Indianapolis Monumental Marathon 20013
Saturday was a perfect running day. It was sunny, and cool with a barely-there wind. It was quite the day for PRs.
I decided a week ago that I was going to do the half. Though I signed up for the full back in May, I just didn’t have the will to do another 26.2 this year. And though my body may have been trained still from Chicago, my mind wasn’t having it. As a result, I didn’t even think about the race much. Though 13.1 is still a big deal, I think I downplayed it because I had done twice that distance recently. It wasn’t until Friday of last week that I started to get serious about this race. And by serious, I mean that I planned an outfit.
Friday night JD and I went to dinner with our friends Matt and Kelly. Matt was running his 3rd marathon on Saturday. JD was nervous as this is his race. He always does well at the IMM and has been a participant since it’s inaugural year. We carb loaded and were in bed by 9:30pm.
Kelly and Matt came to our house on Saturday morning and we caravaned down. We gear checked a bag (which I have never done before and it was the best decision ever post-race!) and then met our friends (and JD’s running mates), Collin and Michael at their hotel room. We used the bathroom and warmed up before making our way to the start line. It was chilly but I was hoping a tank and a long sleeved shirt would be enough. I did, however, have two other long-sleeve throwaways which helped keep the chill off before the start. I said goodbye to Michael, Collin and JD and went off to find my peeps. Those three boys run every Saturday together and are all doing Boston this coming spring. I am so in awe of their speed that I was more excited about their races than my own. Especially JD’s.
I found Adam, Meghan, Jake, Chad and Martha all before the race. It’s amazing to think that thousands of runners lined up and yet I was able to spot my friends and see many more by happenstance. Meghan and Jake were planning on running together to get Jake a PR. Adam and I were buddied up. Martha was doing the full. At 8am, we were off.
I didn’t have a set goal for this. I ideally wanted under 2:10 but wasn’t married to it. Adam and I planned to run without stopping until halfway, then we’d take a walking break. From there we would assess our situation and make a plan for the second half. Adam made me laugh at mile 2 when he threw his throw-away shirt and it didn’t quite make it to the curb. It wrapped around a woman’s head and she was none too pleased. I certainly understood but as she sped off, the entire crowd of runners turned to Adam and laughed as he eeked out a “Sorry!” We saw plenty of people we knew both on the course and cheering. Seeing friends unexpectedly that give you that burst of energy is what I love most about this race. At mile 4, my next door neighbors were out cheering, Jon wearing a sumo wrestler/woman in bikini costume. I gave him a huge hug and someone caught it on camera!
The next landmark was 16th and Penn where our friends Lauren and Cait were waiting. They had signs made for me and I was grinning ear to ear. As we ran through my neighborhood, I was still feeling pretty darn good. We were under 10 minute miles – some at 9:20 and others more like 9:40. At mile 7, my friend Lara came up behind us. She was running her first marathon and looked so strong! The camaraderie on this course is second to none. Everyone is cheering and runners just seem so happy.
Adam and I took our first walking break and saw Chad, Meghan and Jake all pass us. They had been just right behind us the first half of the race and all three looked strong. Adam and I just moseyed on for a bit before we picked it back up to a run. The marathoners and the halfers split around mile 8 and as this was the first time I have done the IMM as a halfer, it was quite the relief to know we were more than halfway done. I watched the marathoners with awe though. They were doing something so big that day.
As we turned south and headed back downtown, Adam was a rock. He kept conversations going and neither of us ever turned on our music. He felt strong and good the entire time and kept telling me things like “We could just walk this whole thing in if you want. I don’t care. We are finishing together” and “Let’s just have fun!” His attitude was awesome and definitely fueled me. And of course, we took a selfie My legs felt pretty fatigued and my hip hurt. I blamed that on the fact that I had only run 13 miles total between Chicago and the IMM. Whoopsies But Adam was awesome and I had so much fun running a race from start to finish with him.
Around mile 10, we took another walking break and then took one more with only 1.5 miles to go. We saw my friend Robyn who ran her very first half on Saturday. And we watched as the men’s winner of the marathon ran past us. He ran the full faster than I ran the half! As we pulled into the finish, we were all smiles. I couldn’t get over how fast the race flew by. Though we didn’t get any PRs and our time (2:13:37) wasn’t anything crazy speedy, the time spent running seemed minimal. Having a good running partner made a big difference. So did running half the distance of Chicago. Though we didn’t PR, we had a blast running 13.1. And the rest of the day was dedicated to those who had the race of their lifetime!
We found Kelly (best spectator of the day), Chad, Melanie, Jake and Meghan and went to gear check to put on warm clothes (thank you gear check!). When I said earlier that it was a day of PRs, I wasn’t lying. Jake PR’d by 10 minutes from his Mini time. Melanie dropped 8 minutes. Chad dropped over 7 minutes. People were FAST!
We wasted no time getting to a good spot to see JD roll in. We knew it wouldn’t be long. His best time was last year at the IMM, coming in at 2:56. This time, he wanted to get 2:55 but really had no idea how fast he was. Whereas in years past, he has run 60+ miles a week and done long runs, tempo runs, interval runs and normal runs, this year he did something very different. He went to crossfit 3x a week, he went to crossfit endurance 2x a week (which was running speed training and usually done on a track), did his long run and then maybe tossed in a 5 miler along with it. He averaged around 30-40 miles a week. Though he felt fast, he wasn’t sure how this would work for a full marathon.
At 2 hours and 44 seconds, we watched in total amazement as Collin crossed the finish line. We all screamed like banshees as he ran past us. It was a 6 minute PR for him. Then Jake told us that our friend Chris saw JD and he was about to hit the finish area. I didn’t believe it. The race clock said 2:53 and there was no way he could finish that fast. Right? I mean could he really knock 3 minutes off his best time when he didn’t put in huge mileage weeks?
But then, like a blaze of orange, he came. He saw us immediately and with a huge grin and some jazz hands, he finished at 2:53:30 – a 3 minute PR. That’s a 6:37 overall pace per mile. INCREDIBLE. I ran to the finish line and congratulated him. He was as happy as I have ever seen him. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. I was (and am) so so proud.
Our friends Glenn and Michael finished right after, both also going sub 3. The guys all talked about their races and you could tell every one of them felt like rockstars. And they definitely were.
Once we got all the runners up and moving, we went to the Steak N Shake tent for chili and warmth while we waited for Matt to get close. JD told me that he has never felt that good in a race ever. That his last mile was a 6:08 pace. And that when the miles got hard around 20, he thought of crossfit. He told himself how strong his legs have gotten through squats and deadlifts. He knew his muscles were in good shape and that helped him weather those rough moments. I don’t think I need an obvious plug for Crossfit Naptown and their CFE program. JD’s time is evidence enough. Thanks, Peter B, Jared and Peter C!
We knew Matt wanted to go sub-4 and we had some other friends – Christi, Amy and Karen who also hoped to be around that time – so we found a good spot at the finish to watch. First to arrive was Amy! Knocking 30 minutes off her former PR, she did a 3:49:15 race and as her tears came, so did mine. Right after her was Karen who also had a HUGE PR! And then came Matt…..crossing the line at 3:55! We were so stinking proud of him! We went back to meet the runners and had just missed Christi who PRed for the second time in a month. It was a day for PRs.
I love spectating a marathon. I love cheering for runners at all stages of the race, but nothing beats the finish. While standing there, we watched the female winner cross. We watched a man finish in the 2:40s who sobbed as he crossed the finish line. We saw couples holding hands. We watched as a man couldn’t stand up and two others held him up and got him across the finish. The entire crowd roared for this guy to get across that line. The faces are just incredible and full of such emotion – pain, happiness, frustration, pride, relief. I’d stand and cheer for these people all day long if I could. It’s incredible.
We all went to La Marg for drinks and Mexican wearing our medals. Everyone was happy. Martha met us and finished just 10 seconds faster than my Chicago time. Too bad we weren’t running together! We stalked our other friends’ times and HUGE congrats to Becca, Lilly, Lara, Marty, Melissa and Sara on their very first marathon! Congrats to Daniel on his 5k! Congrats to Collin, Michael, Glenn, Meghan, Jake, Martha, Chad, Melanie, Brad, Amy, Christi, Karen and everyone else I missed. Thank you to Adam for being an awesome running buddy. And massive congrats to JD for such an amazing time and finish. You always inspire me.
So what’s next for me? Good question! Right now it’s crossfit with a few easy runs tossed in. I think I’ll do a 5K in December and plan on training for the Mini next spring. It will be the first spring in 5 years that I haven’t run a marathon which means it’s the first time in a long while where I didn’t run in the cold. I am looking forward to it. And you better believe I’ll be doing CFE.