Race Report – 2012 Iron Girl Columbia Half Marathon

Holy hills, Batman!

Okay, so the hills weren’t a surprise.  I don’t know that the elevation chart was ever made public, but anyone who knows the area knew it would be a hilly race.  I just didn’t think about how giant some of the hills were going to be.  We didn’t even attempt to run up them, just walked as quickly as possible.

But let’s go back to the beginning.  This was an inaugural race, though a race being put on by a very well organized group.  So I expected some hiccups, but in general, things went pretty smoothly.

Packet pickup was easy, but one frustrating part was that we were told that all packets had to be picked up in person – no one could pick up a packet for someone else.  At the pickup, we all had to have wristbands put on our wrists so that we could prove no one was running with someone else’s bibs.  However, when I showed up, there was someone picking up 14 bibs!  (This may have been a charity deal, I suppose.)  And the lovely pink wristbands?  They were never checked.  Mine didn’t bother me, but I know some people found them very irritating.

Race morning, the parking was plentiful, but the porta-potties were not.   Lines were long and not very organized, though everyone was quite polite.  One complaint I saw was that there was only one potty stop on the course for those who missed the stop at the beginning.  Again, no problem for me, but I can’t imagine having to try to find a place to “go.”  I’m sure this will be fixed next year.

The race itself was nice – pretty course, but hilly.  There were some spots where I felt like we were shoved off to one little side of the road with cars passing by way too close and way too fast.  It would have been nice to have the whole lane in which to run.  It was to the point where we could basically run single file and that was it.  Not ideal in a race situation.

The finish line was tiny, but there was a nice little finisher’s village with food and drink.  The medals are pretty and we got a sterling silver bracelet as well to celebrate this inaugural race.

Will I be back?  I don’t know.  I didn’t dislike the race and can’t really complain about it, but it’s a hilly course during a time of year where there are a lot of races.  This might get skipped next year (unless they do the Titanium Girl bonus bling with Frederick again – that will get me here in a heartbeat).

Race Report: St. Charles 10-Miler

This weekend, I ran a slightly smaller race, the St. Charles 10-Miler.  This race was located in Waldorf, MD.  There were only 328 finishers, which I must say is a disappointment.  This is a great race and more people should check it out.

Caveat – they bill this race as flat.  It is not flat.  There are some sizeable hills.  But they aren’t lying when they call it scenic.  It is an absolutely gorgeous course.  And the course support is amazing.  I have never seen so much food on a race course. There were water and Gatorade stops every two miles and at each stop, there were Powerbars or Gu.  I only picked up a Gu (and pocketed it for a later run), but I was impressed to see that much fuel out there.

The cheering squads were quite impressive.  The volunteers were clearly excited to be out there, and it makes it a lot of fun to run.

Post-race support was also great.  Lots of snack options, and the race premiums?  A shirt AND a really nice gym bag.  Can’t complain there.

This race is definitely slower-runner friendly.  I ran with two wonderful friends and we treated it as a training run (as we have two half marathons in the next 3 weeks), and even stopped for a few minutes when one of the ladies got a nosebleed.  We were near the back of the pack but still had great support.   There were also some walkers in the race, and I think the last group of finishers crossed the finish line around 2:50.  That’s what I call a great race!  A race that supports its winners as well as the people who are just out there to finish.

If it works out, I will definitely be back next year.

2012 Disney Princess Half Marathon

This race always scares me. In 2010, it was supposed to be my first half.  The night before the race, I caught a stomach bug that had me out of commission for well over a week. Needless to say, I did not run the race that year.  I came back and ran the race in 2011, but I remain paramoid that something will go wrong.

It didn’t help that my amazing running partner (who wasn’t running this race, since she went Goofy last month) caught a stomach bug that hit just a few hours after we ran together on Monday. (I am sure she loves that I am blogging about it.) So I was exceptionally paranoid. But I made it onto the plane with no trouble, and that was my biggest fear. Ultimately, I never got sick, thank goodness.

The race expo felt very crowded this year, though packet pickup was a breeze. Didn’t do much other shopping due to the crowds.

I had preordered the necklace, sight unseen. Above are the necklaces from both this race and from Tink. About what I expected for $20. I will probably take the charms off and make a running charm bracelet at some point.  There were some people unhappy with the quality, but I have no complaints.

The week was a bit rainy on and off, and I was wondering what race morning would bring.  The forecast indicated that there might be rain in the later part of the day, and it would be cool, with a high only in the 60’s.  Perfect running weather!  I wore my Peacock SparkleSkirt with a blue shirt and pink sleeves, which I planned to take off later in the race (spoiler alert: I didn’t take them off).

Got to the race start with my sister Caitlin and met up with the rest of the ROTE gang getting ready for the race.  The plan was to start out running easy 1:1s with Katie and Caitlin.  We all have a race next weekend, so the point of this race was to go slow and steady and have fun.

And have fun, we did.  The miles absolutely flew by.  While I’m not fast with a 1:1 run/walk pattern, it’s very comfortable, and seems doable for a marathon, if that remains in my future.  I learned something new about the Princess race as well!  The mile markers all have big scenes of the princesses – and they also have Hidden Mickeys!  I had no idea!  So all you Princesses running next year – watch out for the Hidden Mickeys!

One of the great parts about knowing so many Disney runners is that we continually came across our friends as we ran.  It made the miles pass so quickly!

Races are always a bit of a blur for me, so my recaps usually leave something to be desired.  But I always remember the bad parts, and here, there were none.  Sure, there was some crowding.  Disney races can be slow, and if you’re not in an early corral, the chances of having a very fast race are slim.  But you will have fun.  I promise.  I can’t wait to go back.

We cruised into the finish very comfortably, after seeing my parents right near the end, which was awesome.  We got rained on for approximately 30 seconds, also awesome.  And I finished and got my medal and then got my Coast to Coast medal!

 

It was a lot of fun wearing the C2C medal around the parks and getting all sorts of questions about it and about Tink.

After the race, the rains really started, so we rushed back to the hotel for breakfast and showers.  Then it was off to the park for some fun!

As always, I loved this race.  runDisney puts on great races, and I’m so glad to have been part of this one.  One more runDisney race for me this year – the inaugural Tower of Terror Ten Miler!  Can’t wait!

Hateful Attitudes

Over the past few days, some happenings in the running community have made me very sad.  I love running and being a part of this amazing community because of all of the people I have met and because of the experiences I have had.

But over the past few weeks, there have been some negative events in the running community, things that I hope haven’t scared off any newbies.

The first has to do with the Broad Street Ten Miler.  This one wasn’t really on my radar, as I wasn’t planning to run it, but I had a few friends who wanted to run it.  Apparently, the race sold out in only a few hours.  This led to some hateful words being spewed across the race’s Facebook page.  The race has a time limit, and is friendly to runners and walkers, as long as they can keep up with the required pace.  Unfortunately, people who were shut out were ranting against the walkers and against the run/walk/run people (like me).  Someone even suggested “volunteering” to be a sweeper and tackling the people caught walking, stealing their bibs, and preventing them from finishing.  Seems pretty harsh.

The second came from the runDisney Facebook page.  As with most of the recent races by runDisney, for Princess weekend, there is an opportunity for runners to run with Jeff Galloway and meet some special guests.  Though I wasn’t prevented from doing so by the rules, I opted to not register since I just participated in the event at Tink, and I do think the fast two miles right before the race were hard on me.  (That said, I still want to do it again sometime!)  They accepted 80 participants, and fewer than 10 were repeat attendees.  Someone took great offense to this and ranted about it on the Facebook page.  She went so far as to threaten to post the names of the people who were repeaters.  They were called selfish and “unDisney.”  It was ridiculous and a number of people felt threatened by this woman (who boasts that she can do background checks as part of her job).

Both of these events showed very hateful attitudes by runners.  It’s the sort of thing that makes me very sad.  This is such a small minority of the running community, but their vitriol is loud.  I wish I could reach out to every new runner who has been scared off by these people and reassure them that runners are generally very friendly, very welcoming, very supportive people.

Thwarted

So this week was supposed to be my back on track week.  Raced three weekends in a row, celebrated by going to Disney World, then this week was back to race training for February.  And maybe getting rid of the extra “fluffiness” that I have accumulated during all of this racing and eating.  (Whoops.)  Tuesday, I hit the gym.  Ran a solid four miles.  And then by the end of the day on Wednesday, I had a terrible cold.  Didn’t even make it to work on Thursday because I felt like I was swallowing knives.  And not in the magical way.

Hoped to get out on the roads again today, but it didn’t happen.  I lifted weights for a while, and that felt good.  Probably won’t make it to rehearsals tomorrow night because I have no singing voice, so instead, I might hit the gym and try to get in another 3-4.  Gotta get back on track!