The End: Geist Half Marathon Race Report

Thursday and Friday left us all on edge. The weather forecast had storms in the forecast, increasing from a 30%-60% chance, and the race website was starting to focus on it's safety flag procedures. The prospect of one lightning strike bringing out the black flag was not in the plans when the running group started to train for this race back in February. I didn't help matters on Friday evening when I began scouring the internet for backup races. I thought I was doing what I could to influence the weather outcome (like I could really do anything!), but it was viewed as negativity on my part. After a normal pre-race, poor night's sleep a quick check of the radar and forecast showed the front had moved through and we should be clear of the storms for the race, only a potentially windy day (hmmm, maybe I do have some influence).

The rest of the group arrived at our house at 5:30 and we left for the race. Traffic was of course light - who else in their right mind is driving around that early on a Saturday morning - and we arrived at the parking lot around 6:30, a little earlier than I expected. We got out got into our pre-race trash bags and hiked the 1/2 mile to the start area. We stretched out a little, took care of the necessaries and staked out our places at our respective pace areas, Laura and Caroline at 2:15, Jil and I at 2:30. The weather at the start was around 64 F, with light winds, but a little humid from all the rain we've had lately.

The horn sounded and we were off. I let Jil cross the start line in front of me thinking I would let her finish in front of me as well. This strategy later came very close to biting me in the backside. There was an older runner who was getting on my case for running where I was and not further up front. I tried to explain to him that today was all about Jil, but he didn't seem to get it. I had trouble understanding him and almost wonder if he wasn't a bit enebriated. We went through the first mile in about 11:20 and Jil was feeling very comfortable. When we got to the first water stop she took a cup and walked through, then we were back at it. I was enjoying myself and tried to play with the crowds and entertainers, cheering for them and enticing them to be louder. I realized I should have stood in line one more time before the race started, so took a bio break at the mile 2 facilities. The course was on its first good uphill and I probably upset some people darting up the hill back to Jil. The course was hilly for central Indiana. That made it enjoyable and interesting, but not much fun for first timers. Even with the hills, Jil maintained about the same pace through the first half, 11:20-11:30 in miles without water stops and 11:40-12:00 in miles with them.

At 3 miles the old guy came up again and started talking smack again. I didn't hear him really talk to about anyone else, I don't know what his issue was with me. He was annoying me, but I was comfortable in my mission of getting Jil to the finish as a runner. Then at about mile 6 we passed a bride to be celebrating her wedding day by running her wedding day with the groom. Although he was further up front. She was beaming, but I can't imagine she was going to be doing much dancing Saturday night.

The consistent pacing ended in mile 7 as we headed up a pretty good hill on ironically named, Courageous Drive. It was in two sections and Jil needed to walk up the second half of each section. Now the paces were 12:30-12:40 when there was walking and 11:50-12:10 when there wasn't. This hills took their toll, and finally at mile 11 I told Jil to take this one as a rest mile and then we would run in the last 1.1 miles. I asked her to keep running for 10 minutes, then we would take a walk break. I gave her minute updates at 5, 3, 1 and then counted down the last 10 seconds. When started walking I asked her to pick a spot to start running again. When she picked a stop sign I gave her a traffic cone about 50 feet in front of it. Mile 11- 14:08. From that point she walked through the last water station then ran the last 1.1 miles at 11:40 pace.

It was also around this time that we saw another couple running "together". He would go ahead about 30 yards, look back, roll his eyes, then run back to his partner stay there about 5 steps, then run ahead. At one point he was even running backward. Just a hint to anybody that does running support, either stay with your running partner and encourage and help or run your own race and be there at the finish. Do not do what this guys was doing.

As we approached finish line the announcer read our names, commented how nice it was that we were running together and told us to cross the finish line together holding hands. So that is exactly what we did, we crossed the line together, SIDE BY SIDE. Remember my original intent, to let Jil have the focus and finish in front of me? Jil's official time 2:40.02, my time 2:40.01. If we would have gone 2 seconds faster, I would have been 2:39 and she 2:40. I got lucky, but did joke how I did it on purpose so I would beat her. In actuality, I didn't care where I finished, and I'm upset that I started the way I did.

In the end, we spent a nice morning together and the goal was achieved: Jil is a half-marathon runner! She was a little sore and tired after the race, and had hoped for a little better time, but was steadfast that she had run her first and last. But only time will tell. Maybe if her running partners toe the line again, she will decide, much like they did with her, that if they were training for it, they may as well run it anyway.

I am extremely  proud of Jil, she ran an awesome race and when she felt like walking it in was a good idea, she hung in there, kept setting smaller goals and finished strong.

By the way, Caroline finished in 2:07 and Laura in 2:16. We hosted a post race party and I fully believe that everyone enjoyed the experience despite the aches and pains.

Artist for Song in Title: The Beatles

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