Thursday, July 11, 2013

Sunburst Half Marathon Race Recap

For some odd reason Jamie and I decided it was a bright idea to leave Chicago at 3 a.m. to drive to the Eastern Time Zone i.e. South Bend, IN to run the Sunburst Half Marathon.  I think I got like 2 hours of sleep total.  BUT I am glad I did!

Race day packet pickup was super easy, but parking was NOT.  Well it would have been easy if we knew where to park.  Instead we followed the long line of cars into a lot right near the start that was charging $5 per car!  Everything on the Sunburst website said parking was free at various lots.  That was really annoying but at least the building attached to the lot had a nice indoor bathroom that we used.  (Hey we'd been up since 3 a.m. and driving!) 

Once we got our bibs on and put our Tshirts back in the car we were ready to go!  The sun wasn't out yet but I was pretty confident this was going to be a hot race.  Regardless I really wanted to PR.  (But of course I forgot my Garmin at home!)  Jamie on the otherhand just wanted to finish so she told me I wasn't allowed to run with her.  Once the gun went off I went running ahead!  I was going at a nice fast pace until I hit an uphill at mile 2.  Yeah there aren't really ANY hills in Chicago so I wasn't prepared for that!

For some reason pretty much any time I attempt to run up a hill I start to get queasy and feel like I am going to barf.  This hill was no exception!   Since I don't have my Garmin I don't know for sure but I definitely slowed down at this point and probably mile 3 as well.  At this point the course goes along a road that run sides a river but we were going slightly uphill.  I guess it was a lil after mile 4 that I saw the first of the half marathon leaders running back down but closer to the river along a path.

By the time we got near the halfway point it had gotten HOT.  Volunteers were handing out sponges and telling us that the race was yellow flagged.   Not every mile marker had splits so I really had no idea how my pace was at all.   The split timing mat from the official results say I crossed at 1:04:45.  That's a 9:53 pace!   I think that the timing mat wasn't right at the halfway mark though I feel like I remember seeing it at the 6 mile marker.

Right at the top of that gentle downhill along the river this older lady told me that I was tough to keep pace with!  I think that's a pretty good compliment for this slow turtle!  I took off and I never did see that lady again.  I wish I knew where she finished!

Once we turned from the downhill and started running through the neighborhoods I definitely slowed down.  We were out in the middle of the heat and we kept winding through this neighborhood in what I think was a clover shape.  There as a big uphill that we had to take in order to get out of the neighborhood and back near downtown South Bend and the Notre Dame Stadium.  I think this whole section  I got delirious.

But in downtown South Bend I picked up my pace again and a bystander even told me good pace!  Usually at this point in a half marathon I think I just look dead!

Just as I neared Notre Dame stadium I realized I was getting there at the same time as the 5K walkers!  So now I am sprinting trying to get to the finish and there is a TON of walkers also trying to get in!  Thankfully they stayed to the left and out of my way! 
The race ends in the middle of Notre Dame stadium and that was definitely really cool!  But sadly I didn't PR.

10:53 PACE. 

I really wish I had my Garmin because I really felt like I was pushing the entire time.   This was my 3rd best half marathon time and really a disappointment after running the Soldier Field 10 miler at a 10:18 pace.  But I have to say the heat and a few of the hills got the best of me.

After the race they had a TON of snacks including a big bowl of fruit and a popsicle.  And they provided a shuttle to take us all back to our cars at the start.

I thought this race was well organized and a lot of fun and I'd definitely consider running it again even with the early wakeup!

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