April 26, 2014
As you may have read HERE, prior to doing this half marathon I did a 5K the night before which is part of the I-Challenge series.
Since both MYMW and I needed to get ready in the morning, I set my alarm for 4:45AM so that I could get up first and take a shower. We had decided that we would catch the 6:00AM bus across the street at the Holiday Inn so that her husband could sleep longer and just drive over closer to our estimated finishing times.
I experienced my typical on & off sleep the night before a race. The oddest thing was that – TMI ALERT – I did not poop that morning. Nor had I the night before. This was very unusual for me. I went ahead and took my pre-race Imodium and hoped for the best during the race.
It only took 15-20 minutes to get there via the bus and this gave us plenty of time to cycle through the porta-potties and hopefully keep MYMW preoccupied and calm. After all this was her very first half marathon!
The race started in waves and we were a corral apart so I stayed with her until it was closer to the time that my wave would start and then I moved up. We met some other ladies and chatted with them while waiting. We got some good pre-race photos as well.
If memory serves me correctly, this race started on time and I absolutely LOVED the fact that we could hear the National Anthem and people were singing along!
The course starts out with runners passing Memorial Stadium and then heading through (what I would call) the downtown area. This is also part of the area that we ran through for the 5K. Crowd support was pretty good through these section and I was surprised to see as many college kids as I did since it was EARLY on a Saturday morning!
Although not a good shot, the statue in the background is wearing a race bib.
I just LOVE when people come out in costumes to cheer on runners!
I’m pretty sure this “cowboy” was part of a themed water station.
While running through a neighborhood, there were some people handing out paper towels. As someone who sweats a great deal, I was thankful to see this and took one. I don’t think these folks were necessarily “part” of the race program so it was very nice of them to do this.
Additionally, there was THIS guy. I’m not sure if he was running “for a cause” or this is just how he dresses for half marathons (or marathons – I don’t remember if he continued on or not) but bless him for sporting the pink shirt, pink kilt and pink-ish argyle socks.
Somewhere between miles 7 & 8, there was an unofficial aid station offering folks beer and bacon. Although they had “vegetarian” bacon – and yes, that’s what their sign said – I did not partake. However, these two guys did. I first saw them “cheers” each other when I was behind them so as I passed them, I turned around and asked that they do it again. You get to see some of the best stuff being in the middle/back of the pack.
This course runs past some nice parks along the way and miles 8 to 9.5 goes through Meadowbrook Park. I remember running through this when I was here in 2010 and it was one of my favorite parts of the course. And just as I remembered, they change this statue to a runner, complete with post-race Mylar blanket.
I always find it fun that from mile 10 to mile 11, you are running down Race Street. They had one of the best themed aid stations here; it was sort of an homage to the movie Deliverance. The very first motivational sign said, “Run Faster. I Hear Banjos.” Most of the folks were dressed up as hillbillies and some of them had blacked out a tooth or two. “Git er done” was another sign posted in this area. Further up the road, a lady sitting in a chair was holding a sign that said, “It Is Called Race Street After All.”
Mile 11 to 12 has you running east on Pennsylvania Street. If I remember correctly this is a historical district. There were some really nice homes in this area and it also seemed to be sponsored by the Christie Clinic. Many of the motivational signs along the way were “medically” themed. I remember one from the Gastroenterology Department encouraging us to “Keep going because we were right on TRACT.” Ha Ha...play on words.
Again since it had been four years since I’d run this race my memory of it wasn’t exactly spot on but I do think the route heading into Memorial Stadium was different. It didn’t matter, I was just glad to be FINALLY heading in to the finish.
I got my half marathon finishers medal and my I-Challenge medal, grabbed some water, texted MYMW’s husband to let him know I was done and then we waited for her.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON MY RACE: Race day weather was perfect (sadly I forgot to take a screen shot of the forecast on my phone) and this is a great flat course.
It is scenic and has wonderful support along the way. But it just wasn’t my day that Saturday. I felt fine until around the 6 mile marker and then the wheels fell off.
In my opinion, every race should have a hydration station every two miles. It doesn’t always happen but it should. And for some reason, I thought that was how this course was layed out. So at 5.75 miles, I took a GU thinking that I would get water in just a quarter of a mile. Unfortunately, the aid station was located at the 6.75 mile point. So 3/4 of a mile past where I was anticipating it. After that, I never felt like I could get or stay hydrated. Every hydration station after, I was stopping and taking in 3 cups of water/Gatorade and I was walking a lot more than I should have been. And I wasn’t just through those aid stations. I wonder also if the whole “I couldn’t/didn’t got to the bathroom prior to the race was having an effect as well. “That” was weighing on my mind at the time but perhaps…
My morning routine was off a little as well so did that factor in too?
Although I finished faster than I did in 2010, it was one of my slowest half marathon times since October of 2013. (I’m not counting the Polar Dash in Chicago this year since that course was a mess!)
I’ll never know for sure so I’ve just got to shake it off. There are more races thus more opportunities to improve.