Monday, September 1, 2014

Mahomet Half Marathon – Race Recap

August 16, 2014


I think I discovered this race on the Running in the USA website or maybe on the Half Fanatics calendar.  I seriously have no idea now! I verified with them that there was no increase in the registration fee so I waited until July 28th to sign up.  I would still get a shirt by that date – you know, because I’m starting to run out of those – and I could ease the pain on the wallet by waiting. With taxes and fees, registration was $49.20.

I contemplated getting a hotel room but Mahomet is only two hours away from where I live and I would gain an hour with the time change difference of Indiana and Illinois so I decided to just drive it that morning.  This also meant I would need to do packet pick-up the morning of.

The race start time was 7:00AM (local time) and I wanted to be there no later than 6:30AM.  I would need to leave my house no later than 5:30AM (my time).  You don’t know how many time I had to/needed to work through the timing differences.  It was a little stressful on my brain!

I was out the door (mostly) on time and ran into my first “issue” not far from my house.  One of the back roads that I should have taken was closed so I had to follow a detour route.  Not that big of a deal but it did add some time to my drive.  Then there was some construction on I-74 and I got stuck behind a semi that was going the speed limit as if construction was underway!  So THAT slowed my down.  And then I had to stop and pee.  I don’t remember which little town I stopped in but was in and out of the McDonald’s in no time.

I ran into some heavy rain while driving over and the forecast was iffy during the actual race time frame.  However it was not raining as I entered Mahomet.


All of this added to my drive time and while I initially thought I had plenty of time, I pulled into Mahomet at 6:45AM (local time).  The start line was at the high school and they already had the street close so I had to park at the secondary school.  It wasn’t a far walk but I still had to pick up my packet.  I heard the announcer say that the race would be starting in 8 minutes!  Got my packet, went into the restroom and changed shirts (I’m a fan of wearing the event shirt) but knew I wouldn’t be able to run the bag to my car so luckily someone at the registration table did a “bag check” for me.

Side note:  As I’m walking up to the high school I noticed that the line for the porta-potty was fairly long but just outside of the high  school was another set of porta-potties with a shorter line. BUT(T) – get it? -there was no line for the restrooms inside the school!  Why would anyone want to use a porta-potty when there are REAL restrooms with running water?

Banner just outside of the high school.022

So, as I’m walking out from the school the National Anthem is finishing and they fire the starting gun.  YIKES!  It’s a mad sprint to the start line.  Luckily it wasn't that far AND I had my watch fired up and the GPS had already located me.  I didn’t have any time to stretch or anything.  Needless to say, this has not been the best start I’ve ever had for a race.  But I was only a minute behind the official clock when I crossed.  And I didn’t feel too bad because some other guy went flying past me a few feet after the line; obviously he started late as well.

As we made our first turn I suddenly had this sinking feeling that I didn’t look closely in the race bag and that there was a timing chip in there that I needed to put on my shoe.  Our bibs were the RoadID bibs and usually they don’t have a timing chip on the back.  Now I’m in panic mode even more!  So for about the first mile(+) I keep trying to look at everyone else’s shoes to see if there is a chip on them or not.  I never saw anything and plus what was I going to do at this point?  I’d just have to let it play out.  (By the way, there was a timing strip on the back of the bibs)

The first two miles were somewhat residential but we would then be heading out to some country road.


Around the two mile marker, there was an aid station and what looked like to be the high school drum line.  I regret not taking a picture of them.

This was the view as we were running north and crossed over I-74..  It was a steady incline.  The folks that lived in the house were out in the yard cheering us on as we passed.


Mile Marker 4 was in front of this gorgeous house and there was a rock band playing.  There were chickens roaming around in the side yard!  #Country


Approximately 1/4 to 1/2 mile past this house, the male leaders would pass us headed back in to town.  It would be the 9 1/2 mile point for them.  This was a long stretch of road to run on but eventually we came to our turning point.  Although we were turning right, over to the left I could see this cemetery.  I always seem to notice them now since my husband is really into genealogy and


As I was approaching the Mile Marker 6, I could see that there was a mascot in the distance.  Since I’m a very serious runner - or not, I stopped & had my picture taken with him/her.


This old farmhouse was just after we made the turn from mile marker six.  It would be perfect in some horror movie!


It was then on this stretch of the course that the wheels fell off.  I started having the worst hip pain and began taking some walking breaks.  The view at this point (as well as most of the course) was this: soybean fields and cornfields.


Approaching Mile Marker 8, I saw some cows.  They were not impressed me…and rightfully so.


We turned south after the aid station at Mile Marker 8 and then it started to rain.  It was just a drizzle/mist at first but then it came down a little heavier.  I was worried about my cell phone getting wet.  This stretch of the road was also where we were given GU at Mile Marker 9.  The website said that it would be given at mile 7.  That is why I always bring my own.  The guys handing out the GU asked me how many people were behind me.  Ummm…I don’t really know that answer but I told them a handful, maybe 20.  I was probably pretty close with that guess.  I’m sure they wanted to be done standing in the rain!

Turn left at the cornfield!040

And just as I turned onto the road where I was earlier passed by the race leaders, the rain subsided.  If only my hip pain had.  It now turned into a mental battle of running for two minutes and then walking for 1 minute.  Or I would tell myself to keep running until I reached the next road sign and then I could walk.  This mind game would continue for the next 2 1/2 to 3 miles. I was even running with my eyes closed at certain times.  Probably not the safest thing to be doing.

Once again we ran across a road that was over I-74 (but different than the first one) and I could see the high school in the distance on my left.  But I barely had anything left in the tank.  My hip hurt so bad and I couldn’t run the entire time.  I had to continue the run/walk method.  It wasn’t until I got on the track that I mustered up a continuous run until I crossed the finish line.

Got my medal, a Gatorade and took a few pictures.


Then I walked over to the food area.  For a small race, they had lots of choices: Einstein bagels and some other roll/pastry from there with butter & cream cheese spread options.  There were traditional Oreo cookies and the golden ones.  Quaker chewy granola bars and fruit options.  There was a massage table that I really wanted to wait on for my turn but I had to get back to my house no later than 1:30PM.

I was a little discombobulated with my surroundings but eventually found my way back to where packet pickup was.  Of course there wasn’t anyone there so I had to walk back to the track side of the school and eventually found where my bag was being held.  It wouldn’t have been that big of a deal to have left it there.  I had an older running shirt in it and that was all that had any “value” per say but glad I finally retrieved it.

As I was walking back to my car, I saw the high school sign and a group of people talking in the parking lot near it.  Luckily one of them was nice enough to accompany to the sign so that I could get my finishers picture.  And bonus, she is a photographer so she took lots of options and knew to look at the background & surroundings so that random stuff wouldn’t be in the photo.


Overall, this was a good event for being a small race and I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed it more had I not been in so much pain the last third of the course.  There were aid stations every mile and they were stocked with both water AND Gatorade and had plenty of volunteers to hand it out.  Even the rolling hills weren't THAT bad.  But I doubt I will ever do this race again.  It fit my schedule and was race number 19 in my quest to complete 31 this year.  The medal was about what you would expect from a small race.

Medal 2

Unfortunately, the drive home was miserable.  I was in tremendous amounts of pain.  Randomly I had a baggie in my car and took ice from the cooler and tried to keep it on my hip for the 2 hour drive.  By the time I pulled into my garage, I could barely get out of the car and was near tears.  Sleeping that night was almost impossible.  Monday morning I called a hip doctor to make an appointment but couldn’t get in for a week. 

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