Monday, May 4, 2009

Indy Race Report (Two for the price of one)

As promised (just a little late), here's my race report from the 2009 Indianapolis Mini Marathon. It has been crazy (I guess when is it not) around here.

Steve and I were able to leave town around 5 pm (after dropping the girls off at my sister-in-law's) and heading down to the expo in Indianapolis. We got to the expo around 8 pm (it closed at 9 pm), got our bibs and t-shirts and walked through the booths. It was crowded and there really wasn't anything we wanted to see (other than I wanted to check out the Spi belts - didn't have any decent colors left and we couldn't find any sport beans) so we headed out. We still had another 30 minute drive to the house where were were sleeping.

Our friends were gone for the weekend so with no socializing to do, we went to bed. We wanted to leave around 5:15 am to get back to Indy and find parking so we were up around 4:45. Stopped at McDonald's down the road for coffee and an Egg McMuffin for Steve and got back into Indy as the line of FedEx trucks that were serving as the gear check were coming in to town.

We ended up parking in a garage under Circle Center Mall, very close to the start. We sat in the car for a little bit and then took the elevator up into the mall. It was dark and kind of creepy but the security guards were opening up the doors so we headed upstairs to the nearest bathrooms and had them to ourselves for about 15 minutes. We stayed there watching the gathering crowds from the atrium until 6:45 am when we ventured out. Steve found his corral and I headed off to leave a bag at gear check, a last port-a-potty stop, and then find my corral.

Indy is set up pretty well. When you register, they ask whether you are going to run or walk and then ask for your estimated finish time as well as proof from a previous race if you want a preferred corral. You are then assigned to a lettered corral, A being the fastest group and Z being those who didn't make it into their corral in time and those planning to walk at an 18 min/mile pace. I placed in D this year.

I got in my corral by about 7:10. Saw a friend from town in the same corral and a guy I went to college with. The race started at 7:30 and within 4 minutes I crossed the start line. The first .3 miles are on a slight decline and the lanes we could use narrowed, so it was a quick, crowded start.

The weather was perfect. It was in the 50s and overcast when we started. The sun peeked out a couple of times. There was a slight breeze and no rain.

I remember thinking in the first mile that it was going to be an easy run. By mile three, I started thinking "what am I doing" as I started struggling. Then I realized I was going up a hill and I calmed down. A lot of people passed me in those first couple of miles but I just kept my pace. I ran through the majority of the water stops and kept plugging along.

At mile 6, you turn right and run alongside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and then take a left and go down a hill, underneath the grandstands and the track, then up a hill and come out on the infield. It is a cool sight. You run a little bit on the infield and I took advantage of an empty port-a-potty. I probably could have kept going but it was a much more comfortable run and I probably only lost about 30 seconds.

We headed onto the track and a woman next to me pointed at the jumbo-tron. The winner had just crossed the finish line. Not too bad, I was over half-way done. On the other side of the track, I saw the female winner cross and then we headed out the back gate and back towards downtown.

This is a stretch that is a little on the lonely side. It is a quiet road with factories on one side and woods on another. It is also at the 9 mile point where things get kind of quiet among the runners. It is time to push through those last few miles.

I spent a lot of time doing "calculations" in my head. My mind is not one for quick math and for some reason could not convert anything over 100 into hours and minutes. I was trying to figure out if I was keeping on pace and finally realized if the last number on the minutes was one less at the mile marker than it was at the last mile marker, I was running 9 minute miles.

I was pretty sure I was keeping on pace but as I hit the second to the last straightaway, I felt like I was slogging along. But, I looked at the Garmin and I was running at an 8:45 pace. Somewhere along there, someone commented that they couldn't believe we were almost done. I think I looked and I was past mile 11.

I tried to pick up my pace a little bit as I made the last turn at the 12 mile mark. I saw a guy in a green shirt I had seen in the start corrals. He was about 50 yards ahead of me I decided I not going to let him beat me.

However, I was trying to beat myself. The panic set in as it often does at the end of a race. For some reason, I can see the finish line but start thinking I'm not going to make, I'm not going to finish in time. My breathing starts to get labored and I feel like I'm going to hyperventilate. BUT, a friend of mine gave me some advice last fall and I used it. I just relaxed and lightened my steps. I looked at my watch and had seven minutes to run the final half mile in order to come in under 2 hours. I adverted disaster, took back control, and set upon a new goal - finishing in under 2 hours on the race clock.

I took off, picked up the pace, looked for the opening in the crowd of runners, and crossed the finish line. The clock time was 1:58:something. My official time: 1:55:32.

I felt good when I was finished - no aches or pains.

I grabbed my stuff from gear check and put on my sweatshirt and headed back towards the 12 mile mark to wait for Steve.

On the way, I passed two ladies who looked like they were having a fantastic time cheering on the runners. I realized one of them was a lady from our church who is an AMAZING athlete and all around wonderful person. I stopped and said hello. I asked her if she had run and she said she had come down to cheer on runners. Very cool.

I waited for Steve for maybe a half-hour. When I saw him, he was running but not looking very happy. I caught up to him and ran/walked with him until the 1/4 mile left mark. He was struggling and said he hurt from his waist down.

It had taken him 45 minutes to reach the start line because the four lane road we started on went down to one or two lanes just before the start due to construction. In the meantime, the 5K race that started after the mini had started and, trying to be a considerate walker, he headed to the right to let the runners pass but wasn't able to move very quickly.

Once he got past the start line, he ran the first two miles and then started alternating running and walking. He had been fine until he reached the speedway and then things went downhill. He started using his abs to compensate for his legs. By the time I starting running with him, he just wanted to finish in under 3 hours. He made it to the finish line and crossed in 2:52. Next year, he's thinking he might train.

When we were heading home after picking up the girls, Steve was saying that he ran, then walked, then ran, then walked. Emily said, "Daddy, that's like a pattern." He responded, "Yes, a pattern in pain."

I had some fun giving him a hard time which he took kind of graciously. He moved up and down the stairs quite slowly. Thankfully, within about two days, he was feeling much better and has no lasting injuries. He's already talking about next year.

I've been taking it easy and spending my time organizing a sleepover/birthday party for Kate, which took place Friday night. We went to Grand Haven for a wedding Saturday. And now, I'm dealing with all of the final details for Tour de Max this weekend and hoping for no rain on Saturday (it will make a difference as to how many riders we'll have.)

Sorry for the long post. Hope you all have a great week!


Susan said...

Congrats on the GREAT race! Nice report, also.

And thanks for your support on being a new mom. I appreciate it!

Mom on the Run said...

Thanks Susan!

Joe S said...

Great report. Sounds like a fun race especially running around the Indy speedway. This is one of those races that I would like to do someday. Congrats to you and Steve on the finish!

Regina said...

congrats on the sub 2 finish! I have the same issue as you at the finish and have to check myself and regain mental control. Great race though!

I hope your hubby is feeling better. And what good are husbands if they can't take a little ribbing? Lord knows, we take our fair share (especially in this house).

Congrats to you both!