13.1 miles in 2:26:19.
This weekend I ran 13.1 miles. Three months of training for the Indy Monumental half marathon paid off in an amazing, unforgettable experience.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: for me, running is about 90 percent mental. If I’m not in a good mental place, it affects my run. The last two weeks were tough for a variety of reasons, including sporadic shooting pain that popped up in my upper left thigh/hip and some unexpected travel that left me sick and exhausted. I had some serious doubts heading into race week.
I spent most of last week resting and using a combination of ice and heat to nurse the muscle pain. Based on recommendations, I bought some KT Tape, which you may have seen Olympic athletes wear this summer, and tried it out on a quick two-miler on Wednesday. Something clicked on that run and I felt awesome after. My mindset completely changed and I woke up Friday feeling like a kid on Christmas Eve, ready to race!
Race day morning was cold! I was anxious but mainly excited that the big day was finally here. Three months came down to this. One chance to rock out or fall short.
I met my dad before the race, got in one last bathroom trip and hugged him before looking for the corral with my anticipated pace. Outside of the last two miles, this was the hardest part of the race for me. It was cold, I was trying to stay loose and I just wanted to be on the course already. The gun went off and it took several minutes before I actually crossed the start line and took off.
I knew people would shoot out past me but I kept telling myself “just run your own race.” I quickly settled into a comfortable pace and was right on track with where I wanted to be at the first mile marker. I ended up maintaining that pace for pretty much the entire race. I felt pretty good until I got to Meridian Street for the final 2.5 miles. I ended up walking for about a couple minutes in mile 11 and 12. I guess I can be proud that I didn’t walk until then but realizing how close I was to running the whole thing, I wish I hadn’t walked at all.
Crossing the finish line was unreal. My mom and dad were there cheering me on and I totally did the cheesy move with both hands in the air like a champ. I finished in 2:26:19 which was a little slower than I hoped for but my overall goal was to beat 2:30 so I can be happy about that. All things considered, I don’t think I could have asked for a better first time experience!
I am giving myself this week off, mainly to let my thigh/hip heal, but I want to keep a running base through the winter so I’m not starting from scratch in the spring. I’ve already got thoughts on how I can improve my training and pace for the next one, including a better emphasis on strength training and shedding these last 10 pounds I can’t seem to get through. I won a one-month membership at CrossFit Naptown so that should help. I’d also love to do a Tough Mudder style race where you get down and dirty doing obstacles while running.
Bottom line: I used to straight up hate running but now I feel like it’s part of who I am. I am by no means a super legit runner but I love pushing myself and reaching new goals. Hopefully there will be more races to come!
Some fun facts from my three months of training:
- Including the race itself, I ran 192.6 miles.
- I ran in four cities: Indianapolis, Sedona, Asheville and Kansas City.
- I didn’t lose any weight but I dropped a pants size.
I am a very self-driven person but I could not have done this without the support of my amazing friends and family. There are way too many people to thank to fit in this blog post but please believe you were all with me when I crossed the finish line. I do have to call out my dad though. He has run one marathon and countless halves, river to river relays and more and I know one of my ulterior motives with all this was to make him proud. I’m not sure what it was like for him as a spectator but I was so excited when I passed him on the circle and when he was there again at the finish line with my mom.
One of the coolest aspects of my training has been becoming emerged in the running community. It’s the strangers on the Monon who smile and give high fives and the groups who pass out water on a crazy hot day. It’s the staff at the Athletic Annex who helped me find a great pair of shoes and answered all the random questions I could think to ask. It’s the people on Twitter who I have never met in person but encouraged me, inspired me and gave me tips. It’s one of my company’s customers, in his 60s and still running marathons, who sent me emails that said “just run.” Every single person I’ve met or tweeted has been supportive and encouraging. I’ll never forget that and I hope to do the same for anyone who is reading this and considering running.