Sunday, November 2, 2014

To Journey With You Wherever Life’s Adventures May Take Us

This weekend Dear Husband and I traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana, so he could run in his first marathon, the 7th annual Monumental Marathon. This post provides a quick overview; the next one contains his finishing time and the immortal line, "[marathon runners] are insane, but they're not stupid!"

Race weekend always begins with an expo of vendors. This is where we pick up his race packet and test his timer by waving his bib over a pad hooked up to a computer screen. We also look for a pair of running pants, since we couldn't find his swishy exercise pants, and the weather forecast calls for a wind chill around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The first and biggest stand we check out offers moderately priced pants that are too big for him, or expensive pants in his size with "muscle-gripping technology" to support his joints and massage his muscles while running--to the tune of 100 bucks. We settle on a low-tech pair of men's black stretch pants for $20.

Then it is on to the pasta feed. Carb-loading the day before a race is a time-honored tradition that usually involves a buffet of pasta and breadsticks, with meat and veggies for those who want them. The organizers need a place to put all those people in downtown Indy on a Friday night, so they set up a big tent with heaters at the finish line. Unfortunately, the weather is not cooperating. It is cold and very windy, and in the photo you can see the tent sides flapping. At one point, the far end of the tent starts to lift up, despite the sandbags on the poles, and suddenly 1, 2, 3 tables overturn like dominoes. The workmen eating at the table behind us get up to hold the tent down, and I put the cap on the bottle of water DH and I are sharing and start making an exit plan. Sure enough, the operations manager shuts down the tent and the pasta feed midway through dinner. We can't believe we dropped $20 a plate (pre-paid) on luke-warm pasta, eaten in life-threatening conditions. Meanwhile, the loudspeakers are playing popular tunes like "Criss Cross"; they should have put on "Fly Me to the Moon."

After dinner, we go back to the hotel to warm up and watch a couple movies. I had packed "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," because it is Halloween after all, and "Happy Feet," because at least one of us needs to have a sense of humor about this whole running 26.2 miles thing. DH did waddle like a penguin after the race, but his feet were NOT happy.

In case you were wondering, this race is called the Monumental Marathon because it starts and finishes near the Soldiers and Sailors obelisk in Monument Circle at the heart of Indianapolis. Constructed 1887-1902, it commemorates the state's participation in various conflicts: that's Victory aka Miss Indiana with a sword, eagle, and "the torch of civilization" on top. Underneath is the Colonel Eli Lilly Civil War Museum. (Both are closed for renovations until further notice.) To the right you can see the day-glo-t-shirted tail of the Kids "Fun Run" 5K going by. The race course loops back to come at the monument from the east before heading north for 10 miles. It then turns southwest and zigzags to the Indianapolis Museum of Art before following the White River State Park trail back into downtown Indy. Although locals gave DH a surprised look when he mentioned afterwards that the hills had been tough, the course elevation map shows some serious hillage, particularly in the second half.

I'll satisfy your curiosity now by saying that Dear Husband completed his first marathon! And we are so proud of him. After he fueled up at the finish line (water, banana, and Steak N Shake chili), we trundled back to our hotel room so he could take a long, hot shower and a nap. Then we went out to dinner to at The Eagle's Nest, a rotating rooftop restaurant where we had celebrated our second wedding anniversary.

The restaurant takes 1 hour and 15 minutes to make one revolution. Some of Indianapolis is scenic to look at, like the Greco-Roman capitol building built in 1878 (see above). Some of the city is not scenic, like the roof of the convention center (built in 1972) and the factories with smokestacks in the background. We could also see Lucas Oil Stadium and the Eli Lilly headquarters. Did you know Lilly was the first company to produce injectable insulin on a large scale?

Dinner was okay: DH had the prime rib, with a big baked potato and (overcooked) asparagus. I ordered the seared lamb rib eye with mashed potatoes and ragout of peas, asparagus, and lamb demi. DH usually eats more slowly than I do, and sure enough this time I had cleared my plate well before he did. The lamb tasted good, but it was really more of a show piece than a dinner serving. (I didn't take a photograph of it because I was trying to spare you my food porn!) Still hungry, I immediately ordered a beet salad, which the server was kind enough to comp us. I wish he could have done something about the wine: $10 for what amounted to half a glass. Just over one revolution later, we skipped dessert and ambled slowly back to our hotel to watch an excellent South African film, Tsotsi.

Sunday morning we were up early again, ate the same cold breakfast, packed our bags, and checked out. The drive home was sunny and uneventful. It was a good marathon weekend. Stay tuned for DH's next 26.2 miler in April 2015!

Editor's note: The title of this blog is a line from our wedding vows.

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