Although packet pickup was an option race morning, it ended at 6:30AM; the race didn't start until 7:30AM. So not only would I have to get down there even earlier - which would mean I'd have to get up even earlier - I'd have to kill time for an hour before the race started. I opted to go down there Friday night and get my packet. Traffic was a hot mess and it took me over 90+ minutes to get from Carmel, IN to Columbus, IN. Seriously, is there any part of the Indianapolis interstate system (and surrounding areas) that isn't under construction?!?!?!
Packet Pickup takes place at The Commons. This is a large venue which allows things to be spread out and not congested when getting your packet. There were plenty of vendors and I walked around a little bit but didn't see anything of particular interest to me. Since it took me so long to get down there, I was ready to just head back home. I was in and out in about 15 minutes.
When I got home and began getting things ready for in the morning, I noticed what my bib said. It cracks me up when I don't remember doing this!
Everyone that completes the Half Marathon or Marathon has their name entered in a drawing to win a new truck. So I packed a change of clothes bag in anticipation of hanging around at the After Party for awhile because you "must be present" to win. What I eventually read in the race literature - after having loaded all my stuff in the car - was that the drawing wouldn't start until 4:00PM. It makes sense; they have to give all the marathoners a chance to finish. There was no way I was going to kill 5 hours down there after my half but I left the bag in the car and went to bed.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25th: the alarm went off at 4:45AM. The plan was to leave the house at 6:00AM at the latest. That would give me plenty of time if I needed to make a stop on the way down, get parked and to the start line. I decided not to eat my "regular" pre-race breakfast of peanut butter toast and banana and opted to go a little lighter. I had a spoonful of peanut butter and the banana but packed some Sport Beans to eat if I started to get hungry on the trip down.
As expected - even with the construction zones - I made great time getting to Columbus but did stop at the Rest Area right before the exit to use the bathroom. Parking (which was assigned) was super easy to get to and was next to a Hotel Indigo so I was able to use the bathroom there one more time before walking to the start line. It was only a 2 block walk but I was surprised that the start was in a different location from 2013.
Although it sprinkled a little on my drive down, by the time I was walking to the start line it had completely stopped.
This was a waive and corral start and naturally, I was in one of the back corrals. I crossed the start line approximately 5 minutes after the first gun (train whistle?) went off. Funny if THAT is the "sound" they use because last year the back of the pack was briefly stopped by a train!
After the "different" start, the course picked up from what I remembered and headed to Mill Race park where we would run across the covered bridge. It was shortly after this point that my shuffle stopped working. I was hoping that using new/different headphones would have fixed the problem but sadly it did not. I knew better than to jack around with it this time and stepped off the course to switch out the headphones and put them in my cell phone. There were a few spectators standing there and one guy asked me if I was stopping for a smoke break. I gave him a courtesy laugh and asked if he had one that I could bum. So since my phone was now my music, I put it in the holder I have on my race belt. I hadn't planned on taking any pictures anyway since I'd run this course before.
Shortly before the 2 mile marker, my digestive system was not pleased with me and I really thought I was about to have a bathroom emergency. So I started walking hoping that it would subside. There was one porta-potty at the first aid station (just after the Mile 2 marker) and it appeared to not be in use. I contemplated stopping but I was feeling a little bit better and decided to press on. Thankfully this gurgly belly stuff completely stopped and I didn't have any other problems during the race.
As luck would have it - since my phone was put away - I did see some things that I would have liked to have taken pictures of but I refrained. But here is a verbal description of some things I saw that I thought were funny:
- Just after the first aid station, there were some people dressed in Victorian attire cheering us on. I don't know if they were associated with the building they were standing in front of...which of course I don't remember what that was now.
- Near Mile Marker 5, I saw a guy looking back at a girl a few people behind him. There seemed to be a look of concern on his face for her. He reached back and took her hand....which she immediately pulled away from him. The only thing that I could imagine that was happening was he probably convinced her to do this race and she was NOT happy to be out there. It was totally a "don't touch me" moment between them. It made me chuckle.
- While I don't remember for sure where in the race this was, I saw in the a lady cheering on participants while wearing her....um robe? (not structured enough)....snuggie? (too structured for that)...so lets call it a SNOBE. It was light purple and she wore it well!
- Next I saw a group of spectators having a cheering party in their driveway. It was reminiscent of people partying the night before the Indy 500. They had their driveway blocked off with checkered flag pennants. They had card tables and chairs out there. I wasn't sure if they were cheering us on or heckling us. But they'd gotten up early to be out there....or had they not gone to bed yet?!?!?!
- I noticed that it looked like on some of the mile marker, there were pictures that had been drawn by children. I've looked through the website and the guide they gave us but I don't see (and I could totally be overlooking!) if this was a competition for kids or what.
- There was a guy that was running backwards. I don't know if he was doing this for the entire race or not. Another gentleman joined him for awhile. I've actually thought about - once I complete my 50 state goal - of ways I can do something different in races as a new challenge and running/walking a race backwards has crossed my mind. Although I should just "challenge" myself to be a better/faster runner!
- Along the course, near the 12 mile marker was a section that had multiple "motivational" sign posted. Two of my favorite were: Last place is still a "place" and Your couch misses you. The "couch" sign was my favorite.
- And lastly - in typical fashion when the marathon course rejoins the half marathon course - I was about halfway through mile 12, when here comes the female marathon leader. She blew past me and finished her FULL marathon 4+minutes faster than my HALF marathon time. (the life of a slow poke)
I got my medal and snacks and then wandered over to the After Party. Sadly I'd forgotten to put money in my race belt so I couldn't buy anything and smelling all that food was making me hungry. They had lots of vendors: food, clothing, crafts.
As I stated above, I would have to wait around for 5 more hours before the truck giveaway and I certainly didn't want to do that so I headed back to my car. But I stopped in the Hotel Indigo again to use the restroom.
The last thing to do before leaving was to take the medal photoshoot. It was windy and I was worried if I'd be able to get a good shot or not. There were two locations that I wanted to try; the covered bridge and the Robert N Stewart Bridge (designed by J.Muller International, this cable-stayed bridge is the first of its kind in North America and was completed in 1999)
Most of the covered bridge photos didn't really turn out. I couldn't get my phone to focus on just the medal. It kept getting the bridge. But these two are pretty good.
This is the Robert N Stewart Bridge and it is also featured on the medal. It would have been fantastic if this session had turned out but obviously it didn't.
I tried to mix things up a little and include my bib on a picture as well. I took this on the floor of the covered bridge.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS RACE:
- I definitely liked it better this year than I did in 2013. It might be because the weather was cooler this year but I'm not sure.
- I don't know if I'll do it next year; it depends on scheduling
- But I would recommend this race.