Saturday, November 07, 2009

Race Report: Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon

ORN:  13.1 miles, 2:06:51
Quick Summary:
The race turned out to be an enjoyable 9 mile tempo run, followed by an easy 4 mile training jog.  As this was the first race I've ever run not feeling 100%, I was pleased.  The social interactions of the day carried the event.
The Gory Details:
When I got home from work on Friday, my wife asked me "So are you really going to run that race tomorrow?"  Like a stubborn runner (or maybe one who had already paid the entry fee and was determined to get his money's worth), I said "Sure.  What else would I do?"  I'm fortunate...she loves me anyway.
Last week was a long one, as I contracted what was eventually identified as a dandy upper respiratory infection.  After hoping to deny it all week, I relented and went to the doctor on Thursday. He told me it was a good thing I came in, as it could have morphed into walking pneumonia in a few more days.  (I resisted the urge to ask him if I could make it "running pneumonia") Some generic antibiotics and industrial strength cough syrup turned the direction of the fight on Thursday and Friday.  Yet, I knew I was not 100% for running on Saturday. But, hey, it was going to be a nice day, so I still ran. 
Race day came and Social Event #1 took shape.  Former work colleague and running pal Chris S. emailed me on Friday, asking if he could have a ride to the race.  We met up and had a marvelous conversation all the way to downtown Indy.  It was terrific to catch up and discuss items of substance all the way.  Chris had his best HM ever, finishing strong at 2:07:47. 
We scored a great parking place a half block from the start line by 6:30am and I headed for Social Event #2.  Mike is a blog reader and was in town to run the marathon.  He and I have emailed quite a bit about applying Galloway's methods.  I used the half mile to his hotel as a nice warm up and we had a terrific chat for about 20 minutes.  It was fun to meet up.  He had a solid run, finishing in 4:49:34. 
Back to our car (where my wallet was well secured) and I had to decide Which Shirt Or Combination Of Shirts To Wear For This Race.  It's getting ridiculous...I packed six shirts for this race...and changed my mind twice more on race morning.  Ended up choosing a single LS tech shirt from Rocket City.  The weather was amazingly warm for early November in Indiana...the high for the day ended up being 70.  The choice was still wrong...I should have gone short sleeved. Boy, do I over think this subject, though. 
The sound system for the starting grid was very good and I laughed out loud when one of the pre-race songs was "Billy Jean".  I had no illusions of running at a pace of 8:20, but there it was.  Just before the start, I saw ahead of me in the crush of the grid two work colleagues.  Jeremy was running his second ever HM, shooting for a sub 2.  He made it, at 1:56:12.  Chris F. was doing his first ever marathon.  An accomplished triathlete, he was using this to push the distance envelope of his running. 
The race started on time and 5,700 of us shuffled off.  Somewhere in the first mile, Chris F appeared from behind me and we decided to run together.  Social Event #3 was underway.
It was huge fun to run and converse with Chris from that point to the split up at mile 8.  While we regularly collaborate projects at work, being on the streets, sweating and taking on a big challenge allows us to go wider than mere work.  It was a terrific way to run.  We talked and talked and enjoyed it a lot.  The mile splits were consistent:  9:13, 9:15, 9:14, 9:01, 8:59, 8:51 over the first six.  Both of us were feeling somewhat for the right pace.  With my illness, I had no idea what to shoot for...a very unusual thing for me.  I decided, as Chris and I settled into a comfortable groove, to just see if I could hit 2 hours.  He was not sure just what to shoot for in the full.  I encouraged him to run slower than what he felt he could...and since he often trains at a sub 8/mile pace, 9s seemed reasonable. 
Eventually, the half marathon course separated. I was sorry to not be going with the marathoners but that's how it was today.  I wished Chris well and wondered how he would hold up.  I needn't have been concerned.  In his first ever marathon, he finished at 3:56:27.  Awesome.  I can't wait for the full report on Monday. 
After all the conversation, the rest of the race was rather quiet for me.  Somewhere after mile 9, I began to sense the lungs and legs were not pleased with the tempo I was holding.  Since I didn't have a plan and wasn't really too uptight about the race, I decided to listen to these twinges and set my watch to a 3/1 run/walk for the rest of the way.  The splits then jumped to the low 11s.  And that was OK.  The ego suffered a bit as I had so many people pass me the last four miles.  But, it wasn't a big deal. 
The finish of the race was well laid out...through downtown Indy, around the State Capital building, finishing at a new government center.  The final time was 2:06:51.  Not all that great, but it was "the best race conditions allowed."  Conditions today were governed by the illness all week.  Just the way it goes. 
It was a good day.  I truly enjoyed the time with Chris, Mike and Chris.  I'm trilled how that worked out.  Any race day is a good is a gift to simply be able to get out and run. 


Backofpack said...

Sounds like a smart run to me! It's always hard on the ego when you know you are going slower than normal. As much as I think I've adjusted to my limitations, it still bugs me on occasion. I really think you were wise, and consequently had a better race and even more importantly, a better recovery from illness because of your decision. You are too smart to mess that up!

The shirt thing cracks me up. My advice to you is: arm warmers. They give you the flexibility to start out warm and peel down as needed.

Mary Gee said...

Awesome. "running pneumonia" made me truly Laugh Out Loud.

Sarah said...

That's a pretty good time considering you were sick all week!

I've been having a tough time figuring out what to wear running lately. Lack of recent experience, I guess. And yes, I've consulted your spreadsheet a few times! :) My new method is to wear a little less than I think I need and that seems to be working out okay.

Darrell said...

What a great day among friends. I'm surprised about your 9:00 pace early on given your respiratory conditions. 2:06 is still pretty darn repectable, all things considered.

Thanks again for your thoughts, prayers and text messages today.

John said...

Great write-up again, Joe. The HMs are just a walk in the park now, aren't they? that's what those Marathon Maniac memberships do to you! Congrats again on a good race under those conditions.

Are you sure the doctor didn't say you could have had the "rockin' pneumonia" instead? Since the played "Billie Jean" while you were there, you can be sure the Old Man Rhythm got ahold of you too.. you may have well been on your way to the Boogie woogie flu...

John said...

P.S. Congrats to Chris on his first full marathon.. I just noticed that his time was only 24 seconds behind mine.. very cool!

Wes said...

proving the point that some races should not be judged by digits... make sure you remind me I said this someday...