Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Running half of Lansing's inaugural marathon

On Sunday the City of Lansing hosted the inaugural Lansing Marathon. I'll be honest - I didn't have high hopes based on the organization (or lack thereof) prior to the race. I registered months ago, and I didn't receive an e-mail confirmation. Apparently this was the case for many runners according to the complaints on their Facebook page. The course changed several times, and I was concerned that the race would be a hot mess. At the end of the day, though, the race was very well done and extremely organized. I was thoroughly impressed.

5K runners in front of the Michigan Capitol Building
This was my 9th half marathon, and I realized again how nice (and convenient) it is to run a race so close to home. On Saturday my husband and I headed to Cooley Law School Stadium (home of the Lansing Lugnuts minor league baseball team) to pick up the race packet. It was a cool idea to have the expo on the mezzanine of the stadium, but it was a chilly and windy day.  The swag at the expo was fantastic. The race shirt is a great - a blue, New Balance tech shirt that actually isn't enormous (a regular problem I have with race shirts). Our awesome local running store, Playmakers, had a great booth set up with Lansing Marathon merchandise. I got a gorgeous black New Balance jacket. Very cool.

Other than the Playmakers booth, the expo was a bit lacking. I realize it was the inaugural event, but I've been to a number of marathon expos. This one had just a few booths that really weren't very useful. It was a bit disappointing.

The morning of the race was FREEZING cold and very windy.  I met my friends/co-workers at our office, and we walked a block over to the race start in downtown Lansing. This was our third half marathon together, and I realized again how fun it is to work in an office of runners (well the girls at least...we still haven't talked the boys into it).     
At the start - I spotted my husband
Love this shot with the Capitol in the background
The race course started right in downtown Lansing on Grand Avenue. I had been nervous about the course due to the changes, but the course was great.  It was surprisingly hilly considering that I don't think of Lansing as having many hills. They weren't steep, but several were long, slow, slight inclines. That and the wind made the course challenging.

Runners heading down Michigan Avenue in downtown Lansing
Despite the somewhat rural nature of parts of the course, there were lots of enthusiastic spectators in most parts. Playmakers did a great job of marking the course with flags to indicate water stops. There were lots of well organized water stops, and the mile markers were easily visible. That's been a problem with a number of races I've done.

The race ended in front of Michigan's beautiful capitol building in downtown Lansing. I pushed so hard during this race that I couldn't appreciate the crowds and energy of Capitol Avenue at the finish. Despite a lot of the course being away from downtown, the course still did a nice job of showing off most of downtown Lansing.

This is when we realized it was a new PR for both of us.
All smiles to the finish
Finishing strong

I decided not to wear my running watch because I find that I keep looking at it and stressing over my time. Not wearing my watch must have done the trick because I shaved nine minutes off my PR when I crossed the finish line at 2:02:24. My goal was to PR, and now I've got a new goal to break a two hour half marathon.

With my friends after the race - we all three ran PRs!
The medals are gorgeous and similar to the one I received running the Detroit Marathon in 2010.  Overall the race was well done and highlighted downtown Lansing. It didn't hurt my impression of the race that I killed my PR in rather windy conditions. I have to say from my perspective Lansing's inaugural marathon was a success.   


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