Monday, May 5, 2014

Race Report: Hall of Fame Half Marathon

Sorry it has been so long since I've posted...life has been crazy! Lots has happened and maybe I'll have a chance to update on everything but for now I'm just going to do a race report for a half marathon I ran last weekend.

I went into this race a bit unsure of how things were going to go because I hadn't run more than 10 miles all year...and I had only run 10 miles ONCE. When I signed up for this race it wasn't to actually race it, but I had been hoping to be able to run well...NOPE! Plans change and I went into it hoping I would just finish and not have any issues during or after.

This race was in Canton, OH, and my parents came out and met me for the race. That was super fun, and I was really glad to see them. My mom and I used to run/workout together every day (literally, 6+ times a week). I miss that sooooo much, so being able to run races with her is really special. I was so looking forward to that I was able to more or less overlook my seriously low mileage and just hope for the best!

Packet pickup was okay. It was held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and that was the theme for the race. Finding the numbers and shirts was easy, and they had a mini NFL style combine set up on the football field you could go through. Then all participants got free admission to the HoF which is where the "expo" was. I put expo in quotes because it was not much at all. There were maybe 4-5 tables in a small room in the HoF and then a tent outside with race merchandise. This was a first year race so hopefully in the future it will be better, but we were seriously disappointed with the expo.

Getting to the race was a bit of a pain; we had to park about 15 minutes away and ride school buses to the start. Going TO the race was fine, there were plenty of buses and it was early in the morning so there was very little traffic. Trying to the leave the race was another story...for whatever reason the organizers decided to have the bus route CROSS the race course. It took us about 40 minutes to get back to the cars once we got on the bus to return because we sat for quite a long time to let runners pass. Now I just finished a race myself so I'm not arguing that the runners shouldn't have had the right of way...I'm just saying they needed to choose a different route for the buses!

The race itself was great, though! As with any race it was a bit chilly at the start; and just like any race I was concerned I was going to freeze...actually it probably wasn't as cold as some races have been, but it still felt frigid at the start. Once we were moving I was more or less fine. The course started and finished at the HoF and ran around and through Canton. In most areas the entire road was closed so all the runners were able to spread out across all lanes of traffic. They had repaved a lot of the course since winter so most places had brand new asphalt for running. That was really good news because when we drove the course maybe 6 weeks before the race, the pothole situation was serious!

There were 2 major parts of the course that stuck out to me before the finish on the football field. The first was around mile 5. The biggest hill on the course was somewhere between miles 5 and 6. It really wasn't much of a hill so the grade wasn't the issue, it was that the footing for this part of the course was on brick...and not smooth brick either...My mom had been dealing with a hip injury and having to watch your step the entire time we were on the brick was a bit nerve-wracking. Thankfully, the brick section was short-lived and soon we were back on asphalt.

The second part that I remember pretty clearly was miles 9-12 (ish). This part was down and back in a really cool park and then past the McKinley Memorial before returning to the HoF for the finish. The park was really nice and it was cool to see the other runners on the opposite side. It was nice having this section toward the end of the race, too, because once we finished the best part of the course, we were on our way to the finish.

The race ended back on the football field at the HoF. It was a good post-race celebration with lots of music and snacks for the runners. The race was a decent size, but didn't feel too crowded at the finish. We were all able to meet up easily after the race and find what we needed.

Overall, I really enjoyed this race. It was a first year event, so hopefully in future years some of the glitches will be fixed! I would definitely run this race again (especially if it means I get to see my parents!!) and maybe one day I'll be able to actually train and RACE instead of just running. We will see =)

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