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|
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.
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.|
Look at the picture below...it 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 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"|
|Members of the 50 States Half Marathon Club|
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 difficult...in 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.