Monday, May 2, 2016

99 Red Balloons Go By/ Let's Move Festival of Races Half Marathon Recap

Ninth half marathon in the bag. Here's the recap:

Packet Pick-up
The half marathon was in my mom's neighborhood so she picked it up for me which was awesome. She said it was super easy to get through. I ended up with a long-sleeved tech shirt that says Half Marathon on it (the race had a marathon, half, and 5K so I like the special recognition), a bag, and a collapsible water bottle.

Again, right near my mom's house so I dropped the boys of with her and the dropped me off right near the starting line. The start was at 9:30AM which I honestly think was late for a half marathon. The start was not organized well. The 5K race start at 10 and a bunch of 5Kers were there. I couldn't even hear the announcements telling people to line up over the crowd noise. I just followed the pacers and lined up behind them

You know how you get a bad feeling about a race right before it starts? I looked at the people lined up, the hundred or so sleek, fast runners and thought, "Oh shit, this is going to be one of those races where I ended up running by myself for most of it."

I was right.

The course was great. I am a huge fan of races that are just one big loop. It is a bit disheartening to see the fast people on an out and back hitting Mile 8 or whatever when you are only on Mile 3. With a big loop I didn't see any of the fast runners.

Now, the rest of the race was my fault. I lined up behind the 2:45 pacers and made it a goal to keep them in sight. I did great for the first six miles. Then, I caught up to them and stupid me started running with them WITHOUT doing my walk/run of 30 sec walk/1:00 run. I lasted for over two miles like that, just running until my legs were all "hey Meg, eff off". I had to start back on my walk/run. It's funny, I will be the first person to tell you RUN YOUR OWN RACE it doesn't matter what the people around you are doing, do what you know. I stupidly didn't listen to my own self and I suffered the consequences on the last half on the race. Boo to that. Because if I had stuck to my guns, I bet I would have finished right around 2:45. Instead I struggled for the last two miles. Stupid, Meg, just stupid.

The course was nice, but very, very empty. Even running through neighborhoods, at 11 on a Saturday, there was no on around. I mean, no one, not people out in their years cheering, nothing. It was a bit twilight zoney, especially since Saturday morning was so lovely. Maybe they all knew the course would be in their 'hood and they skipped out.

There were water stations every 2.5 miles or so. Every water station had water and Gatorade. Supposedly one water station had Gu but I didn't see it being offered. I stuck with water for the most part, mixing some Gatorade with water around Mile 8. At one water station towards the end they ran out of water. Listen, course people, I was well ahead of the SIXTEEN MINUTE PER MILE pace requirement. It is completely unacceptable for a water station to run out of water. On top of that, the marathon was still going on, so there were potential marathoners (they ran two loops of the course) out there who wouldn't get water. I was pissed. Well, I would have been more pissed but I didn't have the energy.

I read two reviews on the race's Facebook page from marathoners complaining about not only the lack of food at the finish, but also the lack of even a race photographer. And we're talking two marathoners who finished under five hours with a 6.5 hour cut-off. Not cool.

Also, I just went through the photos and in doing that I realized there were NO photographers on the half marathon course. There were a shit ton of pictures of the 5K people but none of the half marathon. I get it, there are more 5K participants but come on!!
After the race I didn't bother with food or anything. I grabbed a cup of water from the finish line and my mom picked me up. I had to shower quickly and head off to a wedding where my husband was the best man. I have to tell you, that man looks GOOD in a tux.

I won't do this race again. First, there was the water stations running out and second, there was no food at the finish. I didn't even think of this, but there weren't bananas or bagels or anything. I had a ticket for free pizza but I'm glad I didn't try to use it because apparently the place that was offering the free pizza stopped offering it at noon and I didn't finish until almost 12:30.

I realize I am not a fast runner but I have ZERO respect or tolerance for a race that promotes itself to be friendly to all paces and then screws over the slower paces. In fact, the more I think about this, now that I'm not distracted by the wedding, the more upset I get. Honestly, when I turned the corner to the finish line it reminded me of a post-apocalyptic movie, an empty street with paper blowing in the wind and an empty finish line. I guess I should call myself lucky that I even got a medal!

However, the important thing here is I finished, I felt good, I danced the night away at a wedding. I highly recommend listening to Hamilton the musical while running long distances. It kept me smiling and moving when there was no one around.

I won't be running another half until the fall. I might run a few 10Ks here and there but for now my training will be on hold until half marathon training starts. Until then my goal is three three-five mile runs a week and plenty of strength training.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!


  1. If I were you, I would email the race director. I have done that a couple of times especially for smaller races. They need to know that it's not okay to not offer the services that you pay for. And it doesn't have to be mean, but they really do just need to know.

  2. I the race director. It's downright dangerous - especially to the marathoners - to run out of water.
    Congratulations on your finish!

  3. Definitely reach out to the race director - that's inexcusable!

  4. Wow, that sounds terrible! Was this their first time putting this race on?
    9:30 is definitely late for a race to start. You still did great Meg, no matter what your time was!

  5. Yes, email that race director! Totally unacceptable to not have basic nutrition needs for runners. I've done those types of races and it sucks (FYI NEVER run the Shamrock run in Portland. It's like this, they're total shitheads and run out of food and beer if you don't run a 6 minute pace).

  6. Reading this makes me mad, too!! Ridiculous how rude and uncaring some race organizers are.