Hi! I’m back with another race recap! My second postpartum half mary is in the books!
The Mini was the first race I signed up for after Emery came along as it’s close to home and I’ve ran it twice before (read my recaps here and here). Though it’s not necessarily the prettiest race I’ve ever ran, it’s one of the biggest half marathons in the country and it’s always so. much. fun. I tried my best to coerce my Dad to come down and run it with me, but I was unsuccessful (silly work). Thankfully a bunch of Perfect Strangers were registered as well, so at least I had buddies to run with! Long lost ones at that 🙂
I figured after our decent finish at the ChiTown 1/2 one month ago, I would kick things up a notch and become more consistent with my weekly training runs. Well apparently, excuses have trumped my motivation because I’ve been a super slacker these last three weeks. Anything from, “I’m too tired” to “It’s too windy” or “Sure I’ll have a beer” have taken over my vocabulary. For whatever reason, running just hasn’t been a priority, though I truly wish it were. I managed to eek out one 10 mile weekend, but beyond that, there’s been a whole lot of nuttin’, honey. Even despite my poor mileage, I still had my sights set on running 13.1 Saturday morning come heck or high water.
Emery and I went down to the expo at the Indiana Convention Center on Friday. I loaded him up in the Ergo since it’s usually pretty packed and maneuvering a stroller would’ve been a pain. He was pretty enamored with all the activity around him, which made my expo perusing enjoyable. I ran into Meggie and her husband at packet pickup and we discussed our meet up plans for the following morning. I hit up a few booths to pick up some Feetures, Gu, and a “Crawl Indy” onesie for E before we headed back home for water and carb loading!
Since Emery only napped once on Friday, he was in bed by 630p, which meant that Mama followed suit, hopping into bed by 730! Sometimes missed naps are a blessing in disguise. My alarm went off at 5a, and after one round of snoozing, I was up and getting myself ready for the morning ahead. For some reason it felt like it had been a long time since I adequately prepared for a race morning, even though it had only been a few weeks. I guess I just missed the ritual. With a coffee in hand, I was on my way downtown by 6a for a race that was scheduled to start at 748!
I parked and bopped over to the JW (pictured above) where I met up with my PS girlies. This year the race was organized in waves, so with the help of Meggie and a color copy machine, we all “doctored up” our bibs so we could run together. We found ourselves in wave 1, corral E, which I found quite fitting 😉
The energy at the starting line is electric. It was just as I remembered it two and three years before. It didn’t hurt that the weather was absolutely perfect, 50’s and sunny with just a hint of a cool breeze. We snuggled up in our throwaway shirts for a pre-race pic!
Wave 1 took off according to schedule and we soon found ourselves cruising past the Indianapolis Zoo. Just like last time, our cute “little” elephant was on the sidelines cheering us on! Meggie, who was two steps behind me, started yelling “Hey elephant! Over here!” while trying to get a pic. Standard antics 😉
We joked pre-race that none of us had truly properly trained and that we were all out to just finish in a respectable amount of time. Kelly said the last time she had ran 13.1 miles was this weekend last year, with about a dozen miles in between 😉 After a little discussion, we figured a 10 minute/mile was an appropriate starting pace and we’d take it from there. These kinds of races are the best. Very little expectations with the sole goal of having fun. It didn’t take long for the chatter to ensue, and despite the months away from each other, we instantly fell right back into the groove we have always so comfortably fit.
The first few miles went fairly quickly. As soon as few of us would pull ahead, we would just as quickly fall back to the rest of the group when the gap got too big. As always, the course was crowded, but I really do feel like the wave start helped even things out immensely. We passed a bagpiper, the cloggers, belly dancers, and all kinds of teenage bands who were out bright and early to keep things rocking. We also cruised past a Pancake and Steak House which immediately made my belly rumble. A chocolate Surge gel and Sport Beans sufficed.
It usually isn’t until the second half of the race when things start to get uncomfortable. And that’s exactly what happened. When we ran up the giant hill to enter Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we decided we would jump off course and make a quick potty stop together. We were in and out quickly and continued on our merry way. As we ran, I tried to take a couple over-the-head group selfies. PS, I need botox.
As we approached the Yard of Bricks, we decided to grab another pic. Kissing the bricks is apparently kind of a cool thing to do and the PS girls did it last year. We did our best to stay to the right as not to get trampled by the throng of runners. We struggled a bit as you can see below 😉 Some professional-type guy from IMS took a picture too, but I have no idea where to find it. So photographer man, if you’re reading this (fat chance), send it over!
Right after these pictures was when we all started slowing down a bit. Legs and hips were tight, tummies were upset, and we were over the track (it’s fun to start, but 2.5 miles is a bit monotonous, plus the slope stinks). We took a few walk breaks, but always pointed out something ahead that once we passed, we would start running again.
As soon as we left the track, we found Martha’s Dad who was waiting to cheer on his girl(s). COG award!
And I snapped my own pic and texted it to my Dad. Check my first Mini recap for a better explanation 😉
The miles after the track are probably the worst of the entire race. Cramped back roads with absolutely no scenery and very little crowd support. It’s also the point where the reality that there’s still about 5 miles yet to run sets in. Our group started to split apart a bit at this point, Meggie, Jess and Dana out front, Kelly and I in the middle, and Martha and Kristy a few steps behind. Though we were all hell-bent on finishing as strong as we could, we figured we could get in around 2:15 (which we would ALL be happy with).
There was, however, one moment during those boring miles that stuck out. We spotted a man earlier in the race that was wearing a neon yellow shirt that proclaimed this was his 20th Mini Marathon. Incredible, right? Well after the track, he was once again close by. I overheard another man congratulate him on his accomplishments. The man thanked him and said something to the effect of, “I gotta stick around for my kids! It’s all for them!” Heartstrings PULLED. And how true is that? Everything we do is now all for them.
Pairing up with Kelly turned out to be the absolute best thing for the both of us. Every time someone asked how I was feeling, I would reply “Good!” And for the most part, it was the truth. Most of my energy stemmed from the fact that I was honestly just happy to be out there and running. But I was definitely not as boppy as I was during the first half. My hips and quads were incredibly tight and I was just pooping out. Kelly was in the same boat as I was physically (not to mention her emotions were also running high due to my ill-timed questions). Every little while she would say, “Okay, I’m going to walk for a minute.” So we would both walk until the next identified landmark. Even though she kept telling me I didn’t have to stop, I did. Every time. Where did I have to go? I wasn’t going to win the race, or my age group for that matter. So a little walk was welcomed. My hips and quads thanked me for the rest.
The breaks started becoming a little more frequent in the last two miles. And I found that it was my job to keep us both focused on the finish. Eyes on the prize, like my Mama says. I encouraged us to slow down. I pointed out how close to the finish line we were. Simple things took our minds off the pain. At least for a short while. And before we knew it, we were there! And this happened,,,
Best picture, right?? Sums our experience up perfectly. We couldn’t have done it without each other.
Final time: 2:15:52
We caught up with the three girls who finished just minutes before us and per usual, grabbed yet another pic.
Kelly and I said goodbye to the other girls, who all had to jet to various activities right away. We, however, had some time to kill so we headed to the post-race party where we had a celebratory beer in the Blue Mile tent. Nothing beats relishing in a personal victory over laughter and ice cold beer. & I’d say completing 13.1 miles counts as something to celebrate! We also met up with Kristi and Martha who finished just a few minutes after us. The post-race air had a bit of a chill to it, but it was truly the perfect spring day.
As I made the short walk back to my car, I couldn’t help but smile. Being back here. Back with my people. All doing what we love with some of the people we love most. It’s something I’ve missed terribly. And something I never want to stop. Despite my occasional slacking and lack of motivation, there’s something deep inside me that will always have a love for running. And like that man reminded me, I do it for my kids.