This half-marathon was only my second one ever...so I wouldn't say that I am a very good judge of what makes a marathon a "good marathon" or a "bad one". That being said....I would say that this one was a positive experience.
From my perspective, here is the good, the bad and the ugly....
The negatives of the race would have to be the HILLS and the running crowd. Although I did some training on hills, I wasn't quite prepared for the entire race to be up and down hill. I don't think there was a quarter mile stretch at any point during the race that was flat. It was rolling hills the entire way.
And having a huge hill from mile 12 to 13 was almost my undoing. I had to have a serious talk with myself to keep from walking part of mile 12.
I thought the course was quite difficult.
The crowd of racers was also a bit of an interference. People kept stopping to walk right in front of me causing me to have to slam on my brakes or dart around.
The course was so packed with racers that running my own pace was difficult. I felt like I kept just having to run the pace of whoever was in front of me because I kept getting jammed up.
The UGLY part of the race was that I am a Mommy of 3 boys who weighed in the 10 pound range at birth. My bladder doesn't always cooperate and I had some peeing issues. No one knew....I was sweaty all over anyway. It was my little secret. Except now I told you, so now it's our little secret.
Still....none of these things were terrible and none of them would cause me to avoid the race in the future.
Some of the perks of the race were the great organization, the technical shirt, the music, the spectators, and the friends that traveled with me.
I was baffled by the thought of organizing 32,ooo runners and countless spectators into the racing area on race day. I thought it was very well organized from Expo to finish line. Shuttles were waiting at our hotel to transport runners, the course was well marked, and aid station were easily accessible. The organization of the race was fabulous for such a large number of runners.
I liked the Brooks techical shirt. I didn't fall in love with the design or color of it, but it's a very nice technical shirt. Brooks makes great gear.
Having music along the course was a great distraction! I loved hearing all the music blaring from the bands and the stereos. I especially loved the block at Belmont Church! The church here was belting out the praise and worship music and the spectators here were very encouraging!
The spectators on the course are always my favorite part of a race. I am hesitant to ever even register for a smaller marathon because I get so much encouragment and distraction from reading the specators' signs. Some of the best signs were:
"Worst Parade Ever"
"Hey, Where are all Ya'll Going?"
"You are NOT almost there"
"This is your distraction"
"The hard part is over...now enjoy the race."
"It's Not Sweat...It's Your Fat Cells Crying"
"Run Like An Angry Kenyan"
"Toenails Are For Sissies"
Sometimes, I think I signed up for the half marathon just so I could be cheered on, to people watch and to read the signs.
The biggest perk of the race was that I got to experience it with some of my buddies. I really enjoyed getting to talk about our fears prerace and discuss our joys and difficulties post race. It made the entire event very fulfilling.
It would have been even more epic if my guys could've traveled with me. They wanted to join me so bad, but were all tied down to baseball games. I ran with my phone and I got lots of encouraging texts from them all from home. The sent me these texts and more....
"Keep it up, Mom! We know you can do it!"
"You're almost there. You've got this!"
It was almost as good as them being there with me, but not quite.
Overall, I give this race an exhausted 2 thumbs up!