Saturday, September 03, 2011

Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon Race Report

Short story: 1:54.23, 119 out of 1469, 16th in age group

Today I ran the inaugural Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon. I’ve been looking forward to this race for a few reasons. One , I wanted to run an all women’s event. I find it really inspiring to see women push themselves to the limit and reach their goals. Two, my daughter who is 7, was running the 5k and I knew she had a chance to place in her age group. Three, my mom was also running the half, it would be her second half, her first being the Indy Mini Marathon that I ran with her back in May. And lastly, they had some awesome medals and were promising a really good post race party.

I’ve been marathon training so I wanted to use this race to gage where I’m at. I’ve been using Galloway method on my long runs over 10 miles, running 1 mile, walking 1 minute. I didn’t want to use this method for this race though, since I’ve run numerous halves before without much difficulty.

The heat. Yes, it gets its own sentence. Indianapolis is going through a mini-heat wave right now. Highs were expected to reach 100* on race day. Temps at the start were expected to be over 70 and reaching well over 85 by the time the event was over. Full sun expected as well and throw some fun humidity in there too. Knowing this, I abandoned my plan of PRing (1:49) and wanted to finish under 2 hours, walking at times if needed.

Friday I go to packet pick up and was pleasantly surprised by how pretty the tech shirt is – long sleeved, hot pink (favorite color!) with a really pretty logo on the front, sponsors on the sleeve. They also had students from the Paul Mitchell salon doing free mini manicures to all the participants, what a nice treat! I picked hot pink, of course.

Race morning – I’m up at 5:15 to dress and eat a bowl of oatmeal and banana. I checked the weather and it’s 72* at 5:30. Great. I get my kids up at 5:45 and Kylie is super excited about her race. She was going to run with a friend of mine’s daughter since neither my husband or I felt comfortable about her running by herself. We get to the starting line about 6:45 and I visit the port-o-let and kiss the kids and hubby goodbye (the 5k was starting at 8:15). Mom was already at the starting line so I didn’t get to wish her luck.

The race started right on time and I felt really good, probably going a little too fast as I was juggling for position, Garmin read 7:40 at one point (opps!). The crowd started to spread out some and I fell into a good pace. I decided to keep my pace, 8:45ish and treat this as a MP training run. I ran with a frozen Nathan hand-held (20oz) so I could skip the water stops and drink as needed. They did have water every mile which was really nice with the heat. Here are the mile break-downs

Mile 1 9:29 – crowded, finding pace, warming up

Mile 2 8:45 – pace feels very natural, feeling good, decided I wanted to keep it under 9 min miles

Mile 3 8:30 – little fast here, saw Dad who snapped a picture and my husband/kids

Mile 4 8:29 – out of the downtown area, shaded upscale neighborhood, considered walking but decided against it since I was feeling really good. I decided to re-evaluate walk breaks at each mile marker.

Mile 5 and 6 8:41, 8:43 - still in the shade, crowd is thinning out

Mile 7 8:43 – think about walking but again feeling good so wanted to keep going. Turned East, directly in to the very bright sun. Took my Gu. Still just using my hand-held water bottle.

Mile 8 8:33 – turned away from the sun and back into some nice shade, start picking some Rabbits.

Mile 9 8:34 – I should slow down if I want to finish strong.

Mile 10 8:40 – decide that I can’t walk now, didn’t want to walk in the last 5k, even if it was hurting. Actually, I was hot and very sweaty but my legs/lungs felt very good.

Mile 11 8:36 – hurting a little more but downtown buildings are in sight so I press on. Still catching some rabbits but now there is about 100 yards between me and the next lady. So much room that once the course started making some turns, I didn’t know exactly where to turn at until some spectators helped me out. Didn’t hurt my time but was a little un-nerving.

Mile 12 8:35 – let’s just get this thing done.

Mile 13 8:35 – Come on finish line, where are you?

.16 – 1:21 – Finally!! And I made my goals – finished under two hours (1:54.23) and didn’t walk a step

I got the most beautiful medal, I love it! And I was also given a rose, water, banana, orange slices as I made my way through the chute. I called DH on the phone, saw him right before the finish line, to see how DD did. She hadn’t finished her 5k yet! So I hurried back up to the finish area and waited for her to finish, which she did in just a few minutes. Her finishing time was 41:23, which put her first for her age group!!!! Her friend also placed first in her age group (glad they were in different groups!)

After DD got her medal, we cooled down and got some refreshments. Strawberries dipped in chocolate, turkey wraps, sushi, bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, and beer (I drank DD’s!). We hung around until the awards ceremony where Kylie was given a nice little trophy that she is so proud of. The winner of the HM got $1500! Money was given out to the top 10 finishers, a purse of over $7000. Not bad for a small, first year race.

So now we started waiting for my mom to finish. It’s getting hotter and hotter so we are concerned. Temps are well over 80 and the shade on the course is gone. They announce that the race is now under red flag. DH walks up the course, searching for my mom while my dad waits near the finish line to get her picture (he’s a professional photographer). I’m getting worried. Soon, they announce that they are black flagging the race but runners can continue if they feel that they can. But no times would be official. DH calls me about 10 minutes later to say that he saw a woman swaying while walking so he stopped to give her his water and walk/talk to her some. She was soon approached by medical personal who tell her that the race had been black flagged and she could stop. DH tells her that she’s only 3 blocks from the finish but she decides to take the offer to stop and waits for transport. So DH keeps walking, looking for my mom. He finds her just past mile 12 and called to let me know that she’s looking good and is focused on finishing. I call my dad to let him know too. I can hear the relief in his voice. Soon I see mom walking towards the finish line, with a huge smile on her face. We all cheer and yell for her as she crosses, 3:22, only 3 minutes slower than her first HM time and under much worse conditions.

A volunteer in the finishing chute did help mom to the medical tent, which was hopping, and covered her head and shoulders with iced towels. Seeing her like that got me pretty choked up, I just kept telling her how proud we were of her. Mom said that a volunteer told her at mile 12 that the race had been black flagged and she told him that nothing was going to keep her from crossing the finish line. She’s a stubborn woman! They did allow women to finish for allotted amount of time that they had the course open, 200 more women finished after mom.

This was a very well run and fun race. The extra touches they added throughout really set it apart. I’ll be doing it again!