I ran this race last year but didn’t have it on my “to do” list for 2013. However, there is a race later in the season that I may not be able to do because of a potential conflict so I wanted to make sure that I was still on track with the number of half marathons I wanted to complete.
You would think that for someone that had done this race before and there weren’t any changes, that I wouldn’t get lost going to the packet pick-up. Well, that would be incorrect. I must have just driven right past it but I eventually had to call OnStar for help. DOH! Finally I made it to Hamilton Southeastern High School to get my bib. There wasn’t much else there…just like last year. But they were giving away cotton T-shirts from last year so I picked up a couple for my brother. Then it was back in the car headed for home.
The alarm was set for 4:15am. It would be about an hour drive up there in the morning although there shouldn’t be much traffic. The race was scheduled to start at 7:00am but you needed to be bused to the start line and the last bus was to leave at 6:30am. The line of cars to get up to the school (where packet pick-up took place) was crazy long. However there was a neighborhood to the left so I took a chance and cut through. BEST. DECISION. EVER. The road I needed to cross over was closed at the intersection/light so I was able to drive right into the parking lot. WIN!!!
Although there was packet pick-up that morning IN the school, you weren’t allowed to use the restrooms in there. What’s up with that?!?! So much to my chagrin, I had to use the porta-potty outside. Luckily it wasn’t too bad but still. And I wasn’t sure that I had been to the bathroom enough times for…well…you know…so I was just going to have to hope for the best.
Got on the bus and to the start line without any problem and decided to get into the porta-potty one more time. I usually wear the race shirt but it was a long sleeved shirt this year and it was going to be way too hot for that so I wore my Half Fanatics shirt. While standing in line I met another Half Fanatic. I guess I had just missed the group picture and I also found out that they have another Facebook page where they organize photos before races. Yeah, I’m gonna have to look that up.
I got into my corral, sang along with the National Anthem and watched the fly-over. It only took about 2 minutes before crossing the start line.
It was muggy and overcast and I was sweating up a storm by mile 2.
Another Half Fanatic ran up beside me and introduced herself. She was from Texas. I’m really glad I wore my shirt!
The course was exactly the same as last year so that helped and I knew when to expect the hills. I kept plugging along until the “big one” at mile 7.5 and then walked up it with almost everyone else. Around mile 10 it started to drizzle. I was a little worried about my phone because I wasn't expecting this and didn't bring a baggie. Although it rained a little bit harder, it wasn’t too bad and then near mile 12 I was running in a tree covered area so that helped. Saw several people being loaded into ambulances and/or onto stretchers during this race and close to the end of it. That really surprised me. Very sad for them to be so close and to not finish.
I didn’t PR this race but missed it only by a little over a minute and considering the course is hilly and I NEVER train on hills, I considered that a victory. Got my picture taken by the official photographer and then - since there wasn’t a line - I asked someone to take one with my phone. Glad I did because the “official” photo was really washed out!
Another disappointment was that there was no “good” food left and no chocolate milk. I’ll forgive them for the food but not the milk. I’m going to assume that all the 5K folks and there families consumed their fair-share and more. BOOOOOO Thus no need to hang around and I got in line for the bus back to the high school. Plus my dogs only got half their breakfast amount at 5:00am so I needed to give them the rest…as lunch.
When I got home I was surprised to see that I bettered my time from last year by 7 minutes. Lordy, I don’t remember running with a piano on my back in 2012 but I must have had it on there! J/K. I’m sure that the fact that I knew what to expect and that I have done more running prior this year is what helped.