I must begin by giving credit where credit is due - I would not have raced in Carmel if it weren't for the generous support of Dr and Mrs Jeff and Kari Schoonover from Indiana Vein Specialists! Thanks so much to them for my sponsored entry! It's a very special feeling to be sponsored by someone; not once; not twice; but now three times! Thank you!
Carmel marathon weekend is a special place for me. It is still my marathon PR course from when I ran in 2013. And since I've never raced another 8k, it is also my 8k PR from the 2014 race!
Race morning was pretty uneventful - up at 5 a.m., shower to wake up, gear on, toast with peanut butter, banana and out the door by 5:40 - no traffic all the way and right into the parking garage at 6:30. The plan was to meet up with other Indy Mini Ambassadors for a prerace photo at 7 a.m. at the start/finish line but only a few of us made it.
Checked my gear, one last potty stop and I'm in the corral for the opening ceremonies. The Mayor opens with the above fact, some kids rattle off the names of every country represented in the race, sing the banner, pray for safety and countdown to the gun!
And we're off - straight into the sun - blinding! You start on a slight incline, (which means you finish on a decline), but it's challenging to see much other than the road in front of you. Not complaining though! It's a beautiful day! Already high 50s, no wind, clear blue skies, and it's only going to get warmer!
First 3 miles are mostly headed East on 126th street and I really felt quite strong. The full and half run together during this time and that probably helped keep me moving with purpose. Always trying to latch on to someone who appears to be running the same pace and not get caught up in the speedsters zigging and zagging by - still faster than I probably should have been, 10:12, 10:11, 10:20.
The next 3 miles were a gradual settling in as we work our way north toward 146th street. 10:29, 10:35, 10:49 - mile 6 was about what I expected my pace to be for the first 6, so I was well ahead of pace.
Between mile 7 and 8 the marathon leader caught me - the energy provided by the lead moto and Jesse Davis running a 5:30 pace by me helped to pull me along, but as that energy quickly faded and we weaved our way through the Hagan Burke trail I could feel my legs getting a little heavy. The plan for the day was a 10 mile training run and then see what we had left. I was able to run non stop through mile 10, but it started to get ugly toward the end. Miles 7-10 were 10:36, 10:24, 10:44, 11:16.
Mission accomplished on the 10 mile training run - right around 1;45 at that point which meant I could virtually walk it in a a 15 minute pace and still manage to hit my bogey time for the day. Prior to the race, I said I could probably manage a 2:30 race based on the training I have had to this point. That reality felt really good, and other than just feeling tired, I was doing pretty good. The back didn't hurt too bad and the legs were not interested in doing any hills, but could handle the flats without much strain, so might as well give it a go.
It was getting warm by now - well into the 60s and pushing 70 degrees! Last 3 miles were a good mix of run, walk, jog, and just keep moving forward. Didn't worry much about the clock, so brought it home with a 11:43, 12:04, 11:57 - and then of course, the last 0.1, which on my watch was actually 0.2 with my apparent inability to correctly run the tangents - but I proved to myself I had the legs left at the end by running in at a 9:10 pace to hit the finish line at exactly 2:23! 7 minutes better than what I expected!
And the best part - I still felt great! Walked through the recovery area collecting food and drink - straight to get my gear where my phone was already blowing up with texts and comments on the automatic facebook posts that the race provides! Of course, with the sponsored entry, I get VIP access, so headed up to collect more goodies there!
All in all, another very good day for the first race of 2016! It gets me excited about running again and I'm ready to get out there and see what I can do for my next race - in just 3 weeks - at the INDY MINI!!!