Red Shoe Half Marathon – Race Recap 2017
Oh – I really have been slacking, I left you all in limbo…did I run this race due to the killer headache the night before?
Well, of course I ran it!! Powered by mashed potatoes!!
If you are looking for the simple, fact filled review – head on over to bibrave.com
Gear: Sparkle Athletic Ice Cream Skirt, 2xu tank, Adidas 7″ boyshorts, Pro Compression Socks, B1G tech hat, Spi Belt, Aftershokz Trekz Titanium, XX2i France Sunglasses, Garmin Fenix, Brooks Ghost 9
Alright – race day was Sunday, May 7th, it was sunny and would warm up to around 70. The race started with the 5k at 8:30 am.
I was able to grab my packet the day before the race. It was a bag full of papers & flyers that I just put in the trash. There was my bib and there was an unflattering, short sleeve tech tee – mostly because it’s a man’s cut.
There are 2 half marathons in Iowa City. I have run them both, in fact they partner together, for an additional medal opportunity, and you can say you ran Iowa’s Longest Marathon. Personally, I prefer this race over the other, and being in my town, longer than a 5k, I HAD TO DO IT!
The race starts and finishes at the Ronald McDonald House, which race proceeds benefit. This area is also next to the University of Iowa, Carver Hawkeye Arena and Duane Banks Field. This allows for ample parking and indoor bathrooms.
I rolled up around 7:50 am, to am empty Dental Lot (the lot for the dentistry college – this area is surrounded by parking lots.) I discovered everyone was told to park in a packed Lot 75. I really thought I was at the wrong place, where was everyone?
Well, they were all huddled inside Carver (CHA,) where the bathrooms were…and also confusing, it was not that cold and the sun was shining. It still felt like there wasn’t a race happening.
Just after 8 am, and standing around alone… I decided I did not need my arm sleeves, so I walked back to car to ditch them. I also found a four leaf clover! There were now about 5 cars parked near my car.
When I started back to my car, there was some kids race happening, which caught me off guard, as there were no people around…the kids must have just appeared.
I started walking back to the race start, and it was now 8:15 ish…there were some announcements on the sound system, and someone sang the National Anthem. I was beyond confused at this point and just went with it. The race didn’t start for another 15 minutes.
They used the time to tell a story about a family that has used the Ronald McDonald House, which was nice. I really like this charity and what the House does. If you remember, I was once donating Medals 4 Mettle to the House.
After another shorter kids race, the announcer encouraged people to line up behind the starting arch. More people appeared out of CHA….. it was starting to look like there was a race about to happen.
There were no corrals and no pacers. As I said the 5k started with the half marathon, there were people with strollers all in one spot. I tried to line up where I thought my pace would be. Ran into a friend who had his dog, and it was the dog’s first race.
I have run both the half and 5k before, there have been many hiccups over time. One year I ran the 5k, I was held up by a train. The 5k used to be the GOTR spring race, and the course narrowed within the first 500 feet, the girls would line up in the front, and be walking at the point the course narrowed. Then the last time I ran the 5k, it started separately and was a good race. I was shocked to see it start with the half again.
I knew this course too, I run this town, I knew there would be hills (seems to be what people remark about the most, when they are finished.) However, due to construction, the course was changed this year, and the biggest hill was removed.
Coming into this with a rough day before, and eating only mashed potatoes, I was just there for the miles. I started off at a decent pace, and just followed the crowd and the arrows. *Note the arrows were not race specific… so arrows lead people for both the 5k & the half marathon.
The course went down by the Iowa River, crossing the bridges, checking out more of campus. Then it went through City Park. This is where the first aid station was. There was Gatorade first, then water in paper cups. It was getting warm for me, so I made sure to stop and drink. I didn’t bring a pack with me.
As we snaked through City Park, we came to the yard sign that said “mile 3.” I looked around, and since bibs were different for different races, I noticed that there were quite a few 5k runners at this point. We were not .1 miles from the finish, GASP! What was going on? In my mind, I had been waiting for the half to split from the 5k, and I never saw it. I then asked the 5k runners, if they were fine, and advised them they could go cross country to get back to the finish, or follow the course to a point that would get them to the finish.
Many 5k runners continued on the course, as it was the safest, due to roads being open to traffic, the marked course was safer. My watch was near 4.5 miles, when it was a good chance for the 5k to get back to the finish. At this intersection, they had to cross Hwy 6, an intersection where there was no traffic control, but a stoplight with buttons to push for pedestrians. There were 2 race volunteers pushing the buttons. If you ran the 5k, you were close to 5 miles.
All I could think is WOW, and I hope there were no kids out on the course alone. I did have more miles ahead of me so I kept moving. I did call Josh, I had to tell someone, lol… plus with bluetooth headphones, you can make a phone call on the run – so easy!
The course was now taking a turn onto First Avenue into Coralville, just after mile 5, I saw someone I knew – Anne! It was a welcomed surprise, especially since I was out there by myself.
I was at the next water stop, this one had the same paper cups. The person with Powerade… yep a different kind of drink, was handing out cups, and it was after the water, which was not being handed out. I don’t know if this is a big deal, but these little details are important. All electrolyte drinks should be the same on course – people can have issues – and it should be before the water, and volunteers should be attentive to getting it to people.
Oh well, onward…. the next few miles were uneventful. I was hot, but nothing I could do, I just made sure to drink when I hit the aid stations. I had some fruit snacks with me and ate them around the half way point.
The course went on the Clear Creek path, and met up with Camp Cardinal Blvd. This is the hilliest part of the course. There were more water stops with Powerade. Nothing too exciting.
Soon, I was on Melrose and running back east, into Iowa City. In the past we took the road back to the parking lot behind Kinnick Stadium to finish back where we started at CHA. However this year, because of the changed course, we went back onto the Mormon Handcart Trail, and then back to Mormon Trek.
Oh, HEY… I saw Anne in this area again, another welcome surprise….especially when I had just passed some bored volunteers sitting on the ground, no enthusiasm or care to be there. Anne gave me a high five and I was on my way.
I was now on the path behind the softball complex. There was a last water stop, and then I realized there would be one more steep climb before the finish. Races love to add this path, it’s closed to traffic, but the hill is no joke!
I finished up the hill, and through the parking lot – lot 75, crossed the street into the CHA parking lot and I was at the finish. Then in what seemed like exactly 12 inches from the timing mat, they handed me a medal… DUDE! I need to slow down and walk it out, there was soooooo much room for me to do that, but I was handed my medal immediately after I had finished.
My time was near 2:15 ish. I was happy with this knowing I wasn’t really racing it. However, I wish people would cheer people in. Looking at my Garmin, I only had 12.9 miles, it’s still close…but short. I don’t recall seeing a 13 mile marker either.
Oh well, I did find the post race food. There was A LOT of it. Bottled water, apple juice, chocolate milk, Powerade, donuts, cupcakes, apple slices, apples, orange slices, bananas, and bagels.
I actually turned down the donuts….don’t fear I had a mini cupcake instead. I took a minute and listened to the awards. I guess I missed the part where the age groups were divided up strangely…ages up to 29 were in 5 year increments, and after that 10 year increments. OK, I am not fast, but the smaller increments are easier for me to place.
I didn’t have a lot to do, so I stuck around the finish line until the clock was at 3 hours, I think that is when the course was supposed to close. I cheered on finishers.
I then decided to call it a day. I walked back to my car, had no troubles with traffic, and made it home before lunch.
I did have a slight headache, so I tried to stay hydrated the rest of the day.
This race….. I really want to be proud of my hometown races, I want to be able to tell people to come to Iowa City and run a race. This year, I can not say that. However, in the week since the race, I have learned a few things. 1) people who ran the 5k were given free entry to next years event. 2) the 5k and half will start separately next year 3) this was the first year under new directorship 4) letters were sent to 5k participants, along with some socks, apologizing for what happened.
So now… I am torn… I run a lot of races, so I feel I have valid thoughts and opinions. I do like the actions they have taken regarding the mishap with the 5k. I just want more details to the half too. I need great water stops, cheer stations, and an accurate course. I would give the race another chance if it fits in my schedule.