Thursday, April 10, 2014

ORRRC Half Marathon – Race Recap

April 6, 2014


I signed up for this race back on December 31st and mailed in my entry form (to avoid those annoying surcharges!) and it was only $25.  I wasn’t really sure where the heck Xenia, OH was but MapQuest said that it was only a 2 1/2 hours away…and that was close enough.

After completing the Hoosier Half Marathon (read about that HERE), I came home, showered and rested for a little bit but then needed to get things ready for my drive to Ohio.

Originally I was going to drive over race morning but since I paid so little for the entry, I went ahead and “splurged” on a hotel room.  I got lucky and was able to get a room at the Xenia Ramada which was less than a mile away from the race start line.


I must say that it felt like a LONG drive and I’m glad I was getting there the night before instead of that morning.

The hotel was a little rundown but I had a room on the end and no room across from me so that was a bonus.  It had a refrigerator, microwave and a coffee maker and with tax, I only paid $112 (and some change).  It served its purpose.

I did the typical “slept on and off” throughout the night and got up at 5:45AM.  I was happy to have hot water for my shower because when I went to wash my face before going to bed, it never even got warm. 

Although the start / finish line was within walking distance, I drove over because I wasn’t sure:

  1. how long this half marathon would take me since it was part 2 of my first ever back-to-back,
  2. how long I would stay AFTER the race since they were going to be providing food for us
  3. how I would feel.

The weather was going to start out chilly but warm up.  I went ahead and put on my ear-warmer headband and gloves.  I did have to scrape a thin layer of frost off my windshield. There were times during the race I felt over-dressed but mostly I think I had the right “mix” on.


There seemed to be plenty of parking and I got a spot directly across from the YMCA. 


Getting my bib and shirt was a breeze and once I had them I went back to my car to change into the event shirt (BRIGHT ORANGE!) and put the timing chip on my shoe.  Then it was the never ending question of “should I get in line to pee before the race or just hold it?”  I decided to go back in and use the restroom.  The line was forever long and it was already 7:55ish but there were tons of people still getting there packets.  I thought to myself, “Well this race won’t be starting on time.”  I later discovered that when I read that packet pickup was from 7:00AM until 8:00AM race morning, that did NOT mean that the race started at 8:00AM.  It was scheduled to start at 8:30AM.  Chatted with some “local” ladies that had done this race before but they were doing the marathon.  Two of them had even done Boston.

They eventually made the announcement for all runners to go to the starting line.  A group (kind of sounded like kids) sang the National Anthem and then they shot off the starting gun…and we didn’t move.  After about a minute, finally everyone proceeded forward.  I’m still not sure what the issue was.   The course starts out going through some neighborhoods, back through “town” and then gets on a paved trail / bike path that I think used to be an old railroad route.  It reminded me of running up in Muncie, IN.  When standing in line at the restrooms, the girls said it was the most boring course ever but I didn’t really think it was that bad.

Course Map

I was surprised to catch - out of the corner of my eye - a drone flying above us when we were running through the neighborhood!  It caught me off guard.

The Marathon and Half Marathon split around the 7.5 mile marker.  The half would then do less than a mile and a half out, turn around and then pick the main trail back up.  At some point though, the marathoners would take this loop as well but would “turn around” before the half marathon turn around marker.  I’d never seen such a thing. 

Although I wouldn’t say the course was boring, there weren't many things to take pictures of.  But I did see this guy (I think I’ve read about him on some other blogs before):


The leader of the half marathon passed me at when I was at the 5.5 mile marker and he was flying!  There wasn’t another runner behind him for about 1/4 of a mile.  I think that would have put him between the 10 & 11 mile markers.

I was surprised that at the start of the race my legs felt pretty good, especially after having done a hilly half marathon the day before.  I did have some random right ankle pain at the very beginning but it went away quickly.  However, I really started feeling fatigued around mile 10 and then the ankle pain returned as well.  It was the same pain that I experienced during the Santa Hustle so I don’t know if my gait was off or what.  I certainly wasn’t as bundled up as I was in THAT race which is what I thought caused it then.  And at one point, I looked at my watch and thought I had less than a mile to go but I was only in the 11th mile not the 12th.  What the heck?  I’ve never spaced it like that before.

Coming back into town, I saw the group that was doing the The One Run for Boston Relay Across America.  From the ORRRC website:

One Run for Boston:
The One Run for Boston Relay Across America is scheduled to pass by during the ORRRC marathon.  Leg 243 of the relay, run by Aneta Zappettella, will go from Beavercreek to Xenia that morning.  Leg 244, run by Josh Mitzen, is due to run along the marathon/half marathon course from Xenia to Cederville, staring at 11am.  Marathon and half marathon runners that are on the course at 11am may see Josh and are encouraged to cheer him on.  The relay is raising money for the OneFund for the bombing vicitms.  You can find out more at

The finish line was pretty basic but there were lots of people cheering runners on.  I got my medal and then looked around for an appropriate place to take my “finishers photo” and the YMCA sign was the best I could find.



You can’t tell from this picture but I had to climb up on that brick wall.  Not as easy to do after 13.1 miles and 13.1 the day before.  I noticed that my medal ribbon had some “dirt” on it so I took it back and exchanged it for another.


I went to my car to drop some of my stuff off and then went in to check out the food.  They offered 3 types of soup: chili, chicken and noodle and cheese & broccoli.  Those were all homemade and the chicken & noodle was delicious.  Then there were some fruit options and THEN…an assortment of homemade cookies.  I think I heard angels sing! Angel  Needless to say, I took my fair share and then some!


Back to the hotel to shower and get ready for the drive home.  I asked for an extended checkout and could stay until 1:00PM.  Normal checkout was noon and I really only needed an extra 30 minutes but it was nice not to be rushed.

I doubt that I will ever do this race again but I certainly would recommend it to everyone.  For $25 you get quite a bit.  Showers are available at the Y for runners to use but you needed to bring your own towel.

Thanks Xenia, OH.  It was pretty good.



Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Hoosier Half Marathon - Race Recap

April 5, 2014


This race takes place in Bloomington, IN on the campus of Indiana University which is a little over an hour south from where I live. I looked at doing this race last year but was frightened off by this quote from their website: a challenging race where participants will find 13.1 miles of relentless rolling hills

Well, it was time to Suck It Up, Buttercup and get the job done.

FRIDAY, APRIL 4th: Packet pickup was being offered the Friday before the race from 4:00PM – 8:00PM at the IU Alumni Center and also race morning from 6:30AM – 7:30AM.  Again, it was somewhat frivolous of me to drive down the night before but I wanted to get a feel for where I was going and I was pretty sure the shirt was going to be one that I would wear on race day.  Only one little hiccup in getting down there was that an exit OnStar wanted me to take was closed (the bridge was out) but as it turned out I think the very next exit was probably a better alternative anyway.  There were plenty of places to park.  The Alumni Center is across the street from the football stadium and the basketball area.  This is where runners would park on race morning as well.

Not many other “features” at packet pickup.  Instead of handing GU out on the course, they had packets of it available to grab as you picked up your bib.  It wasn’t very crowded when I got there which was just shortly after it opened.

2014, 04-04 (5)2014, 04-04 (4)2014, 04-04 (1)2014, 04-04 (2)2014, 04-04 (3)

I was a little disappointed when I got my shirt to see that it was gender specific.  Normally this would be my preference but when signing up, the choices where either Adult or Youth so I chose a small.  I would have gotten a medium had I know it would be a woman’s cut.  I was sure that it would probably fit but I just don’t like for them to be tight.  Basically I was in and out of here and then drove home.

SATURDAY, APRIL 5th: Heading down to Bloomington this morning I would be going a different way then when I went for packet pickup.  I’m so thankful to have OnStar since I would not have known where to turn on these miscellaneous back roads at all on my own.  And I certainly kept my eyes peeled to the sides watching for any random deer that could potentially jump out in front of the car. 

I was in the parking lot around 7:40AM and sat in the car for a moment trying to decide if I should get out and go pee.  I decided that it might be best so I headed toward the Alumni Center.  Much to my surprise, they were NOT letting people use the restroom inside! Sad smile  So I hurried over and got in the porta-potty line.  They had lots of options but the lines were long.  It took about 10 minutes for my turn to come up.  I was glad that I had decided to wear gloves and my ear-warmer band but wished I’d had on a throw away.  After using the bathroom, I went back to my car to finish getting situated (put my head phones on, eat my Gatorade chews) and to stay warm as long as possible.

2014, 04-05 (1)

I got to the start finish line with about 5 minutes to go.  I don’t remember hearing the National Anthem and although they did a countdown from 10, I think the gun must have malfunctioned because it never went off. 

2014, 04-05 (1)

I’ve only been to this campus a few times so most of the scenery was “new” to me.

2014, 04-05 (3)    These are the Sample Gates – I don’t know the meaning.2014, 04-05 (4)

2014, 04-05 (5)                   Theses red clocks were everywhere              2014, 04-05 (6)     This shirt made me chuckle2014, 04-05 (7)      Back in the day if you didn’t make grades did you end up here? 2014, 04-05 (9)  The Musical Arts Center2014, 04-05 (10) I “think” this is McKinney Fountain.

The plan for this half marathon was to take it easy – not that I’m out there hauling butt every time – because I was doing another half the following day (Sunday).  My first ever back-to-backs.  Plus this course was hilly.  And when it stated relentless hills…they were not kidding.  It seemed like at every turn we needed to go up another hill.


The sun started to come out as I was getting close to the end…which of course was uphill.  And I could also see some girl puking just prior to the finish line as well.  I made sure that I moved toward the other side.  Got my medal and then on the other side of the Alumni Building is where the refreshment were.  There was also a place to have a Finishers Photo taken but by the time I got through the food line, the photographer was gone.  Which was fine.  I wanted it taken with my phone anyway.  But it seemed like a “hidden” area so I wondered how many people even noticed it.

2014, 04-05 (15)

It was nice to see blue skies as I was getting back in my car to head for home.

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Good medal and overall I guess I was pleased with my effort.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Setting new goals

April 4, 2014

One of the original goals for 2014  was to reach the level of Mars within the Half Fanatics club and I figured I could do this by completing the minimum 26 Half Marathons within 365 days.  But I kept eye-balling Earth level.  I would need to only add 5 more half marathons to reach it.  I could totally do that, right?  Well after searching and scouring the Internet for days on end to find local (or at least fairly drivable) races I think I’ve got it figured out.


But to accomplish this I am going to have to downgrade from the Full Monumental Marathon in November to the Half.  So my goal to do a full marathon in 2014 is off the list.  Okay…I’ll admit that I’m not really that bummed about it.  I was trying to figure out how to get marathon training in while still doing all my half marathons and it just sounded like a lot of work.

And bonus, I discovered that I will actually reach Mars after this coming weekend.  Since I did the Southern Illinois Spring Classic last weekend in (DUH!) Illinois and I’ll be doing a race in Indiana THIS Saturday, April 5th and then one in Ohio on Sunday April 5th that combination puts me on Mars as well!   3 half marathons in 3 separate states within 10 days – but I’ll get it done in 7 days.  YAY me!!!


And until I retire or hit the winning lottery numbers (and I don’t play very often so chances are slim), Earth is the highest level I’ll reach.  And looking ahead to 2015, I can concentrate on crossing more states off the list and not do as many half marathons.  But I wonder if doing fewer half marathons is easier said than done.  I do enjoy them!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

March Review

April 3, 2014

My March running total was a little more than my February but maybe that was because I had more races on the calendar.  Back in January I set a goal to run 1,000 miles in 2014.  I guess for some reason I think that means I have to run 100 miles each month.  Obviously quick math tells you that would get me to 1200 miles which would be great but I also need to be smart and not get myself injured. 

2014 - thru 03 (March)

My husband and I did the GHS Half Marathon in Greenville, South Carolina on March 8th (you can read about it HERE) and I got a SIX MINUTE PR!  The crazy thing is that the week leading up to this race, I didn’t do ANY running.  But the weather was practically perfect and it was a net loss in elevation so that helped too.  I wish this race wasn’t so far away because I’d like to go back and do it again to see if it was just a fluke.

We stayed in South Carolina a few extra days so that my husband could do some genealogy searching (you can read about that HERE) It was nice to get away, have some fun and explore the area.  It might be a potential retirement community for us some day.

My next half marathon was the following weekend up in Chicago, the Get Luck Half Marathon (you can read about it HERE)  It was Part 2 in a series of 4 races that I’ve signed up for through Team Ortho.  I also did this race last year and even though it was colder last year, I think last year’s event was better.  Or maybe I just have RUN-nesia from it. The course was different and I’m just not impressed with Team Ortho as an event management organization.  However, I met a nice girl on the shuttle to the race and then made a new running friend on the bus ride home to Indy so all was not lost.

THEN…the following Sunday, I did the B1G Hoops Day 5K, which you can read about HERE.  HOLY COW, it was windy!!!  I was pleased that my legs weren’t too sore from the half the day before but we also took this event super easy.  I was running with a friend and then also started the race with an acquaintance who was doing her very first 5K.  CONRATS SB!

I also squeezed in a Virtual 5K (check that out HERE) that should have been done back in February but I was waiting until the medal arrived so that it would be “complete” when I was done.

…and for awhile that is all there was. 

But I kept looking at my race schedule.  I keep wondering how I can get to “Earth” level within Half Fanatics THIS year and then try to concentrate on conquering more states next year and not so many races.  That’s when I happened upon a race in Illinois called the Southern Illinois Spring Classic (read all about it HERE) and as soon as I got notification that it was added to the Half Fanatics calendar, I signed up.  Which was on the Tuesday BEFORE the race!  I don’t think I’ve ever signed up so late for a half amrathon.

Now I’m rethinking a few of the goals I set back in January and tweaking them.  Plus April is about to get all sorts of running crazy – for me at least.