Sunday, October 27, 2013
Twelfth Half Marathon: Muncie Mini Marathon
October 26, 2013: I ran the Muncie Mini Marathon with an official finish time of 2:10.05, good enough for second in my age group. I was number 21 of 62 women running the race. Here are my race observations:
1) A new (to me) race in a somewhat familiar place: I'd been to Muncie, a small city in east-central Indiana, before--but not for a race. I found out about the race through the website of America Multi-Sport, a company that sponsors half-marathons and triathlons at various sites in Indiana. The race cost was very reasonable so I signed up. The day before my race, my poet-side was indulged--my husband and I did a reading from our poems and talked about publishing with students and faculty at Ball State University (Go Cardinals!)
2) Many races in one place: The day's events actually consisted of several events: a 5K, a 10K, the "Mini"--for some reason, quite a few races in Indiana use the term "mini" for a half-marathon, and a one-mile run/walk. America Multi-Sport just wants to get people moving, but I did wonder if having both the 10K and the mini at the same time caused both races to be smaller than they should have been. I was surprised when I got to Tuhey Park (race headquarters) that the assembled crowd of runners there was smaller than at races I'd run in smaller cities such as Cape Girardeau, MO and Paducah, KY.
3) COLD!!! I know it was the end of October--almost November--but it was cold out there! Also, it was very windy. I could barely get my timing chip tied on, and instead of giving my long-sleeved tech T-shirt to my husband so he could take it back to the hotel, I put it on over the long-sleeved tech T I was already wearing!
4) Without music: I didn't use music during the race. We were warned that a lot of the race was on city streets, and that the streets weren't closed. This was true until we got to the portion of the race on the Cardinal Bike Trail (after the 10K turnaround). There was music and a sound system at the start of the race, but no on-course music. I suppose I could have turned my music on, but that would have meant exposing my hands to the cold. I had forgotten my fancy runner's gloves, and was rocking some thick ones of my husband's!
5) Wish there had been more half-runners: The first part of the race went well for me--I was hitting well-under ten-minute paces on the first six miles. But the crowd really thinned out after the 10K turnaround point, and I was alone for long stretches. I did wish there were more runners around me, because that often helps me run faster. I'm not attempting to pass people, but do like to pick out compatible runners to try to keep up with.
6) Confusion? There were some confusing spots in terms of the finish of the race. Since there were not a lot of spectators along the route, I sometimes lost my place. Even though this was pretty much an out-and-back, the last two miles were not exactly the same as the first two. After I was done, I actually saw one girl run in the opposite direction of the finish line. She had on really big headphones too, so the very helpful police (who had been stationed all the route) had to scream at her to try to get her back on course.
7) No gels: I didn't use gels during this race, chiefly because I didn't want to take my gloves off to open the little gel pack. I had several on me, but just didn't want to risk my fingers. The wind was bossing me around anyway, so I didn't want to decrease my temperature even further. I did get plenty of water though--there were lots of aid stations, and since there were so few runners, I never had to fight to get a drink.
8) Miles 5 to 6 and miles 11 to 12 were the hardest for me. Mile 11 has traditionally been hard in the races I've done, since I know the end is in sight, but it's not as close as one might think. My under ten-minute pace became an over-ten minute pace in the latter stages of this race--the cold wind made me tired!!
9) Amenities that you would find at a much larger race: This race had chip timing, a very nice tech T, lots of runner support (abundant aid stations) and a nice, flat course. What it lacked is what a lot of people have come to expect--no big crowds of runners and spectators, no musical acts on course, no port-a-potties on the course itself, and no big after-party. I would definitely do an America Multi-Sport race again (they also do halfs in New Castle and Richmond, IN), but I would know in advance that not all races draw or even need big crowds.