Can we say better late than never on this one? Okay, whew. Thanks everyone. For some reason, I just couldn’t get my head around this recap and well, let’s also be honest in that my life has been a little insane since this race and I’ve just been getting the basics up on the blog. However, I also felt I can’t publish my recap from St. Jude’s until this got up on the blog. So without further waiting and ignoring that this race was back on 11/7/15, here is my race recap from the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon.
Even though Indy is only about 5.5 hours away, I actually flew to this race from Pittsburgh. A few reasons why, but it seemed easy enough to just do that at the time. I planned to head out after work on Thursday which meant I would be getting in pretty late. I am the type of person though that would rather get in late 2 days before a race versus getting up at 3am for a 5am flight the day before the race. The second half of my flight ended up having a big delay, so I ended up getting in even later. I stayed at a hotel close to the airport so within about 30 minutes of me landing, I was curled up in bed and asleep. Since I had no set agenda on Friday, I enjoyed sleeping in a bit.
Once I got going on Friday morning, I headed to the hotel downtown. I was staying at the Holiday Inn across from Lucas Oil Stadium and had an awesome view of the stadium itself. I was sad I wasn’t able to stay until Sunday for the big Colts vs. Broncos game.
To kill some time before heading to the expo I went to check out the NCAA Hall of Champions. It was pretty cheap ($5) and killed about an hour. It was fun to see the history of college sports though and someone who was a DIII athlete, it just makes you appreciate it that much more.
Eventually I made my way to the expo. The set up of the expo was pretty good and they had some nice vendors. Some bigger name vendors, local ones and then they had Bart Yasso. After obtaining my bib, etc my first booth was to visit with Bart Yasso and get my #Bartie with him!
That was quite a successful endeavor. Of course since I am a huge expo nut, I hit up everything else and entered my name into many free race drawings. I took enough time that just as I planned to leave, Bart was up front starting his talk. I had planned on leaving but I am glad I stayed. It was very cool to see and hear about many of his crazy adventures. For dinner, I ended up meeting up with a few 50 Staters. It was definitely a lot better than finding somewhere and eating on your own. We all planned to meet in the morning as well and head over to the start line together. I thought I was 100% solo on this race, so these amazing groups have helped prevent that a few times now!
It was an early morning and chillier than I thought it would be. Two of the 50 State Club members were from Florida and they were dying in the cold. The amount of layers of protection was pretty great. We all had either some garbage bags or heat blankets on walking to the start line. However, Juliana might take the award on best dressed in the garbage bag. The best though is that it was actually longer than her and she had to tie it up! Gotta love it!
We had plenty of time in the morning to check bags and their process was very simple! It was right by the finish line as well, so I knew after the race that I wouldn’t have to walk far to get my warm gear.
We headed toward the start line to get into something of a corral and it was just insane. People were every where and there was NO way we were getting into the “corral” area. There corral system basically sucked. They had the elite seeded and then about 3-4 colors of corrals for the faster people and basically anyone over a 10:00/mile was in the back. Since we couldn’t get anywhere near the road, we decided to hang out with a bunch of other runners and just sneak into some space as the race started and people went to the start line.
Finally we were able to sneak in. Since it was chilly, I still had on my throw away shirt and planned to run with it on for the first mile or so. Well, in the long run (no pun intended) this ended up being a bad idea. More on that later though.
Since I had no goal for this race, I just took off and let the legs do as they pleased for the race. I didn’t find a pace group to run with either since I think the ones I would have run with were well behind me. The other issue I had to contend with was how crowded this race was for almost the first 2 miles. It was a windy course which didn’t help either.
Not having ever been to Indy before, I have no idea what to expect in terms of the course and what would be along the course. For the most part though, there was a nice crowd support. There were of course some dead spots, but you get that in every race. Being around the downtown area for the beginning, it was nice to also kinda sight see as I went along. I remember though coming to the first water stop and of all places, they put it in a much narrow area than the other parts of the course. They could have pushed it back just a tenth of a mile or so and it would have spread it out more. This seemed to happen at another water stop or 2 as well. If I didn’t want water, it just seemed to be more difficult to move around those who were stopping to get water.
Around mile 2.5 we hit Market Street again and pass the Obelisk again, but there was a small part of the course that was cobblestone. I always hate this because I am afraid I am going to trip. Well, as we were about to exit this area, an older guy to my left did just about that. He must have had some amazing core muscles because I honestly have no idea how he stayed up. He was so close to me that instinct I actually put out my arms to catch him. I have no idea what would have happened if he hit my arms and I am glad we didn’t have to find out.
For most of the race, I just felt great. The temp although a bit on the cold side at the start, had warmed up and I kept kicking myself that I probably could have gone with a short sleeve. I tried to keep myself a bit slower at the beginning and that worked. My slowest mile was actually my first at a 10:43, where as my fastest was at mile 12 at 9:23! That was something I was proud to see when I looked over my splits.
Shortly after mile 7 came the full/half split. If you missed this split, you just were dumb and not paying attention. I swear they basically had fireworks there. There were TONS of signs, DJs or someone on a mic and lots of volunteers! I think they geared up for the split a good quarter mile if not more! However, it was after this split that it just went downhill in terms of support for the half marathoners. The Indy Monumental race is definitely geared more toward marathoners. That’s okay as that seems to be their money maker, but in many ways, I just felt the half marathoners were an after thought to them. Those 3 miles were pretty quiet in terms of what we felt in the first 7.
At mile 10 you turn onto Meridan and are on here until about mile 12.6 or so. This sucked. Not going to lie about that. For almost the last 3 miles all you are staring down is that Obelisk and to me it seemed to get further away and never closer! It was basically the worst race tease ever.
Somehow though, I eventually did get closer to the finish line. Around mile 12.4, the lead marathoner came by. It was actually awesome to see him fly by and it definitely gave me a pick me up. From this point we had 3 turns until the finish line. Once I got close enough I pushed as hard I could to get across the finish line. I was pleasantly surprised to see my finish time. After crossing the finish line, I was immediately given my medal, heat blanket and so many goodies. They had a lot of good snacks to grab before you were even out of the official finish area.
I was able to grab my checked gear pretty quickly and soon after I found Heather and Julianna as well. We hug out for a little bit but it started to get cold again and so we headed toward our hotel. Since I was headed home that afternoon, I said my good-byes. I headed back to the hotel and for the first time in a long time, I actually napped after a race (of course, after lots of foam rolling and a shower). After a quick lunch, it was back to Pittsburgh.
So, remember when I said we’d get back to the throw away shirt? Well, while I was at the airport I wanted to look up my official time. After a quick search, I wasn’t there. Nothing. I thought nothing of it and decided to just wait until I got home. However, even later that night, still nothing. I immediately sent an email and reached out to them via social media. Again.. NOTHING. No response. I understand race directors are busy post race, but a quick email from SOMEONE to say “Hi, we got your email and we’ll look into this” would have sufficed. Well, a few days seemed to go by and still nothing. I was at this point just angry.
Kristy at some point mentioned she had a friend who wore her throw away over her bib at the start and because of that her time wasn’t captured as well. Well, this was lesson learned and I won’t be doing that again. Finally at some point someone got back to me and all they did was just threw in the time I provided them off my Garmin. They didn’t ask to verify my Garmin map or anything else. I was torn on this. I was glad I was in the official results, even if it wasn’t as accurate of a time, but I was also disappointed they just took my time. With so many people out there now seeming to want to cheat, I would have at least asked for some verification from my Garmin. You might be asking what about pictures? Well it seemed any time I ran past a camera man, he wasn’t taking picture. So of course I really only have pics from an early mile and then the finish.
Overall, this race was just so-so to me. They missed in a lot of ways and definitely frustrated me as well in a lot of ways. The timing debacle of course put a bad taste in my mouth, but also this race just didn’t seem to interact with runners. I would ask questions on social media and they just never seemed to want to get back to me. I wouldn’t do this race again, but I wouldn’t necessarily tell people not to do it. If you are on the quest to cross off all 50 states, this would be a good race to get Indiana. The race gear is nice (although for a November race, I’d expect a long sleeve) and the other benefits such as finish line goodies, etc are also nice. The medal would also rank as one of my top. Just sometimes it’s the other parts of the races that makes you just not really like it. Oh well. In the end, I ran my third fastest half marathon, crossed race #28/30 off the list and completed another state on my quest.
Official Finish Time:
354/738, F 30-34