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Archive for the tag “Indianapolis Marathon 2013”

Race Recap: Indianapolis Marathon

My training this year, and particularly this fall has exceeded all of my previous expectations and performances. I’ve been equally excited and exhausted by the miles I’ve logged and the time I’ve committed leading up to Across the Years on December 28th. Throughout it all, however, I’ve grown immensely as a runner, and found a decidedly beneficial balance in my life that has served me well on numerous levels. This past weekend, I tackled yet another new challenge amidst the variety of training scenarios I have been putting my body through during the fall. I registered for the Indianapolis Marathon on Saturday and the Des Moines Marathon on Sunday, officially attempting my first “double”, as my fellow Maniacs are fond of calling it!

All smiles on the way to Indy...after the sun came out and we woke up :)

All smiles on the way to Indy…after the sun came out and we woke up 🙂

On Friday morning, I hopped in the car with three friends for the 9 hour drive down to Indianapolis. My mind may not have been quite awake yet, but I managed to toss my bag in the car and try to conserve as much mental and physical energy for the weekend as possible. On the one hand, I was treating both of these races as a combined training weekend. However, my personal competitive nature meant I was itching to see just what I was capable of after so much more training than I had ever done. My previous marathon PR of 3:54:49 in Little Rock this past spring was floating around in my head, taunting me to push my body and see just what my legs had. However, I was committed to waiting until the morning of the race to truly decide how I would approach Marathon #1 of the weekend. We went out for an early sushi dinner and retired to the hotel room to get a solid night of rest. For the evening, convincing my mind and body to fall asleep so early was enough of a challenge!

The perfect pre-race meal!

The perfect pre-race meal!

We woke up around 5:30AM on Saturday morning, and began to get ready and eat a small breakfast. We loaded up the car since we needed to check out of the hotel before leaving for the race, and then hopped on the shuttle at 6:40AM. Leaving this early for a race that didn’t start until 8:30AM wasn’t ideal, but it meant not driving ourselves, which we certainly appreciated afterwards. The sky was overcast, although the darkness hid the full extent of the cloud cover. The light drizzle, however, was immune to the rotation of the earth and greeted us through the 35 degree temperature. We arrived at the starting line, and situated ourselves in one of the race tents to try to conserve body heat before the race.

Trying to stay warm before the race!

Trying to stay warm before the race!

The Indianapolis Marathon, in its 18th year, is a club race, and still relatively small (around 700 runners) with a multiple out-and-back course that takes runners through various area parks and wooded areas, along paved trails. We are able to avoid downtown, and the number of runners and looping course is perfect for interacting with friends and other runners on multiple occasions. I lined up in my assigned corral, although it was unclear what pace was affiliated with this place in the starting area. I decided about 3 minutes before the gun went off that I would seek out the 3:30 pacer and try to hang on as long as I could to see what I really was capable of under race conditions. The course was incredibly flat, so I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to test my body.

Everything laid out...ready to run!

Everything laid out…ready to run!

The gun went off, and I could see a pacing sign ahead of me so I raced to catch up, only to discover it was the 1:50 half-marathon pacer. I pushed on, and finally happened to run into the 3:30 pacer after about 3/4 of a mile. I only noticed him because of the conversation he was having with runners around him, as the rain had destroyed his sign. From the beginning, he was an amazing pacer and I was impressed. He was very calm, kept everyone comfortable, and engaged everyone on an individual level, going out of his way to make runners feel more at ease as they trekked on. Over the course of the race, we had a variety of fantastic conversations about marathons, ultra-running, and life in general. He was certainly an experienced pacer, and an asset to the Indianapolis Marathon.

I stuck with him and wet hit 8:00 minute miles pretty consistently. The variety of conversations, combined with a surprisingly large contingency of spectators helped the miles melt away effortlessly and my legs were feeling great. Several friends fell in with us around mile 8, and I was able to run with them for a solid 6 miles before we separated into different paces. I was able to hold out on a bathroom break until around the halfway point, but finally broke down. Luckily, the pacer stopped as well, and we raced to catch up to the 3:30 group together, and fell back in with our consistent miles. I hit the half-marathon mark in record time, and my pace was incredibly consistent. I was simultaneously excited and curious as to just how long I could maintain it!

The longest out-and-back was a rather long straight-away in both directions, which did get a bit tedious at times, but my spirits were high and I was excited by my endurance, which kept my spirits high. At the 20-mile split, I was still moving strong and feeling pretty good, although my legs were definitely starting to get a bit tired, and I could feel the impact of the pavement on my feet a bit more. Around mile 22, I could tell I wasn’t going to be able to maintain my 8:00 pace for the next 4 miles, and after I hit mile 23, I dialed back around 30 seconds for the final 5K. My feet were heavy, but I was still feeling really good and incredibly excited by my progress.

Throughout the race, I kept running into various friends and fellow Marathon Maniacs, and the energy exuding from that expansive support group no doubt had a great deal to do with my continued push forward. As I entered the park and closed in on the finish line, I knew I had to be close to my crazy 3:30 goal. I kicked as best I could, and crossing the finish line never felt so good, mere seconds behind a friend who had run a phenomenal race himself. I looked down at my watch and was greeted with 3:30:01!!! My official time was 3:30:41, and either way, I had destroyed my previous PR. I was a bit in shock to be honest. I knew I had trained well, and gained a bit of speed, but I certainly never saw 3:30 in my immediate future. I broke into a wide-mouthed smile as they handed me the medal, and I made my way through the shoot. I gathered some water and snacks, and the two of us made our way back near the finish line to cheer on other friends as they crossed.

Some great memories embedded in that medal!

Some great memories embedded in that medal!

In the following minutes, I was able to see friends hit BQ times, new PRs, age-group placers and cross the marathon finish line for the first time ever. The level of accomplishment in my circle of friends was incredible and I couldn’t have been more proud to know each of them. Everyone laid it all out on the course, and walked away with incredible efforts to be enormously proud of and memories that we all shared together. That small city park on the outskirts of Indianapolis was the site of some amazing running memories amidst a diverse group of friends, and being a part of such an amazing running community is by far and away what keeps me motivated day-in, day-out.

We hopped back on the shuttle bus, snuck into the pool shower area at the hotel to clean off quickly, and then back in the car for the another 9-hour drive. We spent the time chatting, celebrating, planning future races, discussing other possible adventures, and of course stopping every hour or so to stretch and eat! We rolled into Ames around 10:30 and I walked in the door tired, with sore legs, and some amazing memories!

Before drifting off to sleep, I filled the beautiful epicurean in on our adventures, and got everything set up for the next day’s marathon. I would get up in a mere 6 hours for marathon #2…but that’s a story for another blog post!

Looking Ahead: A Busy Fall Season!

It is once again in the 90s today, which a bit of relief finally on the horizon for next week. For many of you, I realize that these temps are either a) commonplace, or b) desirable out of a love for summer. Aside from the more relaxed pace and change of activities, summer has never been one of my favorite seasons. I tend to find myself more productive the busier and more structured I am, so seeing Fall right around the corner is quite exciting! Classes at Iowa State began this past week (hence the late post), and my independent summer gave way to quite a bit more activity. I’ll be defending my dissertation this semester (fingers crossed), as well as teaching two classes, looking for a job, auditing a course, and training for my first 24-hour event in December. It’s going to be a busy next few months, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Aside from the “race” to graduate, October appears to be a peak month for crazy, so I thought I would provide a bit of a preview. Over the course of 3 weeks, I’ll tackle 4 significant races, and log quite a few miles in between. Along the way, I have no doubt that I’m going to form some wonderful memories with great friends, and I can’t wait.

October 5th

This is the one weekend all month that I don’t have a race. However, I do have a 28 mile training run on the calendar, so I suppose I can call that an un-official ultra, eh?

October 12th

I’ll be traveling to Lincoln, NE to run the Market to Market relay- Nebraska. As you may recall, I ran the Market to Market Relay- Iowa earlier this year and had a blast. I’ll be joining several of the same friends, along with some new friends for 78 miles of running from Omaha to Lincoln. The segments are relatively short, so the day should fly by pretty quickly, and I’ll probably squeeze in a few extra miles as well. It should be another great relay experience!

nebraska-header

October 19th

I’ve had the Indianapolis Marathon on my calendar the longest of my races this year. After running the Little Rock Marathon with a few friends, we decided we needed to do a fall marathon together so we signed up within a week of finishing Little Rock. The date and nice flat course must have looked mighty appealing, because close to 20 other friends signed up over the coming months, including the beautiful epicurean, who will be running her first half-marathon! The result will no doubt be an amazing road trip, a great race, and another state crossed off my list in my quest for 50!

Indy

October 20th

Indianapolis was going to be my last major race before Across the Years, but that was before my friends decided to challenge my crazy! Several of them have thoroughly enjoyed going down to the Des Moines Marathon to cheer on friends. This race has a history of being a first half-marathon and marathon for many folks in our running community, including yours truly. So, they decided we should drive back from Indianapolis after the race to be back in time for the race. They also suggested I just go ahead and run the Des Moines Marathon as well. Obviously I couldn’t say no to this challenge, so here we go!

DSM

October 27th

Nebraska is about the last “local” state I have yet to cross off my 50 states list, and I was eager to find a unique race to fit the bill. The G.O.A.T.z 50K was run on a series of trails near Omaha last year, and I had several friends who ran the race and thoroughly enjoyed it. I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to not only cross Nebraska off my list, but enjoy a trail race as well. Nebraska certainly isn’t a destination I would think about traveling to for any other reason, so it’s funny to me that I’ll be heading that way twice in a month!

GOATz

So, there you have it. I’m sure I’ll sprinkle in some other adventures as well, but I’m definitely looking forward to the running memories that October has in store for me!

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