One America 500 Festival Mini Marathon (longest race name EVER)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, then you’re probably already aware of how my mini marathon went. I made sure that both of those accounts blew up in their respective newsfeeds with updates on my race. :)

But in case you missed it, I completed my second mini marathon (and my first mini marathon as a runner in the One America 500 Festival) in 2 hours, 11 minutes, and 09 seconds. I honestly had no idea what time to expect for this race, but I must say, I’m pretty pleased with my overall result. I shaved over 27 minutes off my first mini time that I ran just over 6 months ago. I wasn’t the fastest person alive, but hey, I am pretty darn excited about my improvement!

The race was wonderful. At first it was quite overwhelming to be herded into my corral with hundreds of other people and then turn around and see thousands more people both in front and behind us. Everyone was excited, beach balls were being hit around the crowd, and there were hundreds of spectators already lined up and down the streets of downtown Indy. Clay stood next to me in my corral and talked with me until the race started and put up with my incessant nervous chatter.

Little known fact about my husband: he wears rubber bands on his wrist every single day. Not hair bands, but just your basic, everyday rubber band. He first started wearing them back in 2003 when we had literally just started dating and he was visiting for the weekend, and he has been wearing one ever since. In fact, his trend is catching on because now both his brother and dad do it. Anyway, knowing his rubber bands were his classic “Clayton staple”, I asked him if I could wear one during my race. Not only did he give me one, but he wrote a message all the way around it in marker that I promised myself I wouldn’t read until the race was about to start. It was my good luck charm, as is he.

Before the race.

After the race started, it was a long shuffle to the start. It took me almost 13 minutes to walk from my corral to the start line. Once I crossed the line and started running (and when my timing chip started), it was kind of a desperate struggle to gain some footing and have actual running space amidst the hundreds of people flooding around me. There was a lot of darting on my part. I almost tripped at least three different times and was freaking out that I was wasting excess energy by trying to move away from the huge mass of bodies. But by mile 4, I was pretty comfortable and wasn’t all up in anyone’s business anymore.

The weather was perfect. It was really overcast which meant absolutely no sun in my eyes and the air was chilly enough that I never regretted wearing long sleeves. We were really blessed that day because the forecast called for tons of thunderstorms and rain, but it didn’t start to sprinkle until I was almost finished with mile 10. The rain was extremely refreshing and greatly appreciated!

There was live music on almost every corner and TONS of different groups of people blaring music and dancing to entertain us. I almost didn’t pay attention to my iPod (almost. I mean, when my Glee mash-up songs or Britney’s Femme Fatale came up on my playlist, I zoned out and JAMMED). There were so many spectators cheering us on that you couldn’t help but smile and feel encouraged. I even high-fived a walrus! (for real).

Now, I’m going to sound like such a baby for sharing this with you, but I’m gonna anyway. Part of the race is spent on the actual Indy 500 track. In order to get to the track, you have to run kind of under it, down a concrete hill and then right back up to meet the track. When my general group of people started running into the stadium, the concrete underpass was echoing with cheers and shouting from the runners to the point that it was deafening. I was so excited to be on the track and part of something so awesome that I …

… started crying. Like a little baby. While I was running.

I am SO awkward (see the picture to the left if you want even more proof).

I started to tucker out a bit around mile 10 and could feel my body switch from hyper mode to “I-just-wanna-lay-down” mode. Much to my despair, I could feel my body starting to slow down and I knew I was no longer keeping my previous 8:50 mile pace. I started to feel discouraged because I put ridiculous expectations on myself (even though, hey, this was only my SECOND mini), and didn’t want to slow down. But I did. Just a bit. However, my legs felt strong and my lungs felt strong, so I knew I would be able to successfully finish a mini for the second time without walking.

For about the last two miles or so, you can see the finish line in the distance. If that’s not amazing inspiration to keep pushing, I don’t know what is! And coming down the final ¾ stretch with everyone on the sidelines cheering and shouting has to be one of the most amazing feelings in the entire world. I still kind of get goose bumps thinking about. With all the feel-good vibes coming from the crowd, I found my second wind and sprinted to the finish line, smiling huge as I crossed and not photo bombing an old man like I managed to do last time.

Trying to have a strong finish.

Giant medals are awesome!

As I walked to get my celebratory banana and bottle of water, the skies open up and started pouring down the most glorious, invigorating rain shower ever. Ah, it was wonderful. Then, after feeling extremely claustrophobic and shuffling through the crowd to get my medal, I managed to spot my husband’s face a few yards away. I shouted his named and he turned, smiled at me, and then darted to the reception area to envelop me in a huge hug.

A few moments later we met up with my mom and sister who were sporting their Starbucks coffee cups in one hand and a gift for me in the other. My loving family bought me a water bottle with the One America 500 Festival logo on it as well as a t-shirt to commemorate the experience. I felt amazing.

Then I came home and completely crashed in bed, my post-run high suddenly turning into my post-run “I feel sick” experience. After a few hours of snoozing, I woke up and we went to celebrate the race at Hooters because this is America, dangit. Then, after lunch, Clay and I went to a pet store in Greenwood and I fell in love with a beagle/lab mix because playing with puppies is just the icing on the cake to a great day.

So I’ve completed two half marathons, and I can easily say with complete confidence that training for and running these races has given me a sense of achievement like nothing else in my entire life. To say this sport is addicting is an understatement. I have plans to run the same mini I did this past October to see if I can approve my time on that course. Additionally, Mandy and I will be participating in a Mud-a-thon this June (which sounds almost too amazing to be true. Running in the mud? Yes, please!). Right now the plan is to continue to let my body recover and then hit the pavement, asphalt, treadmill, trail and continue to do what I love.

In other news, I will finish the questions segment tomorrow because some of the questions I got were funny and have to be addressed publically. Also, I’m thinking of implementing a “Things I Love Thursdays”, similar to Oprah’s “Things I Love” articles in O Magazine. I’ve seen several other blogs with “Favorite Things Friday” posts, and I thought this could be my version of that, only with a less catchy name. The posts will be exactly like they sound because I like a LOT of things and feel like I can never integrate it naturally into a conversation:

Friend: “Hi Courtney, how are you?”

Me: “I LOVE TWIZZLER’S PULL-N-PEEL!”

Friend: “Um … okay.”

And maybe it’s because the mini is over and I need something else to focus my attention on, but I’m in one of those “I want to revamp my life!” phases. I’ve been in desperate need to really clean out my closet and get rid of stuff I no longer need/wear. I feel bogged down by clutter, and I want to change that. I go through spurts of buying clothes that I think are cute without ever really considering how much value they have or how long I could wear them until the fashion world deems that particular trend “dead”. The end result is a closet literally exploding with crap. I need to have a yard sale.

Other items on the agenda:
-Clean out my disastrous mess of a car
-Find my old Pilates DVD and awkwardly bend and stretch my way to flatter abs
-Organize my pantry and resume being the Rachel Ray I know I can be
-Read more because I had to watch a lot of Reading Rainbow in elementary school
-Pay more attention to this blog
-Meditate, talk to God, pray and get my emotions and keep my thought-processes at a happy, peaceful place

Alrighty, it's time to do some laundry and get ready for my softball game that I'm actually having tonight!

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2 comments

  1. I cried before I hit the track this year! An older man had a speed limit sign that said 230 MPH and was holding a race flag. I started crying and then my breathing got messed up and I stopped. Haha! So glad your first Mini went well :)

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  2. Great job! I've cried in races too. Funnily enough, one of them was a 5K. It was Hoosiers Outrun Cancer in 2010. I ran 17.9 miles, and then finished with the 5K race for my longest run ever - 21 miles. Thankfully I had my shades on...Where'd you get the brightroom photo? Confused - I thought they weren't up yet?...Sorry I can't do the Mudathlon now. Don't hate me. I had to choose between Geist and the Mudathlon and Geist is cheaper and sooner and will give me the chance to redeem myself!...I DO, however, think you NEED to run Geist with me! What do you say? You're totally trained for it...

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