This past Saturday was the Indy Mini, the world's largest half marathon. Mandy decided to transfer into the race and run it with me. I was excited to have a running partner. The race fills up quickly, so I usually sign-up in the fall on my own and hope that I will find someone to run with at the race. This is my third year of using that method and I finally got a friend to run with me! It is much more fun than running alone! We ran the IU Mini at the beginning of April, so we had spent a lot of the winter training. Because of a leg injury, I didn't run a whole lot right before the Indy Mini, though. Both Mandy and I had signed up to run the local YMCA Running Classic, which is a 5k directly followed by a 10k to get in one last long run the weekend before the race, but after the 5k I knew I couldn't do the 10k. My hamstring hurt too much. So, I only ran a couple of miles before about four days before the race. I was a little bit nervous going into Saturday wondering if my leg would be okay and if I had run enough to make it to the finish.
I planned to go up to pick up the race packet and catch a few minutes of the expo Thursday night before the race. It is about a hour drive up to Indy, so I left right after work with the intent of grabbing the materials and heading back home for a late dinner. However, Mandy decided to drive up with me at the last minute and we ended up having a blast. After we got the packets (where they would not exchange a size M for a size S shirt for me - boo), we headed through the expo. There was tons of cool stuff and we each bought an Indy Mini shirt and running magnets for our cars. We checked out booths on charity running organizations, athletic gear vendors, and other random companies. Got some free stuff, too, which is always good! I think we ended up at the expo for over an hour. After making a return I had to a downtown store, we grabbed dinner before heading home. We ended up going a little cross country after getting stopped by a train on the way home. After watching the train move forward, sit, and then back-up over and over again, we decided to find an alternate route home. Seriously, the train was crazy. We were just sitting there laughing while watching it go forward and then backward. Suffice to say, we didn't get home until 10:00pm after leaving at 5:30pm.
I am not a morning person at all, so leaving at 5:40am was my least favorite part of the day. I actually got up around 5am to eat something and get ready to go. Apparently, I over pack on gear for every race I go to. What I can I say? I like to be prepared for any kind of weather with short sleeves, long sleeves, pants, shorts, capris, rain jacket, etc. I also pack a change of clothes for after the race, just in case. So, I think I ended up hauling three bags of gear up to Indy and only used my jacket to put on after the race. Oh, well! Anyway, once we got up to Indy, parked, and used the restroom, we headed to our coral starting spot. I started back with Mandy and almost as soon as we got in there, they took down the ropes separating the different corrals and we all started moving forward towards the start line. It was nice to start further up in the race this year, it definitely helped to avoid people walking. No offense to the walkers, but with so many people at the start, it does suck to get behind a group of walkers. It took us about 8.5 minutes to actually get to the start line from our starting spot and we were off! We maintained a really great pace for the first 10 miles. It was funny to see all the different things going on around us. I am such a people-watcher when I run. Guys were running off the course around mile 2 to pee in the bushes (must be nice as we women have to wait for the porta-potties). There was a couple running together. Her shirt said "Just" and his shirt said "Married." Too cute! She even wore a little veil. Around mile 7, a guy running in the race carrying a box of Krispy Kremes offered us some donuts. I don not know how people eat while running - crazy! The other new and cool thing this year is that they had a hot air balloon at the same time as the race. So, we rounded a corner around mile 3 and the entire skyline was filled with hot air balloons. I wish I had my camera for that moment. I may have to carry it next year. I could go on and on about the interesting things we saw on the way. The actual race conditons were near perfect! It was a cooler morning, but not cold. The sky was overcast until around mile 10, so the sun was not beating down on us, there was no wind, and the rain held off. I honestly don't think I have ever run a race in better conditions. It was amazing!
So, we were doing good and then we both hit a wall around mile 10. My leg really started hurting and Mandy started to get tired. I tried to give us a pep talk, but she wanted none of it. Seriously, she told me to stop talking. :) It was all good. I've felt that way before and she apologized fifty times over after the race. When you are running and you hit a point where you don't think you are going to finish, you just need to concentrate and block out everyone around you to keep going and make it through. I completely understand - been there, experienced that. After three slow miles (at least compared to our pace the rest of the race), we finally crossed the finish like at 2:04:29. The greatest part was we smashed the time we ran a month earlier for the IU Mini (2:08:58). After we got pictures and some free food, we headed back to the car for the camera. After running 13.1 miles we took the elevator up one level to the car. We hurt bad. Seriously bad. Both of us. Neither of us wanted to walk three blocks back to the post race party, so we got a picture in the parking garage and headed home. Despite being sore, we started talking about the next race. It doesn't matter the distance, let the running continue...
(Note the cool running magnets on the car - 13.1 rocks!!)