Sunday, November 2, 2014

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon 2014

In a previous post I described everything about our marathon weekend except the race. This is the post about all 26+ miles and 5+ hours.

Breakfast did not come with our hotel room, so the morning of the race we got up in the dark and ate the yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, zucchini bread, and bananas that I had brought with us. DH took a hot shower and then applied twice as much clothing as he planned to run in. Then we headed downstairs. Here you can see the lobby of our hotel, which was on the start line, full of runners. It is 15 minutes before the start of the race, and they are supposed to be in their corrals. "Hey," said Dear Husband, "they may be insane, but they're not stupid." Temperature at race time: 32 degree Fahrenheit.

Rod Burgundy agrees:
"I immediately regret this decision."
The sun came up while we milled around in the open, too-slow-to-be-seeded corral. Just before the gun sounded, I collected DH's extra layers, then walked along the sidewalk as he approached the starting line. After he took off, I went back to the hotel, deposited his things, picked up my purse, and went back out. I cheered the runners along their course--even surprising DH at the 2.5-mile mark as he rounded a corner--as I made my way across downtown Indianapolis to meet up with DH's parents, who had come to do the "drive and cheer" with me.

The three of us spent the morning driving a big, looping circle around the race course in central Indy. We stopped first at the 13.1-mile mark with a noisemaker, some balloons, and a personalized sign. Some of the other signs were pretty clever: "That seems like a lot of work for a free banana" or "I'm impressed with your stamina: call me!" One guy was offering "free high fives," and a kid had a sign that said "Press here for speed." Click here to see more Super Signs from the race.

In case you were wondering, I don't do marathons. Heck, I don't even run, unless it's on one of those special stair-climbing ellipticals. I have flat feet and bum knees and can only go 15-20 minutes on a treadmill or regular elliptical machine before my feet start burning with nerve pain. I had to give up Zumba and Pi-Yo because the repetitive movements made my knees hurt for days afterwards.

Instead, I cheer. For everybody. Some spectators wait quietly along the course until their runner comes along; I shout and clap for all of them: "Go, go, go! Looking good! That's it: one foot in the front of the other! You can do this--you ARE doing it! Nice form! Run, Forrest, run! So far, so great! I believe in flying unicorns!" That was for the couple in matching unicorn headbands, rainbow tails, and wings. And of course, "Whooooo!" I was hoarse by the time DH had finished the race. Maybe I should take up voice training?

DH accepts a high five from his mother at 13 miles.
Despite it being the day after Halloween there were few runners or spectators in costume. I wore my jester hat with the bells on the tips, carried a wooden noisemaker that is supposed to sound like "crickets," and generally made a noisy fool of myself. When we moved to the ¾ mark (18.5 miles) at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, some of the runners remembered our sign and my silly hat.

Raising the roof at 18.5 miles. A DJ was spinning
rap tunes on the other side of the circle drive in
front of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
DH was making good time, so we closed the circle by driving back to downtown Indianapolis, where we took advantage of $5 event parking at a garage one block from the finish line. ($5 ?!?! Only in Indianapolis. Even football parking in our small town costs $10.) We ate lunch brought from home in the warmth of the car before getting out to stand at the final turn of the race course. The wait was longer than we had anticipated because, as DH explained later, the last fourth of the course involved some serious and unexpected hills that were physically difficult and mentally demoralizing. He ended up having to walk a couple times. And yet, he found the strength in himself to run the last mile, finishing in 4 hours, 40 minutes, and 11 seconds--only 10 minutes behind his goal of 4.5 hours!

Rounding the last corner into the final straightaway
--and looking pretty darn good in stretch pants.

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