Saturday, October 15, 2005

Indianapolis Half Marathon--October 15, 2005

A beautiful fall day for a race…sunny, little wind, temps in mid 50s, to low 60s at the end. On a nice course in and around Ft. Ben in Lawrence.

Here’s how it went.

Did not sleep well at all, was pretty anxious to get going. Finally, the alarm went off at 4:50am, got up and got set. Got Matt up at 5:25am, as he had to go to Indy as well for his first ever HS Debate team event…then I head to Indy. Twila Paris on the CD player…a great way to start.

Got there and found, eventually, a place to park, a long ways from the registration spot (why, when anticipating running 13.1 miles, would I complain about walking 4 blocks?? Pretty lame). Quckly in and out of registration, though. A good, LS t shirt. Went to car, picked up race stuff. Dang! I forgot to pack my pace band which I had so carefully prepared for a shot at a PR!! I pull out my running notebook, write 8 splits on my left hand in ink, that’ll have to do. Dropped off gear bag (wow, I’m grateful for that service at races..) queued a few times in the porta johns.

My objective was to set a PR, to improve on the 2:06:35 I ran at the Sam Costa in March. I hoped to run 9:30 miles, which would end up at a 2:04:40.

If you’re up for it, here’s the mile by mile summary:

Mile 1—Nice start, the usual struggle to find a rhythm, but it was nice. This is, after all, Indiana, where people are nice. Beautiful loop through Ft Ben Harrison officer housing. Did it in 9:37. Good.

Mile 2—more in the Fort. Beautiful. Found some folks to talk to. 9:29. A bit quick, I back off.

Mile 3 – Leave the Fort, head down E 56th street, fully blocked off. Big, long, downhill late in the mile, I let myself fall freely. 9:06.

Mile 4 – into a residential area, big loop, well-proportioned people standing in front yard watching this spectacle. Walk through water stop, 9:33. Feeling fine. Start to run with a group of ladies who have an Internet running group and all met Indy to run. Nice folks.

Mile 5—back the other way on 56th, now up the hill. Some nice fan support here. 9:39. Surpised how good I feel. Eat a Gu. 4 seconds under my needed split.

Mile 6, 7, 8, 9 – Click off quickly. Very nice. Beautiful day, in a groove, nice conversation. The mile markers surprise me at how quickly they appear. Times at 9:26, 9:39, 9:35, 9:47. Feeling good.

Mile 10 -- Loop into a park, onto a bike trail. Wooded, hilly, pretty. Take another Gu at the bottom of the hill as we circle a lake. 9:20. What’s that twinge I feel in my right calf?? Choose to ignore it.

Mile 11—Climbing up from the lake. That can’t be a cramp…that can’t be something to stop me…this isn’t really happening. And I have to walk. It eases…then it picks up again. 9:51. I’m losing it. And start to panic.

Mile 12—Out of the park. What do I do? I decide I need a slow, careful stretch. My conversation group passes me. I find a car with a bike rack and hope the owner won’t mind me leaning on the bike rack to stretch the right calf. A long, slow stretch. It feels a bit better. I head down the street, wondering what to do. I decide to pop another Gu. I’m thinking it is a cramp. I gradually pick up the pace, but feel each and every step with my right leg. And I decide to relax, work through the pain and keep going. Mile checks through at 10:03. I figure my PR is toast.

Mile 13 –Amazingly, I feel a little better and catch up to the support group. They were surprised to see me. Have enough wits about me to smile for the race photographer. Only a mile and change to go, so I just keep plugging. As I run with the group, I do a quick calculation and observe I’m only 75 seconds over the pace I need to hit my 2:04:40. I wish my team well and decide to make a push and see if I can get the time. I start passing people and choose to ignore my right calf. Passing more people. They are all panting…I’m not. I just hurt. As I come to the 13 mile sign, I can see the finish. Mile clocks at 8:41. Wow. I look at my watch, I look at the finish line, I see I have a shot at making the goal.

Mile 13.1. A flat out fast run, an interval, if you will. Hit the mats at 2:04:37 on my watch, later find out the chip time is only one second higher. By both counts, I beat the target. An exhilarating feeling!

Post Race: Chip clipped off, medal on, I’m limping but don’t notice it at the time. grab 3 bananas and Gatorade and greet several folks I ran with. As I leave the finish area, I realize just how much my right calf hurts. And I’m starting to wonder if it is more than just a cramp. But that’s not a worry now.

Get to the gear pick up and it feels great to put on a dry LS T shirt. And then gimp over to get some food.

This race had the best food line I’ve seen in a race. Actual hot food…fresh burgers and bratwurst off the grill, baked beans, cole slaw, cookies, donuts, Gatorade, water, all in abundance, all served with genuine good cheer. Wow.

Find a place to sit down and start talking with a fellow runner. Turns out it is Dedre, who is an originator of the website We talk running and blogging and have a great time. She also tells me to take more salt during a race. Easy way to do it?? Grab a handful of salt packets from a fast food place. Yeah, I’ll try that. Wonderful conversation.

Gimp back across the street and head home. Happy with the PR. Wondering what happened to the calf. Thinking what could have been, as I felt fantastic, except for the silly calf thing. Thinking it might be more a pull than a cramp. Oh well. A fine way to spend a beautiful fall morning.

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