I got the opportunity to run the Grand Rapids Half Marathon this weekend, and thought, what the hell. My new philosophy to running and racing is if it's free, it's for me.
I rolled into Grand Rapids Saturday after, er, carbloading? BTW, Bell's is awesome, if you're curious. This lovely assortment cost me all of $15, so it was money well-spent. Sweet potato stout? Yes, please.
But this isn't a what I drank recap, so moving on. The expo was small, but respectable, and I picked up a caramel macchiato Gu and did some light shopping but didn't buy anything. Except this. Not sorry.
I was freezing at the start - it was 34 degrees and I didn't bring throw aways. I found some mittens in my truck, and I wore a zip up I planned to sleep in. I lined up with the George W. Bush pace group - the paces were based on the finish times of various celebrities, and GW ran a 3:44 marathon once. Once the gun went off, I settled in fairly easily. I kept telling myself I ran a half almost every weekend this year, time to buck up and put your head down.
Except chafing is strange. I never used to chafe. But evidently I need new sports bras because for the second week in a row, my rib cage is chafed raw. Attractive, right?
Anyhow, I just cruised along until the marathon/half split right before nine, and that's when things got dicey for me. I dropped my caramel macchiato Gu and had to take what was on the course, which was mocha. It used to be my favorite until it caused my stomach to turn inside out two years ago, but I had no choice. I sipped and hoped for the best.
A word about this course: It's hilly. It's lonely. It's empty. In short, after the Chicago Marathon last weekend, this was a little disappointing.
|Forgot to stop my watch|
After finally getting my time of 1:50:04, I was really psyched and celebrated with some of the best post-race snackies I've ever seen. They had Muscle Milk, water, gatorade, chips, bananas, honeycrisp apples, oranges, bagels, string cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Culver's ice cream!
But that's not all. The beer tent at this place was something to behold. It was sponsored by New Holland Brewery, which I frequented when I did a consulting project there in grad school. It was a deliciously carbed up buffer of beverages that I enjoyed immensely.
Time: 1:50:04 for a half marathon
Pros: Amazing post-race accommodations, funny pace teams, Grand Rapids is a fun town if you don't have to run
Cons: Course is boring, support is sparse, it's surprisingly hilly, expensive
Would I do this race again? I don't think so. Too many other runs to try.