Monday, April 27, 2015

Get in Gear 2015 - Half Marathan - Race Recap

I signed up for Get in Gear - Half Marathon well in advance and was looking forward to this one. Backstory is that I ran their 10K last year in 2014. At that point, I had run only 5Ks and this was the looming Half-Marathon which I could aim for. But at the time of registration I chickened out and choose 10K. It was a great running experience. The starting point from Minnehaha Falls was superbly organised. At packet pickup, they gave a lovely see-thorough backpack, which I use even now when I go far for any long runs. And the route was beautiful on the road by the Mississippi. At the turnaround, I longingly looked at the Half Marathoners go past. And at that point, the pacer bike cleared us to pave way for the Half-Marathon leader. That was a wow experience. But it was in April 2014 and since then I did 5 Halfs. I was looking forward to this Spring Half Mara. And especially after my disappointing performance in Polar Dash and Securian Winter. Again, my training had not been perfect. Yet I looked forward to this .

25-April was a great Saturday morning. Temperatures remained at around 62F. It was energizing to see crowds walk-in from different directions to the Start point. The park is spread out and many were already on their warm-up run. Standing in my corral, I could hear interesting stories from those around. One guy in 50s, behind me was telling the other about another friend, who ran a full Marathon recently and then collapsed at the end. Turned out his heart was blocked and he had to undergo bypass. And then after the surgery, he was able to run more and better because now his heart was pumping blood better after being unblocked ! The things you hear in a crowd. I regret forgetting my device to take the most interesting pictures. 

Soon the band played the USA national anthem under a large USA flag mounted on a crane. And the race began. I dressed well enough for the day. Eventually though, my jacket turned out to be too hot. But I am too attached to it to throw it away.
  1. ASICS Women's GT-2000 3 Running Shoes - they were new and powered my legs more than I thought I was capable of
  2. C9 Compression tights which were just right for the temp
  3. Half-sleeved & Full sleeved technical shirts
  4. Jacket to carry my heavy duty stuff like phone, energy bar, handkerchief, lip-balm
  5. Cap - which was very useful again the sun & wind. Flying hair is very painful in a run.
Route winded from the Minnehaha Park onto the road along the Mississippi. That is a beautiful non-distracting sight while running. We crossed the bridge and went ahead till Shepard Road and turn around at a mid point. Till the point of Shepard Road, the route is well shade by thick tree. And Shepard Road is wide open and sunny. I ran here in Jan and was scarily reminded of the heat from that run. I had lagged from this point and soon as it happens in every race, Senior Citizens passed me. There was a pair of senior ladies who were very jovial and consistently went on ahead. Later a 70+ gentleman passed me saying, "I was wondering when I will pass you" :) Soon I was back to the last water stop and I asked one for the time. They said it was 10 minutes to noon and 1.5 miles to go. No way I could go in sub-10 pace which I would need as they will close the route at 12. The last bridge was crushing and I was cursing. This bridge is far off from the park, yet I met so many other finishers who were returning home with their medal and family. They cheered me to finish.

I finally made it to the finish line. Clock showed 3:08. Volunteers were so awesome and stayed back and were everywhere. They asked me nicely if anyone was behind me and I said no. Young boy handed me the medal and I was so happy. Last year till I crossed the line I felt there was medal for 10K and I actually demanded one; they clarified its only for Half. I had never got one before so I was looking forward to this one in 10K. That is one cause for my medal fixation. And now I finally got it for the Half !

Here I met the pair of 50+ ladies who had passed me and one of who completed the Half much before me. I gave a thumbs-up saying "You are an inspiration" and she smiled ! Other one added "and this after cancer recovery", I was wide eyed and repeated, "you are indeed an inspiration !" We hugged.
And everything was fine.

I slowly limped to the food stall though I was not hungry. Usually I am not hungry immediately after a race, but I grabbed all I could as I would want it later. They had a lot and unlike many where they run out, GIG had more than enough food for all. I do long for water. My cap was soaked in my sweat. I sat on the park bench, looked longingly at the massage tent and drank water, waiting for my family & friends to finish their morning chores and meet me for the scheduled picnic lunch.
Race was very well organised. I was left wanting in no department.

Water stops were perfect at 3 miles with both water and Powerades. After the race, unofficial results were published. but mine was missing. The last entry was at 2:59. So I followed up with GIG, saying I started in the later corral and the time limit was 3:30, so they should publish my results. Not publishing was usually demoralizing for me. And I was actually interested in knowing the splits to analyse my performance. And 10 days later, when they published the official results, they did publish it and even replied to my mail to checkup. That was really sweet of GIG people. I finished at 3:02:14 chip time. I can only say that this is a sequel year, I am going to races without perfect training and that's showing in the results. Well that's life and we can only try and improve :)

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