Going back to my original goal of just finishing the mini - I did just fine. My expectations for the race were low when I started out this morning. I couldn't sleep last night for many reasons and only got 2 hours of sleep prior to the race. I feel awful because in my tossing and turning, I kept Todd up most of the night. Instead of staying in downtown Indy as I did with friends last year, I was on my own and decided to carpool up with two women from Bloomington. In order to meet them in time, I had to get it up at 4:30am. Among other things, I was worried about sleeping through my alarm, worried about the race, and worried about riding up with people I didn't know (I found the ride on a listserv of runners I am on). But, I made it to meet them in time and we got to Indy with no problem. They seemed to want to run together for the race and since I rode with them, I felt slightly obliged to do so. I was bummed because I had a starting spot at the beginning of the race in corral F, while they were in corral Q. How it works is that you start the race based on your corral A-Z. People with an earlier corral number can start at the back with friends, but people in the back cannot move up corrals. So, I started in Q with them. Unfortunately, there were a lot of walkers to dodge in our corral, where I would have not had this problem up front. We ran together for the first 10 miles. One of the women who was doing the run hadn't trained over 6 miles, so we slowed our pace for her a bit over the 10 miles. She decided to walk at mile 10 and we all split up at that point. I finished in 2:15:23, which is not great compared to my 2:02 in the last half a month ago. But, I have lots of reasons for the slowdown - I was running on little sleep; I slowed my pace a bit at the beginning; we took two bathroom stops (only one for me, but I stopped when they did); I had no headphones with music to help pace me; and no matter how good of a runner you are, it is very difficult to navigate the crowd in this half. There are so many people and I never broke out of a pack the entire race. I was dodging people the whole morning and even taking elbows at the finish line. Last year it seemed like after I got past mile 8, the course was not that packed and I was able to run without constantly jumping around people. I cannot say the same for this year.
The interesting outcome of the race is that I have a new-found interest in actually running with people, which is hard to do over a long-distance race. It's not that I don't like running with people, you just have to find someone who is your pace and comfortable staying together. Also, people typically wear headphones, so there is little conversation. It was nice to have people to talk to during the race even though we stopped more than I would have liked. We actually got to know each other a bit over the course since none of us had headphones on. We saw a lot of interesting sites from the entertainment, to the outfits some runners were wearing, to someone getting medical assistance at mile 10. Overall, I think running with people and having a conversation actually made the race a little more fun and more relaxing. I have a competitive side, but I am also liking the idea of running a long distance in a more leisurely fashion like today. Honestly, I really wouldn't have done that much better if I started on my own in corral F vs. starting with them in Q and running as a group for 10 miles. So, it was definitely worth it to start with them and I am glad I did. The company was nice.