Saturday turned out to be an amazing day for the 6th annual Fort4Fitness event. Out of the 6 years since it’s start, I have ran the half marathon 4 times. I missed 2009 with a brand new baby boy who was only 20 days old and I missed last year due to a conflict with the Cross Country schedule. Barring any unusual circumstances, I’ll definitely be back in 2014!
This is by far one of my favorite events of the entire year. The atmosphere is festive, fun and family friendly. Each and every year, I am amazed at the growth of the field size and how well the organizers are able to manage the increase in numbers. The Fort4Fitness weekend brings a health & fitness expo, kids marathon, senior marathon, 4 mile run/walk, 10K and half marathon. This variety of events allows my entire family to participate as well as many, many of my local run friends who are out for fun, fitness or possibly even running for time. A few friends from high school, who I saw at the start:
The 4 mile event hosted 3603 finishers with an average time of 1:00:02, the 10K had 1834 finishers with an average time of 1:14:41 and the half bought 2515 finishers with an average time of 2:14:54. Each and every participant finished in grand style, on the jumbotron as they made a lap around the track at Parkview Field.
It was no secret that I was running for time on Saturday. The day was beautiful with temps just under 60 degrees at the start. Bright sun. No clouds. Lots of energy. I felt fresh. I was loose, even my hamstrings were cooperating
for once. I was ready to run. One minor snafu, I for the second time this month forgot my pre-race fuel (banana) in my bag. No worries, right? Right! I did have one gel with me which I normally take around mile 8, I just adjusted and used it at mile 2 instead.
Start of the race is by cannon. Each race has a separate start (4 mi at 7:30 am, Half at 8am & 10K at 9am). We hear the cannon go off and we inch toward the start and I’m across in just a couple minutes. First mile is slightly congested, no big thing. 8:30 min/mi split. Mile 2, back on track, 8:17 split. Mile 3-7 are all exactly 8:20 splits. I felt good, in control, wasn’t running too fast but wasn’t slacking either. AND THEN I HIT THE WALL, or maybe it hit me. It happened just as fast as someone flipping the light switch, I was done. No, I take that back, I wasn’t done, my legs were done. My vision got a little fuzzy, I knew I was low on fuel and I think my legs were “possibly” still fatigued from the previous weekend’s half marathon/20 miler “double”. Who knows. I tried to speed up several times but it wasn’t happening. So I just smiled, enjoyed the race, focused on being thankful that I was running pain free and just kept moving toward the finish. It was a 1:56:xx type of day. Fastest half of the year, so far, and just a beautiful day to run with friends. It was also a bit of a confidence boost that there are fast times in my legs, I just need to tweak my recovery and nutrition a bit more.
A few random thoughts: 1) I missed seeing the National Guard this year. They are usually stationed between mile 11 & 12. I was looking forward to seeing them and they weren’t around. Maybe they had something more important to do? 2) Where did those hills come from toward the end? That’s what I love about racing the same course again and again, I always THINK I know the course but the hills got me this time when I was already on my downswing. I won’t forget about them next year!
Saw a few friends at the end too! Aby, Me, Adella & Brandi. Both Adella & Brandi were on my track & XC teams in high school. LOVE that we are all still running!
Great swag – a reusable Vera Bradley tote bag & a half zip technical pullover (unisex sizing).
Great course with constantly changing scenery starting with downtown views, heading toward the river, then into Foster Park, then thru some old very established neighborhoods with a “few” rolling hills. Great on course support offering 9 water/aid/potty stations. Last aid station, “may” have an extra table set up for beer shots too or maybe not, you’ll have to run and see for yourself.
See you next year in Fort Wayne!!
Amanda – TooTallFritz