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Sunday, May 4, 2014

500 Festival Mini Marathon Recap

This race was an amazing experience!  I have to thank Blue Mile again for their training and support, and for giving me the opportunity to run this race as part of Team Blue Mile.  And thank you to the 500 Festival for putting it on, and to the thousands of volunteers, and thousands more people who lined the course to cheer for us, just because.  Wow.

Backtracking a little into the days leading up to the race, our coaches at Blue Mile told us to start eating extra calories around Wednesday, as well as making sure we rested and slept well Wednesday and Thursday night.  I followed this advice and I'm really glad I did, because unexpectedly I was so nervous on Friday that I wasn't able to eat what I had planned, and had to just snack lightly throughout the day.

Friday at lunchtime, I went to the Race Expo with Carla, one of my coworkers who was also running the Mini.  We had a great time browsing the vendors and thinking about which of the many upcoming races we might like to try.  And of course, we got our race packets which included these awesome shirts and hats.  I didn't know we would be getting hats, so that was a nice surprise.

Friday night I found myself almost completely unable to eat, so Kevin took care of me and got me a smoothie, to make sure I still got some calories and nutrition.  Thank you Kevin!  Your support and understanding while I trained has been so valuable and appreciated!

After setting out everything I was going to need the next morning, I did begin to feel more calm, and I slept pretty well through most of the night.  I woke up about an hour earlier than I needed to, but that was okay.  I got up and got ready, and had my normal race morning breakfast of Special K Chocolatey Strawberry cereal.  I also had one of the few remaining cans Rock Star Caffeinated Coconut Water.  Yum!  Then I headed downtown to my prepaid parking space.  What a great option that was - I drove right to it with no traffic or hassle.

 While I was walking around, I heard my name being called, and it was Tasha!  She is Team Blue Mile teammate who trained at a different store, and we were hoping to meet up since we knew we were in the same corral.  I also saw Carla lined up early in her corral and wished her luck.  Tasha & I got briefly separated, but we managed to connect back up by starting time.  Here we are - ready to go but with really no idea what we are in for yet.  We were in Wave 4, with an 8:30 start time.  Race officials kept things moving very well, and our Wave did start right on time.  Since we were near the back of the Wave, it was still a few minutes before we made it up to the Start line, but I like the Wave start since we still got to hear the countdown and official starting announcements.  Without the Waves each getting their own start, we would never have heard any of that.

You'll notice in the picture I have earbuds in, but I didn't have them turned on yet.  I wanted to listen to the start, and Tasha & I were planning to run together for the first few minutes, so I wanted to be able to hear her as well.  I actually never ended up turning on music or a podcast.  I didn't need to listen to anything, and when I got to the track I finally took my earbuds out and put them in my belt pocket.  There were bands and dancers and DJs all along the course for entertainment, plus the thousands of people cheering us on.  There was never anywhere that was silent or unoccupied.  It was amazing - I've never run in a race like that - such a fun atmosphere.

I've also never run in a race where I was constantly passing people.  Lots of people were walking or run/walking, which I had expected, but normally I end up behind the runners and ahead of the walkers in kind of my own little zone.  That never happened this time, but that made it fun, too.  I always like seeing the shirts and outfits people put together, especially the homemade shirts with funny sayings.  "I know I'm slow, Get over it, I still get a medal" and things like that always make me smile.  I was also surprised at the number of people who stopped to take pictures along the course.  Especially at the track.  I understand, because it is way cool to run around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but please step off the side of the track first.  Even if you think you are still running while you are snapping pictures, you are slowing down and slowing others down.

I did not take pictures, and official pictures are not available yet, so I don't have anything after our teammates selfie at the Start line.  But I do hope to buy and post some of the official pictures soon.  They are probably pretty goofy.  I was really feeling great and having fun up until about mile 11.5, so every time I saw a photographer I waved and mugged for the camera.

I was having so much fun and running a good pace the whole time, so I had already decided the first place I was going at the Post Race Party was the 2015 Registration Tent.  And then I got to mile 11.5, and I hit a wall hard.  (Figuratively, of course.)  I was suddenly exhausted and nauseous, and wanted nothing more than to throw up and lie down.  My legs were fine - in fact I think they had a mind of their own at that point and would not have stopped had my head ordered them to - but I really had to make myself keep going.  I got a brief lift on New York Street where the bridge goes over the White River.  There was a nice breeze at our backs that was practically pushing us down the other side of the bridge, at which point we only had about half a mile to go.  Once I could see the Finish, I started picking up my pace, and I crossed the Finish going strong even though I wasn't feeling it.  I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried a little when I was handed my medal and congratulated by the many volunteers.

I did not, however, go register for 2015.  I took the water and snacks I was handed and went to the Blue Mile tent to sit out of the sun and cool off.  I still felt nauseous, but I made myself eat the banana and a couple of cookies and drink all the water.  After that my stomach felt better.  I hung out in the tent for a while, tracking my friends on the app and hoping they might come by the tent too, but I never saw any of them.  I cried a little again when I checked Facebook and saw all Laura's posts.  My sisters are so awesome!

So, how did I do?  I achieved my goal of beating my previous half marathon time.  In fact, I beat it by 4:04, finishing in 2:46:04.  I'm extremely pleased with that.  And looking at my splits, I am also pleased with the fact that I ran a pretty consistent pace throughout the race:
1*Fastest 12:06 --                 12'06"/mi
2              24:27 + 0:15 (-3%) 12'21"/mi
3              36:51 + 0:03 (-1%) 12'24"/mi
4              49:00 - 0:15 (2%) 12'09"/mi
5           1:01:36 + 0:27 (-4%) 12'36"/mi
6           1:13:43 - 0:29 (3%) 12'07"/mi
7           1:26:29 + 0:39 (-6%) 12'46"/mi
8           1:39:10 - 0:05 (0%) 12'41"/mi
9           1:51:42 - 0:09 (1%) 12'32"/mi
10         2:04:13 - 0:01 (0%) 12'31"/mi
11         2:16:45 + 0:01 (-1%) 12'32"/mi
12         2:29:26 + 0:09 (-2%) 12'41"/mi
13         2:42:19 + 0:12 (-2%) 12'53"/mi
I also think I know now why I felt nauseous, since that didn't happen to me in the Hendricks County Half last September.  That time, I got water at every water station as well as drank my own water when I took my energy chews, but I skipped the Gatorade.  This time, I took water at every water station and also Gatorade at every Gatorade station, as well as drank my own water when I took my energy chews.  I think that was too much for my stomach to handle while running.  I normally do water and energy chews while training, and I should have stuck to that routine and skipped the Gatorade.  I'll remember that next month when I run the Indianapolis Women's Half Marathon.  

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