Yesterday I ran my 2nd race of 2012. The first was the Sam Costa Half Marathon back in March. This one was the Hoosier Ten Miler located in downtown Indianapolis. Just like the Sam Costa, I was a late entry. Amy had planned this race all year, wanting to PR this distance. But after looking at my training program and realizing that ten miles was just about the perfect distance for me with only 2 weeks until the Illinois Marathon, I signed up. So did JD. So did Christi, Meghan, Martha and Adam. We had quite the crew.
Throughout the week, we talked racing strategy and in the end, decided not to have one. Amy was going on for it to PR (and boy did she!) but Meghan, Christi and I were planning on keeping it around a 9:15 pace. This is much faster than we would run a normal Saturday run, but it wasn’t going to kill us.
Also this week, Christi made a huge move by converting her half-marathon entry for the Carmel Marathon into the full. So yesterday marked the beginning of a 5-week race schedule that seems just crazy: Hoosier 10 Miler, Carmel Marathon, Illinois Marathon, Mini Marathon, Dances with Dirt Ultra Marathon. That’s 107 miles of racing in 5 weeks. She cray.
Now, I didn’t really treat my body like a temple this week. Part of that included a late-ish night out singing karaoke with my besties. My rapping debut of “Goldigger” was a crowd favorite and I ended the night pouring some out for Whitney Houston with “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Immediately after, Martha and I turned into Cinderella and left as the clock struck midnight. We had a race to rest up for.
At 6:01am, my alarm went off and I could hear the rain ping against the window. Gross. As JD and I drove downtown, I kept thinking to myself “Why didn’t we just run on the track this morning rather than do this race?” JD was pretty nervous as he was going after this race as he always does – with an aggressive goal. We parked at ExactTarget and walked over to City Market to pick up our packets. This race was only $15 so I knew there would be no tshirt, no medal and no frills. After we got our bibs pinned on, we went back to ET where Josh did calisthenics around the office and I stretched.
The girls were all meeting me at my office so we could drop off jackets and stay dry/warm. Soon the 4th floor was crowded with runners: Amy, Christi, Meg, Jake, JD, Martha, Adam, Leslie, et al. Luckily the start line was just a minute away so we waited until the last possible second to exit. And when we did, we were miserable. It was cold and rainy. We all questioned our outfit choices. JD made his way to the front of the start, we hung back and next thing we knew, we were running. It was a gun start, meaning though we had chips, we’d all have the same start time (which is why JD wanted to be up front).
The first mile seemed to drag on. My hands were absolutely freezing. The rain was pouring off the bill of my hat (thank gosh I wore one!) But the conversation was good and before I knew it, we were winding our ways through downtown Indianapolis at mile 3. Meghan would see a mile marker and relate it to where we’d be on the Monon so at this point, we were virtually at 86th street. Our pace was strong – somewhere between 8:54-9:15 for at least the first 5 miles. But truthfully, it was tough for me. I wouldn’t say the course was hilly, but it had plenty of slopes and inclines that challenged me. Luckily, the rain slowed down after the first few miles and we all warmed up. We laughed about how Christi almost wore her thick winter jacket to run in. She would have died of heat!
I have absolutely no clue where we were for the first part of the race. There was a pretty park. Some ARMY basic training going on. A golf course. But had everyone else disappeared, I am certain I wouldn’t have been able to find my way back. The course had to stop at some point for a fire truck. One water stop left the water cups on the ground instead of a table or handing them out. And at every single mile, a volunteer would shout out the current time.
Though ten miles is half of what I have been doing just about every weekend, when racing, it seemed pretty long. But soon Christi pointed out that we were at mile 7, meaning we just had to virtually run back from 86th street to the deck on the Monon. We could do that.
During that mile, I decided to tell a very long story as we ran up a pretty decent hill. As we got to the top, I exclaimed “Girls, I need to stop talking. That just about killed me.” (But it was worth it, the story was pretty good.) Also at this point, my right knee really started hurting. A couple of weeks ago it was my left, now it’s my right. And as I was running, it felt like my kneecap was going to pop off. I don’t know what on earth caused this – I assume it’s Runner’s Knee and is just overuse. But I am contemplating if my crossfit exercises 3x/week are hurting me. Burpees, lunges, air squats, etc could be stressing them out. Regardless, I pressed on.
My favorite part of the course was as we ran around IUPUI and the canal. It was beautiful and I felt reassured that the end was near as the buildings loomed in front of us. About 3/10 of a mile to go, Christi pointed to the girl with red shorts on, running in front of us and said “Think we have enough time to beat her?” and so we went for it. Picking up the pace, we passed her with ease. And right as we did, we could hear a cowbell and screaming from our best cheerleader, Bri. Still injured, she drove all the way down from Muncie, wearing her tall socks, with her “Go on for it” sign to cheer for us. Christi ran ahead and Meg and I kept a nice clip coming into the finish. And then, out of nowhere, Little Miss Redshorts surged past Meg and I to cross the line just before us. Like she owned the damn thing or something.
As we crossed, we found the rest of our crew. Martha and Adam finished a couple of minutes before us. Amy rocked the HELL of this race and ended up getting 3rd in her age group!!! And JD just dominated. Fifth place overall and first in his age group. With our two walking breaks (through the water stations), our pace was around a 9:26 overall. Certainly not any records broken, but I’ll take it.
Bri found us and we all hugged. it was just amazing to have her there. There were beer samples handed out and once we got into our warm jackets, we were happy to wait around for the awards ceremony. As the winners were announced, Amy and JD had the biggest cheering section of all. We screamed and shouted as they picked up their gift certificates.
From there, we all got in our cars and headed north to Broadripple. The first stop was Teeki Hut (Tiki Bobs!) to get our shirts printed for upcoming races. They are going to look adorable during the Mini!
And then we met up with Karen at Union Jacks. We ordered big beers and spent the next few hours talking and laughing. I laughed until I cried at least a few times. I looked like a total slob, wearing yoga pants and a sweatshirt, but I didn’t care. It was just so fun to be with this group. It was a perfect afternoon.
Overall, I am ok with this race. I didn’t love the course but most importantly, it makes me nervous for the next few weeks. Though my race schedule isn’t quite as crazy as Christi’s, it’s not that far off. Next week I have a break – just a normal long run. But then I have the Illinois Marathon followed by the Mini Marathon followed by the Ultra Marathon. And I want to do really well in both the Marathon and Mini. But yesterday was tough so I just don’t know how fast I really am. I am hoping that when I don’t stay up late singing Whitney and instead treat my body with a bit more care the week before the races, I will be in a better place. And I really, really hope that these knees hold up. I am limping today, which sucks because it’s amazing out and I would love to go for a run. So it’s time to go see the doctor this week. I want to hear her diagnosis and for her to work on my Achilles a bit. Though it doesn’t hurt, the tissue is still really thick from the injury this past fall so figure it can’t hurt to have her work it out a bit.
Soon the race nerves will set in for me, but this week it’s all about my girls. Christi, Meghan, Adriana and Jaime running the full. Kelly running the half. And Bri, who made the very difficult decision to pull out of the marathon to take care of her injury. All my well wishes. All my strength. Goes to these girls. They are going to be amazing.