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Monumental Marathon: 2 Minute PR

I ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on Saturday.  My time was 2:54:28. This was neither the time nor the race, I had envisioned for my fall marathon. If you follow our blog, you know that I had raced Chicago three weeks ago and it did not go well. It went pretty poorly if you ask me. I didn’t hit my goal…heck I didn’t even sneak in a PR which we thought was a slam dunk for the race. The fitness and prep was on point but it just didn’t come together on race day.

That fact left my reeling for what to do next. Over the next two weeks I went back and forth about what to do but ultimately I decided on limited rest/recovery I would race Monumental and just see what
happens. I adjusted my goals. 2:45 was out the window. I truly believe that I am in 2:45 shape but given the circumstances going into IMM was going to be happy with a PR and running a “good” race. I was not happy with how I raced in Chicago. Regardless of time, I did not have it together in Chicago and I wanted to right that wrong.

Race Day:

Sean picked me up around 7 and we drove down to the start line, found an awesome street spot, and
were inside the Convention Center meeting up with Collin by 7:30. Thank you small city racing!!! Collin and I headed to the start around 7:45 or so and found Josh and Michael with Sean joining us a little later after checking his bag. We discussed times and Collin’s awesome throw away sweater that Josh gave him. It was straight out of Mr. Roger’s. Sean was targeting 2:45, Josh and Michael about 2:55 and Collin and I, 2:50. If everything came together it was going to be a great day of racing.

Since I was running with Collin I decided to let him set the pace and not have my watch set on the pace. I would run with him and see how things went. We settled into the first couple miles running by Lucas Oil, Eli Lilly Corporate Center, and heading to Mass Ave in a quick pace…at least it felt quick to me. Looking at Collin, he was looking smooth and fluid and knew pretty early it wasn’t going to be my day to stick with him and I should let him go up the road. Probably somewhere around mile 5 I started to drop back a bit and told him I was going to sit behind him as long I was could. I didn’t see his face again until the finish line. We hit the 10K 39:04. I slowed it down a bit over the next couple of miles trying to find something that felt comfortable. I never really felt comfortable to be honest.

I dumped onto 38th St. by the Indiana State Fairgrounds feeling sorry for myself and my legs were tired. At this point, I am 8 miles into the race and am thinking I made a really bad decision to run another marathon so soon after Chicago. It was at this point that I had a decision to make: I can feel sorry for myself and shut it down when I see Lindsey at 16, cut the course and just run home, or I can focus on racing “hard” and giving it everything I had and just see what happens. Luckily before too long, the course turns north onto Washington Blvd and I see our friend Choy out cheering. He gives me some encouragement. It helped. I decided I needed to keep on running and just see what happens. Before too long, I am through Meridian Kessler and onto College Ave. headed toward Broad Ripple around mile 12…just get to the halfway point. I get to 13.1 just north of Broad Ripple in 1:23:36. At this point, I see Sean’s wife, Whitney, and his family. They give some more encouragement so I keep on running. My legs hurt…this was a bad idea, etc. just a couple more miles to 16 and I can stop when I see Lindsey.

I am now running south on Meridian toward 46th. I have already had two gels and don’t really like the idea of another one so I take a pack of Clif Shot Bloks from one of the aid stations and chomp on those for a bit. It really seemed to help my mood. It felt good to chew something. I continue on. My legs feel really awesome at this point. I make it to 46th  and Meridian and make the right hand turn to go up the small hill toward Butler. Lindsey and Choy are there! Lindsey is as crazy as ever. If you could make a living as a marathon spectator she’d be a pro’s pro. I don’t really acknowledge her and power. Despite how I felt, she told me that I looked 1000 times better then I did in Chicago at more or less the same point. More Running. Run through Butler and over to the IMA. See my buddy JBakeIndy outside the IMA…things are really starting to hurt now and I am having trouble not slowing down. I keep pushing on.

Mile 16

I come out of the IMA and head toward the White River Parkway and the 30K spilt. I hit the 30K in
2:00:29. Only 12K or so to go….I can hold on. Its going to be tough but I can do it. As we head down the on ramp to the Parkway Jackie Dikos, Lucie Mays-Sulewski and crew come flying past. I saw them early on in the race and figured I would see them again…just not sure when. Looking back, based on their finish times, I should have started with their pack.

Once off the Parkway and to the Naval Armory, I’ve got just around a 10K to go…maybe a little less. Up the road on Riverside I see what looks to be Sean…that’s not good. I shouldn’t be seeing him. I quickly approach him at 21. He’s walking. Oh no! I run past. He looks like he is having great time. I try and get him to run with me. He’s not having it and says good luck and tells me to keep going. (Side note: this was Sean’s first marathon and a lot of things can happen in your first one. He’s a 1:14 Half guy so he’ll be back and can really kick ass with more experience now.)

With any marathon…with maybe the exception of Boston all courses have a dull point and this is it for IMM. 21-23 is pretty bad. It is a bad section of the race and the area is blah. You are all alone and just trying to get back to Meridian. I keep running as best I can. The pain is pretty terrible. I am trying to keep the miles as close to 7:00 as possible. I think the worst mile was 7:15.

I make the right hand turn on Meridian and rejoin the half people. 3 miles to go. I run by the BoMF water stop and here some encouraging words from people that recognize me. I’m kind of out of it at this point so I’m not sure who said what. I keep telling myself just get to the library and then it is only 1 mile to go. I keep creeping down Meridian. I’ve been doing some math and pretty sure I can hold 7:05 and comfortably PR. I keep running. I’m looking for Lindsey. She is supposed to be at 25. As usual, I hear her before I see her and just about the same time I see her Josh Dials comes flying up on me and motions to push with him…or maybe he said it. I don’t know. I pick it up as best I can but Josh is pushing and my legs are not having it. I stick with him but let him go up the road a bit. Half mile and it will be over. Just keep running. I turn on West Street and then turn again to the finishing chute. I cross the line and nearly collapse from my legs giving out. Its over! 2:54:28. A two minute PR.

Post Race Thoughts:

I’ve debated about how to finish this blog. I could focus on how this race wasn’t the race I wanted and how Chicago was supposed to be it and “what if” and project times but I don’t want to do that. I am extremely satisfied with my race from Saturday. I came into the race knowing an “A” effort was not
possible and just wanted to race hard and leave it all out there and I did that. A PR is a PR as Heath
Dotson would say. I am satisfied but am I content? Absolutely not….I know that I am capable of so much more and I am going to keep pushing after it but for now I am going to enjoy a little downtime and be happy with my race. I’ve got all Winter to focus on chopping wood and carrying water to bring down that current PR to 2:4X:XX.

I read an article today that I thought had a great closing quote that seemed appropriate here:

“That is both the gift and the curse of the marathon,” Cass said. “When you finally get it right, it’s the product of 30 variables that you have maybe 50 percent control of. When you get it wrong, you try to analyze all 30 of those variables. It’s nearly impossible to figure out exactly what went wrong and how to make it better next time. But that’s the goal. To take a look at what happened and go back to the
drawing board. And, if it’s in the cards, to give it another go.”

Congratulations to everyone that raced and crushed some very big dreams on Saturday!! 

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