The Monumental Marathon in Indianapolis is my all-time favorite race. I have run it every year except the first year of the race, when I had just started running and didn’t know about it. They also didn’t have the 5K that first year, which would have been the only distance I could have run at the time. Monumental was my first full marathon attempt (DNF result), and I have finished the full, half, and 5K (when injured) in the eight years since. It is usually the last big race of my season — Monumental has become my gateway to the holidays.
After Chicago didn’t go as planned (sub-5:30), my coach and I decided I would try the marathon again at Monumental. So I upped my registration from the half to the full and decided to give it a try even though I had never run more than one full in a year before — let alone two within four weeks.
Thursday night before race weekend, I went to the expo since I needed to work off-site Friday and wouldn’t need to go downtown. In arriving early, I managed to score a pair of free tech gloves that were for the first 75 people to visit the CNO Financial booth! I got my packet and Mr. Anise’s packet (he was running the 5K) and then hung out with my clubs, running store friends, the pace team, and coach. Eventually I decided I should walk back to the car, and I stopped for kombucha (locally fermented) from one of the local coffee shops. On the way home I stopped by the grocery (the high-end one) to get the dried kiwi and pineapple I needed for race nutrition. I laid out the rest of my flat runner (race kit).
Friday I ran early and worked from home until I needed to go to a conference where I was presenting. Finished up there, I had an acai bowl and later went for gluten-free pasta with the mister. I closed race eve by watching “The Emoji Movie” before bed.
Saturday morning I was up pretty early, and I ate breakfast and got dressed. I drove downtown and parked in my usual garage. I walked over to where I was meeting people and we had fun for a while until it was time to get ready; I walked over to the team tent to drop my gear and put all my accessories on (hat, sunglasses, nutrition and lip balm in pockets, TriSlide). I hit the porta potty and then headed to my corral where I met up with the pacer and started chatting with people. Our wave went off and we were underway.
The first five miles were relaxed, just as I wanted. I was acting as a tour guide for out-of-towners in the pace group. We were a little faster than I really needed to be that early, but only by seconds — not too fast. I noticed I had forgotten to set the HR screen on the Garmin 920XT I was using, so I wasn’t going to be able to use that as my guide. I was manually splitting the race and was about 2 minutes ahead of goal pace at 5 miles.
After the half marathon course split around 6.5, I stopped to use a porta potty and knew I shouldn’t sprint to catch the pace group. I figured I would reel them in over the course of several miles. That never happened, but my splits were solid, and I went through 13.1 about 2 minutes ahead of plan. At this point we had seen two fender benders caused by people not paying attention in race traffic, but other than that it was pretty normal. The temperature was good, and it was cloudy with a breeze, but no strong winds.
I passed my church and got to the stretch where I DNF’d my first marathon attempt. Passing that point still gets in my head a bit.
At mile 16, I was thinking I was going to be fine, even though I had lost a bit of time. I got to 17 and had another slow mile. And suddenly everything was hurting. Everything that had been the slightest niggle during training or Chicago or taper was suddenly pretty painful. I tried to push through to the 30K timing mats and see where I was, but I couldn’t hold on to running. After the mats there is a long, sweeping downhill. It HURT! I couldn’t even take advantage of it — it just hurt.
I came to grips with the fact that I wasn’t going to make my goal time between mile 19 and 21.
At 21, one of the local training groups I hang out with from time to time had a cheer zone. It was great, and everyone was supportive, even though it clearly wasn’t my day. I started talking to a guy who had run Chicago as well, and we had finished about the same time. Turns out our running lives had a lot in common. We stayed together and told stories. I knew any hope of even a PR, let alone goal time, had slipped by.
There’s a bigger cheer zone near the finish, and I saw my running club, training group, and other friends, and that convinced me to run it in to the finish. It hurt, but I ran that last stretch down the street and around the corner to the finish.
I was glad I was able to finish but a bit sad that I wasn’t able to PR or meet my goal. My finish time was 5:55:13 (on my watch it was 5:55:15 which is more amusing to be, but officially 5:55:13). My goal time still stands. I am not a 5:30 marathoner — YET.
Part of the joy of running a race in your hometown with your friends and training partners are the funny stories that have nothing to do with the race itself or running. I will always love this race, even when the full breaks my heart.
Now it’s time for some recovery. I am not even going to fight coach on recovery this time. I need it. And I need it to be able to move into Ironman training for 2018.
As always, it was a Runner’s Christmas in Indy, PR or not.