Running on gluten-free carbs…

Geist 5K – Fishers, IN (May 19, 2012)

Me after finishing the Geist 5K - Fishers, Indiana

Me after finishing the Geist 5K – Fishers, Indiana

Race: Geist 5K

Place: Fishers, Indiana

Date: May 19, 2012

Time: 25:47

Tired doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt leading up to this race.  I was exhausted.  And here’s why…

The night prior I was running in the second race of the Frankfort Trifecta in Frankfort, Kentucky.  While I’ve done back-to-back races before, the second race usually suffers in comparison due to tired legs.  Races on two mornings leave some time for recovery.  A race at night followed by a race in the morning gives me time to sleep.


The apartment below mine, however, is the home of a couple of baseball players in college.  And Friday night leading into Saturday morning they decided to be loud, obnoxious, shout, carry on, throw things around, bang around on things, and in general…be a complete nuisance.  Unfortunately, their loud antics meant very little sleep was had.  I finally stopped trying and just got up, got dressed in my race clothes, and came out to the living room to play on my computer until 4:00 a.m. when my roommate had set her alarm to get up.  But soon after I settled in on the couch, her door opened.  Yep…they woke her up too.

It was 3:30 a.m.  I put in a call to the landlord and we both decided we’d just get ready to get out on the road.  I got together some cereal to eat and grabbed a Lärabar for an hour before the actual race.  For my roommate, we’d grab something on the go, but just to get something in her stomach, we have granola bars on hand.  We grabbed the race gear and our stuff we’d need for the day…and headed out for the 2 hour drive from our apartment to Fishers, Indiana.

That, my friends, felt like an eternity.  When you are operating on very little sleep, everything seems to take longer.  But, we stuck some music on the iPod and made the drive to Hamilton Southeastern High School for race day packet pick-up (which thank God they have!).  We made one brief stop to get something for Cathy to eat for breakfast and as we neared the high school, I was tearing into my Lärabar (Peanut Butter Cookie flavor, FYI) so I wouldn’t find myself starving in the middle of the race.

We parked and headed toward the doors we entered through the day before.  However, they were locked with a sign on them that said “Go Around.”  The bad thing was, they didn’t indicate which way we needed to go.  And we chose unwisely.  The packet pickup was being held in the auxiliary gymnasium and we ended up taking the longer path around the school in the end.  But, we got there and I went up to the booth and claimed my packet and my t-shirt.

This was the first year that the Geist 5K was going to start in waves.  So, there was actually a corral system being used for the 5K as well as the half marathon, which was kicking off before the 5K.  I opened up my envelope that held my race bib and timing chip and discovered that I was being corralled in Corral A.  Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the corral system at races, the faster people are usually put in Corrals A-C.  Those at the Geist 5K who were in the first three corrals had a green stripe on their race bibs.  Well…I’m not a fast runner, nor do I claim to be.  Given my level of exhaustion and the fact that I had tired legs, I was also wearing a Bondiband that said: “What I lack in speed I make up for in cute!”  Sort of ironic to be wearing that when you’re being issued one of the more elite spots for the start of the race.

I ducked into the bathroom before I got pinned up and had the timing tag attached to my shoe.  From there, we headed outside to catch one of the shuttles (aka: a school bus) to the start point of the race.  We got on the first one and took our seats.  The drive didn’t even last that long, before we were pulling into a parking lot and being let off.  We had just gotten off the bus when some planes flew overhead.  I think this was marking the start of the half marathon.  As we walked toward the start we could see the last of the bobbing bodies going out of the start gate and up a hill.  The half marathon was off and running and now volunteers were readying the start area for the 5K race.

Cathy and I made our way down toward the start gate.  When we got close to Corral A, I went ahead and started stretching.  Good thing too, because the announcer suddenly said that the corrals were now ready for the 5K racers to begin lining up.  I shucked my hoodie, was wished luck by Cathy, and then…I stepped into Corral A.

Despite the fact that the official race site and rules say that headphones are prohibited, almost every runner had them in.  I left my iPod at home, because when a race says you can’t use headphones, I believe you should not wear headphones.  Rules are rules.

The announcer started calling out all the different teams that were running in the 5K race.  And soon, the corrals were moved forward.  The race would be started in waves.  Corral A would go, then four minutes later, the next wave would be set out.  And so on.  It made sense.  And, in the end, would probably make for a much smoother start to the race.

With all that being said, the announcer prepped us for the start.  And as soon as he said, “GO!” we were off…kind of.  You see, the ladies in front of me decided that they would rather walk through the start than go.  In fact, they might have decided to walk the entire thing.  I don’t know.  But I was already over the start line, my GPS was going, and I wasn’t running.  I literally had to push past them to get out and going, and that’s what I did.  I gave a wave to Cathy as I ran by and started up the initial hill that kicks off the Geist 5K.

You wouldn’t think it…but this area of Indianapolis is rather hilly.  The race is run through the surrounding neighborhoods, and then the last bit of it is spent running across the Geist Reservoir.  It starts and ends in two different spots, which meant Cathy had to dart from the start to a shuttle to get her to the finish line before I made it there.  It’s not as easy as it sounds.  For the second year in a row, she managed to get to where she needed to be moments before I rounded the corner for the sprint to the finish.

The first file ticked off without much fanfare.  As we rounded into the neighborhoods we were being told by a volunteer to watch our step on some pavement.  I thanked them as I ran by and headed into the rather hilly neighborhoods around the Geist Reservoir.  The people who live out there, however, are awesome.  Many of them were out on their driveways and in their yards to cheer on the runners.  It was a great atmosphere.  I was hoping there would be some music being played along the way, but no such luck.  Mile 2 was completed and I was heading into the last one.

I started up a hill and there was a sign indicating that 5K runners should hang left and half marathon runners should go to the right.  We were hitting the part where we run across the reservoir.  As I was coming up to the split, a volunteer was moving the sign and told me to go right.  I shouted, “I’m in the 5K!”  He still said I needed to go that way.  So…I did as I was told.  But I noticed all the other runners were in the other lane, and up ahead was a slow moving bus and some people walking.  So, despite what I was told, I hopped the median to join all the other 5K runners and avoided the slow down.  The last mile was being ticked off and I could see the bend that would carry me toward the finish line.

So, I decided, despite how tired I was, to go for it.  I came around the turn, and Cathy was there just shouting and cheering for me.  It was awesome.  I heard the finish line announcer say, “The donkey is flying!  Go Karen!”  It was awesome and funny and…well…awesome!  I was nearing the finish line and I heard people yelling, “GO GIRL!  RUN!”  And then…some walkers were in my way.  They were crossing about the time I was…but I just went around them.  I bet that makes interesting finish line photos.

Yeah…I was tired.  Yeah…my legs were screaming at me.  But I was handed one of the finisher medals and made my way through runner services, snagging a banana and some snacks along the way.  Then, I got the tag cut off my shoe and waited for a moment before I spotted Cathy heading my way.

We met up and I tucked the snacks away for later, drank down my bottle of water, and went to the results tent to get my official time.  It was printed off for me and I was stunned.  I walked the ticket over to Cathy and showed her that, currently, I was placed first in my division.  I did, however, tell her that was going to change.  So, while we waited in the recovery area, I decided to take advantage of the massage booth and got a nice post-race massage.  Then, I rejoined Cathy to polish off my bottle of water.  I went back over to the results booth, because enough of the 5K runners had come in at this point that the results would be a little more accurate.  I was right…my standing changed.

The official results for the Geist 5K have me finishing in 25:47 (not bad for being tired!).  I was 245/3063 finishers overall.  Sweet!  I was 57/1826 women to cross the finish.  And I was 2/173 people in my division.  Second place for my age division.  That’s amazing!  I was ecstatic.  I was actually quite surprised too.  I was running this race on tired legs and was overall just…tired…due to lack of sleep.  But I pulled off one hell of a finish.  I was very, very pleased with the results.  Quite proud of myself too.

I’m contemplating running the Geist Half Marathon next year as one of my half marathon races.  It would be a good run to do as I’m working toward my first marathon in 2013.  So, we’ll see what happens in the end.  But this was yet another race I returned to and bettered myself in.  Last year I finished in 28:10.  It was nice to see an improvement.


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