This event took place on Saturday, June 01, 2013.
We left our house around noon on Friday for the 3 hour drive up to South Bend, IN. I wanted to get settled in at the hotel and scout out the area while still making sure we were at packet pickup by 5:00pm. Frank Shorter was going to be speaking and we have a picture of him & my husband from the 2010 RnR Las Vegas race! We ran into quite a bit of construction on the way up there but it didn’t put us too far behind. We stooped once in Kokomo, IN at a McDonald’s so that we could use the bathroom and my husband could get a sweet tea. While there, we saw former Indianapolis Colts player Ken Dilger! We would also see him later at our hotel.
We checked in to the Double Tree and each got a free walnut chocolate chip cookie. SCORE!! Unloaded everything in the room and then walked across the street to the Expo. It used to be held in the College Football Hall of Fame but I was told that Coca-Cola made a sizable donation so now it is located in Atlanta. But the building is still pretty cool. We got our packets and then went over to the South Bend Chocolate Factory.
The hubs got a salad but I wasn’t really hungry however we DID get some chocolate for later! Back to the hotel where my husband took a nap and I got my race stuff ready. Just before 5:00pm, we headed back over to the Expo to hear Frank Shorter speak. After he spoke, we got the picture signed and then I was able to have my picture taken with him also.
Next it was time to find an Applebee’s so that we could have dinner. It was just south of town a little bit and since we needed to head that direction, my husband was kind enough to drive me back to the “Welcome” sign so I I could snap a picture. Its nice that he “plays along” with my little endeavor!
Back to the hotel after dinner to get things ready and then hit the hay. Great thing about this time around is the start line is literally right outside our hotel so that means I get to sleep just a little bit longer than usual on a race morning. The half marathon was scheduled to start at 7:30AM.
There was a chance of some severe storms overnight and then rain into the next day but everything stayed to the south of us. Got up and ready and stepped outside in time to see the 5K start. Because of the winds, the starting line banner was taken down but the balloon arch survived.
I like that they sang the National Anthem prior to the start of the half marathon even though they had just done it 15 minutes prior for the 5K. The starting gun wouldn’t go off. You could hear it; click, click and then finally someone into the microphone said “BANG” it made us chuckle. Because the banner was down we almost missed starting our watches! My husband started off next to me but was quickly gone after about 2 minutes or so. This is a relatively flat course and once we got out of the downtown area, it had very pleasant scenery. Plenty of aid stations that had both water and Gatorade. We ran through some neighborhoods where the road seemed a little in need of repair but nothing too bad. Around mile 6,we entered Pinhook Park. This was the only time I saw a themed aid station. Super cute that they were dressed as pirates. And you (mostly) got to take advantage of this aid station – that also had GU gels – 3 times.
After coming back out of Pinhook Park, we were running on Riverside Trail which follows the St Joseph River. This was the most pleasant part of the race. Nice shade from the trees as well. It was really pretty. We were on this for approximately 3 miles. Then we headed back into town for the big finish in to Notre Dame stadium. But hey, it wouldn’t be a challenge if there wasn’t a hill at mile 11. Booooo
As you entered the campus area, there were signs posted along the course to encourage the runners. I would have loved to have taken some pictures but I was already so far behind my normal slow pace as it was, that I didn’t. Once I made the turn to the stadium, I removed my headphones. The Notre Dame fight song plays as you run down the tunnel and on to the field. That was pretty incredible.
Got my finishers medal and found my husband right away. Took a few pictures and then met his friend/fraternity brother who also works at Notre Dame and he took us on a brief tour of the campus. We had actually done this several years ago but some of it I didn’t remember.
Normally this is referred to as Touchdown Jesus
but today I called him Finish Line Jesus!
First Down Moses
He and his wife were kind enough to drive us back to our hotel so that we didn’t have to catch the shuttle. We had plenty of time to shower & pack up since I had asked for an extra hour on our check out time – although we really didn’t need it. Then it was a 3 hour drive home.
Good event although for a race with such a long history, I was surprised that the Expo was so small and that there wasn’t as much actual food post race. But they had popsicles and that was delightful! I would definitely do this again especially to see if I could do it faster.