Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Geist Half Marathon–Race Recap


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 Rolling on the floor laughing 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.

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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 Sad smile  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.  Dog face

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.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Doing more!

So back on December 9th I posted about my “I Can Do More Challenge”  - you can read about it here: I Can Do More Challenge.  I get so inspired reading other running blogs.  Most of those blogs are by ladies who are younger and faster than me.  I can’t do anything about the younger part and most of the time I’m not motivated enough to do anything about the faster part.  But that’s okay, they still provided me with ideas on other races to do and new challenges that I may never have thought of before. 

Another great motivator is the Half Fanatics Club.  I’m amazed how some people can get to the different levels.  When I first became eligible, it was at the vey beginning moon level: Neptune.  Then in December after my challenge, I was able to move up to the Uranus level.  Not sure how far up I’ll be able to go but on May 4th after completing 4 half marathons in 27 days, I was able to scoot up once again to the Saturn Level.

4 half marathons in 27 days

  • April 6th – Henry County Mini Marathon in Indiana
  • April 20th – Garmin (Wickedly Fast) Half Marathon in Kansas
  • April 27th – Rock ‘n’ Roll Country Music Half Marathon in Tennessee
  • May 4 – Seymour Mini Marathon in Indiana

I’ve got my eye up going up another level in the Fall by completing 4 half marathons in 21 day.  Or it could happen by doing 19-25 half marathons in 365 days.  Time will tell.


Half Fanatics Criteria

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Seymour Mini Marathon–Race Recap

The Seymour Mini Marathon took place on Saturday, May 4th.  I found out about this race near the end of 2012 and the entry fee was only $20 if you signed up before 12-31-2012.  Aside from this super cheap entry fee, another positive thing about this race is that a local animal rescue & shelter was the beneficiary of it.  They also asked that you bring an item for the shelter (dog food, collars, bleach, towels, etc.) on race day.

For some reason, I thought that the start time was 7:00am.  Seymour is about an hour & a half south of Indianapolis but with what I thought the start time was, we decided to get a hotel room so that we wouldn’t have to get up so early.  When investigating hotels in the area, I was surprised to learn that they were all requiring a 2 night stay because the Kentucky Derby was the same weekend.  Note: Louisville is still an hour away from Seymour.  Oh well.  I found a hotel in Edinburgh which was just 30 minutes north of Seymour.  And although the race start time was actually 8:00am we still decided to stay closer to the race.

We left Friday night after the dog sitter arrived at our house but stopped in Franklin, IN to have dinner with Rodney & Jill at Applebee’s.  The hotel (Holiday Inn Express) was a short drive from Franklin.   It was a very nice hotel and then second good Holiday Inn Express I’ve stayed in prior to a race.  Great service and clean.  We weren’t out of bed very long and then it was lights out.

I set my alarm for 4:30 which was probably a little too early. But better to get everything taken care of (shower, food, etc.) rather than feeling rushed and perhaps having an “emergency” later. Winking smile  Earlier in the week, the weather was calling for 70% chance of rain but it kept changing and looked good race morning.

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It was 30-35 minutes to the Seymour High School where the race was starting.  We got our packets, bibs and shirts and after a quick stop in the bathrooms (inside the high school!) we went back to the car.  My husband tried to nap but I decided to walk around and take some pictures.

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The race started on time.    This was a very small race; 200 registered but just under 150 no corrals and no timing chips.  I hadn’t run since last Saturday’s half marathon so I was curious to see if that factor would end up being helpful or harmful.  The course started through some of the downtown area, residential areas and then about a 3 mile out and back on a country road and then back through neighborhoods before finishing at the high school.  I was able to see my husband on the turnaround.  Of course he was heading back in as I was just heading toward the turnaround.  There wasn’t much “fan: support on the course but there were water stations every two miles and they were handing out GU gels at the turnaround.  While we were running through the downtown area, we had to cross a railroad track three times.  I always wonder what would happen if a train came.  That would suck to be stopped by a train.

My head wasn’t in this race for some reason and I took way too many walking breaks.  Not sure if it was the “no running for a week” or what.  At least I was able to stay in front of one girl and a couple that I had been doing “the dance” with throughout the race.  I did however finish ONCE AGAIN within my average finishing (slow) time slot.  They were giving away prizes afterward but you had to be present to win.  However, we were ready to head for home.  We had another event to attend at 3:00pm. 

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On this same day, the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon (the “World’s Largest Half Marathon”) takes place in Indianapolis. My husband and I have done “the Mini” several times so I am now on the hunt to find other half marathons in Indiana. The hope is to do all the half marathons in Indiana at some point.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rock ‘n’ Roll Country Music Half Marathon–Weekend Recap


Choosing this half marathon would fulfill three things: 1) It crosses Tennessee of the half marathon in every state list, 2) it is drivable from Indiana and 3) we get to me “new to us” family.  My husband discovered he has a cousin in Franklin, TN which is super close to Nashville thus we would get to meet him & his family.

We left Indiana around 9:00am Friday morning.  It was approximately a 4 1/2 to 5 hour drive.  We hit some construction near the bottom of Kentucky but it didn’t really factor in to our drive time.  It was more annoying than anything.  It started raining as we approached Tennessee.  This would be a theme for the weekend.


We found our hotel (the Union Station Hotel), checked in and then walked to the Expo, which took place at the Nashville Convention Center.  As per usual, Rock ‘n’ Roll has a ginormous expo.  And while I don’t need another technical shirt, I bought two (plus lets not forget that the race gives you one!), my husband bought a jacket, we got an event pin for our state map and a magnet.  We hadn’t even left the Brooks section yet!   Upon checking out of THAT section, we walked over & got our parking wristbands and then Kara Goucher was speaking so we walked over the stage area and listened to her for a bit.  More walking around = more purchasing.  We saw that Kara was talking pictures and signing autographs so we got in line.  It didn’t take too long and she was super nice & gracious.

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Across from the convention center is the Bridgestone Arena where the Nashville Predators play.  Scrolling on their outside marquee was a list of upcoming concerts.  Listed was George Jones.  Oddly, he had died that morning.  Someone needs to change that sign.


Back to the hotel to touch base with my husband’s cousin & we determined that we would meet at Applebee’s at 6:30pm.  It wasn’t very far from the hotel and thank goodness for OnStar! 


Dinner was nice and two of Brian’s children were able to come as well.  But we had an early wake up call (and the kids got a little restless) so we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel.

We were still trying to figure out what we were going to do in the morning about transportation.  Although we paid for the parking upgrade that meant we had to leave super early.  But…the forecast was for rain all day (this would NOT be a lie), so do we walk to the start line which was less than 2 miles away?  But then how would we get back from the finish line.  Finally we decided to suck it up and drive.  The alarm was then set for 4:30am.  Since it was going to be raining all day, I wouldn’t take a shower prior & only shave my legs.

We got to the parking area in plenty of time and at that point it was only drizzling.  After some confusion about what we were suppose to do with our gear check, we got on a shuttle and headed to the start area.  We waited in the Platinum area, cycled through the bathrooms and tried to wait until the very last possible moment to go outside.  The rain was falling harder at this point.  We had someone take our picture inside since I knew we would be soggy doggies by the time the race was over.  The forecast was for 70% chance of rain the entire time.  But alas, it was time to go.  Good luck kisses and we headed to our corrals.


I have no picture of this race from along the course because it was raining so hard the entire time.  It’s a shame too because it would have been a nice course otherwise.  The hills were somewhat of a killer for me since in flat ol’ Indiana, I do not train for them.  And of course, there was the rain.  I wore my lovely black trash bag up until the 13 mile marker and then I went all Incredible Hulk and ripped it off before the last turn prior to the finish line.

I texted my husband to tell him I was done but he was already in the truck trying to get warm.  He tried to come back in but they wouldn’t let him.  So no finishers picture together this time.  The winds had started to pick up too as I walked to the truck.  I felt bad for all the folks still out there on the course, especially those doing the marathon.  Getting out of the parking lot was a bit of a cluster but we finally made it back to the hotel.  John showered first and wanted to stay in the warm water longer but he said it felt like it was running out.  So yes, when it was my turn, the water was barely warm.  Everyone in the hotel must have been showering at that moment.

We went down to the hotel restaurant for brunch.  The food was good but our waiter was awful.  It was then back up to the room for a nap.  Later in the afternoon we walked over to the Country Music Hall of Fame for a tour.  It was nice but I was tired so I’m not sure I enjoyed it to the full extent.  There was a memorial for George Jones there.

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Back to the hotel where we went down to the bar so my husband could reload on carbs (hee hee Smile) and then we waited on his cousin to get there.  One of the craziest things this weekend was that we saw a post on Facebook that two of our friends that live in Kansas (I was just there last weekend but didn’t get to see them) were also in Nashville so we made plans to meet up with them too.  Every now and then, the world can be a very small place.  We went to a couple of honky tonks but we called it a night around 10:00pm.  It had already been a very long day – even with a small nap in the afternoon.  As luck would have it as we walked UPHILL back to out hotel, it started raining. 


When Kansas meets Indiana in Tennessee.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Garmin (Wickedly Fast) Half Marathon - weekend recap


This race was chosen because it was "relatively" close/drivable from Indiana.  Initially my husband was going to do it with me but he decided that he didn't want to do back-to-back-to-back weekends.  So I asked my brother to accompany me.

But let me back up just a moment.  This race is in Kansas and it more or less has a Wizard of Oz theme.  Naturally that means a Dorothy race outfit is a MUST.  Oddly, that was difficult to find.  Long story short, I was able to get a child's medium, have it cut in half so that I had a skirt and then the "bib" was attached to a technical shirt.  My friend Mary from high school was the fabulous seamstress that helped with creating this.  She did a good job!

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Okay back to the weekend.  I left my house around 7:00am and got to my brother's around 8:15am.  It didn't take too long to load up the car and then we were headed west.  The time passed relatively quickly as we listed to the news as they were searching for the Boston Marathon bombers that day.  (Still unbelievable that all of that happened.)  We made very few stops; once for lunch, once for gas.  Next thing you know we are at the Garmin headquarters in Olathe, Kansas to pick up our packets.  Not much of an expo and it was outside and was very windy.  Then it was off to the hotel.

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Through the race, I was able to get a great deal at the Holiday Inn Express.  It was a nice hotel; I'm assuming it was new.  They had complementary shuttles from the hotel to the expo that night and also race morning.  We weren't sure if we would take them in the morning or not.  It wasn't a far drive (10 minutes?) but you needed to be parked EARLY. 

We needed to find places to eat.  My brother has Crohn's Disease so his options are limited.  I decided to eat in the hotel restaurant (Johnny's Italian Steakhouse) and he went across the street to a different steak house.  My pasta was really good and in keeping with tradition I got a slice of tiramisu to go.  Sadly I was disappointed with it; it had a pie crust bottom.  Weird.

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Early to bed and my alarm was set for 4:00am.

I slept relatively well and my brother said he did too.  We decided NOT to take the shuttle buses and thought if we needed to, we'd just sit in the truck until closer to the start time.  Well that wasn't going to be a problem.  Parking was congested and it took longer than expected to get it.  We weren't rushed for time but we didn't have time to just sit in the truck.  A few pictures before the start (it was great to see others in Wizard of Oz costumes) and then we were off.


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Nothing really to look at on the course.  And although they advertise it as Fast and Flat....that certainly isn't the case.  The marathoners started with us, they broke off around the 3.5 mile marker, joined us again around 7-8 (as we started the paved trail part of the course which was very nice) and then broke off again.  STRANGE. 

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I didn't have a great race but it was within my average finishing time.  My brother crushed it and got a new PR.  So happy for him.  After a quick picture at the Finish Line it was back to the car and to the hotel to shower & load up the car. 


We grabbed lunch at a Subway and then headed west (the wrong direction for home) because we were going to the Wizard of Oz Museum!

I grew up loving that moving...okay, I still do and we were so close that I felt like it was a must see.  Sure, it was 90 minutes out of the way and this would get us home even later but luckily my brother was a good sport and agreed.

It was a small museum and I guess I'm glad I went because I would probably always wonder what it was like but I would never suggest that anyone make a special trip to go see it.  Unless you're close by at the time.

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It was a L.O.N.G. drive home.  We got to my brother's house around 12:30am Sunday morning which meant I got home at 2:00am.  And of course, I had my sweaty Dorothy costume that i didn't want to get ruined so I put it in the washer and waited (unloaded my suitcase & put a few things away) because I didn't want it to sit in the washer wet overnight either.  So I had to hang it dry.  UGH!  I was finally in bed at 3:00am.  As Dorothy would say, "There's no place like Home."

It was good to spend time with my brother.  I'm really glad that this worked out and that he was able to go with me.