Sunday, November 08, 2015

Indy Women's Half Marathon or was it???

So I've been working very hard to run 2015 miles this year.  It's been an adjustment, running 6 days a week instead of 5 and staying focused on a 12 month long goal, which isn't easy.  Anyways....things were fine until I noticed my hamstring really hurting me over Labor Day.  Visited my chiro, as my lower back hurt as well, he worked his magic and I was feeling better.  But, I wanted to ease back into running as my biggest goal is actually running the Goofy Challenge in January.  I grudgingly but wisely gave up my 2015 miles goal.  So....this explain why on  Sept 19th I downgraded my Indy Women's Half race to the 5k race.  I didn't want to push myself and possibly really injury myself for a half that wasn't any kind of goal race.

I've run this race every year since it started, 5 years ago.  It started as a small half marathon, just a few hundred runners (it was so small the first year that towards the end I had no one in front of me and had to rely on spectators to know where to go on the course!) and has grown every year.  I saw on their FB page that they were giving special medals to all 120 girls/women who have finished each of the past 5 years.  So, I was going to run this race, even if it was just the 5k.  PLUS, if I ran the 5k, I could run with my daughter, who also is a 5 year streaker!

Early Saturday morning, I wake up to thunder and lighting and heavy rain.  Great.  The race was doing a good job with keeping people informed on their FB page, that the race was on unless there was lighting in the area.  So, Kylie and I leave on time and get downtown.  It's not rainy but it's very humid.  Kylie wanted to run on her own so as we were getting close to the starting time, she scooted towards the start line while I stayed a little further back.  
Both ready at the start!

 I'm anxious to give my new Ink N Burn chameleon capris (aren't they so cool looking!?!) a good run so I wore those.  I normally would have dressed in shorts or a skirt for this weather but I wasn't worried about overheating in a 5k.

Race starts and Kylie is off like a lighting bolt!  Honest to God, this girl was running with the starting pack.  I know she can't keep that pace up but man, it was really cool to see her as she went around corners ahead of me.  She has a very graceful, natural stride.  No wonder she's won her age group at this race every year but one.

I settle in, faster than I should be running but figure what the heck, it's only 3.1, how bad can that be?  LOL!!  There's a reason I don't run 5k's any more, you go out fast and just have to get faster!!  They are painful!

About 2 miles into the race, the clouds are really dark and it's not looking good, weather wise.  I see Kylie get passed by two girls around her age and know this will crush her spirit.  She starts to walk a few yards later and I catch up to her.  She's crying, complaining about her shoulders and back hurting her.  I know she's very disappointed, thinking that she won't win her AG.  Lots of women are saying words of encouragement to her as we walk.  It starts to rain, pretty hard at this point.  We decide to run the rest together and get moving.  We hit the 5k split and turn a corner and I see lighting, right in front of us.  I try to stay calm for Kylie but I encourage her to keep moving as we really needed to get finished now.   The rain is pouring now, hard, heavy rain, more lighting and thunder as well.  We're running in a lane parallel to but against the other runners who hadn't hit the split yet.  It made it a little confusing, especially with the rain and I could hear the police talking on their CB's about black flagging the race.  We did have to cross in front of the back of the pack runners to turn on the road to the finish which wasn't great planning for the RD.  I guess they figured the bulk of the runners would be past that  point before the faster 5k runners needed to cross over.  Again, I'm glad I'm with Kylie as she could easily have gotten confused in this area and ended up who knows where.  We needed a few walk breaks for Kylie but once she saw the finish line, she didn't want to run with me any longer and she took off!   I ran it easy in behind her, just enjoying the fact that we had been able to run some of it together.  And as a mom, I was so thankful that the timing of the storm and her walking lined up.  I think we both would have been freaked out if we hadn't been together when the sky opened up!

We were so happy to be given the special 5 year streaker medals, given to us by uniformed soldiers.  Kylie heads immediately to the medical tent as she was convinced that her lungs were bursting.  The medical lady was actually concerned about how cold Kylie was (she has like zero body fat and the rain really was cold).  So Kylie got bundled up under some blankets while I headed for the results tent, hoping that she would have still placed in her AG.  I find out that the race had been black flagged.  The finishing chute that we had just breezed through minutes before was a congested mess of runners.  Basically the RD told the police to have the runners "shelter in place" until they could safely come back to the finish area, that the race was over, there would be no official results.  Very disappointing for everyone, it's never a call that a RD wants to make but you just can't take any chances with that kind of weather.  But, in a weird way, it worked out for us because Kylie didn't lose her AG award either!

I get Kylie from the medical tent, she's feeling much better, and I give her my dry long sleeved shirt that I had in my gear check bag.  We also dig out all the medals that we had earned at the other 4 races and posed for some really cool pictures!

 We were planning on staying in the finishing area for a while because it is a good atmosphere but the weather wasn't allowing that so we walked back to the car.   It was so weird to see women running from all directions, on the sidewalks, to get to the finish area.  I guess if you were 4 miles out, you would just take whatever way you could back to the finish.  Talk about a mess!  But again, not much that could be done about it.  I did find out that some people sheltered and then continued to race, knowing that the course wouldn't be supported at water stops or by police.  If I had been running the half, I probably would have done that as well, I mean, running in the rain is fun and you don't need water when it's coming down from the sky!

All in all, everything lined up so well for us that neither of us were disappointed.  We did get an email a week or so later, offering a discount on our next years race as well as letting you know that you could get your medal mailed to you if you hadn't gone to the finish line.  Again, I think everything was handled as well as it could have been and we will be back for year 6 next September!!
Monumental Marathon race report
 Back ground:  I’ve been increasing my mileage this year in the attempt to reach 2015 miles this year.  My PB for annual miles before was 1800 last year so this was a real effort for me.  I started running 6 days a week instead of 5.  Monthly miles were between 165-200 miles.  But longest run was 18 miles.   Then, Labor Day brought a hamstring strain that sidelined me for a few weeks.  I initially figured I’d downgrade to the half instead of the full for this marathon and focus on healing and preparing for the Goofy Challenge (with Damaris!!) in early January as that’s my ultimate goal right now. 
But….then I starting feeling better and more confident.  I ran a 16 and 18 mile LR in October, feeling really good during those ones.  I finished out the month with 170 miles so I thought I’d give the full a shot, see what happens. 
4 days before race day:  My former favorite running buddy, Anais, texts me that she’s running Monumental as her first full and wanted advice as she was having some ITBS issues.  After discussing her goals, my experience (this would be my 4th time running this race) and my uncertainty about what I could do, we decided to run together for as long as we could, with the understanding that neither would be upset if the other went ahead. 
Race Day:  Up at 5:45, out the door at 6:30 (after wishing my daughter a happy 12th birthday).  It’s 41* at the start with a expected sunny day of 55*.  I wear my new Ink N Burn skirt and a favorite classic InB top.  New Feetures socks and Saucony shoes that I’m testing out.  Drove 20 minutes to downtown, found parking quickly in a parking garage next to the finish line and gear check.  I met up with Anais and two of her other friends who were also marathon virgins at 7:15.  We all chatted some, grabbed some pics and got into the corrals about 7:50 for the 8:00 start.  Corrals were very crowded so we did our best to line up about the 4:15 pace group area.  Anais wanted to finish a sub 4:30 and I know that she’s a bit of a jackrabbit so I wanted to keep her under control for at least the first eight miles.   Race starts and we walk to the starting line and are running by 8:05.

Miles 1-3: 10:04, 10:02, 9:52 CONGESTION is the issue here.  This race is getting more popular and the congestion through downtown proves it.  We are running around walkers, groups and the like, trying to stay together as a group (I didn’t really care about staying with the other two in our group, just my friend, but I also didn’t want to be a jerk).  Skip the first water stop as it was a nightmare.

Miles 4-7: 9:31, 9:47, 9:41, 9:43  We settling into a comfortable pace but I keep telling Anais to slow down as I wanted us to say 9:50ish, hoping that would benefit her in the last 8 miles.  About mile 5, one of the friends who didn’t train for the marathon, just thought since she’s done some halves and is a fast 5k runner, decided we were too slow and dropped us.  I reassured Anais that we would be passing her before we hit 18 miles.  You can’t have your longest run in your life be 13.1 and expect to finish a marathon well.  The race splits at mile 7, with the halfers heading south to the finish and the fullers continuing north.  The congestion really let up here, as you would expect.

Miles 8-11: 9:46, 9:45, 9:49, 9:52  Things are going smoothly as we run past the state fairgrounds and down a very nice residential area.  The crowd support is light but we were enjoying our conversations.  I continue with my established marathon plan of walking the water stops so I would walk and then catch Anais and her friend within .25.  I like doing this as it gives me a chance to catch my breath and actually get water/Gatorade in me, instead of on me.  Her friend decides to slow down at mile 11, which Anais said was their usual training pattern.  So it’s just her and I now.

Mile 12-14: 9:56, 9:33, 9:59  Things get congested again here as we are running in an older neighborhood with narrow streets.  Anais gets a treat by seeing her family at the half way point so she had some extra pep in her step for the next mile or so.  But we were both feeling the miles by 14.  I’m not really paying much attention to the math for a finish time as I was mainly focused on keeping her encouraged.  I’d talk about the course, what we’d be coming up to, what we could expect ect… basically  just keeping her mind occupied.  It was a blessing for us both as it kept my mind off the upcoming miles as well.

Mile 15-20: 10:13, 10:38, 10:19, 10:37, 10:18, 10:07  You can see now that my walk breaks at the water stops were lengthening but I never, ever allow myself more than one minute.  That’s a mental contract I have!  But, my breaks are working for me, I’m actually surprised at how well I’m feeling considering I haven’t run more than 18 miles in a year.  It hits me that all the wisdom I’ve learned on the old BF forum is true, more miles = stronger legs = better races.  We pass the girl we first started with who dropped us early on at mile 18.  She’s death marching on the side of the road.  We don’t say anything to her and I let Anais know that she’ll probably finish 30 mins ahead of her, if we stay strong (the girl finished just under 5 hours).  We run through the Indianapolis Museum of Art, which is my favorite part of the race during this point as well.  Once we hit the 20 mile mark, I decide that I’m going to finish under 4:25, no matter what.  Anais is still running strong, slower but her mentality is really good.  We’re in a boring area, not much support.  We aren’t talking as much either but every ½ mile or so, I update her as she’s not wearing a Garmin.
Mile 21 – 26.2:  10:57, 10:28, 10:20, 10:43, 10:36, 10:20, 2:55 (.3 miles)  So, at this point, Anais is slowing down but I’m still feeling strong.  I let her know that she can totally finish under 4:30 if she keeps it together.  She encourages me to continue on and I have no doubt that she wouldn’t hold it against me so I continued on.  She did pass me once during my walk break at the next water stop but I passed her again and didn’t see her again.  But I knew that she was going to be fine.   I re-center and concentrate on my sub 4:25 goal.  I haven’t been under 4:38 in a few years, not since I started running Ultra’s.  I make the turn on Meridian and see the downtown buildings.  I know it’s deceptive because we’re still 3 miles from the finish so I just keep pushing myself.   Quads are sore but not painful.  No issues from my hamstring.  Temps are good, I’m very comfortable in my clothes (skirt was totally amazing, it was so light, I honestly felt like I had nothing on).  I’m passing plenty of walkers but I really just went internal, ignoring everything around me, checking those mile markers off.  Mile 25 and my Garmin reads 4:12. Hmmm, maybe a 4:20?  Ahh, no, my legs weren’t feeling that good!  But, I did pick it up because I really, really wanted sub 4:25.  Make the turn at 25.5 and start to see the running group tents that are set up at mile 26.  I dig deep and make the next turn, knowing that I’m nearly done.  I hit 26 miles and start to sprint but quickly slow as I got nauseous (I sometimes throw up from adrenaline rushes at finish lines).  I make the final turn and the crowd support here is awesome.  I hear my name and see my parents, cheering me on, totally unexpected!!!   I push hard, see 4:25 on my Garmin and charge as hard as I can to the finish line.  I cross at 4:25:46, 10:06 pace. 
I stumble through the chute, finding my parents, thank them numerous times for being there.  Anais found me, she finished at 4:28:something and was in very good spirits.   We thanked each other repeatedly for running with each other.  I know that I would probably slacked off and been ok with finishing worse since it wasn’t a “goal” race.  But man, I’m so glad that I didn’t. Goal race or not, it was the best marathon I’ve run in 3 years and actually, as far as running a consistent race, I think I really did well. 
I cooled down and had a quick meet up and beer with Brad.  Then I caught an Uber and met Rick and Jenny for a burger on the other side of downtown.  I really enjoy post race meet ups with my Runners World forum friends, even though I’m not active on the boards anymore. 

Next up, recover and prepare for Goofy Challenge.   Thanks for reading!