IT'S A NEW TRACK RECORD!
Do I really need to say anything else? Okay, let me start from the beginning.
YRC members converged on YMS parking lot at 5:15 a.m., I think we had 14 cars in a caravan going down! I got to run shotgun with the Prez, Ted Johnson (felt like secret service). We got parked with about 30 minutes to spare. Hit the bathroom at the nearest hotel (sure beats the port-a-pots), and headed to the start line...well sort of...
I was scheduled for Corral P based on my "expected finish time", and what I've decided is too many people over estimate their finish times! More on that later. I met up with my training partner, Pete Olson, and my college roommate Scott Fultz, who was fighting a knee injury. Another friend Janelle Schnake met up with us too. The atmosphere honestly was not quite as hype as I remember it from years ago, but either way, 3, 2, 1, GO....or wait...It took 21 minutes for us to get to the start line. As I neared the timing mat, I did get pretty excited!
Mile 1 - I still can't believe how congested it was. The battle of the first mile, was to zig zag in and out of, between and through, all those people that have faster "expected finish times" than I do. Are you kidding me? There are people walking all over the place in the first mile! Pete led us onto the sidewalks, and other than dodging the occasional garage band, that did help some. Across the bridge, I caught a glimpse of an elephant at the zoo out of the corner of my eye, and felt great. Scott and Janelle were chasing me through the masses, and my Garmin clicked off 1 mile just about 20 feet before the sign. I hit mile 1 in 9:58. I wish it was a little faster, but for all the dodging we had to do, I was happy to keep it under 10.
Mile 2 - The turn onto White River Pkwy has a slight incline to it, but again felt great. This was really the first time I noticed what song was playing on my ipod. I was able to settle into my pace a little better, but kept running into a wall of people that I'd have to pause for, and then accelerate through when a gap would open. We turned onto Michigan headed West, and I was still hanging pretty close to Pete, but could tell he was moving out quicker than I. Scott seemed very comfortable, and I hit mile 2 in 9:41. This was the fastest mile of the race for me, but I didn't think I was too fast.
Mile 3 - Michigan is a long stretch with plenty of "interesting dwellings", but I stayed focused on my pace, checking the watch every other minute. I did look up in time to see one of my favorite signs. A huge sign with the letters W T F ? on it, as I got closer I could see it said, WHERE'S THE FINISH? underneath! Awesome! Made me laugh out loud. Saw lots of great shirts with funny sayings all day, but sadly can't remember half of them! Also lots of Firefighters in full gear. Bravo! Mile 3 finished in 9:53, exactly as planned!
Mile 4 - Turned North on Holt and just before you hit mile 4 you can see runners coming at you that are nearing mile 10. This does kind of make you shake your head, but remember they did have a 21 minute head start on me! :) There is a large concrete median here that you have to jump up, on and over a couple times if you get squeezed out, but still feeling good I did Mile 4 in 9:48. Awesome!
Mile 5 - We head West again on 10th street, past Allison Transmission, and there's lots of open areas. I did witness a young lady running next to me yell "DAD!", and watched her sprint toward the sidewalk to embrace a man in full military gear. Something about it made me a little emotional, I suppose it was nothing, but I sort of wrote my own script in my mind for the moment. I took my first Powerbar Gel around 4.5 in keeping with my every 45 minutes plan. Finished Mile 5 in 9:55 which makes my 5 mile time 49:16. This is EXACTLY where I wanted to be!
Mile 6 - We are on Main Street now which has lots of Indy Car Team Headquarters. It's fun to read the names on the buildings. Then we turn onto 16th street, and head toward the entrance to the track. To get into the track, you have to go under it, so that means a nice big downhill....followed by a just as big uphill! Ouch! Pushed all the way through it. I could see Pete at the top of the hill as I was at the bottom, so I knew he wasn't pulling away too quick. Scott and Janelle were right there with me. In fact, Scott pulls out his phone and "checks-in" at the Track (and tagged me)! I crossed mile 6 in 10:17. Uh Oh, that's not good, somebody might be getting tired!
Mile 7 - As we cross the 10k point, Janelle asked me what our time was and it was almost exactly 1:02, exactly a 10 minute pace. At this point, I sensed my dream goal of 2:11 (10 min pace) was a long shot. The track was as crowded as anything as you go through the turns. They don't want you on the grass or the track, you must stay on the warmup lanes. The music was pumping pretty good, and they has some sweet cars sat out on the track. Mile 7 was 10:10. Shoot, I thought I had picked it back up, apparently not enough.
Mile 8 - Janelle officially passed me, and after Scott took a picture looking down the main straight, I could tell he was feeling good, and he went with her. I started doing the math in my head, and trying to figure out what I could get away with for a 2:15 finish. Perked up for the photo at the yard of bricks, and stuck with it all the way down the front stretch, but Mile 8 showed up at 10:34.
Mile 9 - I stayed running through the exit of the track and came upon another emotional moment. A 50 something year old father walking between his two daughters. The daughters had a shirt that said "DAD" at the top with arrows pointing -> and <- toward dad, then under it read, "8 months ago, open heart surgery - today, running 13.1 miles!" I actually teared up thinking THAT IS WHY I'M DOING THIS! I want to stay healthy for my family, and how great would it be someday to run between my two daughters in an event like this! As motivating as that was, the rain began to pour and as we climbed a small incline back onto 16th street, I took my first walking steps. That mile showed 11:23, and I knew the next 4 were not going to be easy.
Mile 10 - I grabbed my second Powerbar Gel (almost forgot about it), just to try and sustain my muscles through the remainder. Some windy short roads, lead back to 10th street, and I continue playing this game in my head of how much can I walk. Ultimately, I ended up alternating running and walking every 1/4 mile. The rain really picked up and I found myself getting very cold. I thought back to my incident at the triathlon last fall, and decided I had to listen to my body. I could feel fluids sloshing in my stomach, which I have read is an early sign of dehydration (most people think the opposite), so I was sure to walk through each water and Gatorade stop and take a good full drink. Mile 10 ended up 12:12 which made the total time 1:44:42, which is 4:42 over that 10 minute goal pace, which also means 2:15 is out of the question now. Now I start thinking, what will it take to get 2:20. Then it hit me. IDIOT! Enjoy the moment. My previous PR was 2:33:42, and that was 10 years ago! Having gained and lost 90 pounds since then, this was my comeback, and I would certainly beat that time! Just keep moving!
Mile 11 - Still on 10th street for another long stretch, and I continue with my run/walk alternating plan, and it seems to be working well. As I started my running moments again, I would pick someone to run behind and just stay there, as opposed to all the jockeying for position I had done earlier. Made an extra effort to say thank you to officers blocking the roads and volunteers passing out water. Traded smiles with the entertainers along the route, and just enjoyed myself. This mile showed 12:15, almost identical to the last mile, so I was good with this run/walk plan.
Mile 12 - Finally getting off 10th street, and back onto White River Parkway, you can see the bridge ahead that will get you to that last mile, but before I get there, I spy a bright yellow YRC shirt just ahead. Is that Pete? Nope. It was Brad Wilson. I don't know Brad, but have seen him around on some of our runs, and we rode down together with Ted. He was walking so I ran to him just as he started to run again, grabbed him, and he said his ankle was quite sore. We ran together a short distance and both agreed to walk again at the same time. My walk pace was quicker than his, so I left him. Mile 12 was my slowest at 12:22, but still very consistent with the last two.
Mile 13 - As you turn onto New York Street, and begin to cross the bridge, pride sets in. The crowd gets thicker, and you can sense it all coming together. I began to try to stretch out the running portions, and walk a little less. The signs along this last mile, are almost torture. 3/4 mile to go; 1/2 mile to go; 1/4 mile to go. Come on! Those 1/4 miles are taking me almost 3 minutes at this pace. I picked out a Yellow shirt some 100 yards ahead of me, and made him my target. You can bet, it was all I had to catch him, but I did, no more walking now! Mile 13 was a tick better at 11:40
FINISH - 13.1 is the official distance, but with all the weaving early on, my Garmin ended up measuring 13.18. So for that last .18, I gave everything I had left. My heart rate monitor peaked out at 198 bpm at this point, with my average being 195 bpm. I could not have been running faster. My average pace for the last .18 was 8:56 which after 13 miles was fast! Arms raised! FINISHED!
Final time was 2:21:51, another PR. Garmin shows my average HR was 175 bpm, and I burned 2421 calories! Finished in 15600th place out of over 30636. And 9435th among the 14254 men! 1584th of 2160 men 35-39.
DONE! - I was shaking, cold, wet, tired, exhausted, and it must have shown. An EMT walked over to me and asked if I was okay. I told him I was cold, but thought I was fine. I walked slowly to get my medal, water, Gatorade, granola bars, bananas, cookies, and finally to get my picture taken. Exited into Military Park, and headed to the Friends of the Muncie Endurathon tent.
POST RACE PARTY - As soon as I was in sight, there was a unison "Chris!" It feels so awesome to be part of a group and to wear the shirt. YRC creates a fraternity of sorts that respects all runners of all abilities and that's what makes it perfect for me. There were plenty of war stories to go around as we feasted on the food and drink there. Never did see Scott or Janelle again, but Pete found us, and I couldn't wait to give him a hug! He finished 2:14, just 7 minutes ahead of me and only 3 minutes off our initial goal time. All he could do was smile, and say, that was all I could do. I know how he felt! There were plenty of PRs to go around today, many breaking 2 hours, and some even under 1:30. I can't imagine. The best part for me was talking to all the first timers. Many of which had impressive times, but I love hearing them tell of their experiences.
WHAT'S NEXT? - I will rest tomorrow (promised myself), but next week, I'm in the pool and on the bike to prepare for a Sprint Tri in June. In the meantime, I plan to race a 10k next weekend, and pace Molly through the Geist Half Marathon in 2 weeks. Then starting in July, the early training stages for the Chicago Marathon begin!
See you on the road...