Monday, September 7, 2015

Beaver Chase Urban Trail Half Marathon

This race took place on SATURDAY: JULY 15, 2015

This was a new half marathon although I think it took over some other race that I was not familiar with. It also offered a full marathon and a quarter marathon. It was being put on by Racemaker Productions and I did another inaugural half marathon of theirs back in March - I'll get around to blogging about that eventually - and my husband had done a couple of their triathlons.
Initially this would have been my only half in August and since it was local, it made sense to register. I signed up in early May prior to any price increase and had a discount code so my total was $46.62. And then - like almost every other half - I basically forgot about it until it got closer. At some point I learned that it would be a "loop" course which the only other one of those I'd done I didn't care for. But thankfully this was just two loops so perhaps it would be better.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 14, 2015: They offered packet pickup the night before at a running store near my house. I'm a big fan of having my stuff the night before a race. I got there around 6pm, picked up my shirt and bib number and headed home. I was disappointed that I wouldn't be able to wear the shirt during the race since it was cotton but it is a cute shirt. I don't care what some people say, I like to wear the race shirt during the event. When I'm old and I'm looking through pictures, I know exactly what race I was doing because I have the race shirt on. It doesn't make me look like a rookie and its not bad luck! 
Cute race T-shirt
Got my stuff ready for in the morning and since my husband was out of town, I called him to say goodnight. I was in bed by 10pm and the alarm was set for 4:30am since the race was to start at 7:00am...or so I thought!

SATURDAY, AUGUST 15, 2015: So the alarm goes off and I did hit the snooze once but since I wasn't 100% sure where this race was starting, I couldn't dilly dally around too much. Ate my usual breakfast, showered, got the dogs fed and then headed out the door. I do love that there is no traffic that early in the morning and every traffic light was green as I traveled east on Washington Street. Once I was closer to downtown, I decided to grab my race folder and look up the address for the park where the race was starting. I was going to give OnStar a call to assist with directions. That's when I noticed that the full marathon started at 7:30am and the half didn't start until 7:45am. While it isn't a bad thing to be early...I could have slept in a little longer!!!  

I obviously had plenty of time now and going off the directions that the race director gave me, I found the park in no time. Since I was early, I decided to drive a little further in to downtown to use the restroom at a gas station instead of having to use a porta-potty.

So I head back to the park, get parked and decide to walk up near the start/finish area to see what's going on. It looked like most people decided to wait until that morning to get their stuff and the line for the porta-potties was long! Good thing I went to the Shell gas station in town.

The sky wasn't looking very friendly but the weather forecast was showing that the rain would hold off until later in the day.

I should have hung around and looked for people I knew but I went back to my car and got organized. At about 7:25am I figured I'd head back up and cheer the marathoners on their start. Before I headed that direction though, I needed to pee again. Remembering how long the porta-potty line was earlier, I decided to just go in the row of trees across the grass from where I parked my car.  I didn't even go that far into them because I wasn't sure what might have been in there or growing there and frankly I really didn't care. I think the more you do races, the less this becomes an issue.  Just me?!?!? 

Once back near the start line, I found some Half Fanatics and although the Marathon Maniacs had taken a picture, we did an impromptu HF photo.
They finally called for the marathoners to head to the start line; starting about 10 minutes late. Naturally this meant that the half marathon would start late as well. I wasn't too concerned other than the sun would start cooking us the later we started.  Eventually we were off.
Now, I'd never heard of an "Urban Trail" run but to me, it started off like a cross country running event. Thus initially we are running on grass then we get to a single file log jam as we all need to funnel down a narrow trail which puts us in a wooded area by the river. This path was not long but a little on the steep side and a little slippery as well.          

Suddenly we are running in sand and stepping over fallen trees - wasn't expecting that, especially the sand part. Nope, still not a fan of running in sand.
Anyone need a shopping cart?
This wasn't an easy area in which to pass anyone so I tried to be conscientious of those folks behind me and move to the side so they could get around. 

Just prior to exiting this path was the first mile marker. I like the way the race organizer listed it for each loop. It was also just after this point that I glanced at my watch and noticed that I must have not paid attention and didn't notice that I hadn't started my watch. Aye yi yi. Not that it would matter in the long run because I was going to be SO SLOW during this event but it was annoying to know that my watch was over a mile off from where it should be.
There was an "uphill" as you exited this area but not the same path where we entered the area. Volunteers from the Avon Cross Country team were at the top of the hill to direct us. This first loop wasn't an issue, I just needed to follow the folks in front of me but loop two was problematic because I wasn't sure where to turn...and there was no one in front of me to follow. The volunteers should have been staged in a different area or the course marked a little better.
As we ran back toward the start/finish area, we passed the first aid station. They had water, Gatorade, bananas and granola bars. I still had plenty of Gatorade in my bottle so I didn't stop. Just after this area we needed to traverse down another steep hill. As a matter of fact, I just about fell from a slippery grassy section here.

As I entered this "next area" of the course I started not feeling well; stomach cramps and the sensation that I needed to vomit. This is when the first phase of walking started. A few Half Fanatics caught up with me and checked to make sure that I was okay and then went on. In hindsight, I'm wondering if it was the heat and the fact that I hadn't been training in it. Up to this point most of my runs had been down on the treadmill in our basement. After walking for about 1/4 mile, I started to feel a little better and was able to run a little more. But I have to admit that I contemplated just taking a DNF. I wasn't that far from the start/finish area so it would have been a quick walk back...but I pressed on.

It is often funny to me that there are so many areas within Indianapolis that I'm unaware of. Most of the remaining section of this course was an area that I had seen before - when I used to run downtown along the canal - but I would have never guessed that a running event could take place there.

And as much as I struggled with this first loop, there were some lovely flowers along the course and some other points of interest.
Note the butterfly on the flower in the largest square.
Having to do the same loop again was both good and bad, in my opinion. It was good to know what was coming up (for example, running in sand) but then again knowing what was coming up can also make you dread it even more. It is definitely a double edged sword.
Look at the picture was so hot, a runner melted out on the course! I'm guessing that someone knew how hot and exposed the next open portion would be that it made more sense to go shirtless. 
There were sections on the course where you had to watch your step. You could have twisted an ankle in this area.
This is concrete with deep ruts
I'm cautiously posting these next pictures because the graffiti could be offensive or gang related or something (of course I would have no idea!) but graffiti intrigues me. Some of it is really well done and I often wonder what that person could be doing differently with their talent.
I certainly didn't complete the loop the second time any faster and since my watch was about 1/4 off, I had on idea "how" I was doing. Basically it just became a will of the mind to finish. Needing to get up that last hill one more time was a major challenge and I really could have used the help of a Sherpa!
It made me want to start singing "Climb Every Mountain"
Crossed the finish line, got my medal and then saw another Half Fanatic (that passed me in the last 1/2 mile, dang it!) so we chatted for a bit. He was talking to some 50 States Half Marathon Club members so it was nice to met them and we had our picture taken together. But is was a little discouraging to learn that one of the girls completed the half in flipflops and/or bare feet (seems she forgot to pack her shoes) and she finished BEFORE me.
Members of the 50 States Half Marathon Club
There was an after party at the Stacked Pickle but I just wanted to get home. I didn't even go and do my medal photo-shoot but since this race was local for me, I knew I could always come back and do it another day.

However, I did stick around long enough to have my picture taken with Bucky!
Final thoughts on this race: Obviously I had no idea what to expect. Although I had just done a trail race back in May and had a mostly positive experience with it, this was much more my opinion. I doubt that I will ever do it again but only because I'm a wimp and it was too difficult for me. And much of that mindset is also because my running (if you can even call it that at this point) sucks so much. I just can't get in the training that I was able to do last year. I have a feeling 2015 will be a "learning" year and one of reflection for me.

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