Triple Crown Series Event #3: Hoosier Park 8K
89 Degrees + Felt like 92 Degrees + 52% Humidity = Perfect Day for a run!
Today was the final event in the Inaugural Triple Crown Series. I had already run a street 8K and a trail 8K, today was the track 8K. The race began at 9 AM rather than an early 7:30 or 8:00 AM start time in order to give people time to travel up to Anderson who were coming from different locations. At first I thought this was awesome because I was able to sleep in a little (6:30 AM) rather than get up super early for a 7:30 AM start time. As I was running in the hot and humid sun… I began to think otherwise.
We started on the horse track (which is made up of crushed pea gravel or something of the sort – just in case you didn’t know) just after turn 2. The start line was 2 cones and a truck with a big fence/gate thing attached to it. I’m guessing they use it for the horse races at Hoosier Park, but since I’ve never actually seen a horse race, I can’t be too sure. This race was based on gun time rather than chip time, so I made sure to make my way up to the front of the start line. After all, I didn’t want to get caught up in the back traffic and lose precious seconds (if it were chip time, that would be a different story).
And we were off running down the track, around turn 3 and 4 and off to the side, through some grass, and onto the parking lot where we ran through the parking lot and out onto the street. We had just started running and the heat and humidity was simply oppressing. I was getting passed left and right! I didn’t let it bother me though because I knew it was hot, there was no shade in sight to get a reprieve from the sun, and I didn’t wear my water belt. Figures the only time I don’t wear my water belt I actually need it. I was not about to exert all of my energy in miles 1 and 2.
Around mile 1.5 there was a water station. Normally I skip the water (I usually have my belt on) because I find that trying to grab water and drink all of it takes a lot of time away from your actual run. Plus, I haven’t mastered drinking from a paper cup and running at the same time. However, today it was a necessity. So I ran with my arm stretched out, grabbed the cup from the nice water lady, and tried to drink. I got some water up my nose, a bunch down my shirt, and just a tiny swig in my mouth. Good enough. It was just enough to wet the dry spot that was forming in my throat and keep me going until mile 3.
By now people had started the run/walk/run method but I kept on trucking. I kept my pace around 8:30 minutes/mile. I usually can run faster and I have run faster but this was by far the hottest run I’ve ever raced in. I didn’t want to tire myself out too quickly. I figured slow and steady wins the race (or at least finishes the race). Soon I see mile 3 and the final water station. I have some serious cotton mouth going on so I try again to get some water. No water up the nose this time, but most of the water ended up going down my shirt instead of in my mouth. Can’t fault a girl for trying.
At this point, I’m started passing people. I looked up to see the entrance to the casino parking and new the finish line was just around the track. Running into the parking lot of the casino, I see the sign for mile marker 4. Just 1 mile to go!
I enter into the horse track and let me just say that the horse track didn’t seem so daunting at 9:00 AM when we had started the race. But after running a bit over 4 miles in the blazing sun, that track seemed never ending. Still I didn’t try to speed up even though I knew it was the end. The last thing I wanted to do was slip and fall or twist my ankle on the loose gravel. I’m not exactly the most graceful person. So I kept my pace, put my head down, and headed down the last lap of the track. Turn 1, turn 2, turn 3, turn 4, and finally I headed down the last stretch of the track. Normally at this point I would start to pick it up and sprint the last .2 miles but not today. Like I said, slow and steady.
I crossed the finish line in 43 minutes and 50 seconds. Not my fastest time, but I’ll take it!
The coolest part of this Triple Crown Series (besides the awesome medal you get for participating in 2 out of the 3 events) is that there were prize categories not only for the Top 3 male and female overall finishers of all 3 events, but they had age division winners as well. After event #1 (Carmel 8K) they put up the top 5 finishers in each age division. After event #2 (Eagle Creek 8K), they updated the leader boards so you could see how you did and where you stood in the running. Then they took the time from event #3 (Hoosier Park 8K) and averaged it in for a final time and the overall age winner received a special Age Division Champion Pint glass.