Race: CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon
Place: Indianapolis, Indiana
Date: November 4, 2017
When weekends are busy…boy, they are busy. That’s how my Monumental Half Marathon weekend turned out to be. The running gods just sort of made this race available to me, as I was already going to be up in Indianapolis that weekend for a wedding. Why not make an event out of it?
So, I signed up for the Monumental Half Marathon and went into it with the run/walk mentality that I’ve been practicing, in an attempt to not have my body fall apart on me again at crucial and critical times. Training with the run/walk method is one thing. Actually incorporating it into racing is another beast altogether.
But I digress.
My race weekend started off with lots of packing on Thursday night. Not only did I need to pack for a half marathon, but I also needed to pack for a wedding…AND (yep…there is an and in there) a soccer match. Told you my weekend was busy. And this all was happening in the span of one day.
So, packing for three events meant about 4 pairs of shoes! HA! No joke though, because at first the forecast called for rain, so I had my regular racing shoes, my rain shoes, heels for the wedding, and my recovery shoes for the soccer match. It also meant packing running clothes for rain, for cold, for comfortable weather…a dress to wear to the wedding…and some jeans, a t-shirt and a hoodie for the soccer match. Plus pajamas, race fuel, snacks, protein powder, recovery stuff…ALL THE THINGS!! And, I had originally suggested grabbing sushi on the way up to Indianapolis (we were taking a half day from work to travel and would hit the road right at lunch time), but decided to save money and made gluten-free cashew butter and jelly sandwiches! My roommate had a small baggie of chips with hers (we had one serving left in a bag at the apartment) and I had the remainder of the grapes we bought at Costco! That was lunch.
We got up to Indianapolis in good time, actually. No traffic issues really at all. So, after checking into the Hilton near the Indiana State Capitol (and also near the start line and finish line), we took a walk to the convention center to hit up the race expo. I had actually expected to spend more money on stuff at the expo. It’s a really nice expo. But all the official merchandise promoted the full marathon, and not really the half. So, that was a bit disappointing. Aside from that…obtaining my race bib, t-shirt, and all that stuff was super easy. And we navigated the aisles of the race expo without signing up for more races, or buying extra stuff…save for 3 Bondi Bands. They had one that’s perfect for a race I am planning to do with friends in the fall, one that had unicorns and rainbows on it (DUH!) and one that said “Run Like A Princess Today.” HELLO! Made for me. And that was it. I purchased two replacement water bottles for my fuel belt and called it a day.
With plenty of time to kill, we took the stuff back to the hotel room and then decided to hit up Indianapolis by foot. This meant walking Monument Circle and stopping into candy store (DUH!). That’s where we picked up dessert, actually. Because…candy store!! Cathy picked up a Diet Butterscotch Root Beer to dry, and it was decent enough. We then took a stroll down to the city library because she wanted to look at their Irish History section. And from there…we were both ready to figure out what to have for dinner.
Ideally…it’s always gluten-free pizza before a race for me. BUT…as this was my first distance race where I would be incorporating my run/walk method, I was toying with giving up the pizza and opting for Mexican or other options. The gluten-free pizza place we had discovered the year I ran the Indy Women’s was our first stop though. They weren’t taking reservations and with a marathon happening the next day, we weren’t certain that it wouldn’t be crowded. It wasn’t at that point. They said they could seat us at a table, but we’d have to be out by 6:30. Not a problem. That gave us plenty of time to peruse the menu, make dinner choices, and still not feel rushed.
Our waiter was awesome. We explained to him that I was a Celiac and also couldn’t do dairy. He was great to work with and even remembered the dairy-free part when we ordered the gluten-free focaccia, which had garlic. Lots of garlic. YUM!!
After going back and forth on the type of pizza we were going to split, we finally decided that creating our own would be the most fun. AND…we even asked the opinion of our server when it came to doing either a white pizza or one with sauce. We had wanted to have winter squash, balsamic onions, and then quail eggs (protein!) on the pizza. And after mulling back and forth on whether to sauce it up or go white pizza…the server settled it for us, saying that the white pizza would let the other ingredients shine, and with the eggs, we would have plenty going on with the pizza. No need for the red sauce. DONE!! Order in.
The pizza, by the way, was magnificent. The crust was basically what they made the focaccia out of, but this time it wasn’t sliced into triangles and put into a basket, it was laid out on a plate, baked to perfection, topped with everything. Eggs on a pizza was a new experience for me. And it was amazing. We devoured without rushing through the meal, pausing to discuss how EPIC this dinner was. This reminds me…I have squash in my fridge that I need to bake up so it doesn’t go bad. Perhaps a pizza is in the future.
With my pre-race meal now in the tank, we took a stroll to CVS to pick up additional waters for that evening and race day…and then turned in for the night. I laid out my clothes while Cathy showered…and then it was Food Network for Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives until bedtime. We turned in early. But thanks to being so close to the start of the race, my three race morning alarms were set later.
Got up with my first alarm to take a pill and some water. Went back to bed. An hour later, alarm went off. I went to get dressed in my race clothes and finished putting my hair up when the alarm for Cathy to wake up went off. It was perfect timing. I had packed some snack bars/protein bars to have for breakfast…so we did that in the room. I filled up my fuel belt with one side water and the other my Nuun Performance (LOVE!!) before grabbing my hoodie, and heading out. Cathy even remembered the sign. We were WINNING this morning.
I texted my coach once I got to the start line area, hoping to catch her before the race. She was aiming for a PR. I’m not concerned with time right now…just focusing on form, and how I feel. And she and I discussed a race plan via text for this one the night before. With as many people running this as there was, we decided a 4 minute run/30 second walk interval might cause problems. So…the new plan was to have me walk all the water stops. She was hanging in the convention center, so I didn’t actually find her ahead of time. Cathy had to convince me to give up my hoodie and get into my corral as I was a Wave 1 runner and the start of the race was getting close.
I gave it up, got a hug, and went to get into the corral at the start. I had just found a spot that was a decent amount of space back from the start, but not too far back, and then I hear my name being shouted. I start turning my head, and I see two guys waving at me. It’s Tim and Greg from Frankfort!! Greg came over and gave me a hug. They were doing the full. We joked about how I was smart and was focusing on half marathons for awhile. But with the anthem starting to be sung, we wished each other luck and got back into our own zones.
The wheelchair race was underway first. And then…Wave 1 was off.
I actually felt really good that morning, even with the cold air. I had opted, at the last minute before leaving town, to swing back by the apartment and grab arm warmers for the race. This turned out to be a wise decision. While there were points of the race that I felt I was getting too warm, the wind would kick in and I’d be grateful to have them again.
I loved this race. Honestly!! I have always heard good things about it…but this was my first year actually running it. I have known friends who have done the full or the half and have never heard anything bad about it at all. I settled into what I felt was a good and easy pace and got into the zone. Even though it was crowded, there wasn’t a lot of weaving going on. I felt comfortable and like I wasn’t really pushing too much too fast. I saw Cathy just after crossing the start line, and she had said she’d be at Monument Circle as well before heading to the finish line to wait for me. Apparently an actual breakfast happened for her as well…because while I saw her at Monument Circle (hard to miss that sign!), she didn’t see me. It was still dark, and I was wearing darker colors than I normally do. After she realized she missed me, she spotted the Au Bon Pain and ended up getting one of their breakfast sandwiches. HA!! She’s resourceful like that.
Almost 3 miles in now and I still felt good. No hip issues (even with the chilly weather) and just a steady rhythm going. I knew that the marathon/half marathon split was just after Mile 7, so I knew things would thin out a bit at that point as well. At my 4 mile water stop, Tim caught up with me and gave me a pat on the back and told me I was doing great. He was doing the full and looked like he wasn’t even trying to maintain a fast pace. He’s superhuman, I swear! He ended up catching me again at the water stop around Mile 6 before the split. I kept waiting for Linda or Greg to pass me…but never did see that. It was good to see Tim out there though!
The split came and that involved running underneath this arch where half was labeled for the full and the other half was labeled for the half. They kept on going straight and we made a left turn to continue on our path to the finish line. Just after Mile 8, they were handing out gels on the course. Not my thing so onward. I really felt good the entire time, except between Miles 10 and 11. I just felt really tired at that point. I walked a “hill” and a water stop within the same mile. I didn’t feel bad for it. I was tuning into my body and it really needed. There is no shame in walk breaks. In fact, they sort of make the run more enjoyable…and in the end…the results are quite surprising. I didn’t speed walk those breaks either. I strolled each water stop…taking in my own water of fuel as needed. And after that extra break heading into Mile 11, I felt better and I was able to pick it back up. Final two miles and into the home stretch.
I could hear the announcer as I neared the final stretch of the half marathon. I took a corner and could see that finish line. As I was nearing it, I spotted Cathy and the sign. She was shouting at me and the crowd was loud and awesome. And I heard my name get announced just as I was moments away from crossing that finish line. That’s always a motivation to kick it up a notch. I never have much of a kick at the end of a race, but I was smiling the entire time as I crossed over that finish line and threw my hands up in celebration!
Afterwards, made the walk through the finish chute, getting a Mylar blanket, a medal, lots of snacks, and some water. I got an official finisher photo on the way to meet up with Cathy. And soon after finding her, we got word that Linda was on her way to the finish line, so we waited to flag her down. And the first thing she did was give me a hug. I love my coach, for real!! She’s my biggest support system, even when I am one of her biggest headaches (I am neurotic; I can’t help it!). We talked to her for a little bit, but soon had to head back tot he hotel to cycle through showers and get dressed for the wedding. Linda was going to be waiting on her runners doing the full and half marathon.
From running shoes to high heels and a pretty dress. We made a coffee stop at Strange Brew in Greenwood, IN before the wedding (necessary) and then got to see two friends get married. A little dancing and food at the reception and we were in the bathroom changing into clothes for the soccer match and heading back to Louisville to cheer our team to victory (it went to penalty kicks and we won…and charged the field afterwards). It was a long, but totally amazing day!
So…the official results of the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon are that I finished in 1:41:44…walking EVERY water stop. I’ll take that time with walk breaks. Hell yeah! I was 720/7972 finishers overall. I was the 175/4492 female finishers. And I was 32/775 in my age division. WITH. WALK. BREAKS. YAAAAAAS!! Maybe Jeff Galloway really does have the secret recipe for racing success! I mean, I ran/walked that race faster than I did the KDF Half Marathon. It was also faster than I ran the Dark Side Half Marathon. Yep…Jeff Galloway is a genius!