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:

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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

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