Friday, May 30, 2014

Noblesville Mini-Marathon - Race Recap

May 24, 2014


This was the inaugural year for the Noblesville Mini-Marathon.  It is put on by America Multi-Sport and I have done 3 of their races before; the Muncie Mini-Marathon twice and last year’s Henry County Mini-Marathon.  And not to confuse anyone, the term mini marathon is “typical” in Indiana to describe a half marathon since Indianapolis has been host to the 500 Festival Mini Marathon – the Nations largest half marathon – since 1977.

I registered for this race on December 29, 2013 at which time is was only $49.  Noblesville is northeast of Indianapolis – and about an hour drive from my house – so I consider this a local race.

I was very pleased to see that the medal for this race was going to be a “quality” medal.  Typically this company hands out a not-so-impressive medal.


^From their website^


^Actual Medal^

FRIDAY, MAY 23rd:  Packet pick-up was held at the Noblesville Boys & Girls Club.  You could get your bib and shirt race morning but I went on Friday during my lunch hour.  They had several vendors there but nothing that I was necessarily interested in.  There was also the opportunity win a Chevy Camaro convertible for a weekend if you visited each vendor and got some stamp or signature from them.  I didn’t participate in this.  Since this wasn't “my side” of town, I figured it would be a hassle if I did win.  Although this was the biggest expo that I’ve been to for this event group, I was in & out in about 15 minutes.  However, they also handed out a piece of paper telling us that we needed to park at one of the middle schools race morning and take the bus to the start line.  Good to know.  I don’t remember reading that anywhere…but I could have overlooked it.


SATURDAY, MAY 24th:  Race morning!  Since it would take about an hour to get to the middle school from my house and I had no idea where I was going, what parking would be like or how long it would take to get on the bus, I set my alarm for 3:45AM so that I could leave the house no later than 5:15AM.  There was a “mandatory” meeting before the race at 6:35AM.  I wasn’t too worried about being there for that because typically this event group does a turn-by-turn recitation of the course.  That might be great for all the local folks but it means nothing to us out-of-towners…in my opinion.

As always, with the help of OnStar, I arrived at the middle school without incident.  However, I really had to pee and didn’t pass any gas stations (once the urge hit me) and the school was not open.  I was eyeballing some bushes but decided I would just hold it until I got to the race site.  The parking lot was pretty full and there was already a line for the buses.  The wait was about 10 minutes so not too bad but I also did let a father/daughter combo go ahead of me since there were two seats left and I was a single.

So we get on the bus and the driver tells us that she can only take us to the traffic circle now and we have to walk the rest of the way.  So…we wait 10 minutes for a two minute bus ride and then had to walk a half a mile(?) to the start.  That will need fixed next year.  Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal but remember, I still had to pee!


The first building I saw was the Osprey Pointe Pavilion.  That was where packet pickup was and also a restroom.  Naturally there was a line for the Women’s facility.  One of the ladies for the race made an announcement that there were more restrooms at the beach house(?) but I wasn’t about to get out of line to potentially stand in another line.  I just waited my turn.  I knew that there was no danger of this race starting on time since there were still a ton of people waiting at the middle school when I got on the bus and that they would have to walk to the start line.

After the much needed stop in the restroom, I went outside and they had already started the prayer.  Finally made my way to the start line and looked for the appropriate corral to get in.  All of the “time markers” seemed bunched up (another thing they should fix for next year) but I got close to where I thought I should be and then it was time for the National Anthem.  Next an announcement was made that the race would start in 8 minutes.  While waiting I struck up a conversation with a Half Fanatic from Arizona.  I was perplexed at first because he started talking to me like he knew me and then I realized that I had my HF hat on!  He was actually in town for the Indianapolis 500 race but since there was a half marathon going on, he decided to do that as well.  I think this was his first Indiana race.  All of the sudden BOOM! the cannon goes off and the race has started.  Ummm…maybe a countdown from 10 would have been good.  (Another thing to fix next year)  Anyway, we were off.

Just before the 1 mile marker, I was passed by a friend (JG) – I dated his brother in college – so we said a quick hello.  I kept him in my line of sight but I knew he would be too fast for me to stick with. The n I saw another runner asked him a question and then she quickly turned around.  My guess is that she was doing the 5K but missed the marker on the side of the road.  It was tough to see and yet, I don’t think that distance was supposed to start yet. 

Not knowing anything about the Noblesville area, I was pleasantly surprised that the course was mostly scenic.  After starting out through a couple of neighborhoods, we then ran near a golf course.  Prior to making the turn on to this path, I saw a woman holding a sign that said “Go Susan” to which I said the them, “Hey, that’s my name” so then in turn they yelled “Go Susan” for me. First time I’ve ever had a sign for “me” at a race…even though technically it wasn’t for me.  Still I am totally laying claim to that sign.  It wish I had pulled my phone out to take a picture.

As we headed toward downtown Noblesville, we ran on a bridge over the White River and to the right of us, were some railroad tracks.  I often wonder when we cross tracks during a race, if the Race Directors check the train scheduled to see if anything is headed toward the course while we are on it.  That would suck so much to get stopped by a train. 


We then headed past the courthouse and on to Conner Street, in a Historic District .  This was a brick road and was a little treacherous running on.  You really had to watch your step.

Conner StreetConner Street 2

I don’t know how many schools the town/city of Noblesville has but I think we ran past all of them!  Finally out in a more rural area and over the White River again.  After a quick turn on to a country road, I see a covered bridge ahead.  That was surprising!  Its wooden road was even more treacherous than that brick road! 


After the covered bridge you could see the 8 mile marker & aid station. Now the confusing thing about this to me was that the trail also went left and you could see people going that way.  At first I wasn’t sure which way I needed to go; was the aid station just to the side and we should go left or go right.  As you got closer you could tell that most people had turned right.  I wonder what those public citizens out for their morning run thought about all of these people headed their way!

This part of the course was beautiful and an absolute surprise to me.  We were running along side the river on the White River Greenway paved trail for 1 1/2 miles.  Not long on this path and I caught a glimpse of a man flying fishing in the river.


If this weren’t so far away from where I live, I would come here all the time to run and walk my dogs.  But the best thing I saw on this portion of the course was this guy:


Initially, I ran right passed him and I think I said out loud, “Holy crap, that was a turtle!”  So only a few steps more and I turned around, got my phone out of its holder and “snapped” (PUN!) a photo of him.

Okay, back to the course.  We once again crossed the White River (I saw some more turtles down there sunning themselves on some logs) and then headed into a park.


As we got further into the area, I recognized that this was what we had run through before just after the golf course.  So that meant there was just a little over 3 miles left.

Back in to Morse Park and crossing the finish line.  It was a little disappointing that our medals were not unwrapped when they gave them to us.  A little anti-climactic in my opinion.  One more thing that would be good for them to fix for next year.

I saw my friend JG and his family – his wife and son did the 5K – and offered to take a family picture for them.  I went back in the Pavilion to see if I could tell where I finished but wasn’t able to.  There were too many other runners asking the same question which was stopping the computer feed.  Back outside to grab some snacks.  I then saw my friend TR and she had an amazing PR on this course and even finished first in her age group!  I waited around for a little bit to hear the results of my age group but I didn’t place. 

As I was heading out of the park looking for the buses to take me back the school and my car, I once again saw JG and got a ride with him and his family.  Good thing.  I never did see a bus and didn’t feel like walking back.

I will say that they had great snacks available after the race.  There were Pop-Tarts, Muddy Buddies and (not pictured) Vanilla flavored Tootise Rolls!


But I was disappointed to learn that the MEAL tear off portion of my bib would only get me a beer. Booooo Sad smile

This race offered the half marathon, a 10K, a 5K and a 1 mile kids Fun Run.  304 folks participated in the half marathon; 165 Females & 139 Males.  Overall I would definitely recommend this race.  I don’t know if my schedule will “permit” it again next year but if it does, I’ll probably be there.


I have to admit that aside from the turtle picture, I went back out on the course to get the rest of the photos.  I’ve been trying to see if my finishing time really is better when I’m not worried about taking photos while I’m running.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The Big 5-0!

May 17, 2014

No…I didn’t just have a birthday – although THAT ONE is a mere 9 months away.  The “Big 5-0” is for the fact that I just completed my 50th lifetime Half Marathon!  It happened at the Geist Half Marathon on Saturday May 17th which you may have read about HERE.

The journey of getting to my 50th race has bounced around a bit.  Initially it wasn’t supposed to take place until 2015 when I actually turned 50.  Then when I realized that I would get close to completing it THIS year, I needed to decide which race it would take place at.  Overall, I think I chose the correct one.

Hitting your 50th Half Marathon is sort of a big deal – in my opinion.  Although the wind was knocked out of my sails when I met someone in April that was completing his 200th!  But…you’ve got to get to 50 before you can get to 200. 

So, I’ve made plenty of posters for my husband’s “big” events.  My very first – albeit sad - attempt was for his first marathon in Chicago in 2007.  This was the first time I noticed that friends/family had posters to cheer on their athlete, thus I made a mad dash to the local CVS after the race started bought some poster board and markers and made a very tragic CONGRATS sign.  Hey, it’s the thought that counts, he loved it and we still have it.  Then I made one for a triathlon that he did in my home town and then the grand daddy of all projects was during his Ironman Triathlon in 2008.  He got cards, a poster, personalized M&Ms, a pimp cup and a professionally made banner.  By this time, I KNEW what I was doing.  I’ve made posters for friends for their first time events as well.  So, was it wrong of me to want a poster (or something) for my 50th half marathon?  Is that selfish?  I honestly don’t do things for other people so that it will get reciprocated but…it would be nice every now & then.

Similar to what I did for her, my friend MYMW did contact some of our friends and so I received some congratulations cards almost every day the week leading up to the race.  It certainly was fun going to the mail box that week!


Now race morning rolls around and my husband tells me that he’ll meet me up there at the finish.  Umm…okay.  I get it that he would have to get there WAY early and have nothing to do for the next 2+ hours so I wasn’t too disappointed.  I told him that the race started at 7:00AM and we agreed that the should get there at 9:00AM just to be on the safe side.  I left the house at 5:20AM and I was pretty sure he went back to sleep.

While out on the course, I’ll admit that I looked around for maybe some random friend that might show up to cheer me on – but nope, nothing.  Then as I’m rounding the corner prior to the straightaway to the finish line, again I look for a familiar face.  Still nothing.  Finally as I get closer to the banner and timing mat, I see my husband on the right side, I hear a “WOO HOO” from him and I can tell that he has either take some pictures or video.  But what do I not see?  No poster, no flowers, nothing.  Yes I was glad to see him but there was part of me that was disappointed.  I thought for sure he would ask our friend SJCP to make a poster for him to have.  That maybe he would have stopped in the local grocery store on the way up and purchased a bouquet of something.  SIGH. 

I did noticed on the opposite side that there was someone with flowers, balloons and champagne.  I might have said out loud, “Wow, look at that.  I wonder what was special about their race?”  Hopefully it didn’t drip too heavily with sarcasm.

I then learn that he almost missed my finish!  Although we discussed 9:00AM, he thought 10:00AM was the time to be there.  Had the race not started 20 minutes late – especially since I finished faster than I thought I would – he totally would have missed it.  Grrrrr

So I get my medal, some post race snacks, loiter for just a bit and then we leave because we have to stop at the dealership to sign the paperwork for his new car.  Yep, I finished my 50th half marathon and he gets a new car.  Totally fair, right?  Just kidding, it was random that they coincided.  I left before he did and headed home.  Oddly he called and wondered if I was home yet.  Weird.  I wasn’t but I was close.  And this is why he had called:

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Okay, so I guess he did good after all.  And once he got home and we talked about the day, he said that he purposely didn’t have anything at the race because he wanted me to think he was being a bit of a loser and not doing anything for me.  I admitted to him that I WAS disappointed when I saw him with nothing at the race.

It was fun to watch cars drive by slowly to read the sign. 

The following day, my neighbor came over and did a “photo shoot” with me and my 50 friends/medals.  That was so much fun.  Take that Michael Phelps – you and your (only) eight medals around your neck!


Yeah, I think I’ll keep him.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Geist Half Marathon – Race Recap

May 17, 2014


This was the 7th year for the Geist Half Marathon (which takes place northeast of Indianapolis starting and finishing near the Geist Reservoir) and I have participated the past two years.  I think I missed the early bird registration (or two) for this race but signed up near the end of February before the price went up again.  My total was $64.00.

This would be a special race for me as it would be my 50th lifetime half marathon but more about that later.

FRIDAY – MAY 16, 2014:  Packet pickup changed this year and was being held at St. Vincent Hospital in Fishers, which is the title sponsor.  I drove up there Friday afternoon during lunch to get my packet.  This side of town is ALWAYS a hot mess when it comes to traffic so I didn’t want to be anywhere near it after 3:00PM.   Parking was easy to find and there was barely anyone there when I arrived.

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Got my shirt & bib, verified the timing chip on the back and then went to look at what vendors were there. 

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To my surprise there wasn’t much.  In the past the local running store - Runners Forum - has been there with shoes and gear.  And I think one other “discount” clothing vendor…but none of that this year.  Disappointing.  They did hand out posters again this year that (in the smallest font ever) has everyone’s name on it but luckily there was a large version of it on the wall so you could find you name on that a little easier.

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Event poster – I’m between the legs of the 2nd & 3rd runner.  Wait…that sounds weird.  My name is located there.

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This race has an official race car and a map of the half marathon is on the hood.  This amuses me.  And from faraway I think the reservoir looks like some prehistoric animal.  See it?  Super long neck, one “arm” showing, long body, two legs below and part of the tail.  No?  Just me?

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Some of the Half Fanatics were gathering at a pizza place on that side of town for dinner that night but 1) I certainly didn’t want to stay up there all day and 2) I wasn’t about to drive back up there.  So I just had my usual at-home pasta dish that night.

It was early to bed since the race started at 7:00AM and it would be at least an hour drive without factoring in time to park and then get on the bus.  I set my alarm for 4:15AM.

SATURDAY – MAY 17, 2014:  I must admit that when the alarm went off, I hit the snooze button.  But I didn’t let the alarm sound again and got up after just a couple minutes.  I went downstairs, ate my usual pre-race breakfast and then took a quick shower.  I wanted to leave the house by 5:30AM but left a little bit later.  Although I knew I wouldn’t run into any traffic going up there, I didn’t want to be pressed for time just in case I needed to stop for a bathroom break.  And I felt like I was going to be cutting it close so I may have broken a speed limit or two driving up there.

The parking situation was different this year and not everyone had to park at the high school and take the bus or walk to the start line.  But since that's what I was familiar with – and figured more people would try to park closer to the striating area – the plan was to park at the high school.  What I didn't know was that most of the school’s parking area was under construction and only the south lot was open.  This seemed to cause a bit of a back-up.  But once I finally got in the lot, I quickly found a place to park, two buses pulled up and I was on my way.

I looked for a porta-potty where I remember them being last year but didn’t see them.  I was worried that it was too close to the time to start and I didn’t want to back track to the finish line.  After surveying the area, I found some pine trees up on a hill where I thought I would be concealed and went up there to pee.  I think “technically” I was in someone’s yard.  Sorry about that Homeowner.

Back down into my starting corral and I found my friend A. L. from Half Fanatics so I went over to talk to her.  2014, 05-17 (8)Then we noticed hovering above us was a drone.  This is the second race where a drone has made an appearance.  Cool yet kind of creepy.  Its tough to see in this photo.           2014, 05-17 (7)

So we are standing there chatting and chatting and I’ve turned on my Garmin to get the satellite and twice I had to take it out of “auto save” so I looked at my watch and it was 7:18AM.  Umm… this was supposed to start at 7AM.  Finally we (barely) hear the National Anthem being sung and then we were eventually off and running.  The 5K and half marathon both started at the same time this year and while I didn’t realize that ahead of time or that the east side of the road was for the 5K and the west side was for the half marathon.  Luckily I just happened to be on the correct side.

Either just before or just after the 1 mile marker, I noticed someone out of the corner of my left-eye.  It was a girl from my hometown and current (almost) neighbor A.R.  She grabbed me from the side and congratulated me on making it to my 50th half marathon.  YAY!  I totally forgot that she was running this race.   Side note:  she and I usually about the same pace and - although I’m not always a competitive person - I really wanted to finish before her.  And perhaps it was good that I saw her early on in the race and we were mostly neck-and-neck for the first 6(?) miles because I think it helped fuel my need to “just keep running” sometimes. 

The first 3 1/2 miles of the course were identical to the past year but then it changed.  We lost the big hill at mile 7 but the course now seemed to be nohting but continuous rolling hills. 


I didn’t take any pictures during this race.  I put my phone away and just concentrated on running but I grabbed some pictures from their Facebook page.  And these are things I totally would have taken photos of:

FB Page 3

This band was just after the start.FB Page 5

These rocks were in someone’s yard in one of the neighborhoods. Surely they are “secured” together somehow.FB Page 7

I had to do a double take when I saw this guy.  At first I didn’t realize how big his chair was!FB Page 6

Umm…lets talk about how tempted I was to stop at this unofficial aid station, aka “lemon-aid” station. But it was near the 11 mile marker and I just needed to keep going.

I kept the 2:15 pace group in my sights until about mile 8.  I’m just not to that pace yet but maybe one of these days.  However I could tell that I was slowing down and my left foot was starting to get really weird on me.  I wore my “newer” shoes for this race.  Although it was their first half marathon, they had plenty of training miles on them but my left foot felt like it was being squeezed!  First it was just my toes but then my whole foot felt like it was starting to do numb.  I was worried that I would knock myself all out of whack by compensating too much with my right side so I was very conscientious of all this for the entire race.  This caused me to take some non-aid station walking breaks every now & then but my foot felt even weirder when I was walking.  I also walked half way up a couple of those hills.  I often struggle with the battle of should I push myself up them or conserve the energy for later?

It was downhill as we approached where the starting line was but then it was uphill to the finish.  Oh Race Directors, why you gotta be like that?  LOL 

I made the turn and then it’s a straight shot to the finish line. There was one girl in front of me and I “turned it on” (best I could at that moment) and passed her.   I eventually see my husband on the right side and he is cheering for me. 

I got my medal and post race goodies and meet up with the hubs.  He takes a couple of “finishers” photos of me.  Bless his heart, he’s not very good at this.  But I didn’t see an actual finishers photo anywhere.

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We headed back down the road a little bit to see if we would see A.R. finish and saw her come in!  She and I took a post race photo together.  HOME TOWN – REPRESENT!

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I didn’t get to linger too long since we had another appointment to get to but as we were walking back to my husband’s car so that he could drive me to mine, I saw the big poster near the gear check area and wondered if that’s what people used for a finishers photo.  Turns out it was.  Oh well.

I was 2 for 3 today:

  1. I completed my 50th lifetime half marathon and that was really the ultimate goal.
  2. I did beat my friend.  Sorry girl, nothing personal.
  3. I wanted to PR and for awhile I thought maybe I had but once I got home and checked my time from South Carolina, I was 5 SECONDS AWAY from doing so.

So close to a PR.  Naturally I think about the walking breaks I took and how if I’d NOT walked just one time, I could have made it.  But truth be known, this course measure long (13.22 miles); it even says so on the map so if you factor that in, I did PR. Smile