October 20, 2014

Indianapolis Marathon 2014 Race Report

Marathon #5?  How did that happen?

Well let me tell you...  A year ago after the 18th running of the event, a $5 discount code was tweeted for the 2014 Indianapolis Marathon.  However, the first person who registered found out that the $5 discount, was not a $5 discount.  It was a $5 entry!  Yes, that's right, you could sign up for the full or the half for just $5 (plus processing fee, made it $6.25 for the entry)  That makes a $60 discount!  Many were tweeting and sharing about the obvious error, and I couldn't turn down the opportunity to sign up for a race for $5!  Within a couple hours, the error was discovered and the price was corrected.  I kept waiting for an email from the organization asking me to pay the error difference, but it never happened (thank you organizers)!  So I kept it, but was never really sure I would race the full....spoiler alert...I did!

Race day included the normal butterflies as I got parked at the corner of Post Road and 56th street around 7:30 for the 8:30 start.  Long lines for the portalets but made it through and to my corral in plenty of time.  It was chilly and windy so I went with toboggan cap and gloves, and long sleeve base shirt.  Found the 5:00 pace group leader, Melanie, among the over 2000 participants, and hoped to keep an eye on her all day.  This was a weird feeling being in the starting corral with NO ONE around me that I knew.  No one racing, or standing around to support me.  Just me and my music (Thanks X-1 earbuds!)


The goal today is #1) to finish, #2) to have fun, #3) to beat my previous worst time 5:22, and #4) to break 5 hours if possible.  I'm watching the Garmin close to keep every mile under 11:25, and if possible start banking time early.  Would like to have 5-7 minutes cushion at the halfway mark.

Mile 1-5 is a big loop into and out of Fort Benjamin Harrison State Park.  It's all downhill on mile 1 into the park, and it's all uphill at mile 3 coming out of the park.  I had been on this road before, doing 40+ mph on a bike coming down the hill in a sprint triathlon 2 years ago.  Mile 4 travels along 56th street with some rolling hills bringing us right back to where we started.  I ran the downhills hard all day, and was fine to run the uphills in these early miles.
10:24, 10:40, 11:15, 11:08, 11:17 (5 mile split - 54:39 - 10:56 pace - perfect!)

Mile 6-13 - the course takes 59th street away from the park.  Cadets can be seen running laps on a cinder track nearby while their superiors are barking out orders to pick it up.  We turn north on Lee Road out to a VFW building for a short out and back before jumping a short gravel path onto a trail in Fort Harrison State Park.

The area is vastly covered with the most beautiful canopy of color I've ever run through!  The trees were so tall and the valley was so deep, you couldn't see the bottom.  And when you come out you run around a gorgeous lake at the bottom (check out the photo that was recently tweeted of the lake!!)   I would love to come back and walk/hike this trail.  Better yet, it was all downhill past mile 8.  Mile 9 brings us on to a trail that runs alongside where we were at mile 2, but this time we stay on the trail and circle back out of the park.  Just after mile 10, I heard someone say "I guess this is the mile 10 hill I was warned about", Um, no one warned me about this hill, but I had such a solid steady pace going, I decided to push it, so I ran the hill passing walker after walker and as I neared the top I check my HR to be 180!  Way too high - I was under 165 all day until now.  I might regret this decision later, but I want to hold pace.  Didn't matter, I pushed on and emerged back onto Lee Road to find my fan club waiting for me just before mile 12.

I was feeling strong already, but when I spotted Carter along side the road ready to run with me, Morgan with her cowbell, and Molly with her camera ready, I perked right up and was on top of the world at that point!  Amy Olson also came down to cheer me on.  I had a 4:30 cushion built up over my 5:00 goal pace, and was plenty warm at this point, so threw them my gloves, but kept the cap.  The course backtracks to the park and the half splits off at mile 12.5 for the finish while the full goes straight back into the park (downhill) for a 3rd time down to mile 13.

11:10, 11:00, 10:49, 10:56, 11:19, 11:22, 11:16, 11:15 (13.1 mile split 2:25:12 - 11:05 pace - perfect - and my fastest half marathon since last October)

Mile 14- 19 - this is the out of the out and back section.  Miles 14, 15 kick out of the park, under I-465, my legs felt fine, but my stomach was not settled.  I kept running, but the pace fell below 11:25 for the first time.  I checked my HR monitor to see how out of the zone I was, but it wasn't reading correctly.  I adjusted it to get a better reading, 173!, and then it went out again.  I twisted the strap to try and get a better reading AND IT BROKE!  COMPLETELY SNAPPED OFF!  My shirt was tucked in, so it just flopped around inside my shirt while I pushed on, but my stomach was too upset, and I took my first walking steps to try and calm my stomach that now felt like a brick!

We're now on Fall Creek which features the Fall Creek Greenway, and some of the lead returning runners have only a 5k to go, and are very supportive as they pass by, but I just can't run as much as I want.  The 5:00 pace group passes me at mile 16, and runs away from me, and at mile 17, my Garmin watch confirms that all of my 4:30 cushion is now gone and I'm actually behind the 11:25 pace.

I spot my son and find my fan club waiting for me just past mile 17 (did I mention it was cold and started spitting rain?)  I shrug my shoulders to say "I tried" - My legs were tired, but the stomach was the real issue.  Goal #2 is becoming questionable!  I soldier on all the way to the turnaround at mile 19 implementing a run walk strategy and fighting to keep every mile under 14:00 in hopes of meeting goal #3, beating my previous worst time.
11:42, 12:28, 12:39, 13:43, 13:35, 13:51 (19 mile split 3:44:46 - 11:43 pace - not where I'd hoped to be)

Mile 20-26.2 - The aid stations and the turnaround on the out and back were manned by military men serving water and Gatorade.  They were extremely motivating as they barked out, "You got this sir, keep it up, dig deep, keep running, you can do this" - It was like it was my job to push on.  I found my fan club patiently waiting for me at mile 21 which now included my long time running partner Pete.  Not much to say at that point, just keep moving!  I hurt!  My left hamstring was tight and my right quad had some pain that was causing me to limp pretty noticeably.   My nutrition was a mess by this time.  I started with 6 powerbar gels and 4 salt tabs.  Salt tabs were going down on the hour and were fine, but my powerbar gels were in my race belt and two of them had fallen out.  I was taking one every 45 minutes, and was now without any.  The last Gu on the course was offered at mile 21 and I should have grabbed an extra.

The course was thinning out as I watched the last walker heading out with the sag wagon following behind picking up the cones.  I know I'll finish and I'm calculating that I need to remain committed to this run/walk strategy to get me in under 5:22 (my previous worst).  I get passed by Martha, a 40 something Purdue faculty member who is running her first marathon.  She starts her walk just ahead of me and my walking pace is faster than hers, she walks with me.  We exchange hellos and brief intros, but not much more is said until we start to gain on a couple more in front of us.  Sensing that we're both hurting, but wanting more I offer, "let's go get 'em", she agrees, and we did.  For the next 2 miles we continue this idea, of whoever feels good pulls the other, and at the end of the day, she's what got me to the finish line to meet goal #3.  She eventually moves on and I get passed by a guy with an M-dot tattoo.  I ask, "which Ironman did you do", "Louisville" he replies, "Me too!" with a fist bump!  Then I realize he's wearing a Chicago marathon shirt - from last weekend!  He confirms and tells me he'll earn "Marathon Maniac" status today!  And then he runs away from me!  I hit mile 25 just about 5:05, and know I have to keep pushing to meet goal #3, and of course it's all uphill coming out of the park.  But I keep the press on and as I reach the top of the hill, I hear Pete's voice encouraging me.

I gallop my legs into a run/jog up to him and around the corner with mile 26 in sight where Amy and the kids are waiting for me.  One last walk to the sign and then I'm running it in.  I see and hear Molly near the finish.  It hurts.  It all hurts, but with the finish less than 1000 feet around the corner, I hold it together with the kids on each side of me, I cross the line.

13:39, 13:59, 13:39, 13:36, 13:04, 12:58, 12:56, 4:27 on the last .2 (which was actually .38 on my Garmin)
Official time 5:19:57 - 12:08 pace

Check out how consistent I was:
5 mile split 406/487
13.1 mile split  403/487
19 mile split 410/487
26.2 mile split 409/487
240/276 among men
38/42 men 40-44

Successfully completing 3 out of 4 goals for the day was very satisfying.  Having my family at the finish line with me was BEYOND satisfying!  So thankful for all the support of my friends and family!

The post race food was great!  Brats, Burgers, Pizza, and sides.  Was bummed there was no Chocolate Milk to be found anywhere!

Here is how my mile by mile pace compares to my other marathons

Love the fall colors that this race embraces!

Recovered with an endless pasta bowl at Olive Garden afterwards.

Set a new one day record on my fitbit - over 49,000 steps!