The Groundhog 7 took place on Sunday, February 7th in Zionsville, IN. This year it was a total coincidence that it actually took place ON the 7th as well as being a 7 mile run. This was the 44th year for it and it is a "free" race in that you are asked to bring canned good donations which are then given to the Zionsville Food Pantry. This event is hosted by Indy Runners.
Technically, I've registered for this event two other times but the weather has been crappy in years past so....I didn't do. But it was going to be a good February day weather-wise in Indiana this year.
Back it up a week earlier - when I was watching the forecast and decided to register - I contracted my friend J.K. to knit a groundhog hat for me. I'd seen her wearing one and thought it would be most appropriate for this race. I then coordinated with her to pick it up on Saturday at her house. Such a super cute hat; she is really talented.
Now back to Sunday, Feb 7th. The event wouldn't start until 1:00PM so I was a little concerned about what to do with my eating. I hoped that if I got up early and had my "regular" breakfast and coffee and was done by 8:30, I would still be full and not need anything until closer to race time. Then I would have a GU. NOTE: this is why I prefer races first thing in the morning. I know that my system is mostly clean from overnight and I know exactly what I can and can't eat just before a race. All went according to the plan above but around 10:30 I started feeling a little light-headed and then kind of sick to my stomach. I had a couple of Popsicles hoping that it was just a low blood sugar issue. I felt a little better before I left the house but certainly not 100%
I wasn't completely sure where I was going or what parking would be like so I thought I'd better give myself an hour to get there.
I arrived at Zionville High School without incident and actually got really good parking. The canned good collection table & truck were just before you entered so I dropped off my donation and then went in to get my bib. For an extra $16 you could have purchased a shirt but I did not. Plus I think I registered too late to do so. The last thing I need is another race shirt but then I always have "non-buyers remorse" when I see them!
The entrance to the school was crowded with lots of people standing around socializing and stretching. I got my bib and looked around for people that I might know but didn't see anyone at first. I decided to find the rest room. As is typical, there was a line but while we were standing there some other girls walked by and mentioned there was another rest room further inside the school. I was surprised that we had so much access to get around but it was nice to find a restroom with a shorter line.
I decided to head back out to my car for a bit and but my bib on and just get situated. I eventually wandered back into the high school but then it was time to go outside and get ready for the start. Thankfully I found J.K. and we were able to get a pre-race photo of us in our super cute hats that she made!
It was an unseasonably warm day for the 7th of February! I was a little worried that my hat may cause me to get overheated. Only time would tell.
When you see a race photographer - make sure they see YOU too!
The course starts right in front of the high school and then past the football field before heading on to the Zionsville Rail Trail.
After about a mile, we came to a set of stairs which I was NOT expecting. This congested everything for just a bit. I would have been interested to see what was just a little further south on this path; it would have been better - in my opinion - to eliminate the stairs and just make the turnaround further down. But maybe that isn't possible.It was shortly after this point that my stomach was in a bit of turmoil and I began eyeballing the landscape in case I needed to find a "natural" bathroom location. I took a very long walking break at this point hoping that things would settle down. Runner friend M.H. walked with me for a bit to make sure that I was okay. Finally just past the 2 mile marker I felt a little better and started running again.
I should have paid attention to the website because THIS would have been good to know before hand:
The race will begin at Zionsville High School and continue along the scenic Zionsville Rail Trail. Runners will pass through several Zionsville neighborhoods and finish back at the high school. (Course Map) There will be one water stop. However, there are no restrooms on the course, so please plan accordingly.
It was a factor of not training prior (hello broken record!) and the tummy trouble but I did not have a strong run. I forgot my Garmin which makes me disappointed because I would have been interested to see what my mile splits were with that walking break thrown in.
Also had I paid attention to the website, I would have taken some water with me knowing that there was only one water stop and this was a somewhat warm day. Although I had just a thin "paper" jacket on, there were times where I was hot and took it off but then we'd be back running into the wind and I was cold. Off / on / off / on with the jacket the last half of this race.
Anywhoooo....I finished and at least past some people toward the end.
I went into the high school to see what was going on and saw there was a line for the snacks so I when ahead and jumped in line. There were pretzels and granola bars and stuff to make hot chocolate WITH marshmallows! However there weren't any stir sticks but I re-purposed a pretzel rod and got the job done.
I socialized with J.K. and T.R and M.H. for a little bit but was ready to get home, shower and relax before the Super Bowl kicked off.
I'm glad I did this race finally and now that I know what to expect, I might do it again...weather depending, of course!