After a couple years of on again, off again training (more off than on), this spring I am on again. Things haven't been perfect, but I've been smarter about dealing with the little aches and pains and have been able to stay on the road. I'm not sure if my new found smarts is a new level of maturity or a feeling of responsibility to my daughter, Anna, to stay running. Anna reached the end of her swimming career this winter and decided to lace up her shoes and run a half-marathon. As part of her quest, she has asked me to not only co-run the race with her, but to join her for most of the training runs. Who am I to deny my teenage daughter some one-on-one time?
Anna picked the Indianapolis mini-marathon as her target race, we got signed up, and committed to our training. Looking back on the last few months, I think both of us would have preferred to have a couple more weeks to prepare before race day, but we worked with what we were given and got in the training we could.
Race day came to near perfect weather; low 50s (F), but a little breezy. The good news was it was a tail wind for the 2nd half of the race. We found our corral with plenty of time to join about 35,000 friends on the course. Anna wasn't sure about wearing trash bags as coats while we waited for the start, but after standing around for about 30 minutes, she understood and was glad she had it to wear.
As this was Anna's first try at this distance, and she hadn't been back to running but for about 10 weeks, the goal was merely to finish strong. With that in mind; our strategy was to run comfortably for the first 10 miles, then pick up the pace if we felt capable. And the strategy was executed to a T. We avoided going with the rush at the start and settled into a barely conversational pace. We clicked along having a nice conversation and only took a brief stop on the start/finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway so Anna could kiss the bricks. As she is a big Indy 500 fan, I'm honestly not sure if she didn't chose to do the race just to kiss the bricks.
After our 2.5 mile lap around the Speedway, we exited the track and started our way back to downtown Indy and the finish. We had been passing people fairly consistently throughout the early miles, but as we hit mile 9 the number we were passing definitely increased. Then at mile 10, we decided it was time to pick up the pace and increased our per mile pace by a full minute. It was then that the number of people we were passing really increased. We had to work pretty hard in the final mile and half to maintain our pace, but maintain we did; mile 13 was our fastest of the race.
At the finish line, we grasped hands to cross together, but we had to raise our hands up over the head of a man we passed right at the line. We were tired, but we ran a negative split by at least 4 minutes! We grabbed some refreshments and made our way back to the car for our drive home. On our way home we talked about the experience and Anna admitted she would consider running another half-marathon. As running mentor - success; as Dad - a huge win! I had just shared a great experience with my daughter and only hope that she asks me to run side by side with her in the future.
Artist for Song in Title: John Mayer