Monday, September 21, 2015

Indy Women's Half Marathon - Recap

So this weekend my friend April was slated to run her very first half marathon, and of course I was running it with her!

Or at least...that was the plan. But Mother Nature had other plans.

The race was in Indianapolis, about an hour and fifteen minutes away from her apartment. (I'm about 3 1/2 hours from her, so it was a long day for me lol!) We hit the expo the day before to pick up our packets / shirt and it was a decent expo, several vendors and games and freebies and race promos and stuff. I was actually impressed, I've seen big expos for the marathons I did but I think this was the biggest half expo I've ever seen and there were some neat little freebies to pick up too. April won a $5 gc and I got a swim cap at one booth...and no I don't swim, but it struck me as better than the sticker that was my other choice...I think?

The morning of the race we watched the radar a bit nervously, because it was either going to be hot and humid (70 and 84% humidity) or the heavens were going to break over, and while I love running in the rain the radar looked bad. We we got up at 4:45 to be out the door by about 5:30, and made it to the race with plenty of time. Portopotties were perfectly adequate although strangely the sinks provided were out of water, which was weird, but we soon headed to the startline. It was here things went a bit downhill.

At the startline, the opening ceremony was supposed to be at 7:15 but at 7:30, which was the projected start time, we didn't here anything. Nerves had both of us needing to pee, but we weren't sure when or if we were starting the race - there was talk about delaying due to weather but the race officials had AWFUL mics and we couldn't here a thing. Suddenly we heard the end of the national anthem when the crowd turned to put their hand over their hearts and face the flag, and then two minutes later we were off. Or supposed to be - since I hadn't known we were anywhere close to starting, I hadn't started my garmin, and the gps was sluggish to catch. I wished April luck (she run/walks and speedwalks during her walk intervals, I can't keep up with her during the walk bits, so we weren't running side by side) and she took off while I waited for my watch to grab the satellite. It eventually did and I started near the 3:30 pacer, but I tried to settle into a groove.

When we passed the startline portapotties though, not even a third of a mile in, I jumped out of the crowds to pee. I've never done that before but waiting around nervous hadn't done me any favours, and I figured it'd be faster to stop now before I got sweaty or wet from rain since it wouldn't take forever to pull my skirt back up! Unfortunately, the first unlocked potty I tried was actually occupied by a very distressed lady. She seemed so mad at me, but geez! Lock the door! Fortunately it was still a fast stop and I was in and out in less than a minute.

Shortly after we got to slap some in uniform soldiers high 5, which left a big grin on my face - and then it was time to settle in! The first mile clicked in a 11:12, which considering the bathroom stop I was okay with. I am not as fast as I was last year and knew especially with the weather a pr was not in my forecast, but I was determined to give this race a solid effort.

At a mile and a half, the sky broke open and I was thrilled. I love running in the rain, I think I've mentioned that. Around me women moaned and groaned but I loved it, it helped a lot with cooling me off and just felt awesome. Mile two came in at a solid 10:30 and I struck up a conversation with a nearby pair of runners, who also preferred the rain to the heat.

And then the lightning started. It looked distant, but it painted the sky. Within half a mile, the cops on the course we telling us the race was black flagged - cancelled, and seek shelter! Runners on the course  gave a collective groan, we still wanted to go, but they were kicking us off the course. Grumpy, but with lightning still painting the sky, we turned around to run back to the finish line. I texted April to give her the news if she hadn't heard it and kept running, but the cops directed us back to the start in the shortest way rather than back the way we'd run and I got back to the finish line around the 5k point according to my watch.

I get that lightning is dangerous and they had to make the best decision they could. But. Here's where it stops making sense. From here, we were directed across the finish line and through the finisher chute - to collect snacks, medal, and our rose. Nobody was seeking shelter and race officials were still working. Volunteers still super busy. I waited for April to make it back through the chute - about 20 minutes after me, I think - and activity showed no signs of dwindling. Photographers were still out taking pictures even. It was pouring, and lightning did flash occasionally, but if this was dangerous enough to bag the race - why was the finish line village still there?

But either way, once April was through we made the driveback to Indiana and decided we still wanted to earn our medals, so we'd run them when we got back to her place. Well...eventually that was decided. She was understandably bummed and a bit grumpy and it took a bit to talk her into it. But eventually we did get out there, although after 5k she decided that we were just going to walk instead of do the run/walk intervals. With the race gone I figured as long as we got in the miles we were good - and I found out that when dragged, I can walk a 14:10 mile. Who knew!


  1. What a bummer! I get that they had to cancel, and I've done too many halfs that should have been cancelled, but it's disappointing all the same. Especially for a first half!

    1. Yeah, you don't mess with lightning - but man!

  2. Ugh, what a bummer! That is good you guys decided to finish it out, later!

    I bet it would be really hard to take down the finish line village and get people to actually stop. They'd probably be more pissed if they weren't there supporting the people who decided to finish, even though they weren't supposed to, than refusing to help them. It's such a tough situation! :(

    1. Yeah, I don't envy the race. Hard spot to be in no matter how you look at it! :( I can't say we weren't super bummed - April more than me, understandably - but I definitely don't envy them having to make the call either.