Carmel Marathon Race Report
Short Story: PR 4:07:08, Overall place 293, Div place 9/33.Today I ran my 3rd FM in Carmel, Indiana, a suburb just north of Indianapolis. It was only their second time hosting this race but I had several friends who did it last year who reported good things about it. 2800 runners total in the full, half, 8k and 1 mile family walk. 564 finished the marathon.
I had 3 goals for this race. 1. To PR, which would be a finishing time under 4:09:58, 2. To run the entire race without walking (I did a modified Gallow-walk last November) 3. To finish under 4:00.
Training has gone well. I took time off to recover from the full in November but ramped up again the 1st of January. I had 5 runs of 20 miles or longer, the longest 2 being 22 miles. My last long run was 21 miles, which I finished without walking and in at 10:13 pace. I felt healthy and ready for this race. I did have some nagging doubts about hitting a sub-4 (I lack self-confidence, issue I’m working on) but I was going for it anyways. My plan was to stay glued to the 4:00 pacer for as long as I could.I went to the expo on Friday evening with the kiddos. It was smaller than I expected with very few vendors, mainly other races in the area. Got my shirt (way too huge, why did they offer a youth large but not have it for me?). The kids and I had fun counting all the 13.1 and 26.2 stickers in the parking lot as we left. We ate dinner at Olive Garden, yummy. Speaking of eating, I used a extreme carb-loading idea that I read about on Runners World. I weigh 50kg so needed 400-500g of carbs. It wasn’t as hard as I thought, especially since I drank three 32oz Gatorades. I went to bed very full and up 4lbs.
I woke up at 5:15 after sleeping pretty good. My husband wasn’t running with me, he was coaching my son’s soccer game. But my dad (a professional photographer) and mom would be there. I ate 2 packets of oatmeal with choc chips and a coffee. Made a deposit in the bathroom and left by 6:00. Carmel is only about 30 mins from my house but I never go there so I don’t know the area very well. But I was there earlier enough that I could park in the garage across the street from the starting corrals (score!!). After I parked, I ran into one of my Bourbon Chase Relay teammates and chatted with her while walking to gear check. It was cold, only 41* so I wore a S/S tech shirt with arm warmers, a black running skirt and calf sleeves. I found the porto-potties and took care of business. Found a wall the blocked the wind and just waiting till it was time to line up. As I was shedding my throw-away clothes, I heard “Mary!!” and looked over to see a fellow RW friend, Christy, from the Indy Mini board. I got up to the 9:00 min mile corral but couldn’t see the 4:00 pacer sign, only the 2:00 HM pacer. I chatted with 2 more friends and then we were off!
Mile 1: I need to run a 9:09 pace to hit 4:00. The race seems crowded and fast, slow up so you don’t blow up. Opps, 9:06.
Mile 2: 8:49 – Come on, get in control! I hear wcrunner laughing in my head “No one ever banks time in a marathon!” I see my parents at this mile marker, mom is proudly cheering while dad is playing photographer. The route turns from a main road into a neighborhood.
Mile 3: 9:06 – better. Ran past my parents again and my mom shouts “4 hour finish, ok?!”
Mile 4: 9:01 – umm, not better. The HM splits from here, I see another RW friend dash around a corner, on his way to a HM PR. I hear a lady behind me say “Where’s the 4 hour pacer” to which I respond ” I don’t think we have one”. We fall into step and start chatting away. This was her 23rd marathon and she’s run Boston twice. Cool, I’ll hang with her. Another good friend, Jerry, runs by me and briefly says hi. He’s looking for the 3:45 pacer (he got there a few minutes after the start) so he takes off.
Mile 5-7: 9:03, 9:00, 9:10 – I’m only checking the Garmin occasionally as my new BFF and I are chatting about life. The crowd is much thinner after the half split. Mile 7 was through a nice park on a paved trail. Some rolling hills to keep it interesting. 10K split was 56:05, 9:03 pace, 323 place. Take a Gu at mile 6. I see my dad again, he’s on his bike now so will be getting lots of pictures.
Mile 8 and 9: 9:01 (oops), 9:26 (over corrected). We’re drinking and running through every water stop. I didn’t drink enough during my marathon last fall and paid for it with cramping quads later in the race. I was not going to let that happen.
Mile 10 – 13: 9:02, 9:11 and 9:10. Ran through another park. My runner partner started dropping back after a water stop at mile 13 so I told her I’d see her at the finish line. I’m alone now. My 13.1 mile split was 1:59:35, exactly where I needed it, 317 place. Gu at mile 11. Smile and wave for Dad again.
Miles 14-16 – 9:15, 9:15, 9:01. Ran through another park, starting to pass the HM walkers. Some rolling hills again but nothing that seemed challenging. Gu at mile 16.
Mile 17- 9:12 Ok, I’m still on pace, my virtual training partner says I’m ahead. But I’m not having as much fun. I keep hearing LTH say “positive split? He!l no, enter the pain cave, remember, I told you it would suck so EMBRACE THE SUCK”. I’m running on the Monon Trail, which is over 25 miles long starting north of Carmel and ending in Downtown Indianapolis. I’ve put a lot of miles in on this trail. See my dad but I don’t feel much like smiling.
Miles 18- 9:23. See a girl puke. More people are starting to walk but I feel ok. I get re-energized after walking through a water station. Decide that walking through the water stations was not breaking my no-walking rule. I pull down my arm warmers to cool down.
Mile 19 – 9:26. See my friend, Rhonda, working the water station. It was really nice to see a familiar face. A guy runs past me who reeks of BO. I have to decide if I can pass him or let him go just to get away from the smell.
Mile 20 – 9:24. Where is that next Gosh Darn water station? I wanna walk. I see it and the HS kids who are working it are chatting instead of passing out water. I yell “WATER!!” and one hurries to get me one. I don’t feel bad for yelling at the kid. 20 mile split 3:03:43, 9:12 pace, 300 ranking.
Mile 21 – 9:19. See Dad again in another park. Man, he’s putting some miles on his bike. The park has winding trails so I see lots of runners. Where is the next water station? I really want to walk. I focus on all the early morning runs I ran with my dog in the freezing cold. I trained hard for this race and I will not give up. Take my last Gu
Mile 22 - 9:33 – finally, water station and short walk break through it. We’re back on the Monon again for a little bit then enter the last of the winding trails in that park. I pass a girl who I had been chasing. She compliments my outfit and I tell her the last 4 miles always suck. She tells me the whole thing sucks.
Mile 23 – 10:09. Whoa, the wind. Heading straight into it and it’s picked up. Pull the arm warmers back up. I know I can’t make 4:00 so I focus on the PR and not walking. I think about something Room 317 wrote on FB to me about how when it hurts to think about all the people around the country who are cheering me on.
Mile 24 – 10:34. This water station is handing out oranges, THANK YOU! We’re running in a business park so not much to look at. There is some construction which tore up the road so there was big, chunky gravel for 20 feet. Just perfect.
Mile 25 – 10:57. Come on, Mary. You are not slipping over 11:00 min pace. You will not. I do enjoy this mile more because I know that I’ll PR and also know that I will not walk so making 2 out of 3 goals will be good enough for me today. The course goes through the Carmel Arts and Design district so there are some people and fun statues along this area. See my Dad again. Man, he is putting on some miles on his bike today. What a good dad.
Mile 26 – 10:09. Ok, let’s finish this thing. I can see the large building near the finish line and focus on that. Oh, hello, there’s a huge hill. Nice of them to put that in for me. I see two HM walkers and hope to God that they take this last turn wide so I can take the inside by the curb as I don’t have the energy to run around them.
Last .02 – 2:51. No one is in front of me, I’m all on my own. So I play the crowd for all it’s worth, raising my hands like I’m raising the “roof”. The crowd cheers and I get a cheesy grin. I see my mom about 100 yards before the finish line. She’s clapping and has tears in her eyes (she’s never been at one of my FM finishes). Hear my dad but I don’t look over as I’m putting everything I have into my last kick. I do see 2 other Bourbon Chase Relay Team members who are cheering and screaming for me. The clock says 4:07 and I hit the finish line. Whew, done. Last 10K 10:14 pace, 307 place.
My BC friends snap a pic and text my hubby with my finishing time. My parents find me and walk me through the runners shoot. My dad put 15 miles on his bike, using the Monon to cut the course to see me as many times as possible. Love them.
The finishers chute provided next to nothing. No Mylar blanket which would have been really nice considering it was 48*. Bananas and water and a bag of Doritos were all that was offered. I’m shaking violently as I sign up for a massage and get my gear. My parents take off. I run into my friend, Jerry, while waiting for my massage. He caught the 3:45 pacer but fell off, finishing in 3:59, a 13 min PR. He’s hurting so I offer to drive him to his car since he’s parked over a mile away. The massage was good but I’m still very cold. Jerry and I find my car and I drop him off at his car and drive to the first Noodles & Co for some real food.
So – thoughts about the race. Yeah, I went out to fast. Maybe it would have been better if I had run with a pacer, if there had been a 4 hour pace. But I’m still very happy for hitting 2 of my goals. I could have given in and walked when it started hurting but at no time did my legs really feel sore. I think the extreme carb-loading helped with that. The weather was ideal and the course was ok. There was very little crowd support. No Gu’s offered on the course. The medal is nice. The shirt sucks – too big and plain. The lack of food at the finish line was extremely disappointed (FYI – Carmel is the richest city in Indiana, the cars passing us were Jags and Mercedes) so I guess I thought it would have had more of a post-race party feel. I don’t think I’d do it again as there are other Spring marathons within a 2 hour drive. But I did PR so it couldn’t have been too bad! And seeing numerous friends and having my parents there outweighed the bad things.
So, there you have it, thanks for reading!!