Friday, October 25, 2013

Indianapolis Half Marathon – Race Recap

Saturday October 19, 2013

Logo Full

As you can see from the logo above, this was the 18th annual Indianapolis Marathon & Half Marathon.  There are several options for participants; Full Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K Run / Walk, Marathon Relay and Kids Marathon.  616 people ran the full marathon (237 females & 379 males) and 1572 people participated in the half marathon (893 females and 679 males).  Surprisingly this would be the first time I’d ever done this race.

Packet pickup took place on Friday, October 18th at the Hilton Indianapolis North.  I realize that this isn't a very large race (although there are a lot of different options to participate in), I was surprised at how small the “Expo” was. 

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Blue skies but very windy on packet pickup day…the wind would be a factor on race day and there would be no blue skies. Sad smile

Got my packet without incident, there really wasn’t much to look at or shop around for so I sat in my car for a bit and contemplated my plan for Saturday.  My brother ran this race last year (he stayed at our house while we were in Iowa doing the IMT Des Moines Half Marathon) so I had asked him about parking on race day.  He had mentioned that he didn’t have any problems but wished he left our house earlier, had to walk a little bit of a distance, blah, blah, blah.  Now I took some of this with a grain of salt because (while I love my brother) he is a bit of an over-planner and a worry wart.  However, I had gone ahead and purchased a pass to ride the bus race morning so that I wouldn’t have to fuss with parking.  But when I looked at the pass, it was for the 6:40AM bus!  That meant I would have to leave my house around 5:45AM and the race didn’t start until 8:00AM.  Which I then discovered I had wrong…the race didn’t start until 8:30AM.  There was no way I wanted to get to the race THAT early and probably have to stand outside the entire time.  So I decided to go check out the area and see where the parking would be.  OnStar couldn’t get me to the exact location because I didn’t have an actual street address and they couldn’t find the building name in their system (the Major General Emmett J Bean Center – gee, wonder why they couldn’t find that?) but I had an intersection and that basically got me there.  I almost drove past it myself.  But I’m glad I scouted out the area so that I would have the comfort of some familiarity on race morning.

MapQuest said that it would take me about 45 minutes to get to the park from my house so I allowed myself an hour, just to be on the safe side. The alarm was set for 5:00AM and it was time for bed at 10:00PM.

Conditions weren’t my idea of perfect on race morning and since I don’t have any rain running gear I took a trash bag to wear.  Hey, it was a trash bag that kept me mostly dry during the monsoon that we ran in down in Nashville, TN so I was pretty sure that it would do the trick today.  But I really need to look at investigating proper rain gear.

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As usual, I had to stop before I even got 15 minutes away from my house to use the bathroom.  Perhaps that will now just be part of my “routine.”  Driving to the event was easy breezy until I got on 56th Street and then it got backed up.  I’m glad that I scouted it out the day before and knew that I needed to be in the right lane for parking because there were no signs.  It probably took 10 minutes or so to get from the off ramp to the parking lot which normally would have taken only a few minutes.  Since some of this road would be part of the running route they wanted everyone parked by 7:30AM.  Again, the race didn’t start until 8:30AM so I was very glad that I had my own vehicle so that I could stay in there until closer to the actual start time.  So at about 8:00AM, I decided to head over to the starting area.  Plus I needed to get in a line for a porta-potty; I really had to pee!  The lines were long but at least there was an abundance of them to choose from.  I looked around and found what I thought would make a good backdrop and asked someone to take a pre-race photo of me.

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I actually took an old umbrella from my car and used it until 5 minutes before we were to start.  I tried to stay toward the edge so that it wouldn’t annoy anyone or bonk them in the head.  Personally I thought I was pretty smart for having it!  Although this race is small, they started it in waves.  I found that a little weird but perhaps since the first part of the course is somewhat narrow, it made more sense to do this. 

I put my phone in a Ziploc baggie and then in my race belt and was pretty sure it would stay there the entire race.  I also had planned on leaving the trash bag on until around mile 12, depending on if it stopped raining and the sun came out.

Marathon & Half Marathon participants run the same course until mile 12.5.

The race starts and finishes in historic Fort Benjamin Harrison and takes participants on a beautiful loop of the Fort Harrison State Park during the peak of the fall foliage spectacle. The Marathon and Half Marathon courses are mainly flat with a challenging hill near mile 3 and just past mile 10 in the State Park. <--- that description is from their website. 


I rarely go to this side of town and although I did volunteer at a race here a long time ago, I really didn’t know anything about it.  It was really pretty though.  I wish I’d been able to have my camera out so that I could take some pictures.

I have to admit that I walked up a little of the hill at mile 3 and just a smidge of the one past mile 10.  I didn’t find it anymore challenging that what I had just done the weekend before down in Alabama.

The rain (heavy drizzle) continued until about mile 7 then it changed to a light drizzle.  If I remember correctly, it actually stopped raining – albeit briefly – around mile 10 but then started up again around mile 11.

Maybe it was because my watch was covered up most of the time and maybe because I had put my phone away but when I did glance at my watch around mile 12, I was ahead of where I usually am from a time standpoint.  My husband is always telling me that I need to stop trying to take pictures and just run if I want to finish faster.  But hey, where is the fun in that?  This was also when I ripped off the trash bag.  I sort of regretted not leaving it on until mile 13 because the rain had picked back up and the wind had kicked in again.

Anywho…I'm excited to post that I actually got a new PR during this event.  Almost 2 minutes faster than my previous one.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still slow but today I was a faster slow. 

I got my medal, a few items to eat (water, banana, granola bar) but I knew that I couldn’t linger too long.  We had a wedding to attend at 4:30PM down in southern Indiana. They had some fire pits going and there was another area where you could you could get “real” food.  I’m not sure if it was complimentary though.  I texted my husband to tell him that I thought I had gotten a PR and then headed back toward the finish line to see if I could find someone to take a post-race photo of me.  It took awhile – I didn’t want to interrupt anyone watching for their athlete to cross the line – but finally found some random guy.

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Walked back to the car and could barely get my fingers to push the remote unlock.  I really should have taken gloves.  I cranked up the heater to 80 degrees and had the blower on 15!  I turned the seat warmers on too.  I had taken a sweatshirt to change into and I’m so glad that I did but it was a struggle to get that wet race shirt off.

When I got home, I couldn’t wait to get in to a hot shower but I had to laugh at what a HOT MESS my ponytail had become.  From the rain and the wind, it was a crazy rat’s nest.  This was the best picture I could get. My hair is usually as straight as a ruler!

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Nice finishers medal for this event.

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So fast forward to Thursday, the 24th…since I couldn’t get any picture during the race I drove back out to that area to capture some.  Oddly conditions were once again gray and rainy.

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Although it is called the Indianapolis Marathon Half Marathon, the race takes place in Lawrence which is just east of Indianapolis.  I don’t know for sure if it is a town or a city.

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The above pictures are just before the entrance to the park.  The park was actually closed when I went back out there.  Not sure why.  Although the sign says that the park was established in 1996, Fort Benjamin Harrison itself was established in 1903 but I failed to get a picture of that marker.

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These pictures are are from in front of the VFW near mile 7.

I think I will do this race again.  Maybe even next year.  Which I really need to really start planning that out.

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