August 30, 2014
If I remember correctly, I learned about this race via Facebook and/or it might have been one of those Active.com emails for races in my area. And thankfully the price increase didn’t occur for awhile so I was able to wait until June 29th to register. With taxes and fees, my total cost was $64.95. I didn’t really pay attention to the specific of this race; it fit my “schedule” so I signed up. Later I learned that it was to be a night race and a looped course. Both of these things would be a first for me.
Sadly, I hadn’t run a single step since my “race of pain” - The Mahomet Half Marathon (you can read my recap HERE) - but I had been to the doctor. Thankfully x-rays didn’t show any stress fractures or arthritis. Of course by the time I was able to get in to see him, I wasn’t really in any pain anymore. So he suggested that I take two Aleve with my last meal before the half and see if that helps at all. The next step will be to have an MRI done.
Hmmm….my last meal before the half marathon. If this was going to be my typical morning half, that wouldn’t be a problem but I wasn’t sure what to do with myself or what to eat/not eat through out the day since the race didn’t start until 7:00pm. I’ve read a few blogs about night races and how to prepare but I was worried about eating too much and I think I ended up eating too little. I did at least stay off my feat most of the day.
This race was taking place at the Major Taylor Velodrome (you can read more about it HERE). I left my house around 5:45pm since we were doing a Half Fanatics group photo at 6:30pm near the start/finish line. I wasn’t exactly sure how long it would take me to get there.
I saw some Half Fanatics in the parking lot as I was entering to get my packet and we confirmed the pre-race photo time and place; 6:30pm at the start/finish line. I also received a text from my friend MYMW stating that she and her husband were already inside. Then, I saw a guy from our running club and said hello to him. So many people at this event that I knew! Which made me feel a little scattered trying to say hello to everyone.
Packet pickup was super easy and MYMW and I did a few pre-race photos.
I needed to run stuff back to my car and pick up my shuffle and little flashlight. I got back to the entrance and realized I still had the event shirt hanging over my arm so I had to go back to my car. Good thing it was all super close. By then it was time for the Half Fanatics pictures but since they were all standing outside the Velodrome, they decided to take it out there. Thankfully MYMW texted me about the change. I felt bad that TG missed it because she was still waiting inside and I didn't have anyway to reach her. UGH.
Then it was time for the pre-race announcements. Most of us just stood at the top of the “track” rather than going back inside. For the most part you could hear everything they were saying.
Then it was time to gather at the start line, which ended up not being the same as the finish line. Per the usual, I stayed to the back especially since I wasn’t sure how my hip would hold up or how I would do in general. We basically ran out of the complex, turned right to run south on Cold Springs Road – which was up a slight incline – then we turned right (which had us running down a fun little hill) onto the road that runs North and parallel to the Velodrome but I’m not sure what the name of it is. Then it was a right turn on to White River Parkway – which was the prettiest part of the course. Turned right again onto 30th street and up another slight incline until we reach Cold Springs Road again and we…TURNED RIGHT! Lastly we turned on a road just south of the Velodrome that eventually wound us to the east side where we entered the actual track (I still don’t know if it is technically called a track), we ran about 3/4 of the way around it, through the timing arch and then back out to the road that I would consider the main entrance and where we (basically) started. We did this FOUR TIMES. Here are some photos from the course:
Although from this weather screen shot you wouldn’t think that it was too bad that night but I found it to be warm and humid. But thankfully we didn’t experience any precipitation at all.
The course had aid/hydration stations at the 1 & 2 mile marks and then one just after your crossed the timing mat to head back out. And they were well stocked but you did have to serve yourself…which was fine.
I didn’t feel too bad during the first lap and since the scenery was all “new” I was fine with everything but lap two was boring. I mean, I’d already seen everything. I really struggled during the third lap; walking up the hills and I was very thankful that my friend and fellow Half Fanatic, A.L., walked with me up the hill to the aid station at mile 2. She got something to drink and then took off. I just didn’t have anything in the tank and was so dreading that I had to do ONE MORE LOOP. It had definitely gotten dark but I only had to use my flashlight a couple of times where I knew the road wasn’t in very good condition and the street lights were blocked by tree coverage. I finally schlepped my way in and crossed the finish line. I saw my friend TR who – bless her heart – had stayed until I finished. This was especially kind of her since she was the 8th finisher overall. She waited over an hour for me to finish!!! But she said that she was enjoying the party atmosphere that was going on and didn't mind.
We spotted some folks eating ice cream bars and discovered the cooler that those were being kept in and grabbed one each. We then went to the top of the track and waited for MYMW to come it. I thought it was odd that I didn't see her husband anywhere; I was pretty sure that he was doing the 5K that night. About 10 minutes later, we saw them both coming in for the last lap around the track. He’d asked to her keep it mostly a secret but he was actually doing the half that night – his VERY FIRST!!! Congrats JW, you are a half marathoner!
While I didn't feel too bad during the race, walking to the car seemed to be another story. And getting in my car was excruciating. So I’m not really sure what was up with all of that.
Final thought on this race is that I didn’t really care for it. I found having to do the same loop FOUR TIMES extremely boring. And again since this was my first night race, I really didn’t know how to prepare. I’m probably “one and done” with this one. I should think about doing another night race just to see if –after having experienced one- I would like a second attempt any better but it certainly isn’t on my radar.
The medal is nice and the shirt is one of those super soft cotton ones but I wish it didn’t have the word DAMN on the front. I’m not a prude but I just don’t feel that its necessary. And there were some really young kids that did this race. I wonder if their parents will let them wear this shirt.