Bypassing my usual Sunday “Bagel and Blog” session in favor of writing this at home while watching the Chicago Marathon and drinking out of my award mug from yesterday’s race!
On Monday, my husband and I decided to go run the Indy Half Marathon. This was a little bit last minute — I was planning to race either this weekend or next but I couldn’t decide on which race. And I actually had in my head that this race was next weekend. OOPS! I wasn’t feeling very excited about any of my options, in part because despite racing well at the Indy Women’s Half, I didn’t run the time I was hoping. Coach wanted me to race one more all-out of 10k to half-marathon, but part of me was worried about where I’d be mentally if I didn’t go as fast as I thought I could.
But, my husband — who does not race often — said he wanted to race, too, and then I got excited for it. Coach made adjustments to my training schedule so most of the week was pretty easy.
Monday was 10 miles easy and the weather was so stupid gorgeous — 75*, 47% humidity, tiny breeze. Nothing much to note, which is a good thing for an easy day!
Tuesday was an abbreviated speed session. It was almost disappointing to cut it short because it’s one of my favorite workouts. I only did half of the ladder, so 5-4-3-2-1 minutes hard with 2 minutes recovery in-between. I got to go really fast, especially on those last ones, which left me feeling excited to race. (Coach is a smart guy.)
Friday was 4 miles “moderate,” which is usually close to 7 minute pace but with only 4 miles there’s not much warmup in there. Plus I forgot to stop my watch for probably 10 seconds waiting to cross traffic. I had 6×30 step strides at the end of this one, again, helping put a little zip back into the legs.
Race Report: Indy Half Marathon
Hubs picked me up from work a little after 4, and we made it to the expo around 6:15. Not a huge expo, which is fine by me. Plus coach was there! He had his booth set up and also had a bunch of goodies there for me — a jacket, half-zip and two short sleeves. It took about 10 seconds to get our packets, but I probably spent another 20 talking to coach and other people I knew.
Our hotel was about 10 minutes away, and we had dinner at a place called The District Tap, which was perfect. Did I eat cajun tater tots with buffalo sauce and blue cheese? Yes.
I packed up all my race-day gear into a smaller bag that night, and got to bed early. I am not one of those people who can’t sleep the night before a race. In fact, I usually sleep better. I got more than 8 hours of sleep Thursday and Friday!
I got up at 6:30 a.m. — we needed to be parked by 7:30 because of road closures, which was an hour before the race start. So I wasn’t too worried about being 100 percent ready when we left, I just needed to have all my stuff with me.
I grabbed a piece of wheat toast with jam from the hotel breakfast since we had two hours until the race.
We headed out almost on time … my husband is notoriously not on time.
It was chilly! I love fall racing weather. First day I’ve seen below 50 degrees. Glad I had my new half-zip and some lightweight warm up pants.
Once we were parked, we walked over the start, hit the portajohns before the lines got long, then dropped our stuff at the PBT tent. I had a Hammer Gel and then started my warmup in my warmer clothes and my heavier training shoes. Chris decided he needed to go back to the car and to the bathroom, so he went off on his own. We had about 30 minutes to go, so I just hoped he’d get back in time but I couldn’t worry about it. I finished the second mile of the warm up, then had some Hammer Fully Charged and took off my warmups and changed into my racing shoes.
Right as I was about to abandon Chris and head to the start, he came flying over, ditching clothes, and grabbing his race belt. Did I mention he doesn’t race much?
We lined upon the first couple of rows — I could see a couple of girls I knew so I had a pretty good idea of who to get behind once we started.
The course is a lot of rolling hills, about 450’ of gain, and the first 2.5 are mostly downhill before the longest uphill going into mile 3. My plan was to sit back until after that hill, stay comfortable through halfway, assess, press after 10. I averaged 6:40 at Indy Women’s three weeks ago, so I hoped to start out around that pace and then negative split (the opposite of Indy Women’s).
Miles 1-3: 6:35, 6:31, 6:44.
The first two miles were downhill and a little quick, and Chris took off ahead of me but then I passed him around mile 2. I tucked in behind teammate Lucie and another woman around mile 1.
The first hill sucked. 83’ of gain, just a long grind of a hill. 10 to go.
Miles 4-6: 6:31, 6:32, 6:28.
Little bit of rolling through this section. I was staying with Lucie and the other woman, but around 3.5 I realized they were going more like 6:25 pace which was too hot for me. I let them go and settled in. Coach was at mile 4, cheering loudly, in something like 8 different pieces of PBT gear. At that point I was still tucked pretty tight behind Lucie.
I tossed my gloves at the 5 mile marker and realized somewhere around then that Chris had reappeared and was tucked about three feet behind me off my right shoulder. I could tell it was him by his breathing — is that weird? I focused on hitting halfway, and cruising on the relatively flat street section, which was actually slightly downhill.
Miles 7-10: 6:37, 6:33, 6:20, 6:36.
Got to double-check the women’s count — there were two women together, then a gap, then Lucie and the other woman, then a gap to me — as we headed into a sort-of strange parking lot turnaround. Lots of cheering on both sides of the road, which I like, although it was distracting so no surprise I was a little slower there.
At about 7.2, I got a little surprise — gravel! Apparently to get back into Fort Ben park, they had us run this little gravel cut-through. Not more than maybe 50 feet, but it was unexpected. From 7.5 we hit a big down hill for about 1200 meters — enough that there was a sign cautioning the steep grade! I took most of my gel at the 8 mile marker.
Mile 9 was also downhill, so zipping right along, then a little slower on the next flat mile that included some tight turns. Chris still tucked on my shoulder. We weren’t talking and I hadn’t actually acknowledged that I knew he was there. I was still focusing on Lucie, who I could see ahead of me, and trying to keep that distance from growing.
At this point, I was like, I’ve got this in the bag. I felt good, smooth. Another PBT guy on his way out as I was coming back told me I could catch Lucie, that my turnover looked better.
Miles 11-13: 6:58, 6:35, 6:26.
JUST KIDDING. 84’ feet of climb from 10-11. Now I felt like death. Seriously I thought I couldn’t move another step. Holy hell.
Back on the gravel at 11.5. Recover. Focus. Finish.
The rest of the race is just a tiny bit uphill before a tiny downhill finish.
I’m pressing. A mile and half. That’s nothing. My hamstring is bothering me and my stride feels all out of whack. What happened to how good I felt at mile 9?????
I’m still getting used to my new watch and I didn’t have a screen set up with running time on it. Because of the hills, my splits had been all over the place so I had no clue what the average was. When I dropped that 6:58, I started to think if I was under 1:28, that would be good enough (although I had wanted to be faster even with the hills). There was a brief moment of discouragement in there. But once I split 6:35 again at 12, I was okay.
Coach is at 12.5. Chris has passed me, like I knew he would. Another guy had passed us, though, so I wanted Chris to go catch him if he could (negative). Coach yells for “Team Green,” at which point I decide it’s pretty cute that we ran this race mostly together even if I ignored him the entire time and he just used me as his pacer.
At this point, I have no idea what my overall time is. Like zero.
There’s a quick left, then a right, then we’re straight to the finish. The 5k is finishing on the other side, so there are a lot of kids but fortunately they were basically on there side and there was plenty of room.
I can finally see the clock and I think it says 1:25-something. NO WAY.
I get closer, I run faster. It’s just ticking over 1:26.
Chris is definitely out-kicking me but I’m emptying the tank — I had .14 on my watch at something like 6 minute pace.
I finish officially in 1:26:15, a PR by 1 minute, 45 seconds. If you ignore the smidge of a PR I set 3 weeks ago, it’s a 2 minute PR from the one I set in 2014.
I have never been so excited going through a finish line. I hope there are photos. I was being ridiculous. Once I stopped, I started laugh/crying, although I was really too tired to do either one. Chris was sitting on the curb, then he got me a water and I laugh/cried some more. 1:26 was the A goal, and I was awfully close. On a flat course, I’m certain I would’ve had it, just by leveling out those two slower uphill miles.
Chris told me he was going to lay down and cut through the side of the chute. I went through it to see if there were any good snacks, then met him back at the tent. Coach wasn’t too far behind and gave me a big hug. I told him I almost did it — breaking 1:26. I downed a double-serving of Recoverite and Chris and I ran basically the world’s worst 1 mile cool down. GAWD I hate cool downs. It’s not fair. The faster you run, they worse they hurt.
We made our way to the results tent and got our official print outs. Chris was a little bummed that he was 6 seconds over 1:26, but he did place third in his age group. Since I was top 5 overall, they sent me to another tent for the official awards ceremony, in which they called out our names and gave 2-5 the same mug that the age group winners get. Oh well. Matching mugs!
It was a good day for Team PBT, with the 3rd and 4th place men and 4th and 5th place women.
We did a little bit of stretching and foam rolling, stopped by the cookout, then headed out. The 2 hour ride back turned into 3 because of construction, but other than that it was a great trip.
On Sunday I watched the first hour of the Chicago Marathon then logged a pretty ugly 4 miles. But I reminded myself around mile 3 that I was grateful it felt so bad because that meant I had given it all I had. Then I came back, watched the elite finishes and tracked all my friends! Another good day for Team PBT — three of the girls I know went 2:52, 2:56 and 3:01!
Time to recover for a couple more days. Four weeks till Monumental!
Totals: 60.2 miles run, 2 miles walked, 2 Pilates classes taught.