Kelly the Culinarian: 2013 Egg Shell Shuffle Half Marathon Race Recap

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2013 Egg Shell Shuffle Half Marathon Race Recap

I greatly debated exactly how honest I wanted to be with this race report. I had some humiliating moments today, so please take this as you may.

It was a beautiful day for a PR, but it didn't happen for me. I PRed by exactly 1 second.
This all started yesterday when I picked up my packet and picked out my outfit. This race had shorts instead of a shirt, which I think is awesome. I need another shirt like a hole in the head. As far as my outfit, I was going for loud. I wore the same tank top from Zooma, shorts I picked up at the Indy Marathon expo, arm warmers and buff from Tri-eva and kick-ass socks I won from a raffle Maggie put on. Loud = achieved. It's easier to find myself in photos that way anyhow.

Jenny picked me up after I ate my standard breakfast of toast, peanut butter and a banana. I also ate some pretzels and drank water.

Side note: How awesome is Jenny? She chauffeured me around, encouraged me, took photos, held my gear and waited for me to finish. What a friend. Plus, she's still hobbling around in a walking boot, so we got VIP parking ... also known as handicap parking.
We met up with some blogging buddies before the race, then hung around waiting to get moving. I realized a little too late there were no pacers, but I've got my trusty Garmin to keep me on pace. I was hoping for a 1:50 finish, which would be a six-minute PR, so I needed to hit 8:34 every mile to get there.
We started running through a parking lot, then turned around and swung back through grass and onto my beloved Busse Woods path around mile two. Look at how strong and relaxed I look there at mile two:

And honestly, I was feeling awesome for a long time. I took a Clif chocolate gel at mile 3.5 and PowerBar Latte shot in the seventh mile. I felt perfect, and knew I was going to make 1:50. Then, shit got real.

My stomach got upset and I needed a bathroom. Except, there weren't any bathrooms anywhere at all ever. There were plenty of real toilets, but they were locked. It's too early in the season for bathrooms. The race didn't rent a single port-o-potty for the course. I nearly cried when I tried to get into one of the forest preserve toilets and found it locked. I saw Bobbi at the 11 mile and she yelled "looking strong!" I told her I felt terrible. My splits show the real tale.

This all pisses me off for a number of reasons. My legs were fine. My breathing was fine. My body felt great. My endurance is there. My stomach is not.

I finished in 1:56:12, 17th in my age group. That means I was one second faster than the HeatBreaker Indoor half and a little less than a minute faster than my first half marathon.

Jenny and I stuck around and did the egg hunt, which was a much-hyped bonus of this race. Alas, I didn't win anything cool. I collected probably eight eggs that contained nothing but candy (and not event chocolate!).

However, for a small race, the post-race food and expo was fantastic.  I stocked up on running fuel and fruit, as well as tried some new bar things.

I wanted to love this race, but I can't help but wonder what would have happened if there were bathrooms on the course. Could I have made a quick stop and PRed? Everything else was in my favor, from the weather to the familiar-to-me course. So now I have a chip on my shoulder and something to prove.

Time: 1:56:12

Pros: Familiar course, great swag of Nike shorts, local race supporting my running community, a good amount of food and fuel available on site, perfect weather, cute medal, post-race egg hunt, nice photo opportunities for the whole family with the Easter bunny and this random PowerBar chick

Cons: No bathrooms open on the course. No port-o-potties on the course. It could have used more water stations, too, since it was in the 60s by the time we finished. Also, parking would have been dicey without Jenny's handicap spot.

Would I race this again: No. There are so many other races that I feel like I could rock. And now I have a bad taste in my mouth with this, too.


Dan K said...

Great layout. Good substance. I'll be back!

Dan K said...

Ok, assuming you ran an 8:40 mile for 11, 12, and 13 you would have been 2mins and 10 secs faster.Lets say you make a pitstop, I think it might have taken 2:10 or longer to get it out of your system, and you would probably at best came in with the same clock time. If you are looking for maybe another race that you can PR at look into Palos. THis will be my 4th time running it, they have potties. Pretty flat. I will post the my garmin from it.

Losing Lindy said...

Well, I enjoyed seeing you and enjoyed meeting Jenny :)

KellytheCulinarian said...

Thanks! It was great seeing you too.

bobbi said...

Oh Kelly. I have been in that spot way too many times. You'll get it!

Erica A said...

Have you tried using blocks instead of gels? I think gels are harder on the stomach. Also, for the half, have you tried not using any fuels other than sports drink? I only use gels for full marathons. An idea!

KellytheCulinarian said...

I haven't tried just sports drink, but I definitely need to try something new.

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear that the race turned sour. It's horrible to run and not be able to find a bathroom. You handled it in stride, although what half marathon race doesn't plan for port-a-potties at each aid station? I don't think I've seen that...ever? in a long time?

Unknown said...

I feel you. The same thing happened to me during my first marathon. My legs were totally fine but my stomach was not.

Did you do anything different as far as eating on race day? Or maybe the day before?

Also, have you tried using chews? For me, that's all I can use since my stomach is super sensitive.

You'll get your PR soon enough! Maybe ZOOMA and get an extra medal! :)

Unknown said...

I feel you. The same thing happened to me during my first marathon. My legs were totally fine but my stomach was not.

Did you do anything different as far as eating on race day? Or maybe the day before?

Also, have you tried using chews? For me, that's all I can use since my stomach is super sensitive.

You'll get your PR soon enough! Maybe ZOOMA and get an extra medal! :)

Kim said...

Oh man! You were so freakin' close! I am sorry you had stomach issues! Did you finally have to go when you stopped? Holding it in for so long hurts :(

Are you planning another HM or waiting until after the HIM?

Maggie W said...

Oh man, major bummer! I'm sorry there were no accessible bathrooms on the course, that seems like a major oversight.

I definitely prefer chews and beans over gels. I don't really like the consistency of gels. Plus I like to consume my fuel slowly, and it's much easier to eat one chew or bean at a time. Not so easy to consume a little bit of a gel and stick it back in your pocket.

KellytheCulinarian said...

There was a bank of port-o-potties at the start/finish and that was it.

Thanks for all the fueling suggestions, I'll have to give another strategy a try.

fastfashion said...

Kelly, a PR is a PR- even if it's only one second. So pat yourself on the back and work on your nutrition strategy. And keep the PRs coming!! Well done :) PS- Sassy arm warmers!

KellytheCulinarian said...

Thanks, at least I looked cute!

jacqui said...

Hi Kelly,

As the race directors we wanted to reach out to you and say congratulations on your race and PR! Being fellow local runners, we love putting this race on to try and raise funds for our charities. With us both working full time jobs and putting this on as a way to give back to the community, sometimes it is hard to anticipate every possible situation, so having posts such as yours really helps us make changes and improvements.

We are sorry to hear the bathroom situation as we had confirmed with the forest preserve on Friday that all restroom buildings would be unlocked. We had a few male runners comment to us that they used the restrooms along the course, so we are unsure on why both restrooms were not unlocked. We tried to get in touch with the forest preserve race morning to verify that all restrooms would be unlocked, but they were unresponsive to our calls. We plan on calling them tomorrow to get this resolved for following years.

Hopefully we will do a better job with the egg hunt too as we are sorry to hear you didn't receive any chocolate! We filled all 7000 eggs with a 50/50 split of chocolate vs non-chocolate candy in hopes of pleasing all runners, but as you saw it was quite crazy with all the runners frantically grabbing eggs. We have a few ideas on how to make this better!

Thank you again for coming out to our race and for your blog post. We plan to send an email out soon to get feedback from runners in hopes of making the race grow and improve!

Fellow runners,
Ryan and Jacqui

Teamarcia said...

Sorry your stomach had different plans for you. I agree: less gel, try chews.

Michelle @ said...

I too had to pee which caused me to cramp from holding it...I was curious about the porta pottie situation but didn't want to lose one second to peeing. I made that mistake in chicago and it added a good 10 minutes to my finish! Bah! Great seeing you!

KellytheCulinarian said...

I'm glad to hear it's something you're aware of and working on, Jacqui. The first bathroom I came to (which was the first one on the nort side of Higgins) I tried both the men's and women's side. The next two I came to, volunteers just said they were unlocked (and I watched a volunteer try the women's side). I could have cried when I tried the doors and they were locked. It was at that moment that I could feel my PR slipping away.

Anonymous said...

I just did a training run today where I ran into OMG I NEED A BATHROOM problem.. So I can understand your frustration with a race course not having any. Ugh. Oh well, there will be other races, you WILL snag that PR!

Erin said...

So frustrating to be so close but yet so far. But now you know you can blow your current PR out of the water soon!

Also, did both your gels have caffeine in them? Sometimes too much caffeine combined with running fast makes my GI system go bonkers.

Xaarlin said...

Congrats on the 1 second PR- hey and it's still so early in the season, I'm sure you've got some more PRs in those legs. It seemed like you've definitely gotten much stronger, which is something to celebrate. Don't be so hard on yourself! Figure out your fueling strategy and I'm sure next time will go even better!

Poppy K said...

No bathrooms on a half course is CRIMINAL!