Most of my friends are in Chicago and I only see them a few times per year, so when my friend Abby emailed me and a few other friends about a half in Indianapolis in May, we all agreed to go and possibly dress up as Golden Girls (or at least get some shirts made). Even if we didn’t follow through on the outfits the post race party was sure to be a blast!
I should have known something was up from the start. Two friends took two separate falls (one required a trip to the hospital) while running together. They decided to train separately and then lost motivation. One friend decided a bachelorette party in Vegas seemed like more fun than race weekend. Another said running 4 miles made her wanna vomit.
The race goes around Geist Reservoir, hence the name
Still, it the race around a reservoir sounded like a good time. Indiana is flat. My parents have a house in Indianapolis so I’d have a free place to stay. Plus after talking to my pregnant sister in Buffalo and my parents in Seattle, we decided it’d be a perfect opportunity to get us all in one place and throw a baby shower since my sister has a lot of friends in the area.
Packet pick up was Friday afternoon and went really smoothly until I tried to exit. They had organized an Expo with a narrow walkway and vendors on both sides. It made for a really slow exit and I wanted to get out without talking to anyone so I avoided eye contact. One of the vendors eyed my half marathon shirt and asked, “are you ready for tomorrow?” I shot a quick yes without hesitation nor eye contact. She retorted with an even quicker “Are you sure?” which bothered me more than it should have. After a brutal half
in worse conditions 5 days earlier, I was pretty confident that this race wouldn’t phase me. I have an expressive face so I’m sure the look on my face told her to go to hell as I responded with another simple yes.
Beautiful day for a race!
Calls and texts to my friends went unanswered Friday night and Saturday morning. I figured everyone was getting settled and I didn’t think much of it. We’d find each other in the beer tent when it was over. I parked around 7:45 and walked the mile to the start. There seemed to be a lot of 5k bibs but I saw a few half marathon bibs. The corrals made no sense as there were a ton of children with what looked like their grandparents in the 1:45 corral. I was confused…but went with it. Anytime there’s a bunch of kids in a race I find it chaotic. It’s a fun chaos until I almost trip over a weaving 7 year old who wants to sprint and stop without notice. And then do it about 10 more times.
It was a really nice morning – about 60º with 90% humidity but the humidity was so much more bearable at the lower temperature. Mile 1 9:48, which was too fast for a half. Slowed during mile 2 – 10:16. Mile 3 came in at 10:10. I was happy with my splits so far and I was feeling really good. I thought I’d have a good chance to PR. I knew from the map I’d be approaching the half and 5k split soon. But it never happened. I was having Nashville
flashbacks as I turned the corner and saw the finish line.
Then I heard my name and city on the loud speaker, proclaiming I was finishing the half at 1:19.
Medal around my neck.
I asked a volunteer what time the half started. She said 7:30.
I didn’t know what to do. At that point I thought my friends Abby, Sara, and Jenny were still doing the race. They had signed up and Jenny had even ran the Indianapolis Mini two weeks earlier. I had told my parents my expected finish time so they’d know when to come cheer. I debated for a bit, trying to figure out if I should run the additional 10 miles…or wait for friends and family. Of course my phone was in the car but anyone who knows me knows it wasn’t much of a debate – I was getting back out there.
I and asked where the half course was. No one seemed to know. Then I had the bigger problem of getting out of the finish area. The nearest person of authority was the security at the beer tent. We got free beer at the post race party. Ohh…that was tempting…to settle for a slow 5k time and party up. That required a little more debating but I pulled through.
Stuffing my medal between my sports bar and tank, I took off against the course. The final stretch was across a bride and the sidewalk was littered with spectators. My adrenaline was up and I felt pretty good. I figured with the 5k’s 3.1 I’d just run 5 miles against the course and then turn around. It was funny passing the front runners going back. A lot of people said congratulations, figuring I was one of those really good people who legitimately finished. Mile 4 – 10:06. Running against the course required a lot more dodging and weaving because the course wasn’t closed and the streets had narrow shoulders and no sidewalks. I found myself either running in the wet grass or along the yellow line playing chicken with oncoming cars or runners. I also ran through the inside of the water stations grabbing cups from the other side to avoid a collision. I also came to a complete stop at the stations so I’d be able to throw my cup away, knowing there’d be no trash cans for those running backwards. Mile 5 – 10:46. I kept looking for my friends in the people I was passing, but did not have any luck. I felt good so far and watched the Garmin tick closer to my turn around. Mile 6 – 10:12.
Soon, I was no longer passing runners. The walkers took great joy in telling me I was going the wrong way. I laughed with them, even with it no longer amused me. Mile 7 – 10:09. The final mile to my turn around seemed to last forever. Walkers were fewer and farther between and I began to wonder if I was going to run into the SAG wagon soon. I knew there was one and I was surprised I hadn’t hit it yet. Finally I hit Mile 8 – 10:15 and turned around for finish #2. Running with walkers on the course is deceiving. I felt like I was flying but mile 9 was 10:14. Mile 10 also felt kenyan-esque but it was 10:11. Volunteers and cops were telling me how good I looked. At the water station I finally took my gu but I think I waited too long. The adrenaline of running in the wrong race, and then running against the course was subsiding. It was getting warmer too, which didn’t help the existing humidity. If i had started on time I’d be done by now. Mile 11 – 11:17. I was slowing down a lot and again, being with the walkers was a severe disadvantage because it never felt that slow. Mile 12 – 11:24. In the final people were starting to pick it up. I kept telling myself I was almost there. Mile 13 -10:44.
I turned the corner and saw my parents near the finish. They seemed surprised to see me and I imagine the saw the 3+ hours on the clock and were worried/confused. I finished 13.1 in 2:16:40 according to the Garmin. Not a PR and I seriously wonder how I would have done if I was a normal person but overall I’m happy. I didn’t feel well the last few miles but considering I could have given up at the beer tent I did well.
My parents met up with me pretty quickly. It’s the first time they’ve ever seen me in a race and they said they were about to leave after they heard 78 year old Admiral Sanders cross the finish minutes before they saw me. I explained what happened…but my dad enjoyed telling everyone he saw the rest of the weekend how I got beat by the Admiral (although he had an hour head start).
Only later did I find out all my friends bailed on the race. All is well, since I didn’t hang out after the race anyway…but maybe if a single person had answered my calls/texts I might have realized my mistake on the time issue!
Post race dinner with my very prego sister.
I feel good about revamping for Niagara. I am doing some easy runs this week and then kicking it up before taper. I feel more confident that my disappointing are more due to heat and humidity…so I’m just going to keep trying to get acclimated, stop expecting so much in those conditions, and wait for it to pay off in the fall.