Mini Marathon 2012 – A Recap
My 7th Mini Marathon is now complete and just like every year, I have already signed JD and I up for next year. I love this race.
On Friday, I met Meghan, Jake and Kelly at the Expo to pick up our packets and to grab a bite to eat. The Mini Expo is pretty impressive with lots of vendors, speakers and of course tons of people. We didn’t loiter around too much but stopped to take at least one picture.
After work, JD and I met Christi at Noodles and Company for some carb loading. The weather was just perfect and had we not been running the next day, we surely would have found a patio and some cocktails. But instead we went home early, did a little yardwork, watched Braveheart on TNT and hit the sack by 10pm. The Mini awaited us.
At 5:31am, I was up. Christi, Karen and Matt were meeting at our house to carpool downtown. The plan was to meet the Perfect Strangers outside Corral E and then line up at the start together. Some of us were corraled in D and the others modified their bibs so that they could be in there with us (Ahem….Ariel font 72 seems to work quite well according to my sneaky sources). But with the crazy traffic and construction, we were at least 20 minutes late. We missed seeing Meghan and Bri but I was able to get a picture with Jaime, Kelly, Karen and Christi.
Also at this time, a woman stopped me to tell me that she reads my blog and recognized me from the pictures! It’s so fun to meet people who are loyal followers. When we got into the corral, we noticed another girl right next to us who had a black bum ruffle running skirt (like me), purple Asics (like me), a tourquoise tank (like me). We were twinsies! She introduced herself and I actually saw her again at mile 11. She was walking by then so I wished her luck!
At this point, I was getting a little nervous because we didn’t really have a running strategy. I was running with Jaime and Kelly, but that’s as far as we got. Kel freaked me out with her 1:54 pace band (too fast!) So we decided to try to run under a 9 min/mile pace and see how it felt. We knew within minutes of running that it wasn’t going to be easy.
As the gun went off, we ran alongside Betsy, Jaime’s sister. Karen and Christi sprinted ahead. The race was on. We passed the zoo and an elephant was peering over the fence. We even saw a baby elephant! I said “Well, it’s obviously a sign that we are going to win the race now.” I also challenged the girls to a elephant noise making contest but failed miserably as mine sounded like a drunken goat.
By mile 2, Betsy told us she was going to pull back as we were going too fast. I almost went with her. I did tell the girls that there was no way I was going to get under 2 hours that day but I would hang with them as long as possible. My knee hurt from the very first step but I found if I could not think about it, I was able to ignore the pain. It was the humidity that killed us. At 97%, the air felt thick and heavy. We train all summer in that so eventually our bodies adjust to it, but at this point, we are used to running in cool temperatures. This was hard. At mile 4, I looked at the spot our friends always stood to cheer for us. This was the first Mini where I had no one out there cheering for me. It saddened me a bit but then I looked to my left and saw Kelly and Jaime and realized that I didn’t need cheerleaders. I had them right alongside me.
Also at this point, Kelly had fallen back just a few feet. Jaime was ahead. I realized we weren’t going to finish this race as a threesome. Soon after, Kelly was nowhere to be seen. I told Jaime that I was going to find her and for her to go on for it. She looked strong and I didn’t think I’d be able to keep up. So I pulled off to the side and waited while scanning the running crowd for a tourquoise tank. When I saw Kelly, I pulled up beside her and told her that I was going to run with her. That we were going to just have fun and make the most of this race.
But after about a mile, I pulled ahead. I hated leaving her but just wanted to get the damn thing over with. At that point, we were all running our own races alone. And of course, I hadn’t brought music as I thought we’d be together talking. So it was me against the miles.
The good thing about this course is that Indianapolis knows how to cheer. You read my complaints about the people at the IL Marathon with their arms crossed just staring at runners. Not Indy. People with cowbells. Noise makers. Signs. People screaming. And SO many bands. Every high school garage band was out there and some were SO GOOD. These little kids whose voices haven’t even changed were out there at 7:30am screaming lyrics and giving us something to smile about. They were awesome. I also saw the cloggers breaking it down to Lady Gaga. And the people who are older than dirt and yet wearing their cute long skirts right outside the track, dancing. How can you not smile?
When I entered the track, I walked through a Gatorade station and took my gel. And for the first time, at mile 7, I felt good. I looked down and was running around a 8:48 pace and had energy to spare. As I ran across the yard of bricks, I smiled for the cameras. And then immediately felt a little less awesome. That gel surge didn’t last long in that humidity!
After the track, I walked through another Gatorade station and checked my phone. I had tracked all of our friends so was getting updates at the 5K, 10K and Yard of Bricks for everyone. JD was doing awesome and surely was near the end by this point. I saw that Jaime was a couple minutes ahead of me and Kelly was about 5 minutes back. I knew I wasn’t going to be running under a 2 hour half so just wanted to get under 2:05. I carried on.
People were dropping like flies due to the heat. I saw them as early as on the track – along the sidelines, medics everywhere. Everytime I passed a police officer, I heard on their radio “we’ve got another down.” They ended up yellow flagging the course around 10am due to the heat. It was scary.
I always think of 10th street as the worst part of the course. You run toward the sun and just in one straight line for a couple of miles. I did die laughing, however, when a group of women along the sidelines picked off walkers, read the names off their bibs and screamed “Come on, Jason. You think you’re done? You’re not done! Get running!”
I looked down at my watch and did the math. I knew I was going to get relatively close to 2 hours and I was running anywhere from a 8:50-9:30/mile pace. I walked through water stations and each time drank one cup and poured another over my head. Have I mentioned that it was hot yet? It was.
At mile 12, we turned onto New York Street and went over the White River. On that bridge, I took my first non-water-station walking break. Yes, I only had one more mile to go but I needed those 30 seconds of walking. And from there, I ran to the finish. I saw JD yelling for me along the sidelines and came in at 2:03:02. That will do.
And who was there to hand me my medal? My good friend Mike Chaplin! I gave him a huge sweaty hug and was so happy to see a familiar face. I checked my phone to see everyone’s finishing times. Christi at 1:56. Karen at 1:57. Jaime at 1:59. JD at 1:25. Jaime was the only one to PR – the rest of us were just darn happy to get through this tough race.
We all met at the beer tent which is something I have never done before. Typically we just meet in military park and then head home. But the beer tent was a blast! As we waited for everyone to arrive, we drank Michelob Ultra and relived our racing tales. And we took pictures. Lots of them. And true to form, we did a human pyramid.
Did you see who was back???? BRI! She is back from injury and ran the Mini with her dad. You can read her post here. She is responsible for the high V in this picture. Amazing.
Speaking of all stars, JD got 157th out of 36,000 people! Can you believe it?! He wanted to do a 1:20 but absolutely killed it regardless.
And, I was able to meet someone who I have met over social media – Andi from Johnny’s Good Guys!
It didn’t take long for all of us to shake off the heat and pain of this race. We were together, having a ball. We turned the beer tent into a dance party. We laughed until we cried. We hugged each other. We loved each other. It’s hard for me to even express how lucky I am to have these girls in my life.
So the 7th Mini Marathon medal now hangs with the rest. And I am 2 races into Racapalooza. The IL Marathon and the Mini Marathon are behind me. And in only 6 days, I will do my very first Ultra Marathon. I think we are bat shit crazy for doing this, but that’s for another post.
Congrats to all the Mini runners out there. I know if I try to name you all, I will undoubtedly forget someone. But I am proud of everyone and of Indianapolis. For putting on another great race.