Thursday, October 31, 2013

Drag Strip Dash 5k – Race Recap

October 26, 2013

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This was the second year for the Drag Strip Dash which takes place at Lucas Oil Raceway Park.  Once again it took place on the same day as the Muncie Mini Marathon.  This year they also added a 10K and a “mini” dash for kids.  The kids dash was 1/4 mile.

So after coming home and showering from the half marathon in Muncie, I had little time to rest since I didn’t get back until after 2:00PM.  Although the 5K & 10K didn’t start until 6:30PM, I planned on getting to the track at 6:00PM, to get my bib and shirt and to catch up with my husband.  My friend SJ(C)P was going to run it again this year and she was bringing her friend Carla so I wanted to make sure I found them.  One of the fun thing about this race for me is that – since my husband is one of the coordinators – he and I get “elite” bib numbers.  Shockingly, he always takes #1 and I get #2.  I should have gotten #1 this year since he wasn’t running!  Oh well. 

I was surprised to also she a girl from high school there.  She saw my post on Facebook about it and decided to sign up to walk it.


Me and girl I went to high school with


Me, Carla and SJ(C)P

Thankfully the weather forecast was much better than what we had this morning.


Sherri and Carla had decided to walk the 5K instead and while I was tempted to do the same, I was trying to hit 100 running miles for the month of October so I really need to run.  Thus I was on my own.

Happy to report that I didn’t take any walking breaks aside from taking some water at the halfway point.  For some reason it felt more difficult this year.  Maybe because I ran the half marathon faster this year and I didn’t have as much down time in between.  But with all that said, my finish time was a little faster than it was in 2012 so…who knows?  I waited for my friends to finish and then we went out to dinner.


Once again, it was a fun evening.  If this event takes place next year on the same day as the half marathon again, maybe I’ll push myself a little more and try to do the 10K.

Muncie Mini Marathon

October 26, 2013


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This event takes place in Muncie, IN which is approximately 1 1/2 hours northeast of Indianapolis. Muncie is home to Ball State University.  That is where my husband graduated from and also where David Letterman (yes, the late night talk show host) graduated from.

I participated last year and I signed up for the 2013 race at the end of 2012 before the fee went up so it was only $40.  This is a very small race (127 half marathon participants this year; 61 females and 65 males.  Quick math says that doesn’t total 127 but that’s what the website says) and they also offer a 10K & a 5K.  I think there is also a 1 mile family or kids walk/run.

Last year I stayed in Muncie the night before but in an effort to save some money, I decided not to do that this time.  However, I did drive up on Friday for packet pick-up because the start location for the race had changed and I wasn’t sure where I needed to go and wanted to have a better feel for it rather than searching race morning. 

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Packet pickup took place at The Arsenal in downtown Muncie.  It was only from 5:00pm – 7:00pm which was going to put me in a pinch with getting back home on time.  They looked like they were set up at 4:45 so I went in.  Oh my gosh…that was an awful place to have packet pickup because they were having a CrossFit class going on at the same time.  It was so obnoxiously loud and you could barely hear the person you were talking to even though they were right in front of you.  They weren’t technically ready – they didn’t have the bib assignment list with them – but they called and I was able to get the correct bib.  Then they tried to give me verbal directions to where the start line would be.  It wasn’t helping.  Then…OnStar was out of commission and wouldn’t load so I tried MapQuest on my iPad.  The bad thing was that I didn’t have the actual address of this Tuhey Pool place.  It was sheer luck that I eventually found it.  So glad I did this investigating the night before instead of stressing about it race morning.

The alarm was set for 5:00AM Saturday morning but I allowed myself an extra 30 minutes and didn’t actual get up until 5:30AM.  I made it a little further than the usual 10 minutes from my house before I had to stop for a restroom break.  Obviously traffic at 7:00AM on a Saturday isn’t very heavy so I made pretty good time.  The sunrise was beautiful on my drive up to Muncie.

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However, I  made it up there a little later than I’d hoped however.  Not sure if it was because of the potty stop or what.  Luckily I found a place to park only a block away.  I still had to get my ankle timing chip and make one last visit to the porta-potty.  They had three of them but the line was looooong.  I was still standing there during the invocation and the National Anthem.

I was going to be a cold and windy run today. Don’t I look cold in this pre-race photo!  After the girl took the picture for me I put my jacket back on.

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Since I ran this last year, I decided to put my phone away although I wish I ‘d taken some pictures last year so I was pretty sure I’d want to take them this year.  I was just going to wait to see how my race was going.

The race was to begin at 9:00AM.  There was no timing mat to actually start your race time.  It was a gun start.  And by gun start, I mean a cannon.  That thing was loud.  And even though we knew it would be a cannon we all were startled when it went off.  Because of this I wasn’t sure when to start my watch.  Once we left this side road, the race followed the same course as last year.  We ran past some of the fraternity house on the Ball State University campus.  Shockingly, none of those young men were up early to cheer us on.  Sadly I can’t find turn-by-turn directions but after the first 2 miles we were running on paved trails.  I think one of them was called the Cardinal Expressway.  With all of the fall colors on the tress this area was very pretty to run in. 

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Some “action” photos turn out better than others!

The wind wasn’t too bad until we would come to a clearing in the tree row and then it would cut across you.  I had a couple of girls that I was chasing for most of the race and I finally passed them for the last time around mile 10.  However there was the girl in the plaid running hat that I did the back & forth dance the entire last half of the race.  Sadly I must report that in the final chase she passed me.  Well, played Plaid.

According to my watch, I barely recorded another PR but I was going to wait until the results were posted to make sure.  So I went and got some of the food the were handing out (grapes, water, vanilla crème sandwich cookies – which were DELIGHTFUL!) and went to my car and sat in there for awhile.  Plus I had brought my own chocolate milk and wanted to drink that.  Eventually I meandered back to the finish line area and they were just posting the latest results.  Yep, I got a new PR by 0:00:22 seconds!  And I placed 3 in my age group so I hung around to get my prize.

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The second place finisher didn’t stick around.

So after I got my award, I got in my car and drove back home.  I didn’t have much time to waste since I had a 5K later in the evening.

But before departing Muncie, I stopped and took a picture of a street sign that I noticed on the drive in.  Cornbread Road – the perfect name for a street next to a cornfield out in the country.

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Any fun street names that you’ve come across?

Friday, October 25, 2013

Indianapolis Half Marathon – Race Recap

Saturday October 19, 2013

Logo Full

As you can see from the logo above, this was the 18th annual Indianapolis Marathon & Half Marathon.  There are several options for participants; Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K Run / Walk, Marathon Relay and Kids Marathon.  616 people ran the full marathon (237 females & 379 males) and 1572 people participated in the half marathon (893 females and 679 males).  Surprisingly this would be the first time I’d ever done this race.

Packet pickup took place on Friday, October 18th at the Hilton Indianapolis North.  I realize that this isn't a very large race (although there are a lot of different options to participate in), I was surprised at how small the “Expo” was. 

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Blue skies but very windy on packet pickup day…the wind would be a factor on race day and there would be no blue skies. Sad smile

Got my packet without incident, there really wasn’t much to look at or shop around for so I sat in my car for a bit and contemplated my plan for Saturday.  My brother ran this race last year (he stayed at our house while we were in Iowa doing the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon) so I had asked him about parking on race day.  He had mentioned that he didn’t have any problems but wished he left our house earlier, had to walk a little bit of a distance, blah, blah, blah.  Now I took some of this with a grain of salt because (while I love my brother) he is a bit of an over-planner and a worry wart.  However, I had gone ahead and purchased a pass to ride the bus race morning so that I wouldn’t have to fuss with parking.  But when I looked at the pass, it was for the 6:40AM bus!  That meant I would have to leave my house around 5:45AM and the race didn’t start until 8:00AM.  Which I then discovered I had wrong…the race didn’t start until 8:30AM.  There was no way I wanted to get to the race THAT early and probably have to stand outside the entire time.  So I decided to go check out the area and see where the parking would be.  OnStar couldn’t get me to the exact location because I didn’t have an actual street address and they couldn’t find the building name in their system (the Major General Emmett J Bean Center – gee, wonder why they couldn’t find that?) but I had an intersection and that basically got me there.  I almost drove past it myself.  But I’m glad I scouted out the area so that I would have the comfort of some familiarity on race morning.

MapQuest said that it would take me about 45 minutes to get to the park from my house so I allowed myself an hour, just to be on the safe side. The alarm was set for 5:00AM and it was time for bed at 10:00PM.

Conditions weren’t my idea of perfect on race morning and since I don’t have any rain running gear I took a trash bag to wear.  Hey, it was a trash bag that kept me mostly dry during the monsoon that we ran in down in Nashville, TN so I was pretty sure that it would do the trick today.  But I really need to look at investigating proper rain gear.

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As usual, I had to stop before I even got 15 minutes away from my house to use the bathroom.  Perhaps that will now just be part of my “routine.”  Driving to the event was easy breezy until I got on 56th Street and then it got backed up.  I’m glad that I scouted it out the day before and knew that I needed to be in the right lane for parking because there were no signs.  It probably took 10 minutes or so to get from the off ramp to the parking lot which normally would have taken only a few minutes.  Since some of this road would be part of the running route they wanted everyone parked by 7:30AM.  Again, the race didn’t start until 8:30AM so I was very glad that I had my own vehicle so that I could stay in there until closer to the actual start time.  So at about 8:00AM, I decided to head over to the starting area.  Plus I needed to get in a line for a porta-potty; I really had to pee!  The lines were long but at least there was an abundance of them to choose from.  I looked around and found what I thought would make a good backdrop and asked someone to take a pre-race photo of me.

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I actually took an old umbrella from my car and used it until 5 minutes before we were to start.  I tried to stay toward the edge so that it wouldn’t annoy anyone or bonk them in the head.  Personally I thought I was pretty smart for having it!  Although this race is small, they started it in waves.  I found that a little weird but perhaps since the first part of the course is somewhat narrow, it made more sense to do this. 

I put my phone in a Ziploc baggie and then in my race belt and was pretty sure it would stay there the entire race.  I also had planned on leaving the trash bag on until around mile 12, depending on if it stopped raining and the sun came out.

Marathon & Half Marathon participants run the same course until mile 12.5.

The race starts and finishes in historic Fort Benjamin Harrison and takes participants on a beautiful loop of the Fort Harrison State Park during the peak of the fall foliage spectacle. The Marathon and Half Marathon courses are mainly flat with a challenging hill near mile 3 and just past mile 10 in the State Park. <--- that description is from their website. 


I rarely go to this side of town and although I did volunteer at a race here a long time ago, I really didn’t know anything about it.  It was really pretty though.  I wish I’d been able to have my camera out so that I could take some pictures.

I have to admit that I walked up a little of the hill at mile 3 and just a smidge of the one past mile 10.  I didn’t find it anymore challenging that what I had just done the weekend before down in Alabama.

The rain (heavy drizzle) continued until about mile 7 then it changed to a light drizzle.  If I remember correctly, it actually stopped raining – albeit briefly – around mile 10 but then started up again around mile 11.

Maybe it was because my watch was covered up most of the time and maybe because I had put my phone away but when I did glance at my watch around mile 12, I was ahead of where I usually am from a time standpoint.  My husband is always telling me that I need to stop trying to take pictures and just run if I want to finish faster.  But hey, where is the fun in that?  This was also when I ripped off the trash bag.  I sort of regretted not leaving it on until mile 13 because the rain had picked back up and the wind had kicked in again.

Anywho…I'm excited to post that I actually got a new PR during this event.  Almost 2 minutes faster than my previous one.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still slow but today I was a faster slow. 

I got my medal, a few items to eat (water, banana, granola bar) but I knew that I couldn’t linger too long.  We had a wedding to attend at 4:30PM down in southern Indiana. They had some fire pits going and there was another area where you could you could get “real” food.  I’m not sure if it was complimentary though.  I texted my husband to tell him that I thought I had gotten a PR and then headed back toward the finish line to see if I could find someone to take a post-race photo of me.  It took awhile – I didn’t want to interrupt anyone watching for their athlete to cross the line – but finally found some random guy.

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Walked back to the car and could barely get my fingers to push the remote unlock.  I really should have taken gloves.  I cranked up the heater to 80 degrees and had the blower on 15!  I turned the seat warmers on too.  I had taken a sweatshirt to change into and I’m so glad that I did but it was a struggle to get that wet race shirt off.

When I got home, I couldn’t wait to get in to a hot shower but I had to laugh at what a HOT MESS my ponytail had become.  From the rain and the wind, it was a crazy rat’s nest.  This was the best picture I could get. My hair is usually as straight as a ruler!

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Nice finishers medal for this event.

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So fast forward to Thursday, the 24th…since I couldn’t get any picture during the race I drove back out to that area to capture some.  Oddly conditions were once again gray and rainy.

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Although it is called the Indianapolis Marathon Half Marathon, the race takes place in Lawrence which is just east of Indianapolis.  I don’t know for sure if it is a town or a city.

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The above pictures are just before the entrance to the park.  The park was actually closed when I went back out there.  Not sure why.  Although the sign says that the park was established in 1996, Fort Benjamin Harrison itself was established in 1903 but I failed to get a picture of that marker.

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These pictures are are from in front of the VFW near mile 7.

I think I will do this race again.  Maybe even next year.  Which I really need to really start planning that out.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

We Are Family

October 12, 2013

As I stated in my previous blog entry, my husband thought that Montgomery should be where we would do our Alabama half marathon.  For the past couple of years he has really been researching his family via and has found Aunts, Uncles and cousins that he never knew he had.  Thus we did a half marathon in Arizona in February to meet “new” family.  We did a half marathon in Nashville, TN in April and met a “new” cousin.  And this past weekend, we just met another one of his cousins and his family.

His cousin Larry turned 70 on Saturday, October 12th.  So when Larry’s son Patrick found out we’d be down there for a half marathon, he thought that would just add to the reason to throw a party!  Even my husband’s brothers and their wives from Florida and Missouri drove to Alabama for this celebration.

It was a very nice dinner and was on the rooftop of one of the buildings in downtown Montgomery.


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Although this made for a very long day, it was great to met family and I know it meant the world to my husband.

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The entire family.