This whole week is going by so fast. I can't believe that it was a week ago that I left for Boston! Not running this week has made me feel like I have so much more "free" time, but I can't really say I've been super productive.
I started the process of changing my email address. I was at the point where I was feeling embarrassed to tell people what my email address was, because when I started my blog, the email address was just meant to be kind of funny/clever. (It's SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com--I came up with "SlimKatie" because I'm an Eminem fan, and it rhymed with Slim Shady... um, yeah, it seemed clever at the time!)
Anyway, I really wished I didn't add that "Slim" before "Katie", so I've decided to drop the Slim. It sounds like it would be really simple, but I used my blog email address as a sign-in for a lot of sites, and it's all over my blog, so I've been slowly but surely changing it over.
In the process, I logged into the email address Katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com, which I had created a couple of years ago in case someone typed that by mistake, and I noticed a big problem. I had set the email to forward everything to the SlimKatie one, and there were several emails that were never forwarded. Which meant I never saw them.
I felt awful, because some of them were great Motivational Monday posts! Even though they are now outdated, I'm going to post them on Monday. I think I've gotten ahold of everyone who was affected by the error, but if not, I'm so sorry about the mix-up. From now on, my email address is Katie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com, but I will still get the emails to the other address. I feel a little more like a grown-up now, after dropping the "Slim" part ;)
Heather, one of the bloggers that was at the Heartbreak Hill Half & Festival, wrote a great post about her experience during the half-marathon. Heather is normally a pretty fast runner, which she explains in the post, but she was sick the morning of the half, and wound up finishing next-to-last. Her experience was very different from someone in the middle to front of the pack (not in a good way), and sadly, it happens pretty often during races.
I experienced being in the back of the pack before, too. I think some races do a much better job with it, and some races just seem to "forget" about the back of the pack. But like Heather mentions in her post, all of the athletes pay the same registration fee, so they should all be entitled to the same experience. Unfortunately, it just doesn't work that way. I'm hoping that her post will really help open the eyes of race directors (who can take it into consideration while planning races), as well as the people in the front of the pack (who just aren't aware that this is going on).
When Jerry and I went to the Detroit Free Press Marathon in 2013 specifically to cheer on every single athlete, I felt so sad for the people in the back. When I ran the marathon in 2012, and came out of the tunnel at mile 8, there were a ton of spectators cheering and ringing cowbells--it was awesome! I knew that's where I wanted to hang out during the race as a spectator, and we watched the first person come through, and then we stayed until the final walker came through.
Jerry and I were literally the ONLY spectators still standing there when the last person came through that tunnel.
We rang the cowbells and cheered, and the walkers bringing up the rear of the race thanked us and said that nobody ever stays to cheer for them. That was heartbreaking! They're out there nearly twice as long as the average runner, but they don't get to feel the excitement in the air and the hear the cheers as they work on a very physically challenging goal.
I know there are some races that definitely cater to the back of the pack as well as the leaders, so I'm hoping that maybe in the comments here, we can compile a list. If you've been in the back of the pack at a race before, but had a great experience (all the water stations and spectators were still there, the volunteers were still out, etc), please leave a comment to let us all know which race that was.
Personally, I think the Indy 500 Festival Mini Marathon (13.1 miles) is an amazing race for front and back of the pack runners. That's the race that I did when I was 253 pounds, and the cut-off time is 4 hours. I walked the entire thing, and finished in something like 3:52--definitely the tail end. But the experience was awesome!
I noticed that the people in the back are usually a little more talkative, and it was fun to chat during the race (I'm usually super quiet, but I get very talkative during a race!). There were bands playing throughout the entire course, and none of them packed up to leave before the race was over. All of the volunteers and aid stations were still set up, with plenty of supplies. The finish line party was going full-swing. A great race, and I highly recommend that for a first half-marathon (or if you're just looking for a fun race).
Any other suggestions of a good race, for fast or slow runners/walkers? Give them a shout out!