Fort4Fitness Fall Festival. I believe 2013 is the 6th year for it, and it has grown every year. This year there were something like 10,200 participants altogether. I think there were 3,100 in the half-marathon. There is a nice article from the Journal Gazette here: http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20130928/BLOGS01/130929353.
Last year I ran much faster at 1:47, but this year was much more enjoyable. Not only was I running with Jane, but we ran a nice easy 11-minute-mile pace, and I felt so much better after it was over. We finished in 2:26, and I had no blisters, no real injuries, and I could have run further. I really didn't sweat too much or even breathe hard. I felt pretty good throughout the whole race and when we were done too. Jane got a cramp around the 9 mile mark or so, and the finish was a bit of work for her, but overall she did fantastic. And, actually, my gps watch said we ran 13.28 miles (instead of a 13.1 half). But who's counting.
Here is a video of the start of the half-marathon. You can see Jane and I about the center of the pack at around the 1:49 mark. Jane is adjusting her phone on her arm and I am swiping my hand across my head. I have a blue shirt and she is in gray. We both have black shorts on.
Here is a video of the start of the 4-mile. Carrie is at about the 41 second mark. She has on black pants and a black tank top and is #4344. I love watching these videos to get just a small idea of how many people there are.
As far as the day... it was beautiful weather-wise, and a little warmer than last year. We picked Carrie up just before 7 am and headed toward Parkview field. We were able to park south of the field in the Lincoln lot. That was almost right at the starting line, and was much better than walking from Cindy's the previous year. So we didn't need to check anything and just took our sweatshirts off right before the race and put them in the car. Carrie's race started at 7:30, and ours was at 8 am. Once again it was a blast running it - with all the spectators along the way and the big crowd at the stadium for the end. When we entered the stadium we saw Carrie and Anna along the center field rail and Carrie was waving her arms and pointing down. Apparently Anna had taken off a shoe and sock and thrown it down onto the field/track. So I picked it up, and was probably the only participant to carry a child's shoe and sock across the finish line. :)
I saw Molly and her mom, and Will T. running the race. We saw Bridgette (Steve's friend) and a lady Jane works with, along the way. It is always funnest running through the neighborhoods in the last couple miles. They really go all out with music and decorations and whatnot. I took a beer shot at about the 12 mile mark. I also took a water about halfway through.
The only problem this year seemed to be the walkers who didn't stay to the right. It was especially bad once we merged with the 10k people. There would be groups of people and they would go clear across the street. It made it hard to pass. I know there are a few signs posted that walkers and slower runners should stay to the right, but I kind of wish they would emphasize it more in written literature and maybe at a few points along the route. There also seemed to be a number of walkers at the front from the start. I suppose some people will never follow instructions though. Oh well.
Afterward we met up with Carrie and Anna and had our complimentary beers (well, I did). We were done at 10:30, and we hung around the stadium listening to the bands and just hanging out until probably a little after noon. It just really makes you feel like you're a part of something. We all went to Spyro's for lunch after we left the stadium, then Jane and I took a long nap when we got home. Later that afternoon my right heel started to hurt pretty bad. It has bothered me off and on for a couple months. It doesn't hurt when I run, but only after, and usually in the mornings when I get out of bed. It's probably just ligaments or something. It hurt the rest of the night and Sunday morning I could barely walk at first, but after an hour or so it loosened up and has felt fine ever since. Our legs were kind of sore yesterday, but today I feel pretty good again. Much better than last year when I hurt both knees. They both feel fine this year. I was glad about that.
I would really like to make this an annual tradition. Again, it's much better going slower. I would still like to do a full marathon someday, but I'm not making any plans to do so at the moment. I may just have to stick with a half once a year. That seems like plenty right now. Definitely a fun thing, and I am so glad to live in a city that does this. Go Fort4Fitness!!!
Here are my race results: http://onlineraceresults.com/race/view_race.php?race_id=35643&submit_action=select_result&order_by=OVERALL&re_OVERALL_MIN=1813&re_OVERALL_MAX=1852&highlight_no=10516&lower_bound=0&upper_bound=40#racetop