Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Indianapolis Mini Marathon Race Report

I thought I posted this long ago!  But I guess I just posted it on Runnersworld.com instead, where it was very well received.  Here you go:

This was a different kind of race for me. My 3rd time running the Mini but first time that I didn't care what my finishing time was. I had bigger things to care about and that was getting my mom across the finish line in her first HM.

Background: mom has never been athletic and just took up running last summer to lose weight after gastric bypass surgery. She grew to have a love/hate relationship with running but kept at it. She ran her first 5k in November and was hooked. She signed up for the Mini soon afterwards. I've spent many, many hours running with her ever since. She's about a 13:30-14 min mile runner so it was a real time commitment to run with her but we enjoyed it. She had a very bad 10 mile race 2 weeks ago though - her mental attitude was very poor, I wanted to leave her several times and she got a bad blister. I had a serious talk with her, telling her that running is as much mental as it is physical and she needed to get excited about the race or neither of us were going to enjoy it. She seemed to be doing much better with that as the race got closer and her blister healed.  It was interesting to see her emotions, they mirrored mine before my first Mini - excitement, fear, unsure about your shoes... Just the standard first big race jitters.
We went to the expo on Friday, and she really enjoyed.  It's one of the largest expos I've been too, a runner's dream.  We chatted it up with Frank Shorter while he signed our bibs and everything.  He wrote "Keep running out that OCD" on mine.  I bought a tee-shirt that said "If found on the ground, please pause my Garmin".  LOL.  Mom got a really cool tech-shirt, it had bricks on in the shape of lips and said "I kissed the Bricks".  We ate lunch at Noodles and headed home. 
Saturday morning, mom and dad were at our house bright and early (kids spent the night at Brett's parents).  The weather was chilly but we knew it would warm up.  I wore my new plaid running skirt, l/s throw away tee shirt and a black shirt that said "Believe" on it.  Dad dropped us off as close to the crowd as he could and he drove over to the 5 mile area in Speedway (the kids would be in that area as well with Brett's parents).  We dropped off our bags at the Fedex trucks and headed to the potties.  Next we went to a stairwell in a parking garage to get out of the cold and meet up with some friends of mine from RW. 
Soon it was time to get to our corrals.  Brett was in Corral B so i kissed him and wished him luck. Mom was in Corral U and I was in D so I went back with her. Even though we were so far back, there were still tons of people.


The gun goes off at 7:30 and it takes about 25 minutes for us to cross the start line. Weather was perfect, it was going to be a good day. Mom's first goal was to run the first 3 miles without stopping, which she did, even with dodging lots of walkers. Here are some pics of the first few miles:

Belly Dancers at Mile 2!

Elephant watching the runners go by!

Mom about mile 3ish, feeling great!
We took a short walk break after 3 and again after 4. We were coming up to the town of Speedway where my dad and my IL"s were going to be with the kids. So we stopped for a quick picture.

Heading into IMS. 
Seemed like mom needed to walk more often then what we had trained on but her attitude was great, she was excited so I wasn't going to say anything. We entered the track and took a quick pitstop for the bathroom. Grabbed some water as well. There is no way you can miss the water stops on this course:

Before we entered the track, this firefighter (walking in full gear to raise money for children's burn camps) patted her shoulder and told her that she WAS going to do this.  I think that was a nice pick-me-up for mom.

Her next goal was to run the entire track, 2.5 miles, but we did some walking as well. Her hip started bothering her, which it hasn't before so we stopped to stretch.  This happens on the track to some people because you're running on a slight angle for most of the way.  One nice thing about not worrying about your finishing time, plenty of time for pictures:

My feet on the Legendary Yard of Bricks

Mom just after crossing the bricks

We took a longer walk break once we left the track, about mile 9. The rain that had started as a sprinkle was coming in harder now but it was refreshing. Mom laughed at everyone getting out their garbage bags, saying "I trained outside this entire winter, this rain is nothing!!"

Both her hips started hurting by mile 10 so we did much more walking then running. But she did put a lot of effort in, not one bit of whining. We enjoyed the entertainment, sang some old hymns with the old men in front of a church, got hi-fives from kids, did cheers with the men in front of the liquor store and just enjoyed ourselves. Next thing we know we were on the last mile.

They decorated the final mile with checkered flags and had audio clips of past races playing on huge speakers. 

Mom's knee started to bother her now too and with 1/2 mile left, she started to think she couldn't finish but she kept pushing. We ran the last 10th and finished together. 3:19:07. Her goal was to finish, her dream was to beat 3 hours.

I think based on this picture, her dream came true:

We both were pretty weepy when she crossed the finish line.  She worked so hard for this goal and really seemed to enjoy herself.  She was interacting with other runners and seemed to really want to take the whole experience in.  Two days later, she signed up for Indy Women's Half Marathon.  Watch out - Mom's an Athlete!!

Here are some other pictures that my dad took.  IndyMini2011

Monday, May 02, 2011



Here is the video at the finish line. You can see Brett and I finish at the very end.
Illinois Half Marathon Race Report

Short Version: 1:50:27

This race was my goal race for the spring. That said, I haven’t raced over a 10k since my Marathon in September and spent all winter running easy to heal my PF and ITBS. I’ve also been running several long runs a month with my mom at a 13:30 or so pace, helping her train for the Indy Mini. So I wasn’t sure what I do could as far as time. My goal was 1:55 but was hoping for around a 1:50. I was running with Brett who agreed to pace me and push me.
Drove the 90 mins to Champaign-Urbana on Friday late afternoon. As soon as we got onto campus, where the race was taking place, you could just feel the relaxed mood of college students. They were out in full force, beer in hands, music up load, sitting on couches outside their houses. DH and I talked about how good college was and how you just never appreciate it when you’re in it!
The expo was on the smaller side but well organized. The shirt was a s/s tech shirt, women’s were pink, men’s were a grayish blue. Very soft and not covered by sponsor’s logos. I was running the “I-Challenge”, which was the 5k on Friday night and either the half or full on Saturday (there was also a marathon relay and 10k on Saturday morning). So I changed into my running clothes, pinned on my bib and we walked to the start line.
The start line was on the very south end of campus. It bumped up to a farm, you could smell the pigs, not pleasant! There were about 4200 people running the 5k. It was pretty chilly, about 50*. Taking the advice of several wise people on the Runners World forum, I told DH that I was running very slow and not to look for me before 30 mins. He leaves me to walk to the finish line, which was inside the U of I football stadium.
The 5k starts and I get into a 12:30 pace which seemed to feel just right. I pass DH about ¾ mile into it and see Maria, our good running friend, who takes a picture. I gotta say, running through a campus on a Friday evening was lots of fun! The students were out and cheering, blasting music, blowing horns and just having a fun time. About the 2 mile mark, I start encouraging all the kids along the route who were running with their parents, telling them that they were doing great, looking good, they would love their medal… anything to keep them moving forward. That was the best part of the 5k for me. We entered Memorial Stadium and I hear DH and Maria screaming my name. I cross the 50 yard line/Finish line and get my medal. 38:21, a personal worst but exactly what I wanted to do. One race down, one to go!
Maria had been kind enough to offer to share her hotel room with DH and I, since we could only find a room about 45 mins away. So we grabbed some Italian to go and settled in for the night. We were all nervous about getting up on time so we each set our phone alarms and got a wake-up call. I slept pretty good, only waking up a few times.

5:00 came and 4 phones ring within 5 seconds of each other! It was so funny, all 3 of us jumping to shut off the alarms. Maria was running the full, which started 30 mins before the half but we were driving together. We got late checkout too so that was nice. The drive to the start was very quick, no traffic issues at all. It was chilly and WINDY. 45* with strong winds. I was wearing a black running skirt, my Disney Princess s/s shirt and a Bondi Band. Luckily they had the basketball arena open for people to hand out in while waiting for the start. It was nice to use real bathrooms and stay warm while stretching. Brett was planning on wearing the Garmin because he’s more obsessive about pacing then I am. Maria heads to the start line about 6:45, we agree to look for her around the 4:30 finish time and take pictures of her crossing the finish. Brett and I head out about 7:15. We give our bags to gear check and walk to the start. They had coffee and bagels outside gear check, nice touch. We’re just getting to the start line when Brett looks down and goes “Damn.” I say “What, what’s wrong?” and he shows me his wrist. Empty. He gear checked the Garmin. My stomach sinks and I just say, “It’s ok, we’ll stay with the 1:50 pace group and use our Run Keepers on our phones.” We didn’t want to do this because Run Keeper zaps your battery and we didn’t have a way to charge it for after the race but didn’t have another choice.  More on this important goof-up later.

Race starts 6 minutes late because they were waiting for the last of the 10k-ers to get past the split before releasing the halfers. We take off and I’m feeling good. It was very funny to run past the same frat houses I ran past the evening before. Some of the same kids were out and there were many empty cups in lawns.

Here is the breakdown of my splits:
Mile 1 - 8:31 (thought it was a little fast for my first mile but it felt ok)
Mile 2 and 3 – 8:15, 8:19 (having fun but kinda wondering if I can hold this) 
Mile 4 – 8:26 (very strong wind, but knew the course was a loop so I'd eventually be out of the wind)  We were running in some neighborhoods, which was nice. Lots of supporters, some passing out paper towels.  Saw two people holding up signs, one said "Don't Stop" and the other said "That's what she said".  LOL.

Mile 5 – 8:15 (whew, wasn’t expecting that)
Mile 6 and 7 – 8:27, 8:32 (back into the wind, losing a little focus, found an older man that I used as a Rabbit for the rest of the race)
Mile 8 – 8:46, (lost focus, ran through a large, meadow-type park with various art work throughout. Started counting people as I passed them, saw a naked lady statue that someone had put a bib on, kinda funny)
Mile 9 -8:28 (felt good to get my legs back and passed over 60 people in these 2 miles)
Mile 10, 11, 12 – 8:40, 8:23, 8:27 (hello pain. But I embraced it and just kept moving. Pass count was over 150 by mile 12. Brett was very encouraging at this point and I stayed on his tail as much as I could.)
Mile 13 – 10:16 – not accurate, forgot to hit the stop on my phone. I tried to sprint it in but as usual for me, the dry heaves started just past the 13 mile mark. But I kept running, into the stadium.  Brett grabbed my hand, pulling me forward and then pushed me from behind so I could cross first.  1:50:27!!  
I got my HM medal and then went to the I-Challenge table to collect my extra medal (I had a sticker on my bib to show that I was able to earn this). The medals were heavy and high quality. Big thumbs up!  We cooled down on the field and then walked up the stairs in to the concession stand area where they had 3 different stands open with lots of food - bagels, bananas, little bowls of pasta and full slices of pizza.  We grabbed everything we could carry and sat on the ground to eat.  I got in line for the gear check (only complaint about  the whole event, they need to have more tables for gear check, I was waiting forever to get my bag.  But it was really  nice to chill out inside that area, the bathrooms were huge and empty so I could change and even clean up.

Next we walked to the car to drop off our bags and charge our phones, mine was at 4%, Brett's was at 6%.  We hit the Mile 27 block party for a beer, buying extra tickets for Maria.

We walk to the finish line so we can see Maria finish.  We got there about 4:10 into the race, so 20 mins or so before her expected time.  Lots of people were finishing so we got on the field to make sure we didn't miss her.  Time passes and no Maria. 

Brett comes over and we decide we couldn't have missed her.  It's about 4:45 and I just have a feeling something is wrong so Brett runs the course from the finish to about mile 25.25, just looking for her, hoping to find her and run her in.  No luck.  Now it's past the 5 hour finish mark and I see the 5 hour pacer, who we saw warming up that morning (Maria actually remarked that she didn't want to see him again that day!).  I find the results tent and give them Maria's name and they say that she past the 20 mile mark at 3:23, well within her expected time.  That means we were 2 hours past that time, meaning she would be doing 20 minute miles to cover the last 6 miles.  Something was very wrong.  Brett heads to the car to check our phones, to see if she tried to call us.  I continue to wait at the finish line, worrying.  Then I decide to check with the medical tent, to see if they can radio the medical tents after mile 20 to see if she had a medicial issue.  Just as I was explaining to the workers what I needed, Brett came running up, saying he talked to her on the phone.  Turns out, Maria experienced some dehydration about mile 22, walked a ways, was stopped by the medics and had an asthma attack.  She recovered and was determined to finish.  But had to fill out a medical release form.  As she was doing this, she had another attack and the medics refused to release her.  So she hopped a ride on an ambulance to the finish line, got her gear bag and walked to the field to find Brett and I.  But she ran into a friend first who offered to drive her back to the hotel.  She called our phones several times but since they were charging, we didn't get the messages.
Anyways, we head back to the hotel, comforted Maria some, showered, packed and checked out.  We wanted Maria to join us for lunch but understandably, she just wanted to get home.  Brett and I had a nice lunch and drove home.  We were both tired so it was a quiet ride. 

Looking back, I think I ran to the best of my abilities right now. The last 2 miles were rough, I would have slowed down if it hadn’t been for DH encouraging me and that old man that I was chasing (who I saw at gear check and thanked him.) I would recommend this race, it was pretty well supported, interesting and flat course and well-organized.

And super big thanks to Brett.  It was really good to have him out there with me as he did his best to block the wind for me on several occasions as well as carrying a water bottle for me. This was actually the first half marathon that I never walked a single step in since I didn't have to walk at water stops.