Wednesday, May 7, 2014

500 Festival Mini Marathon, Take 2...

Well, adrenal fatigue or not, I had registered months ago for the 500 Festival Mini Marathon! This would be my second year running, and another chance to run alongside my running buddy. Since we usually have to be supportive from afar, and because this race is just plain FUN, I wasn't going to back out.

I entered the weekend with no expectations. After all, I'd run my marathon 3 weeks ago, I am currently dealing with adrenal fatigue, and I'd basically only run 5Ks since the marathon.

We hopped in the car for a 5 hour jaunt South to Indianapolis. After a stop at Eric's house to unload the car, and introduce our 60 pound dog to his two 12 pound dogs (ours was terrified of his, go figure), we headed to the Expo.

Indy gets the Expo right. It is BIG, there are lots of shopping options, some fun samples, and it all flows smoothly. Walk up, get bib, take fun photo, convince friend to run full marathon...

Oh, yeah. I made sure to walk Eric right up to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon booth and have a little chat with their representatives.   I've already registered for the November 1 marathon, and am trying to fundraise for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research again. I'd really appreciate your support! Eric has been talking for a while about wanting to do a marathon, so I figured a hometown race we could run together, that has received GREAT reviews, would be a great opportunity. And I convinced him.   I also convinced him to buy some calf compression sleeves from CEP finally. But that's just because I am wise and all-knowing...

Obligatory Expo photo...

Race morning dawned bright-ish, and not so early...  They tested a wave start at the Mini Marathon this year, and our Wave wouldn't step off until 8:15. Add to that the fact that Eric lives very close and has guaranteed downtown parking, and we "slept in" until about 6!  We needed a brief stop at CVS, because I forgot deodorant, but compared to forgetting my shorts AND sports bra last year, I still came out ahead!

The wave start was a great idea for a race so packed (usually 35,000 runners). There seemed to be much less of a crowd outside the corrals, the lines for the port-a-pottys were shorter, etc.  I did jump out of our corral for a last second pee. Security threatened to make me go way back to the back, but thankfully, other runners weren't going for that and popped the fence open.

The day started chilly, but by the time we took off, the clouds were gone, and it was warming up fast with all the sun. A LOT of people are either inexperienced or just silly because they were wearing tights, jackets, etc. I saw a girl pull her fleece top off exactly one minute after we crossed the start. I can't imagine carrying that for 13.1 miles.  I had stuck with my marathon outfit... shorts, Team Fox singlet, and arm warmers, which worked very well as the sun continued to rule the day. 

The wave start worked very well. There was the usual jostling at the front. Somehow, it never dawns on people to move back a few (or several) corrals if they haven't trained, and you always run into walkers almost immediately, but within a mile, we had spread out nicely. This year, I only felt crowded at a few choke points, so I hope they keep the wave. 

Eric started strong, and I had a few early moments of panic where I thought he would PR, and I would fall out! But, I think it served me well to have no expectations. When I felt a little panic at Mile 4, I reminded myself that I have a well-known mental Wall between mile 4 and 5, and if I could just get past that, it'd be easy through Mile 9. (I was totally right). 

The course is fun. After weaving through some neighborhood streets, you go through a very short boring section and then enter the town of Speedway. The first sign is always the Allison Transmission "Pit Stop". Their building is right outside Main Street in Speedway and they man a fun water stop, full of energy. Main Street is always full of people cheering and giving high-fives, and then you turn into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Entering the track is the only real hill on the entire course, but the Indiana University cheerleaders were at the top, which made things easier!

Some people hate this part of the race because it's "boring", but I actually enjoy it. There's just enough novelty to keep your mind off things, they bring high school cheer teams, and you get to dodge people at the Yard of Bricks.  This is also where I realized I was feeling very, very good, and Eric was fading. At Mile 8, I asked him if he had any fuel, since I had just taken my second (I like an every-4-mile policy) and he hadn't. Nope, he forgot to bring any!   Luckily, I'd brought an extra Island Boost, just in case I needed it.  Despite his reluctance to try it at the Martian Marathon, here, he found himself very grateful for it, and it worked! Fast fuel, no upset tummy, happy running buddy. 

You run through a couple 'rougher' neighborhoods as you get to the end. Not bad at all, and actually the crowd support is great. Almost every house had someone cheering on the porch, most louder than other neighborhoods!

As we passed Mile 10, Eric was definitely fading. The sun was hot, he admittedly hadn't trained as well as before. We were walking each water stop, and he was trying to walk earlier and longer. I found myself full of energy, and being "that girl".  At Mile 10, I yelled, "Woo-hoo!! Nothing left but a 5K!!!" and after no response, "Why aren't people smiling anymore??"  Luckily, that got a few laughs. 

I kept encouraging Eric to bring it in strong, run hard for the water, and then I'd let him walk a bit longer after. I promised him beer if he kept going, and found myself cheering, clapping, yelling, and pushing for the last 3.1 miles. There were several times he slowed to a walk and I cheering him into continuing. I surprised myself, and I couldn't be happier for it. After the last few weeks, I had honestly expected to fall out and have to walk myself, not be the one with energy leftover. 

We finished 1 minute short of a PR, which neither of us expected. The medals this year were awesome, the post-race party rocking, and the beers we had at lunch were perfect. What can I say? I love the Mini. The shirt this year is tech without being 'tech'... it doesn't look tech, and I can wear it around town. Finally!!!!   I wish every race would go back to a cotton shirt. I will never run in your race shirt. Ever. But I *would* wear it around town, doing yardwork, to sleep in, etc. The water stops are perfect. More than enough. Other races could definitely learn from Indy. And the crowd support just can't be beat. 

Only disappointment?  MarathonFoto once again has no pictures of me. Meanwhile, they have like 20 pictures of each person who walked. I know there are 35,000 of us, but c'mon man!

Another successful 500 Festival Mini Marathon in the books...

Looking forward, I don't have any more races until October, and will probably keep it that way. Marathon training begins June 15, and until then, I'm letting my husband program my workouts with a weight-lifting/strength focus. I'll be looking to PR my squat, bench press, shoulder press and deadlift, as well as run 3 times per week, with two 5Ks and a 4-6 mile "long" run to keep my running abilities up. 

Have you run the Mini? What are your summer workout plans? Any races coming up?

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