We signed up for it last year, but alas, it snowed a ton and it was canceled. I guess that is part of the risk when you sign up for a night race which is held the last weekend of January in Indianapolis. My brother Mike and I are always on the hunt for good trails here in the Midwest and this year, Eagle Creek delivered!
My brother Mike was with me (insert photo of us at the race here). You would think there would be some convenient way for us to always carry a camera so we can capture these moments. Maybe someday they can integrate one into a phone perhaps! Anyway, we were both there and it was great. This was Mike's first official half marathon. I say official because he's done one by himself because he's hardcore like that. You can see his race recap HERE.
Waiting at the starting line is always fun. Seeing people's gear choices and feeding off of their energy is well worth waiting for the race director to start you off. Everyone seemed excited and relieved that the temperatures weren't any colder. Mike and I handed off our warm jackets to our step-father, Mike Young, who was there to support us, and then we were off.
I started slow as I know my tendency is to always go out too fast then burn out. Plus my training up to this point had not been all that spectacular, so the goal was to take it easy and have fun. I settled into a comfortable pace behind a young couple and I used their headlamps to light my path, reserving my batteries for later in the race when the sun had completely disappeared. The girl I was following did a good job pointing out the roots I should watch out for by tripping over them. She eventually ate it and I went around them (after making sure she was ok of course) and then continued on my way employing my own headlamp.
When you sign up for a winter race, it's almost disappointing if there is no snow. But, somewhere around mile 4 I believe, it started snowing. Running in the snow with a headlamp is sort of like driving in the snow with your brights on. It's kind of mesmerizing but at the same time peaceful.
As I completed my first lap of my 2 lap adventure, runners became sparse. I was running alone for most of the second lap, which is always nice. The second time around I was comfortable with the course having noted the rooted and muddy sections from the first lap. Though, the muddy sections were now a bit more frozen. My lack of training became more apparent the second lap. I took some moments to walk and eat some energy beans (which were frozen despite the lady at the running store's recommendation). Last thing you want on a cold winter run is frozen beans...
Somewhere around mile 10 I got lapped by the folks running the marathon. They looked fresh and were encouraging as they passed. I rounded my favorite section from the first lap. The section in which there were some trees down and you had to cross a little creek. This section was mentally demanding which made for a good distraction from some of the negative thoughts floating through my mind.
I could hear the finish line music and the race director over the PA announcing peoples names as they crossed. I crossed the finish line in somewhere around 2 hours and 40 minutes. I'm happy with my time considering the trail conditions and training leading into the event. The course was great and it was good to share another running event with my brother. I look forward to our next adventure together!