Friday, October 9, 2015

(10-03-2015) Evansville Half Marathon

WARNING: BE PREPARED FOR A LOT OF RAMBLING IN THIS POST AND TONS OF PHOTOS!

I signed up for this event back on July 30th. At least that's when I mailed in the "old school" paper entry form. The cost was $57; no extra fees or taxes!

If I am remembering correctly, I believe this race (or some form of it) used to be call the Southern Indiana Half Marathon) and I have a friend that had been recommending it to me for years but it finally just now worked out with my schedule.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 2nd: The plan was to work until 2:30pm and then head directly to Evansville. There is no "direct" route (no interstate) from Indianapolis to Evansville so you have to take some older State Roads. But leaving at 2:30 would give me plenty of time to get down there. But then I decided - since I thought I would have plenty of time - that I would swing by my house and load up all the items that needed to go in the cooler and then leave. I anticipated that this would take 30 minutes but I would still have plenty of wiggle room for a restroom stop and to not feel rushed.  Fast forward to 2:30pm and the "comedy of errors" that was about to ensue.

I needed a few items from the store. I debated whether I should stop at the store near work or wait until I got closer to home. I decided to stop by work and get it out of the way (mistake #1?). The area in which I work in under A LOT of construction so I've been trying to find new ways to get home. And I'll admit that some of the roundabouts up here are confusing. Thus I got turned around and was headed in the wrong direction and somewhat lost. Long story short, by the time I got back on track I was about 15 minutes behind schedule. Had I gone the way I normally go home obviously this wouldn't have happened (mistake #2?). Anyway, I'm on the interstate and approaching an exit that many people say that I should try because it will get me out of the interstate traffic. Well, since it was late afternoon and not as busy I figured that it might be a good time to test out this theory (mistake #3?). While this route wasn't as heavily traveled, I did have to slow down during two school zones and then once I got into the town that is just north of my town, there was a major traffic jam. Best I can tell there was some accident maybe a half a mile south ahead on the road I was on. Shouldn't be that big of a deal since I could/should be able to get on a different interstate, head a little further west and then get home through a different town. Well it took FOREVER to get to the on ramp because of the congested traffic and there was construction at that on ramp. Now I'm about another 20 minutes behind schedule but I figured I could make up time being able to travel 70mph (don't worry-it was the posted speed limit). But eventually I have to get on a country road and a bunch of us are behind farmer Fred who wants to drive under the speed limit and we can't pass!

I finally get into Danville and traffic is busy. I'm about 4 cars back from a stop light that has now turned red. We are all slowing down to stop...except for the kid behind me. BAM! He hits me. Oh my gosh. Did this really just happen?!?! I get out and am thankful to see that there is barely any damage to my vehicle. I think I'm okay. Luckily I was far enough behind the car in front of me or I would have hit him. So I have to call the police. It takes them awhile to get there. It is almost 4:00PM. I should have already been at my house, loaded everything into my car and been on the road to Evansville. Packet pickup was to close at 7:00PM. It takes THREE HOURS to get to Evansville from my house. The only thing I have in my favor is that they are on Central time so I will gain an hour. I've got a little bit of a buffer. I knew ONE person doing the race and thankfully she quickly answered my Facebook message and offered to help if she could. She did find out for me that if I got there 5-10 minutes late, I could still get my packet and that there technically was also an unadvertised packet pickup in the morning if all else failed.

I was finally on the road at 4:40PM. I didn't dare drink much on the trip down there because I didn't want to lose time by having to stop to use the restroom.

I arrived at packet pickup at 6:45PM (local time). Nearly all the vendors had already packed up and were gone; which shame on them for that. I was wearing my Indy Mini Ambassadors shirt so a girl struck up a conversation with me about it. At first she thought it was referencing the Indy Women's half from two weekends ago. She was there. That should have been her 2nd half marathon and Evansville would be her 3rd, qualifying her for Half Fanatics. But since Indy Women's was black flagged she was now going to have to find another race.
As seen at the Expo, a race bucket instead of a bag. One of the sponsors makes these.
Obviously I didn't stay long since nothing was there and they were closing up shop but I did take some pictures and had someone take this one of me and my running friends, Meb and Kara!


Although it had been drizzling on the way down and as I walked in to packet pickup, it had mostly stopped as I left. I headed to the hotel to drop off my stuff and then went to look for some place to eat. I was hoping to find an Applebee's close by but didn't see one. I saw an O'Charley's and decided to go there since I had a gift card. But two things went wrong with dinner; I didn't pay attention when I was ordering and thought I was getting chicken AND pasta but only chicken came out. It was fine; I'd had pasta at lunch but you know how it is when you are expecting one thing and you get another. And then...I couldn't find my gift card. Well, at least I had my 20% off coupon. Then it was back to the hotel to get things ready for Saturday.

As I settled in and was about to go to bed, I noticed that my neck was starting to feel a little stiff and sore. So I slathered on the Biofreeze and took 2 Aleve.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 3rd: Race morning and I woke up with my neck feeling pretty good so that was a relief. The race was scheduled to start at 7:00AM so I initially set my alarm for 4:45AM. I wanted to give myself plenty of time to find parking since I wasn't sure where I was going to find some. I actually didn't crawl out of bed until 5:00AM. Took my shower, ate breakfast and was out the door at 6:15AM. There was a slight hiccup with the first set of directions that OnStar gave me but I immediately called them back and they got me back on track. I found a parking lot just a block up and over from the start line.

It was chilly walking to the start area and at that point I wished that I had packed a "throw-away" or at least some gloves. The Tropicana Hotel was just west(?) of the start line so I popped in there to use the restroom and stay warm until it was time to venture over to starting area. This hotel was recommended to me to stay in while I was in Evansville but it was $50+ more a night thus I didn't stay here.  But it sure would have been nice to just roll out of bed and on to the start line!

I headed over toward the starting area around 6:50AM and walked around, checking things out. For a sizable race I was surprised by the generic start line / banner. Lots of people were huddle up by the Vectren building staying out of the wind. I stayed on the sidewalk but not by my correct corral during the singing of the National Anthem. I started heading toward the back after the Anthem but stopped again when it was time for the prayer. It was funny that the minister prayed for us to have less winds and PRs! I continued to the head back to a more appropriate pace corral.

Just in front of me were three girls wearing this shirt.  I'm right there with you ladies!
The announcer said that there were 2500 participants from 27 different states and 70 military personnel had registered. Not sure what the breakdown of that was for the relay which was the only other option this race had.  If I remember correctly, we were broken down into 5 waives to start. I was in the 4th waive.
The sky looked suspicious but we didn't experience any precipitation during the race but it was incredibly windy at times!
I'm not sure if this lady had an athlete in the race or if she was just a super fan but I saw her in 4 different places along the course. When I saw her for the 3rd time, I told her she really gets around. She laughed. But just prior to this I also saw a male participant in "jorts" (jean shorts) and a Hawaiian shirt!  Now, I don't want to judge another runner but...I should be able to finish this race before someone dressed like that, right?  I tried to get a picture but didn't. I did not see him again...once I passed him.
EEK! Hope this alligator/crocodile didn't come out of the Ohio River! Not sure if this is better than a pink flamingo or not. Random Yard Decorations!
How cute is this cheer team? Half Marathon pajama party. Later on the course I saw the Half Marathon Beach Party but I didn't get a picture of them.
This was sectioning off the road at the 5K timing mat. It made me chuckle because at first glance all I could think of was "I hope I don't have to limbo under that." If you look to the left of the cones you can see where runners completely ignored crossing the mat.
First time I've ever seen a lady playing an accordion during a race. Actually first time I've seen ANYONE playing an accordion during a race!
While I always try to say thank you to the police officers that keep us safe at intersections, imagine my surprise when - just as I was about to say thank you - this guy says my name! DJT was a high school classmate of mine. So glad he recognized me.
And then, you know, just a dog wearing a T-shirt cheering on all the runners. Actually he was also sitting in a lawn chair but as I ran over to take his(?) picture he jumped out of it.
EVANSVILLE - RIVER CITY
Don Mattingly who played for 14 years with the New York Yankees and is currently the Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers is originally from Evansville. This was located at the Garvin Park Youth Baseball Fields.
Around Mile 6, we entered the Garvin Park Trailhead. Garvin Park is one of Evansville's oldest parks. This was the start of about a 4+ mile stretch of the course. This was a great running path and I was surprised at the crowd support we saw along the way...as you will see by ALL OF THE PICTURES below.
This was the first race where people were blowing bubbles and I saw it three different times. Its a great idea and I'm going to try to remember to do that at the next race where I volunteer.


This was a great sign...except that we were in the middle of Mile 8!
Around Mile 9, we entered the Industrial Corridor of the Greenway. It wasn't necessarily the most scenic portion of the race.
This guy was playing "CHARGE" as we ran by.  FUN!!!

Had it been warmer, these Popsicles handed out by the Courier Press (the local newspaper) would have been even more refreshing. It was still tasty even in chilly conditions.
The most Patriotic homeless person and he was very happy to be cheering us on.
The last portion of the course takes us through Sunset Park and back down by the Ohio River.  
I'd love to come back down some weekend and see this Warship. I know I could temp my husband with this!

I wonder who took the time to count all these steps? And for someone like me with a shorter stride, I bet it would take me even more steps!



Someone had written all sorts of  message on the last .2 portion of the course. I figured this would make a good picture and went back after the race.
Medal photoshoot

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS RACE:

  • I loved, loved, loved it! If it works out with my schedule, I will try to do this again and again.
  • Great crowd support
  • Scenic
  • There is no race day packet pickup but I live too far away for that to be a concern. Plus I like getting my stuff the night before.

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