Garden Party

I went to a road race on Saturday and a party broke out. At least that's what it felt like. How many November Indiana days can you enjoy clear, sunny, skies and temps starting around 50 and headed to the upper 60s? The race organizers for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon and Half-Marathon were definitely blessed by the running gods. This had originally been my 'A' marathon for the year, but after nagging injuries over the summer that plan was scrapped, leaving to kids events, which got scrapped, which led to me saying, what the heck, I'll just run the half.

Watching the forecast leading up to Saturday, I struggled  a little bit deciding just what to wear. Only running the half, I wouldn't be on the course that long, but still didn't want to spend a significant amount of time trying to warm-up. As it was I opted for my normal race kit with no extra cool-weather gear, which turned out to be just the right decision. Based on my estimated time, I was placed in the seeded corral, which I very much appreciated with the reduced crowds. While we were waiting for the start I ran into a youth triathlon friend and we talked about our goals for the day. He was planning on going a bit faster than me, so I gave my well wishes and slid a little further back in the crowd. When former Olympian and American Record holder Bob Kennedy issued the run start, I took off at an moderate pace. At the first mile marker I was spot on. The course wound through downtown Indianapolis showing off some the cities' finer features. As we headed out of downtown, I came up on a co-worker who was running the full. We ran together until the race split around mile 7, sharing running stories about work and other races. All the while we stayed right on an even pace, just a little below my target time for the day.

After the split, I continued north through the Meridian-Kesseler neighborhoods and was feeling good so I picked up my pace about 10 seconds per mile. Around 9.25 we turned south onto Meridian St and started to deal with a headwind blowing between 15 and 19 mph! Up until that point, I was right only my target pace give or take a bit, but the wind was really taking a toll on me. I tried a few times to hang on to a group and draft for a while, but my conditioning seemed to be revealing it's true level at about the same time, and I was not able to stay with any of the groups. I knew that my family was waiting around mile 12.5, so I just hung in there. I was looking forward to having the kids there cheering, because they had never seen me race before. That was just the boost I needed and was able to get my pace back on track and close out to finish in 1:44.38, just 20 seconds under my estimated finish. At the finish one of the volunteers was Alex, a guy I ran my first half with in 1991 and hadn't seen since.

After my finish we hung around for a few hours cheering people from our home town. We saw some but not all. The kids got to congratulate one of their swim coaches, which is why we missed a couple of our neighbors. We have to apologize to Brad, who we gave up looking for because we were sure he must have already finished. After reviewing the results, we gave up on him probably about 2 minutes before he came by. I can justify it by saying we were sure he was already done.  Wrapping up the day, we waited for our friend Elyssa, who was running her first marathon. As it turned out she had some cramping early in the race, but hung in there and finished strong, The kids ran the last mile with her and then we hung out for a few minutes with she and her family before calling it a day and heading home.

I have to say I was impressed with my estimation of my fitness level. Looking back at the race, I believe that I was really only conditioned to race a 10 miler (as further evidenced by my post race soreness), but given the weather conditions I was pleased with my result. The family will be running the local drumstick dash on Thanksgiving, but it's back to the drawing board for my next goal race. I saw somegood candidates at the race expo, but need to sit down with schedules and make some decisions.

So we went to a road race and a party broke out. There were lots of people, good entertainment, some  food, and some great times and conversation shared with friends.

Artist for Song in Title: Ricky Nelson


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