Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon recap

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Happy election day! I sincerely hope that anyone reading this post is doing so before or after their trip to the polls today. I will be heading to my polling location on my lunch break and am anxious/excited/proud/privileged to be casting my vote this afternoon.

And I'm really sorry for the lack of posting yesterday. Leave it to me to be completely wiped out from GAINING an hour in daylights savings time. Long story short, I was exhausted last night. Partly from the time change and mostly from ...

... Saturday's Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon!

Not that I'm still drained from the physical race, but coming down from a euphoric racing high is rather taxing on your body and emotions. I'm still decompressing from the half marathon and I'm still wearing a stupid smile on my face because despite all of my worry and reservations going into Saturday, the race was all that I hoped it could be ... and more!

So let's start with first things first: I totally PR'd! While it wasn't by an astronomical amount of time and while I didn't quite hit my predesignated goal pace, I still shaved a solid minute and 10 seconds off of my time from last year's Monumental Half.

1:53:46!

And they totally gave me a medal for coming in 1,237th place.

But rumor has it, they gave medals to everyone. Boo.



But more important than my finishing time, I ran my fifth half marathon strong. Considering how poorly my long training runs went, no one was more surprised than me by how smooth all 13.1 miles felt. The only snag I ran into was a wicked side cramp on mile 10, but I absolutely refused to walk and kind of half ran/half shuffled along like Quasimoto until my side stitch worked itself out. Luckily, by that point in the race we were beginning to re-enter downtown Indianapolis and the cheering crowds and encouragement from complete strangers helped me forget about the pain quickly.

We were wrapped in foil blankets afterwards to stay warm.
In fact, I'm pretty sure I was fueled by high fives during the race. Seriously, the support and love of marathon spectators is awe-inspiring and I hope each and every one of them knows that they make an impact on us runners. Around mile 9 I started to panic because that was the distance of my last long run, and seeing that mile marker conjured up all of the feelings of doubt and uncertainty I felt a few weeks ago when I broke down and cried during my 11-mile run. However, right at that moment I rounded a corner and heard the most encouraging words ever from a woman standing on the corner cheering:

"Just keep moving! Keep your head up and your eyes focused on what's ahead!"

I don't know why her words resonated with me so strongly, but just hearing the instruction to "keep your head up and eyes focused" immediately caused me to reevaluate both my posture and my attitude. I stopped thinking about the past and started to focus on the finish line that was only a few precious miles ahead of me.

Race spectators also come up with the funniest posters and signs. The best one I saw along the half marathon course read, "Don't stop! There are a lot of people watching you!" (which made me laugh because I am always so concerned with what other people are thinking of me!) and I heard that there was a sign on the full marathon course that said, "If running 26.2 miles were easy, it would be your mom."

Oh, how I wish I actually saw that poster so I could give its creator a high-five.

This year's Monumental Marathon was far colder than last year's race. Last year I got by with a long sleeved shirt and shorts, but this year I had to pull out all of the stops with running tights and an ear warmer. And you know what? I still wasn't warm.

But I run like a beast in cold weather, so I'll take it!


These pictures crack me up because Joey was unmoving from that position for a solid 5 minutes.
 
Since it's November and racers start lining up in their starting corrals far before 8:00 a.m., the Monumental Marathon typically begins when it's still pitch black outside. Morning sunlight was barely beginning to creep around Lucas Oil Stadium when I crossed the starting line and within a half mile or so, I was running towards the most beautiful sunrise I've ever seen in my entire life.

I suppose the only part of my race day experience that I would have been happy to do without was the very beginning of the race, right before I crossed the starting line. Since the temperatures were hovering in the low 30s, many runners bundled in extra layers that are referred to as "throw away clothes". Throw away clothes are simply articles of clothing that are for just thatthrowing them away when you no longer need them. That being said, the starting corrals and adjacent sidewalks were already littered with stray gloves, pants, and shirts that runners only needed to wear until they could start moving and get their blood flowing. As racers approached the starting line, clothing was being shed left and right.

I was just about ready to cross the threshold and break into my running stride. I was positively brimming with anticipation and excitement. I was overwhelmed with the satisfaction of knowing I was about to embark on this journey yet again, that I was going to celebrate my weeks of hard work with running a great race.

Then I got hit in the face by a pair of pants.

A pair of sweat pants went sailing through the crowd of expectant runners in hopes that they would land safely on the other side of the corrals.
Moments before becoming acquainted with someone else's pants.

But they didn't land safely on the other side of the corrals.

They landed on me.

The pair of pants came at me from the left and swung around my neck and shoulders like a game of horseshoes. The legs of the pants wrapped themselves around my neck and the crotch of the pants hit me in the face.

I came face to crotch with a stranger's pants.

Startled, I began swinging furiously at the pants like I had my head stuck in a giant beehive of angry bees. I finally managed to pry the crotch of the pants off my face (and consequently out of my mouth) and after nearly strangling myself, I was able to unwrap the legs from around my neck.

And of course, in a sea of thousands of people, this did not go unnoticed.

So glad I could provide some pre-race entertainment for the masses.

Sprinting towards the finish line!
 
Clayton and I met up after the race and had big plans to gorge ourselves at IHOP before heading back home. However, the wait at IHOP was ridiculous and we had tickets for the IU football game that afternoon, so we had to settle for a quick lunch at Steak N' Shake. I was really disappointed over not getting my traditional post-race stack of waffles, but if this half marathon has taught me anything, it's that superstitions and race rituals are ridiculous.

I use to have some rituals of my own, but despite doing all of my "traditions" this past spring, I still got sick and ran a terrible race in May's 500 Festival Mini. So for the Monumental I threw all of my superstitions out the window and managed to have an excellent race. Eating a bowl of Fazoli's spaghetti the night before a race isn't going to keep me from getting sick. Wearing a certain pair of shorts isn't going to help me PR. What's going to help me get to race day as mentally and physically prepared as possible is all of the months of training beforehand. That's the only kind of "ritual" that truly works.

Well, that and getting hit in the face with someone else's pants. 

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2 comments

  1. Ahhhh, laughing out loud at my desk at work. So glad to finally hear the pants story, sorry you had to come face-to-face with a stranger's genital-covering area. Ew.

    ReplyDelete

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