December 15, 2013
I did this race last year and had it on my radar for this year but wanted to wait to see what the weather forecast was going to look like. But then they sent me a code for $7.50 off and of course I took it and registered. So on November 26th, I registered! After fees & taxes it was $57.29. And as luck would have it, we started getting bad weather as this event got closer and so if I had waited I probably wouldn’t have done it. Well played Santa Hustle…well played.
My friend MYMW was going to run the 5K so I waited to go to packet pickup until she could get there. That ended up being an hour before they were to close.
Wow! I thought last year’s Packet Pick Up was small but this year’s had even LESS stuff in it. Only two other vendors and their Santa Hustle store. I asked the folks at the shirt table if everyone was already packed up because it was so late in the evening but was told that THAT was all there was. I don’t know if the hotel “charged” them by the size of the room but they definitely could have gone smaller. The most exciting thing to see in there was this pallet of cookies for the race.
But then again it made me sad because that meant they were handing out the same ol’ boring cookies that they did last year. Oh well.
I was happy to be able to exchange my shirt though. I got an extra small which would have fit perfectly but since I was going to need to be layered during the race, I thought it best to take a small.
After meeting MYMW - and she got her packet - we went to Spaghetti Factory for dinner. Her daughter and husband went with us as well. We had to wait almost an hour to be seated but she & I chatted and chatted. I drove them back to their hotel and came home to get things ready for Sunday morning.
Start time for the half marathon was 9:00AM but I wanted to get downtown early to make sure I could get a spot in the parking garage closest to White Rive State Park where the start & finish lines were. Normally I wouldn’t pay to park downtown and would just park n the garage I use for work but I knew it was going to be cold and windy that morning and I didn’t want to walk the extra 4-5 extra blocks.
I forgot to take a screen shot of the weather app on my phone but luckily the computer at home was still as it was when I checked in the morning. Crappy photo but yep, that says that the ACTUAL temperature at 9AM was going to be 17 degrees, it would FEEL LIKE 3 degrees and 13mph winds! YIKES!!!!
There was another race on the east side of downtown that day which wouldn’t really effect me but there was also a 1:00PM Colts game that could potentially have tailgaters down there early. I figured if I got to the garage by 8:00AM, I could get a spot, go over to the JW Marriott for the Half Fanatics pictures, use the bathroom while there and then just come back to the car and hang out.
I didn’t have to wait in the car for very long but it was nice to have that option. Sadly many of the 5K people were standing in the stairwell of the parking garage so it made it difficult to get up and out of there!
I did not keep my phone out for this race. I was wearing two pairs of gloves (along with two pairs of running tights and three shirts!) so getting them off & on would have been more trouble than it would be worth.
They changed the start slightly from last year and started the half marathon group in two waves. Although there weren’t as many participants as last year, this was still helpful because the first 1/4 mile is on a narrow sidewalk and since the ground was snow covered you wanted to stay on the (mostly) clear path. I was cold at first as we were initially running west but after the first turn, we were then headed east and it was perfect. I saw people ditching their gloves and I wondered if they would regret that later.
DISCLAIMER – I took all of these “on the course photos” two days later when I went back out and drove the course. A benefit of living in the city where the race is taking place!
Basically it was the same course as last year although I don’t remember doing a small run down and back on one of the roads (Ransom Street, maybe?). This would have been at or near the 4 mile marker and I stopped and got some Gatorade. I was pleased with the mix; it was strong (I HATE a watered down Gatorade) and it was sort of slushy from the cold. It was perfect. The weather however was not. We were now mostly running North and the wind was beating us on the left side. When we were actually running west, you just had to put your head down and push through. Then at one point it began snowing.
Surprisingly I was mostly warm except for the parts of my face that were exposed. The most treacherous part of the course was the road north of the Major Taylor Velodrome. The only clear parts on the road were from tire tracks so most people were running single file. There was an aid station there handing out GU and it was almost like a GUsicle! You then had to go up the hill to get on Cold Springs Road and it was 95% covered in ice with deep groves. You didn’t see many people trying to run up this section.
Somewhere between mile 6 & 8, I was getting a random pain in my right ankle. After making it up the hill and just past the 8 mile marker, I had to stop and see if I could figure out what was going on. It seriously felt like my ankle was being sliced. I figured that it was too many layer down there and maybe the seams were all bunched together. I made a slight adjustment and it sort of helped but I continued to have the pain off and on the remainder of the race.
As we got closer to being back downtown and crossed over 16th street, you could smell the donuts being baked at Longs. YUM! The aid station between miles 11 & 12 also had Gatorade. Their mix was not as good and most of the cups were frozen. Had they put sticks in them you could have used it like a popsicle. You had to squeeze the bottom of the cup before you took it to make sure you’d be able to drink it. I also chuckled to myself as I saw remnants from thrown cups along side the road in the snow. You didn’t always see the cup but you saw patches of yellow snow. I guess that might be the one time that it would be okay to eat the yellow snow. No?
I was glad to reach the path behind the zoo which was made it less than a mile to the finish line. I was tired, the ankle still hurt and was just ready to be done. It was nice to be running east again and not into the wind. Crossed the line, got my medal and a Mylar blanket. Someone really needs to rethink those; you can NEVER keep them on and just getting them on is a struggle half the time as well! Oddly, I didn’t see a Finishers photo area. Bummer! So I walked to the car, dropped some stuff off and then walked back to see if I could find a place to get my picture taken…and someone to do it. This was the best I could find.
All things considered - the weather, having to walk up the ice hill, stopping to work on my ankle issue a couple of times – I was pleased with my finishing time. And of course, the medal is cute.
This was my last race for 2013. It was half marathon #17 for the year and #39 life time. I cant wait to get going in 2014. I hope to accomplish even more.