ORN: 26.2 miles, 4:53:59, 11:04/miles; 35th of 55 M65-69;
R/W 5/1 thru 17, then 3/1 and 2/1; 63F and 25 mph wind
I enjoyed this marathon. It’s a big event and getting better
each year, a jewel for Indiana road running to be sure.
15,000 runners in all events, including nearly 5,000 marathoners.
It’s not the Chicago Marathon but it has a big city feel.
It’s too bad this year’s event was dominated by the weather.
A fierce wind directly from the south was the talking point,
20mph at the 8am start and increasing all morning. Given
the course ran north and then back south, it meant a
monster headwind for 10 of the final 13 miles.
I was pleased with my run overall. I ran the first half
comfortably using a 5/1 run/walk ratio and hit my targeted
10:47/mile aggregate, as I shot for a 4:40 marathon. I
crossed the halfway mat at 2:18:27, clearly helped by the
tailwind. We then turned south and I held onto that pace
through mile 17, near the Butler University campus. But,
by then, it was obvious the wind would take its toll. So
I backed off the pace, not having anything to prove and
ran comfortably to the finish line. The final four miles,
between tall buildings with a howling wind, were not much
fun but I got it done. Marathon #108 in the books.
And four other experiences were memorable...one truly
strange, one ironic in light of the strange event and two musical.
It’s a given that a large road race in a city will disrupt traffic.
We’ve all seen it and you just deal with it. But I saw something
in this race I’ve never seen before and hope I don’t see again.
About mile 8 or so, the marathon pack was still thick. We
approached an intersection, where a guy was trying to pull out
of his neighborhood but the stream of runners was steady. He
was OK with it, though, simply easing his car near the intersection,
trying to look for a gap. Nothing aggressive at all. But, about
40 feet in front of me, I saw a fellow runner start to scream at
the driver, hurling obscenities his way and giving him the finger
right up next to his front bumper. As I pulled even with the angry
runner, I said to him “Come on, man, just leave it alone, that
doesn’t help, let’s go.”
Wow, this wasn’t good. We went on running, leaving the driver
behind but my fellow runner then turned his anger on me. “I’ve run
this race 15 years in a row! How many times have YOU run it?”
I let him know this was 8 for me at Monumental. “You can’t say
anything to me then!” I looked at him quizzically and tried to
calmly point out “It’s not helpful to yell at a guy who’s just trying
to get out of his neighborhood.” “Oh yeah? I can yell at anyone
I want to!!”
I put my hands up and walked, letting him continue on. Another
runner came up beside me, having seen the whole thing and we
both shrugged our shoulders...the guy had some issues. Yet it
didn’t end. Over the next two miles, he fell back and talked three
more times with me, each time justifying his anger and adding
more reasons to be angry (like not enough cups at a water stop).
I just stopped talking to him and left him behind for good around
I’ve never seen such behavior. He clearly had other issues. But
it made me sad to see a runner be so rude and crude towards a
driver. I’ve seen anger the other direction but never by a runner.
Which made the second event both ironic and funny.
Around mile 15, running straight south along the right side on Meridian
Street, the biggest and most famous surface street in Indy, we came
to an intersection with a line of northbound cars queued in the left
turn lane, hoping to turn in front of the stream of runners. Quite
spontaneously, another runner and I spotted a gap ahead of us that
would allow a couple of cars to turn. We both held out our arms,
slowed for a second or two with the few runners right behind us,
motioned for two cars to turn and then carried on. The drivers waved
and smiled, as we did in return. I gave a fist bump to my fellow traffic
director and laughed to myself about how different that was from the
mile 8 driver-runner interaction.
And then the music.
Shortly after I had decided to slow the pace and was regrouping for the
new pattern, we came up to a garage band banging out classic rock for
the runners. They had just started playing the 1964 hit by The Kinks
“You Really Got Me . .’s It's
a headbanger, for sure. I started singing with them and to my surprise,
the lead guitarist saw me, walked into the street and stuck his mike out
to me...I joined in to sing the epic phrase “you got me so I can’t sleep
at night” along with him. Wow, what a moment. The band got a charge
out of it and we were all laughing, as were the spectators. Later, I realized
not only had the young guys in the band not been alive when the song
was released but likely their parents had not been either.
Then, around mile 22, a guy with just an acoustic guitar was singing and
playing from the back of his pickup. He was attempting The Doobie
Brothers’ “Long Train Runnin”. Great song but he didn’t quite have the instruments or volume to
do it justice. I tried to help him out a bit yet news of my earlier vocal
success had not reached him. Oh well, those pistons keep on churning.
Further thoughts, post race.
When I recorded the race results later, I noted my time was a mere 33 seconds
faster than the Carmel Marathon nine months ago, also in Indy, also on a
windy (but much colder) day. Despite the identical times, the Carmel race
felt truly miserable for me at the end, while this race was enjoyable and just
kinda long. I realized two key things that made a difference. First, and primarily,
I had many more training miles ahead of this race, averaging 150+ per month
all summer and fall, vs 120/month or so leading to the April race. Secondly,
I ran the first half of the Carmel race aggressively and paid the price on the back
half. Good reminder...get the miles in and take it easy early.
That’s the story. And better to laugh with a garage band than yell at an