Monday, September 3, 2012

A Different Kind of Race

This past Friday I ventured two hours down the highway for the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon.  I signed up for this race in January because I LOVED the medal from last year and the price was great - I paid just under $40 for race entry and the t-shirt (purchasing the shirt was optional).  When I signed up I booked a room at the host hotel for 2 nights and hoped to turn in into a girls' weekend.

Just as I was about to cancel the second night and drive home immediately after the race my friend decided she would fly into town and we would run the half together and have a fun-filled weekend away from the duties of motherhood.

For the sake of honesty, when I arrived at the expo on Friday I was slightly disappointed.  It was set up as advertised, but I guess I was expecting more.  Packet pickup was well organized, quick and easy.  And, the shirts are nice, long sleeve women's cut with a cute design - the only thing that could have made it better was if the shirt was a color other than white! They offered massages, dry facials, and manicures which is great if those are your thing but the lines seemed long when I was there so I skipped those.  Outside of that they had a fashion show where they previewed some 2013 asics running gear.  There were surprisingly few booths to buy things and the selection seemed pretty limited.  I should have expected this knowing it was a smaller race but it all sounded so exciting on the website so I had built it up in my mind.   My only other complaint was that things were on different floors of the hotel, and the stuff on the 3rd floor was set up in the hallway and if there were any other people looking at things it could get slightly difficult to navigate.

Post expo, we wandered the streets of Indy and headed to Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner - I had the Chicken Penne - YUM!  After dinner we wandered a bit more and headed to catch a movie at the theater in Circle Centre Mall.  It was a much different evening than I normally have pre-race but I enjoyed every bite of that alfredo sauce and every minute of the movie.  (Note to self: next time take a coat, it was FREEZING in the theater!)   After getting back to the room, we laid out our gear and crashed for the evening - somewhere around 11pm I think.

The alarm went off very early the next morning - 4am for me!  With my stomach I have to get up and eat breakfast early, take my meds, and unfortunately I can't just go back to sleep.  It would have been nice to sleep in, the hotel was right at the start line, so literally many people were rolling out of bed 20-30 minutes prior to the start!

I don't plan to do a mile by mile countdown of the race (at least not here), it wasn't that kind of race for me.   This race was about supporting a friend who was taking on her first half and just having a good time, earning a pretty medal, and getting the miles in for marathon training.   The race started "red-flagged" due the humidity - thank you Isaac!   It was predicted to rain, but it held off - although I wonder if the rain might have felt better than the ridiculous humidity!

The course was nice and flat, I wish I could say that I looked around and appreciated the scenery but I honestly sort of spaced out to what was around me.  There were several long stretches on roads which I expected to be harder than they were.  There were definitely some areas that the "earthy" smell was a bit overwhelming and hard to deal with.  For me, the worst part was running along the road in front of the state fair grounds, we got more than our fair share of exhaust fumes in our mouths!  That and towards the end when you run RIGHT past the post race festivities and still have nearly a mile to run - that was slightly cruel!

There were plenty of water stops and porta potties and all of the race volunteers were friendly and encouraging.  While there weren't many spectators, those that were out were awesome and it was nice to see the guys out supporting the women in their lives.

It was nice to cross the finish line with a friend and be handed a rose and a beautiful medal.  There was a great post race set up - massages, mimosas, bloody marys, oaken barrel beer, shrimp, chocolate milk, and wraps of some sort.  I chose to only take advantage of the chocolate milk but it was cold and so refreshing!

Overall the race was a huge success and I would definitely do it again and recommend it to all of my friends. 

So often I get carried away with the restrictions I have to place on myself to have a speedy half and my competitive spirit sometimes overrides the feeling of accomplishment I should be feeling.  I think I will make a yearly tradition of finding a race and making it a getaway.  It was so nice to run this race and not worry about a PR and to be able to enjoy the social aspect of racing.

A HUGE congratulations to my friend Nikki on completing her first half - you did awesome!

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