Latest reviews by Caroline P.

(2015)
"Take Me To The Speedway"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was the 3rd year that I've run the Indy Mini (I also ran in 2012 and 2013), and this was my first year to participate in the wave start. The wave start was implemented last year so people weren't stuck standing in their corrals for so long, and I loved how it made everything flow better (port-a-potty lines were shorter, etc...). The Mini is a huge race, which makes parking and race morning pretty hectic. I'll break the race into sections:

Race Course: Overall the course is pretty good (I still like the Monumental Half Marathon in November more though). The course is fairly flat, and winds out of downtown and towards the Speedway. Running through the Indianapolis Motor Speedway seems cool in theory, but I actually hate it. It's SO hot in there, and the cement is pretty hard, so the 2.5 miles you're on the track just drag along. It's my least favorite part of any course I've run. Hopping off the speedway at mile 8 is fantastic, and there is a bit of shade through some streets covered in trees. Once you hit mile 10, you hit several neighborhoods and then downtown again as you run towards the finish line. The crowds are fantastic throughout the entire course, and I love all the bands out playing. The course is packed with people from start to finish, and I actually really dislike how packed it is. Between people clipping my heels, cutting in front of me, and stopping in the middle of the street to tie their shoes, the race can get pretty frustrating.
Aid Stations: All excellent. There is plenty of water and gatorade, and when I hit the gu station somewhere in mile 9, they had several different flavors they were handing out. There were medics along the course as well. No complaints here.
Race Communications: Excellent. This is a well run race, and they have everything down to a science. They send out emails throughout the year, which keeps excitement up.
Swag: Fine. The shirts were pretty good this year, and this was the first year that I've run it that they had mens and womens specific shirts, which meant I could finally get a shirt that fit me well.

The Mini is one of my least favorite half marathons that I've done, but I've also done it 3 times, so it must not be THAT bad. It's definitely worth it to sign up for it once just to experience the crowds and the speedway.

For a more specific race recap, check out my blog: http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com/indy-mini-marathon-race-recap-2015/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2014)
"Is this a Caribbean Christmas Experience?"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

A Caribbean Christmas experience sounds great to me, especially when it comes to running! When I saw a Caribbean Christmas themed race, I was immediately excited, but unfortunately the race failed to deliver. Let's look at the race in categories:
Packet Pickup:
There was no real expo, as packet pick-up was right before the race. There was no line, and we immediately were able to get our packets (had a bib and a packet of instant flavored coffee in it) and our sweatshirts. Packet pick up took about 2 minutes.

Starting line: There were no corrals- everyone just lined up as they pleased. I would've appreciated if there had been some sort of announcement about walkers lining up towards the back/walkers staying to the right, but no announcements were given. It was a chilly morning with biting wind, so they actually ended up starting the race a few minutes early. It was nice for me, but I would've been annoyed if I got to the start right on time and missed it... or even got there a few minutes early and lost my warm up time.

Race Course: I enjoyed the course, as it wound past various sites that have been meaningful to me in my running history. There were some "hills" (Carmel hills- not flat, but not hugely steep), and lots of turns as it wove back to the finish line. There was one aid station along the way with small cups of water (it was cold, which was nice even though it was cold outside), but no other aid stations were needed as it's a 5k. People weren't along the course cheering at all. There were police officers along the course directing traffic, so that was nice!

FINISH LINE: There were people cheering at the finish line, and as it was chip timed, there was a timing mat. Once we crossed the finish line, a man dressed as santa was there to give out medals, which was fun. They also gave out really really cheap leis, but I didn't even bother to get one, as they were just plain cheap.

FINISH LINE FOOD: We grabbed a bottle of water at a table that was near the finish line, and we thought that's all they had. There was no one directing us to a separate table with donuts, fruit, granola bars, etc... and I didn't realize that the table was even there until I looked at the race pictures a few days later. How disappointing. I wonder why no one was at the finish line telling us where to go?

SWAG: 1 packet of instant coffee, hooded sweatshirt (it's good quality and really comfortable), and chapstick. We also got race pictures for free (photographer was at the start line and finish line), as well as the medal at the finish line.

This race cost $50, and there is absolutely no way I would pay that again for what we got. The race was pretty "meh", the organization was lacking, and it seems that they could've done more to create a "caribbean" environment (or, if you can't do that, then don't have that as the theme of the race!). I think you'd be better off finding a different local race that would give you a better race experience for a better price!

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2014)
"Being Monumental in 2014! "
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This was my 3rd year running Monumental, and I was so excited. I have an intense love for this course, so I was more than excited to toe the starting line once again. I came in after taking 6 weeks off due to shin splints, so I didn't know how the race would personally go for me, but I knew that I would at least love the course! Apparently it was my day to run, and I set a new PR!
I'll break the race into sections:

EXPO:
I really enjoyed the expo this year. It seemed like there were maybe a few more vendors, and the people working at the vendors were really friendly. State Farm had a booth where you could make free t-shirts (mine said Better Sore Than Sorry), and I loved that! Jeff Galloway was also there speaking and I got my bib signed by him as well. I loved it!

Pre-Race Start:
I love that the convention center near the starting line is open for all runners and spectators. Because it was cold this year, it was especially nice to not have to stand outside for more than 15 minutes, and to have nice, flush toilets to use! This year they had free yoga sessions to help warm up, along with free bananas and coffee! Talk about awesome service for all runners!

Starting line:
There are no assigned corrals, but are pace numbers you can line yourself up next to. This process went quickly enough, and the race started on time! I crossed the starting line 5 minutes after the gun first went off, so it was quick and smooth!

Race:
This is a race that I absolutely love! It takes you past some of the major monuments of Indy. Right around mile 1 you hit Lucas Oil Stadium, where the Superbowl was held a few years ago. Right before mile 3 you get the chance to run through monument circle, which is awesome. There are more than enough water/gatorade stops along the course, which is great. This year they were a little slower and getting some of the water out, and twice I think I had to stop for a few seconds as someone had to fill up the water cup to give me. I think somewhere around mile 8 they had a table with Clif Gels out, but by the time I got to them they were all gone. There are plenty of people who come after me, so it's disappointing they don't have enough out for all runners and walkers. I bring my own fuel, so this wasn't too upsetting to me. The crowds were pretty good, even though it was pretty cold weather, so that was nice to see! The course if pretty flat and FAST, which I absolutely love! Like I said, I have intense love for this course overall!

Finish Line:
The finish line has been organized really well each year. There's an announcer who announces who is crossing, and music is blasting. You're given a medal, a finishers hat, and this year they had water, bananas, and bagel bites. Unfortunately, instead of the typical space blanket (which would have been really nice on a day like today), they gave out these weird haz mat suit looking jackets that could be tossed, and I hated the feel of them. I didn't even put mine on. They have free chili from Steak n' Shake and sandwiches for free from Jimmy Johns too for runners, which is absolutely fantastic! The finish is right in front of the State Capitol, which is pretty epic! The medal this year (and the following 3 years) will be part of a collection, so you can tell it's slightly incomplete, but not enough where it bothers me in any real way.

Overall, this race is a truly fantastic experience, and I encourage you to check it out! I'll be there next year!
If you'd like to read my race recap, you can find it here: http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com/indianapolis-monumental-half-marathon-race-recap-2014/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2014)
"I PR'd in Chocolate!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

This November I ran "America's Sweetest Race" and set an awesome new PR...in the amount of chocolate I ate while racing! I seriously have nothing but great things to say about this race! I had originally signed up to run the 15k, but due to aches and pains from a recent half marathon, dropped down to the 5k. Instead of being charged a fee to change distances, I was refunded $25! Immediately I was pleased.
I had someone else pick up my packet for me, but I heard the expo was really well organized. The swag was a little hot chocolate back pack and an awesome hooded sweatshirt (it fit very true to size). This might be my favorite race shirt yet!
Parking was easy. We parked in a ramp right next to the start line, and only paid $5. Nice! There was a huge number of port-a-potties there, and they were nice and clean! The lines were short since there were so many bathrooms, and there was even hand sanitizer!
the race started right on time (8:05), and there were flurries in the air! it was great running weather.
The race course itself went through downtown Columbus, and the scenery was fantastic. There are definitely some hills on the course, so be prepared for that! At mile 1.5 we hit the only chocolate stop on the way, and were given chocolate chips the size of quarters! YUM! I had a whole handful to eat over the next few minutes, and it was delicious. There was a water/gatorade stop after this to help wash it down. The 15k course had 4 stops. The course split at 2.5, and signage was plentiful. There were clocks at every mile to show the race time, which is always a perk in my world! The crowds were great near the end, and I came running into the finish line with a smile on my face.
They didn't have any space blankets after the race, which was a little disappointing given how cold it was. They also didn't give out any medals for the 5k runners, which was a bummer because the 15k medals were adorable!
After crossing we went to get our finishers mug, which included partitions with the following treats: a hot cup of hot chocolate, melted chocolate for dipping, a banana, cookies, a marshmallow, a rice krispie treat, and some mini pretzels. It was a mess to eat, but really delicious! They planned it really well, and included a wet wipe to get off all the chocolate from our hands and faces. They also had stands of plastic bags to put your mug into to get it home safely without getting chocolate everywhere.

Honestly, this race is one of the most well organized races I've been to. The blow up hot chocolate mugs and marshmallows were adorable, the music was fun, the course was fantastic, and all the chocolate was wonderful. This is a really fun event to do with kids or a group of friends!

for more details on the race, check out my race recap: http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com/hot-chocolate-race-recap/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.
(2014)
"I'm So Rad!"
Overall
T-Shirts/SWAG
Aid Stations
Course Scenery
Expo Quality
Elevation Difficulty
Parking/Access
Race Management

2014 is the 2nd year that I ran Color me Rad, and I looked forward to it from the minute I crossed the finish line last year!
I went to the Indiana State Fairgrounds on Friday night to pick up my packet, which included my race bib, a temporary tattoo (which I didn’t use because last year it took a few days for it to completely come off), a t-shirt (I really like it, and I wore my one from last year quite a bit, so I’m assuming the same will be true this year. They have men's and women's specific shirts, which is always a HUGE huge plus), and a pair of sun glasses. Packet pick up was easy, and I didn’t have to pay anything to park.
I signed up for the 9:20 wave, and parked at about 8:50 at a parking lot across the street (parking was $5 there), and took the shuttle to the starting line. Quick and easy.
The starting line people this year and last have been full of energy, and they get the crowd pretty pumped up and ready to go! They specifically give instructions for walkers to stay to the right, and runners to the left, but in both races walkers have been to the left. Apparently they don’t realize what a hassle it is for people who want to run to weave through all the strollers, etc. I love that this race is for everyone- I just wish that people would follow race instructions!
The color stations were lots of fun, and they didn’t skimp on color at all! Last year I left some of the color stations without much color on me, but this year I definitely did not!
They provide water bottles at about the 2 mile mark, and especially with the heat and humidity it was nice. The humidity was disgusting, and the temperature wasn’t so ideal. Sweat was dripping down my face (I had run 2 miles before the race, and followed it up with another one, for 6 total miles, done in cotton shirt and shorts. disgusting.), and my clothes were just not breathing. The water felt fantastic.
Right before the finish line they handed out a free packet of color to toss around too. I grabbed pink because… obviously, why wouldn’t I? :)
At the finish line they provided more bottles of water and granola bars, and had a stage with music along with back drops to take pictures at with friends. From start to finish the atmosphere was just SO much fun.
I brought a towel to sit on in the car and an extra plastic bag to throw in shoes, socks, compression sleeves, spi belt, and shirt for the car ride home. This is important, as you don't want colored powder everywhere!
This race was organized so well, and I loved the energy and excitement. The race is well worth it, and you’ll have a blast if you sign up for it!

For more information about the race (including pictures), you can check out my blog recap here: http://www.thelittlethingsblog.com/color-me-rad-5k-recap/

Login or sign up to leave a comment.