Monday, April 22, 2013

Camp Barnabas Race/Weekend Recap

Good morning all!

"I determined never to stop until I had come to the end and achieved my purpose." ~~
David Livingstone

Friday evening, we made it to our hotel just a little after 6pm, too late to pick up our race packets. We got checked in quickly and painlessly. I had found a Groupon for a good price at the Greenstay in Springfield and it happened to be close to the start of the race. The manager on duty told us that breakfast didn't start until 6:30 but she offered to pack us "Breakfast To Go" bags with fruit, cereal bars, muffins and bottled water. The room was clean and comfortable! I would certainly stay here again or recommend it to anyone needing a place to stay. She also gave us directions to the race starting area and the business district for dinner.

We set out in search of the race starting area, parking, etc. We found the Mercy hospital parking lot without any problems but didn't see anything that remotely looked as if they were setting up for a race. At this point, I was a bit dubious. We grabbed some dinner then headed back to the room to get our flat runners ready.

Race morning, we woke up early and got our race gear on. It was chilly, in the 40's. We went down to the front desk to collect our breakfast bags and the desk clerk gave us trash bags to use as jackets. We arrived at the hospital and found the starting line without any issues. Packet pickup was easy. The lines for the portalets was short. We sat in the car to stay warm and eat our breakfast until about 7:45. We got in the corral and waited patiently with the other runners for the race to start.

This was a small, inaugural event so I wasn't sure what to expect. It was hyped as "The World's Largest Pary Marathon". The course was described as "certified flat" and "relatively flat" but this is Missouri, in the middle of the Ozark Mountains......yeah right! The proceeds of race go to benefit Camp Barnarbas, a camp for chronicall ill and special needs children. So, it really wasn't about my preformance or time. It was for fun, for a good cause and to prove to myself that I could do it. It was certainly not my first half marathon, but it was my first post-injury, which really zapped my confidence.

So, the gun went off and we started running. Initially, my goal was to treat this as another training run, slow and steady, in preparation for the OKC Memorial Marathon relay. We ran the first mile sub 11, way too fast for a training run, OOPS! I was feeling good at that point but couldn't maintain that pace for 12 more miles, so we tried to slow down but I was really having trouble controlling my pace. I was feeling good and wanted to RUN!

At mile 3ish, I started inching past my husband ever so gradually until I finally ended up leaving him. I put in both earbuds and just ran. I kept glancing at my watch and kept thinking SLOW DOWN but I was feeling good. We were winding through the scenic neighborhoods of Springfield and all was going well at this point. At mile 6ish, we started zig-zagging through the neighborhoods, I started feeling hot and tired, the scenery was getting a little redundant and the next water stop seemed like an eternity away. At one point, I caught a glimpse of my husband across the park from me. He was about a half mile behind me. I felt much better after we got out of the neighborhoods and were running around the park.

I was tired and had used up most of my gas. I ran when I could and walked when I had to. I was still making good time though. We made our way down the streets to the Missouri State campus. I knew we were getting closer to the finish. I kept glancing at my watch and was pleased with my time. I was just hoping the wheels wouldn't come off the bus at this point. There was a slight incline right before we crossed St. Louis street and after that it was downhill to the finish! I finished at 2:28, 1 minute faster than my Route 66 half marathon in November. And I felt GREAT!! There was no pain!!

I collected my medal, some water and a banana and went to wait for my husband. I met him at St Louis street and ran him in. He had been slowed down by a potty stop on the course. Afterward, we grabbed some food at the post race party and hung out at the park for a while. We stretched and recovered. The race organizers had shuttle service back to the hospital for us when we were ready to go.

All in all, this was a very good race! he packet pickup was smooth and painless. The line at the portalet was short. The course was surprisingly flat! The elevation gain was 222ft and the loss was 229ft. The course was also, for the most part, very scenic. There were volunteers with signs at every corner directing us and cheering for us. The post race party was FABULOUS! The food was abundant. They had fruit, yogurt, bagels, peanut butter, cereal bars, hot dogs, chips, water, sports drink, pop and Coldstone Creamery ice cream. There were activities for the kids such as a bounce house and face painting. The park was beautiful and spacious. Most importantly, there was a sense of celebration at this finish line! I felt accomplished and very safe. It was a very good day!

If the race orgainizers could improve anything, it would be more frequent water stops/course support in the mile 8-9 ish area. They also gave out Gu at mile 12.5 I would recommend that they do that like at mile 5. But otherwise this was a very good event!! I would recommend it and would run it again!

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