Wow. Well that happened. It’s always really fun to race and even more fun to travel to race. But my gosh is it exhausting! I have so much to tell you about the Hoosier Half!
Hubs and I headed to Bloomington on Friday. The grand plan was to check in to our hotel, grab some grub, and get to bed early.
We headed to one of our favorite B-town establishments, Trojan Horse, and stuffed our faces with the best gyros and saganaki known to man.
After dinner, I checked the weather (again) and made my final apparel selections. We were in bed by 8:30 pm. (Don’t judge until you have two kids and two dogs, mmkay?)
I was basically stalking the weather apps on my phone all week leading up to the race. I knew icky weather was heading to the CLE but I wasn’t sure what was gonna happen in B-town. It was borderline obsessive. In any event, I’m glad I kept checking it and I’m glad I packed all the gear that I packed because let me just tell you something — it was balls cold on race day. I don’t even know how cold that it is, but it’s somethin’.
I never really sleep well the night before a race. This time I kept having crazy dreams about Twitter and tweeting about the race. Once the dreams stopped, I slept soundly until around 4:00 am when I heard howling winds. Howling, people! Just before I dozed off again I was in the half asleep haze and slightly on edge about how cold it was going to be in the morning.
The night finally ended. My alarm went off at 6:00 am, I made some coffee, panicked about what I was wearing because it was so damn cold (but I had no additional layers left — I was literally wearing all my clothes that I brought), and then we headed out. Since the start of the race was less than a mile from our hotel, we sat in the warm car until it was go time.
When we got to the starting line, I hurriedly said goodbye to my husband and then found my friend Jason and his brother, Justin, in the sea of people. I’m so thankful I found them because it was a pretty brutal race. I’m not sure I would have been in as good of spirits had I been running solo.
Hoosier Half Marathon
I don’t have much recollection about the specific miles here, but I will say this: it was an awesome course. As an IU grad and lover of Bloomington, it was super fun to be back in town and running through campus. From the stadium we ran to the heart of B-town — Kirkwood — and it was such a fun way to experience the town. A lot of memories came flooding back. After running through downtown, we ran through campus. We ran by so many buildings where I had classes. So many memories, such little time!
Like I said, I don’t remember each and every mile of this race. I was too busy looking at everything, reminiscing about my time there, and chatting with my friends. We definitely kept each other entertained throughout. My husband was camped out at mile 3 and we ran in for some high fives, which was cool. After we ran by him, just as we started running on Jordan (where all the frats and sororities are) we briefly started running with the 2:15 pacer from Beast Pacing. I’m technically a pacer for Beast so we started chatting. She went to IU but lives in Seattle and hadn’t been back to the area for a while. It was nice running with her. Plus, it was around this time that the sun was fully on us and it was starting to “warm up” a bit.
We saw my husband again and then just a little bit after that, my friend Jason pointed out the 5-mile marker.
My one complaint about races — and this applies to all races not just this one — are the mile markers. It’s such a mind-gaggle (yeah I made that up). When you’re training and going about your business, a 14-mile run can really not seem like a big deal at all, particularly if you’ve been running high mileage. But put yourself on a marked course and 5 miles literally feels like FOREVER!!! I know there’s no way around this but it’s still gut-wrenching!
The hills of this race were unrelenting. I’m lucky that I only train on hills because if I didn’t, I would have been incredibly unprepared. I’ve run hills before in races but nothing compares to these bad boys. Uphill and downhill. No flats. Up or down. Choose one. But those are your options. For 13 miles.
Miles 6-8 were beautiful, though. We ran through a well-manicured neighborhood. It was quiet, it was lovely, and it was relaxing.
Around mile 7 we started running with a woman wearing a White Sox jacket. She had been unofficially pacing my buddy’s brother, Justin. It turns out she was trying to PR so we decided we had to run her in. Couldn’t let this woman miss her PR when we were using it as a training run.
At mile 8 I got really excited because we only had a 5K left. That’s right. Those are my math skillz. I quickly realized my mistake, though, which was unfortunate because my hands were cold and I just wanted to stop running.
Toward the end of miles 6-8 it started getting cold again. I had rolled my arm sleeves down at the end of mile 5. Arm sleeves back up! It was also around mile 8 that there was a ridiculously steep hill. Ridiculous. It was one of those hills that you walk. Except none of us walked because we’re all stupid and stubborn. If you were out of shape and tried to run up that hill, I would wager to say you’d have a heart attack because it was that tough.
Okay and we’re back with the 5K left! This time I announced it just a bit louder (ya know, the confidence in my math thing) and I got pumped up myself. My husband magically appeared around mile 10, which was such a nice surprise because after we saw him around mile 5 I thought that was it! We had him run with us for about five feet, which was fun, and then he raced off to get back to the finish line to meet us.
The rest of the race was fairly laid back. I was getting tired, for sure. We caught up to a student who was running the half marathon in the morning and then a 400 m leg of a relay in the afternoon. (WHY?! To this, she had no answer.) We were still rooting for White Sox girl to get her PR so Jason kept checking behind us to see if she and his brother were still there (they were).
Finally with one mile left, I could tell I was holding Jason back. I told him to go. I knew how close we were. If I had anything left, I would have pushed on. But between the freezing, blustering winds, my frozen digits, and all the hills, I was mentally and physically spent. I really wanted to slow down but the competitive side of me was all like, “um yeah. No.” So I kept running and tried to keep Jason in my eyesight.
I crossed the uphill finish line just under two hours and ten minutes. It was a hard fought battle and I wasn’t going for a PR so I was very pleased with my time.
The Hoosier Half was a badass race. It’s been a while since I had a run where my legs hurt when I stopped. It was unexpected and pretty awesome. I actually felt like I laid it all out there. I wasn’t even racing and it was definitely not a full effort, but it sure felt like it and it was a great feeling.
Finish time: 2:09:06
I’m not sure if White Sox girl got her PR but if she didn’t she was darn close. Whoever you are, White Sox girl, I’m still rooting for you!
If you’re looking for a challenging and beautiful course, Hoosier Half is the one for you. I wish it had been warmer because I felt like I was focusing a lot on being so damn cold instead of enjoying the race but despite that, I’ll definitely be back. And this time I’ll just assume it won’t be 17˚F at the start.
TALK TO ME!
What was your coldest race to date?
Have you ever PRed on a really hilly course?
Linking up with My No-Guilt Life, Marcia’s Healthy Slice, and MCM Mama Runs for Tuesdays on the Run, and HoHo Runs and MissSippi Piddlin’ for the Weekly Wrap. Also linking up with Nicole, Annmarie, Angelena Marie, and Michelle for Wild Workout Wednesday.