Monday, May 5, 2008

I'm a Back of the Packer - and Proud of It!

I did it! I finished the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon and restrained myself by walking with my sister-in-law and husband instead of running. Okay, running the thing would have been bad as I didn't train for it, but I'm sure I could have run every other mile and been fine.

So here's my first race report for this blog (yes, I still need to post my Chicago Marathon report from last October, but I have to find it first).

Wendy, Steve, and I left for the 2 1/2 hour drive to Indy around 3:20 pm. Unfortunately, we hit rush hour traffic in Kokomo, which if you've ever driven US 31 through Kokomo, is bad. Although, driving through Kokomo any time of the day except for around 11:30 pm is bad. But I digress.

We got to Indy around 6 pm or so and found a parking spot at Circle Center mall. We were near the Convention Center where the expo was so we left our stuff in the car and headed over to get our stuff. We were joking that Steve would see someone he knew as he spent the better part of 4 years working in Indy, but I was the first one to run into a familiar face - one of the Team in Training coordinators I worked with during my first Chicago Marathon run.

Got our bib numbers, t-shirts, etc. and browsed through the expo. I picked up a 26.2 sticker for my car and Wendy picked up a new pair of shoe inserts. Unfortunately, she didn't heed the "don't change anything for the day of the race" advice. The inserts gave her a couple of nice blisters.

Wendy headed for her pasta party and Steve and I headed to PF Chang's for a Chinese version of carbo loading. Well, we didn't have as many carbs as we did Lettuce Wraps and Orange Chicken. I wish there were a PF Chang's closer.

Went to bed around 10:30 pm. I don't think any of us slept very well and we were up at 5:15 am. Had some coffee and my Brown Sugar Poptarts and we were out the door by 6:20 am. Steve and I took all of our stuff back to the car and met Wendy in our corral after a bathroom stop or two. Steve and I were smart and went into the empty Circle Center mall where a handful of us ignored the closed for cleaning sign on the bathrooms.

We started in corral X. Steve and I could have started further up (T and F) but we wanted to stick with Wendy and were afraid we wouldn't find each other. The gun went off at 7:30 and by 7:53, we were crossing the start line and on our way. The first mile was probably the longest with runners stuck back in corral Z trying to make their way through the throngs of walkers.

Steve suggested we run the last couple of blocks before the mile marker so we did that for the first couple of miles, although with each mile, he would want to run longer. I think he got the running bug.

Around mile 6, we went through the tunnel and entered the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. That was one place I really wanted to run. We walked the infield, and then entered the track for the lap where the greatest spectacle on earth takes place.

Steve had run ahead on the track and we caught up with him at the pit stop just after we exited the track and we started the walk back to downtown. Wendy's calf was trying to cramp up so our pace slowed a little bit. She and Steve were also developing blisters on their feet - Wendy's from the new shoe inserts, Steve on his toes.

We decided we were going to run, arm in arm, the last quarter mile (after we looked behind us and saw the end of the walkers). So we locked arms and started moving, when Wendy held back. Her calf seized up. So we walked a bit and she recovered. We tried running and again with the same result. So we walked until we were within about 10 feet of the finish and ran it in.

We went through the finish area and headed over to the Team in Training tent so Wendy could check back in. Steve and I headed over to the Taylor University tent to say hello to the Alumni staff (that's where we met) and we headed over to Circle Center mall for some Bourbon Chicken and then home. I had to drive because I was the only one not complaining about how I felt and didn't have blisters.

The Indy Mini is a great race to do. Relatively flat with just a few gentle rises in elevations. While they don't have pace groups per se, they do try to organize participant based on estimated race times and place you in alphabetized corrals. It takes about a mile for the crowd to thin out a little.

They also have great entertainment all along the route with a variety of bands to keep you going.

So there you have it, a report from the back of the pack. And now, we return to our regular scheduled programming.


Rick said...

Great report, Karen! How fun! It's so cool that you were able to do this with Steve and Wendy. Tammy and I <3 PF Chang's too! We LOVE the lettuce wraps and the Kung Pow Scallops. Yum! There's one in Perrysburg, Ohio if you ever get a hankerin'... we'd gladly meet you there! ;-)

Oh, sorry, you got me off on the food tangent. What a great description of the race. Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing the race!

Have an awesome week!

Mom on the Run said...

Thanks, Rick. How's the leg feeling these days? Have you heard anything from your doctor?

Joe S said...


Great job and great report! This is one of those races that I have marked on my life 'to do' list. I would think running around the speedway would be so cool! Excellent job!

Joe (Blue Dawg East) :-)

Mom on the Run said...

Hey Joe! The track is definitely the highlight of the race. When I ran it last year, there was this silence that fell over the group as we went through the tunnel and entered the infield. All you could hear were footsteps. I had goosebumps.

This year, as we entered the track, all my husband could say was "This is every man's dream." Although he was tempted, he didn't stop to kiss the bricks at the start line.

It is funny to think that the next day, when they open the track (your bib includes an entry ticket for opening day), Indy cars are going to flying around the track.

Hope all is well with you and the Blue Dawgs East.

Rick said...

Leg's still aching pretty badly. Our family doctor is supposed to be referring me to a sports med doc since the MRI of my leg was negative. This has been kind of a medical fiasco. By the time they get someone that knows what they're doing, my leg will be healed and I'll never know what was wrong with it to try and prevent it from happening again! LOL