I ran the Indianapolis half-marathon this past Saturday and had a fantastic time with a few good friends/classmates. My friend C and I drove to Indy on Friday afternoon to check out the "expo" and pick up our race packets. It was a very small expo, but still fun to walk around and check out all the races I want to do next! I bought a super cute hot pink headband to wear for the race that says "I run for BEER" which I thought was very awesome and totally me. Afterwards, we met up with four of our classmates and went out for a fabulous Italian dinner in Indy - so incredibly delicious my mind waters just thinking about it. I had a seafood pasta (with shrimp, scallops, clams, squid, and mushrooms) in a white wine garlic butter sauce. HEAVEN. We were all sad that we couldn't try out the wine list to go along with our amazing meals, but we ate just enough of the freshly baked bread and olive oil to sustain ourselves. Anyway, this sort of sounds like a restaurant review, so I might as well tell you where we went! It is called Mama Carollas Old Italian Restaurant. Go try it if you are ever in the area!
Saturday morning, we woke up at 6 am (5 am our time, yikes!) and I ate my standard Thomas blueberry bagel with peanut butter and a banana. I always eat this before races, its one of my weird quirks. I swear no other blueberry bagel tastes this good. I got dressed, tried to put on my paceTat (tattoo with mile times - basically where you need to be - time-wise - at each mile to get your goal time) and forgot to remove the plastic... so I tattooed the plastic and wondered why it wasn't sticking to my arm... fail. I wrote them in pen, which gradually faded during the race, but oh well!
Got to the race start, waited the customary 30 minutes to use the port-o-potties, didn't really warm up at all and got in my spot in the B corral. Apparently I had signed up with a really excellent goal time when I registered... classic me. Between registering for the race and the actual race, I barely trained. I ran twice a week... if that. I wasn't good about my long runs - my longest run was the Monday before the race at 9 miles and I thought I would die on the side of the road... so I was using this race as an experiment to see how little training I can do and still have an okay race. The neat thing about Indy was that they had printed our first names on our racing bibs, just above our numbers - so people cheering could actually yell out our names, which I thought was just awesome.
Race starts - I cross the start exactly 2 minutes after the start in the usual pack of people. I love the start of races. I love jockeying to find a spot and passing person after person in the first mile. I love seeing what people wear, and their running styles, how they use their water stops, if they are running with a friend, and a million other things. This is why I enjoy racing. I know I won't win awards (not in a field of 9,000) but I know that I can compete against myself and have a great time doing that. Plus, I get to people watch for 2 hours!
I was exactly on my goal time for the first mile. I wasn't really happy about that - I like to be under and give myself a buffer for later in the race - so I picked up (a little) speed. We hit a large uphill and downhill that I ran my little heart out on - then I realized I should conserve some energy! At mile 2, I was a full 30 seconds under my time - and as the race went by, I worked myself up to a full minute under. I was feeling okay, but my body was getting a little achy as the miles passed. I ran past my friend M around mile 7, and on the way back, I passed C (at the same place I had seen M, but on the other side!). Mile 11 is where I hit my wall. I was right back even with my pace time... and I had started to die. I knew I could gut it out for two more miles, but right when that thought passed through my head, we turned and approached what looked to be a monstrous hill. I didn't walk, but I definitely shuffled up the hill and my pace slowed dramatically. At mile 12 and 13, I couldn't really see my pace times anymore because sweat had blurred my writing. My goal time was 1:52.30 according to my paceTat - I finished at 1:53.29. Not bad! My personal best is 1:52.14, so I can't complain about this time with the little training/preparation that I did!
My next race goal time (if I train the way I want to) is going to be breaking the 1:50 mark. I know I can do it, I just have to be relatively injury free (unlike this time!) and train properly. I'm proud of my accomplishments, but my competitive nature always wants more.
Congratulations to everyone who raced at Indy! They put on a beautiful race with fabulous volunteers - what a beautiful Saturday for running :)