Monday, April 22, 2013

Lansing marathon review

Lansing was a Sunday marathon and I definitely prefer Saturday races so I have the extra day before I need to go back to work. I had asked several times if I could pick up my number on race day and the answer was always yes, but please be there by 7am. I didn't know the area, or the parking situation, so I decided to go up on Saturday and stay in town so I had one less thing to worry about on race day.

The stuff in the packet was pretty good - a bag of coffee, a Snickers energy bar, chapstick and a mini flashlight. There were two coupons for Playmakers, but I don't need anything and don't have any stores nearby.
When I do a race for the first time, I always order a large shirt. The Free Press shirts run extremely small, so I always err on the side of caution to make sure it fits. This one must be a large from the men's big and tall store. It's HUGE!!!

The front is cute, but the back is ALL sponsors. Bah!

The Belle Tire shirt went to a THIRD race, this time with my race message on the back. Unfortunately I finally lost the shirt. Guess I can't be "Kaufman" anymore...

I might have taken a tad bit too much food... I barely ate any of it. The race didn't provide Gu, or any gel, which was weird, but I knew ahead of time so I took my own.

I could surmise it was going to be a bad day when I woke up and my car was covered in FROST!!! It was the first time he's ever seen winter (ish) weather :( 

Lansing Community College had all their parking structures open and free for runners to use. I parked in the first one I saw, which was about 0.6 miles from the start. It was a nice walk in the morning, but took almost 30 minutes after. I took a picture of my spot for when I lost my mind at the end...

The start / finish line was in front of the Capitol building, which was pretty enough. It was a PERFECT day for running - sunny and upper 40s. We were right next to the Lansing Center, so runners could wait inside, and use flushing toilets before and after the race, which is always great :)

The first few miles were GREAT!!! I was running 9:30s, which I knew were too fast, but they felt good. I didn't feel like I was working hard to hit them. I was also completely unaware of all the runners passing me. I wasn't trying to keep up with anyone, just doing what felt good.

Just past mile 3.... a TRAIN!!!! A TRAIN ON THE RACE COURSE!!!!! I wasn't trying to qualify for anything so it wasn't a HUGE problem for me, just an inconvenience. I took the 3-4 minutes to ditch my Belle Tire shirt. Plenty of people made an impromptu bathroom stop...

At mile 4 I met my IT band. I've never felt it before, but when I became aware of pain from the outside of my left hip, across the front of my thigh and to the inside of my knee, I knew immediately what it was, and it made for an extremely painful run. I must have asked 20 course marshals for aspirin or tylenol, anything for pain, but they said they weren't allowed to give anything to runners. One man offered me his water or his apple, which was super nice of him, but I passed on both.

I asked a medic for something at mile 12 and he said he didn't have anything. Ummm ok. I would have thought aspirin was standard in every first aid kit, and he had an entire ambulance at his disposal.

I finished the first half and desperately wanted to stop. The number of runners dropped considerably after the first half. It was a 2-loop course, which I've discovered I really really dislike. It was also the emergency route, so I have no idea if it would have been better using the original plan. The new one went through neighborhoods, including an apartment complex, where the extremely nice people set up tables in their yards with water for us.

I must have looked TERRIBLE in the second half because every marshal and many of the volunteers asked "Are you ok, ma'am?" It concerned me that they were all so concerned about me. I kept asking for aspirin, but no luck. One of the women marshals offered to call for a medic to come meet me. I said I'm finishing, but that would be wonderful! She got on her walkie talkie and noted my race number, but the help never came. Lesson learned - tuck a foil packet of aspirin in my pocket and take after 1 hour.

Running past a cemetery. Funny sign: the morgue is one mile away - look alive!

Mile 24 - alone on the River walk. 

Runners turned the corner onto this bridge and the end was in sight!!!! You could hear music from the finish and it was just over a mile away. As I was nearing the finish, a relay participant was walking back to her car and she yelled at me. She didn't call, she didn't cheer, she yelled "Keep going!!!! You got this girl!!!!!!"

A volunteer was at the last corner relaying race numbers to the finish line marshal, so when runners made the last turn, they were announced by name and city and the woman with the microphone was great! Very encouraging!!!

The food at the finish was nothing special - bananas, cold bagels, Snickers energy bars. I passed on everything. One of the guys at the finish line gave me a bottle of water, but I didn't even open that. I always assume I'll be ravenous after a race, but I'm usually not. I was in no hurry to drive home, so I sat on the curb, took off my shoes and relaxed for a few. My right pinkie blister came back at mile 17.

I had asked for a picture of the medal ahead of time and there wasn't one posted. One of the volunteers at the expo thought they were the same as the 5k medals, which were hideous. I had seen the medals from 2012 and they were beautiful. I really really wanted one. Thankfully they were the same this year. Easily as nice as the Free Press medal, even if smaller (I don't imagine many medals are as big as the 2012 Free Press, aside from Disney).

I don't even know my exact time. It doesn't matter. On a scale of 1-10, my pain level was a 7.5 or 8. When I finished the first loop, I saw the half medals and realized they were the same as last year, which gave me renewed determination to finish. I wanted the medal, dammit!

The race took entries through Saturday, and they ran out of shirts, and medals for the half. Inconvenient, but they said they're ordering more of both today and will mail them to those who missed out.

The volunteers, marshals and crowds were extremely nice, but not sure I'll do this one again. The course was boring, but again, I know it wasn't the original course. Maybe that would have been fantastic. It was a 2-loop design though, so probably not.

One of the teachers at work today noticed I was limping. He said something to the effect of "I don't understand why you do that to yourself." I said I ask myself the same thing every time. I thought races were supposed to get faster and easier, not slower and harder :( So far I'm 0 for 2013 :(


  1. Great Job! & a nice review as well. I was there and got stopped by that stupid train! I do know that the originally route was a double loop as well just more on the river trail. I do hope they change the double loop to a single loop or at the very least don't make the full runners, run right past the finish line! & that is really not a good thing to hear that they called for a medic to come and check on you and they never came!

    1. Thanks. Great job on your finish!!! This year is the first I've ever had to do double loop courses and they're worse than out and back courses!!! Thankfully I don't have a 2-looper again until November 10.

      I told the marshal I refused to be pulled from the course, so I think that negated my medic. For a few miles I was really looking forward to him/her :(