night and stayed with us so that she could get some extra sleep.  She lives a little over an hour west of us.

Morning came quickly and we left a little earlier that we ended up needing to but you had to pick up your packet THAT morning and we weren’t sure what the parking situation would be like.  Better safe than sorry.  And I didn’t want her to feel rushed since this was her first official event.  We got our packets and I put them in the drawstring backpack I brought, put on our bunny ears, took a few pictures and then lined up near the back of the pack.


It was a crowded start because the course is narrow there but she did a good job of speeding up and passing some people.  The original plan that we discussed was that the first mile we would do at her pace, the second mile I would pace her to go a little faster and then we would back it off the last mile.  I stressed that along with completing the even, I wanted this to be enjoyable for her.  I ran ahead of her at one point so that I could get an action shot.  We talked about various things along the way and then asked her if she wanted to kick it in once we were .1 away from the finish line. I thought she would just start walking faster but she took off running.  YEA!  I wasn’t even thinking about it but glad she crossed the finish line before me.

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We both had our pictures taken with the Easter Bunny, got a water, banana and granola bar but sadly they were out of Peeps. Sad smile  There was a petting zoo for the smaller kids that would be doing the Easter egg hunt later so we took some time to look at all the animals.  She said that she enjoyed it.  I hope she really did.  I wish I could be there for her when she does her first half but I am doing one that same day in a different city.

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We stopped at Denny’s for brunch on the way back but then she had some errands to run before heading home so she packed up her stuff and left not long afterward.

I’m glad that I was able to do this with her.  I hope she enjoys her half marathon or at least continues with 5Ks or maybe even 10Ks.