We ran the Garmin Land of Oz Half Marathon on Saturday.
I really liked this race and plan to go back next year!
You guys! IT GLOWS IN THE DARK! I'm not even kidding! The orange part glows in the dark.
I understand that the medals for the Half are always the Wicked Witch, but the medals for the full change from year to year based on different characters from The Wizard of Oz. Last year it was the Tin Man and this year it was the Cowardly Lyon.
The shirt reminds me of a football jersey for some reason. I wish they would have used a different color other than dark blue but what can you do? Also, the shirt is themed after the Full Marathon theme, the Cowardly Lyon.
It's Kansas, they said, it will be flat, they said!
Liars! All of you!
Ok, it wasn't the hilliest course I've ever been on. That award still goes to the Nike Women's Half in San Francisco but c'mon, you expect hills in San Fran! The course at this race in Kansas had one hill between 4-5 that was pretty daunting to run up on. The course even started going up a slight incline.
I still really liked this course, I just should have gone into it with a better mental expectation that usually courses aren't 100% flat. Now I know and next year I'll be better prepared.
The Half Marathoners and Full Marathoners broke off from each other shortly after mile 3 and as soon as we made the turn we had a hill to go up. Also, when I was coming in for the finish, it was a little difficult because the the rain had made the road slick and I was trying to run up an incline to cross the line.
The course was slightly confusing with the mile markers. Because the Half Marathoners and the Full Marathoners broke off from each other and then reunited later in the course, we had random mile markers that didn't apply to us sprinkled in around the course. I remember thinking it was a sick joke that when I hit mile 4ish and saw a mile 12 mile marker that some poor delirious runner who wasn't paying attention would get pretty excited to already be at mile 12 so quickly. It wasn't true. Then I got to the end of the half and my watch said I had 1.2 miles left but I came across a mile marker that said 2 miles? WTF! I didn't know if they were telling me 2 more miles for me to go or what. I thought surely my watch wasn't that far off. Turns out, it was for the 6K race they were also hosting at the same time as the Half. Whew!
My best advice if you do this course next year is to ignore the mile markers and just enjoy the view! You'll know when you get to the finish line. I promise!
The hotel that hosted the Expo also had two shuttles to take runners to the starting line. I didn't use the shuttles but wanted to list it as an option for those who plan to run this race next year and fly in.
My Stats and Experience
I had blood sugar issues right before this race too. I knew it was going to be a rough race when I woke up hungry and with low blood sugar before I even got out of bed. I think I've learned my lesson and figured out that I can't carb load the night before a race! Ugh! That sounds so terrible to be a runner and not be able to carb load pre-race, but I've done it twice this month and paid for it both times. Luckily, the Hubbo came to the rescue again and shared his Gu with me. I hate the texture of Gu but it sure beats the feeling of low blood sugar!
I ran the first 4 miles on pace to be around a 2:10 - 2:15 pace but I got a horrible side stitch right before the big hill at mile 4.5. I was already having to push myself at that pace and after the side stitch I knew I couldn't hang on. So I decided to back off and have fun. That's when I took out my phone and starting taking pictures, Tweeting, Instagraming, and SnapChatting. I got some weird looks from runners who were passing me, but #RedHairDontCare.
It was my race and #IDoWhatIWant!
I took this photo and posted it to Twitter and Instagram. It's really hard to hashtag while running. Just FYI!
I placed 1500th overall
780th in my Gender
165th in my Age Group (242 Total)
Number of Half Marathon Finishers: 2,199
Number of Females: 1,318
Number of Males: 877
Number of Full Marathon Finishers: 678
It was a little sunny at the start but not too warm but that quickly turned to overcast skies. I don't remember exactly when I took my sunglasses off but I didn't even need them for the majority of the race. It started sprinkling very lightly at mile 3. Then at mile 5.5 it started to come down a little more. It rained lightly just before mile 8 and then after mile 8 it started pouring buckets of rain! Some runners were lucky enough to get to run through hail. I never saw it but the reports are that it was very small. More like sleet.
I wore a visor to this race and I'm glad I did. It would have been very difficult to run in the rain without it. I didn't mind the rain at all actually. It helped keep me cool from miles 8-11 where I tried to pick up my pace again. I was a little worried that my phone would get too wet but it survived. There was even a guy handing out plastic baggies for phones somewhere on the course by I didn't take one. That was dumb of me.
We did have some lightening far off in the distance from this race. I'm glad they didn't call the race off. Also, a big part of the Half Marathon course was on a paved trail in the woods. If they did call it off, I'm not sure where we would have gone and how they would have gotten us out of the woods. Glad it all worked out ok!
If you like reading race recaps like this one you should totally check out Bibrave.com where you can find and write race reviews!