Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Indy Santa Hustle Half Marathon

I peer-pressured JV to sign up for this race with me for 3 reasons:
1) we had not ran a half since Sept and I missed it
2) I wanted to do an out-of-state race before the year ended (our first!)
3) I wanted to complete 12 races in 2012 (this made it race #11, half marathon #4)

So we signed up. Registration was $55, not bad for a half marathon. We were not able to pick up our packets (they only offered packet pick-up the day before the race, boo). I viciously stalked twitter, facebook, and dailymile to see if anyone was also running it. We got lucky, and a nice runner from Indy did us the favor of picking it up for us. Hurray for awesome runners like her!

The drive wasn't that bad, when we arrived, we picked up our packets, and checked into our hotel. I made a huge mistake during our little road trip and ate Cheetos and Cheese-nips. For some wierd reason, the combination hurts my stomach real bad. So we took a trip to CVS and I couldn't sleep well the rest of the night.

Race Morning
My stomach wasn't up for any breakfast, so we skipped out on the free breakfast offered by the hotel. We were able to see what Indy looked like in the daylight, and the first thing I noticed on our way to the start area were rolling hills, itty bitty ones, but they were hills (I hardly ever train on anything besides flat streets, oops). Uhm. I was hoping and praying the course was hill-free.

Long Story Short...

If I could go back and redo this race, I would. It was so much fun and challenging. After getting started without my garmin, I knew my overall pace and time was going to be off by a little but I could manage without it. I manually lapped mile 1, and from there on, it was pretty right on with the course markers.

Mile 1-7
Nothing really happened during the first 7 miles, it was just through downtown areas and through streets of Indy. Some streets weren't closed off for the runners, once we steered away from the downtown area and into the woods, the intersections were being controlled by a police officer. 
what the hell is that?!
...that explains my horrible 8th & 9th split

Before I encountered the hill, I was thinking, maybe I could actually run this half at about a sub 8:10 pace.. my splits had been right on.
And then THAT happened. -->
The "monster hill." The brutal, time-sabotaging hill. I noticed it from afar, but didn't think we would actually have to run OVER it.

Mile 7.8 - 10
There was cyclist around this area, and some of them were even avoiding it. I kept thinking over and over, "don't push too hard. You don't want to collapse, cramp up, or let this stupid hill get the best of you".  So.. I slowed down.. ALOT. A guy in front of me stopped, and walked up the hill. Smart. but I just jogged ahead. I could def feel the incline and at that point I felt I had never actually experienced a tough course like this one. The downhill was a breeze, and let me legs fly past the 8th mile mark. then before I knew it, there came ANOTHER FREAKING HILL! Right after my little celebration, I felt like my PR had instantaneously disappeared.. There was no way in hell I was going to do a sub 1:49. Nope. No way. Screw it, let me just finish this race.

Throughout the race I made quick 5 second stops at mile 4 and 6 for water and Gatorade after taking a Shot Blok. After mile 8, I stopped for a little longer, stretched and took 2 Shot Bloks with water before returning to the next 5 miles.

Mile 10, I took it slow, let my legs get in the groove and recover. One reason I love half marys, even if you run a slow mile, or 2, or 3, you can def bounce back. So I took my time to complete mile 10, and I felt alot better when I crossed the mile mark. 10 Done, 3.1 to go.

The last 3.1 
I was so glad I had slowed and recovered because i felt a little refreshed, I was still tired and legs were heavy, but I was able to speed up from here on after. Negative splits!!! I felt so good the last mile, it felt AMAZING! I had never felt this good for the last part of a half. I felt a little heaviness in my legs after hitting mile 12, but nothing compared to before during previous races. The last 2 miles were usually my slowest and the hardest, not today :)

Finishers Medal (left)
Placing Medal (right)
The last mile was all next to the river, and down a beautiful path. I ran harder, not looking at my watch by now, just running by feel. I passed up a few girls who looked like they were done. Out of no whee, an older women, who looked in her 50s PASSED ME! hahaha. So i let her be my lead. I saw the finish line, she kicked and then I. When I saw the time on the clock, it was in the 1:48s! OMG! I COULD ACTUALLY PR! here! In INDIANA! ON THIS BRUTAL COURSE! As I ran across the finish line, McSpeedy was waiting for me, with my medal in hand. I felt so happy to be done. I was so excited to find out if I really PRed.

Finish Time: 1:48.39 (shiny new PR)
3rd Place in 20-24 AG
28th overall female

We walked around and back to the finish line in time to hear we had placed! and took our placing medals.

This was such a fun race. Although the course caught me off guard and challenged me, it was well organized. I had my doubts after hearing about the Chicago Santa Hustle, but this one turned out very well. The course was pretty and different than what I'm used to. There was cookies and other goodies ON the course, but I skipped out on them.
-Dri-fit T's :)
-Nice looking medals :)
-Goodies at the end :)

The only complaint I have is the packet pick up.. so I would probably rate this a 4.5 out of 5. Besides that, I will def do this next year (if I'm up for the challenge).

Santa Hustly Indy Half Marathon 12/16/2012

This was our first race that we ever did out of state.  It was about a 3-hour drive from Chicago, but it was well worth it.  Luckily the race started at 9 AM meaning we can recover from our long drive and get some rest. As soon as we arrived to Indianapolis, we noticed that it was somewhat hilly compared to Chicago.  We were hoping the half-marathon route wouldn’t be as hilly, but we were dead wrong.  On race day, we were able to find parking right by the starting line for about $3/hr, which was pretty cheap.  As we were walking to the starting line, we noticed that there were a lot of people wearing Santa hats and holiday colors.  The starting line was full with runners.  We had to squeeze our way through the crowds of people to get to the front.

When the race began, I had to start running around people.  I saw a guy running with a stroller and a few people who placed themselves in the wrong corral.   My goal for this race was to run at 6:45 even pace for all my 13 miles, which would be a 1:28:30. This was a very comfortable pace for me and I was aiming at beating my 1:30 PR.   After a mile from the starting line, we started running on the streets.  I saw many runners sprint at the start, but I did my best to run my own race.  As the race went on I noticed that there would be times that it would get hilly, but I wouldn’t let that distract me as much.  Miles 1-8 were perfect at even pace.  I passed up most of the runners that started off fast in the beginning. Half way through the race, I felt great and thought it would be a cakewalk back to the finish line.  I was wrong.  By the time I got to mile 8, there was huge hill which forced me to fall off pace.  I was disappointed, but I didn’t let that bring me down.   These hills kept playing mind games and it got more difficult.  It felt like there was hill after hill.  Luckily towards the finish things started to level off and I finished with 3rd in my age group and time of 1:31.  I knew if it wasn’t for these hills I could of definitely pulled the 1:28 off.  There’s always next time though :) 

-Well organized
-Santa hats/beards included with bib
-Bananas and Cookies after the race
-Cool finishers medal
-Age group awards
-Candy aid station? Haha :)
-First hilly race, even though it made me slow down :(
-First out of state race !
-Fun road trip :)

-Times weren’t displayed along the route (luckily I had my Garmin)
-Few aid stations
-They didn’t have a variety of snacks at the finish line
-As the half-marathon runners were getting close to the finish line, we had to weave around the 5k walkers through a very narrow path.

Amazing weather!


  1. Congrats to the both of you on the age group awards. JV, way to do the even pacing up until the hilly areas. I read about the congestion near the end of this race in another blog. I can't believe there were still 5k walkers almost 1.5 hours after the start! I usually run the Indianapolis Mini Marathon (1/2 marathon) in May, you get to run on the Indianapolis 500 track. I think it may be the 2nd largest 1/2 marathon in the country!

  2. Congrats on both of your PRS and AG awards! You both had perfect weather to race in. Congrats on conquering those hills. I would just power walk up the hill.

  3. Congrats on a great race!!!

    The only time I have ever been to Indy was for the Indy Mini in May, and that was completely flat, haha.

  4. Congrats on the age group awards and the PR!!