Monday, November 07, 2022

Race Report: Indy Monumental Marathon, Nov 5, 2022

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 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

mile 10.   

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

unsuspecting driver.