May 5, 2012
Time: 2:17:12 Pace: 10:29
Age Group: F25-29, 882/2787
5K: 31:20 Brickyard: 1:18:50 11M: 1:54:09
Once I decided that it was my mission to run a half marathon, I knew that the Indy Mini Marathon was the perfect choice. It’s the nation’s largest half marathon for a reason. It’s a flat, fast course, it’s minutes away from where I live downtown, and it’s a fun race! I started my “training plan” almost a year in advance. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t do any research or even ask my fiancé (now husband) for help. I decided that I would run three to four days a week, and each month I would increase my milage by one mile. I was running the same pace and milage for that month and slowly working my way up, not taking into consideration tempo runs or interval training. Total new-by runner mistake. My goal was to run the Mini sub 2:15. In my mind, I was a fit person and I run a few days a week anyways so it shouldn’t be THAT hard.
Months flew by in what seemed like weeks and before I knew it, it was almost race time. It was the day before the Mini. Most runners would be hydrating, carb loading, looking over their race plan, and maybe even running a light jog to loosen up their legs and ease their nerves. What was I doing? Graduating from Indiana University School of Optometry! I was so excited that I would no longer be a professional student! What an amazing milestone in my life. Hello eyeballs…it’s me…Dr. Elrod.
While my fellow classmates were drinking and celebrating their new found freedom, my family and I drove back to Indy to “celebrate” by hydrating and carb loading with a pasta dinner on the rooftop of our building. I ate as much pasta, garlic bread, and salad as I could, not knowing what to expect the next day.
I couldn’t sleep that night. I was nervous, excited, anxious and terrified. I woke up at five a.m. and immediately started pounding waters. I managed to eat a small bowl of oatmeal, but it was difficult with all the butterflies in my stomach. As soon as my nugget ninja arrived at our apartment, we all walked to the start line. Man was it crowded! People everywhere. Nugget ninja and I found our coral just in time. Coral M. We anxiously waited with the thousands of runners for the gun to go off. When it finally did, we were off. Well, not really, it took us almost twenty minutes to get to the start line due to all the runners in the corals ahead of us.
- Mile 1 – Woohoo! It’s really happening! I’m running my first half marathon. Pace 8 minute mile…way too fast for my start.
- Miles 2-3 – And I’m weaving through runners, weaving, still weaving. Wait where is my nugget ninja? Did I lose her in the crowd of runners? I’m sure I’ll see her in a few minutes. And I’m still weaving. Okay, breathe Melissa, slow it down, find your pace. Wait a second…why is my ‘Map My Run” app on my iPhone saying I’ve finished a mile before I actually cross the mile marker? It must be off. Slow down, keep weaving.
- Miles 4-5: Feeling good. I found my rhythm. I can do this.
- Miles 6-7ish: I see my parents! They are at the entrance of the track to cheer me on. Perfect timing to keep me going.
- The Track: Weaving, I’m still weaving. Seriously, this is never ending. Ooh! Picture on the bricks!
- After the track: Relax, just have fun with it. Kiddie garage bands, belly dancer, water and GU!
- Miles 10-12: Hitting my wall. And why am I still weaving? Ooh! Good song. Wait, am I running through Haughville?
- Mile 12-13: One mile left. Wanting to fall over. My left hip has a shooting pain extending down my thigh. Seriously, can I finish this? Awww, my fiancé found me and he’s running me in! Finish!!!! Damn, two minutes over my goal. Ok, I need a beer.
My husband is an amazing man. He finished the Mini forty-some minutes ahead of me, but he knew approximately when I was going to finish, so he came back and found me with one mile left and ran the last mile with me! His love and inspiration is what pushed me to the finish line and I will always remember that finish.
Finishing my first half marathon was an amazing feeling. I ran the entire time and didn’t even walk to shake out my legs. Wow, 13.1 miles of determination, heart, and drive. I created a monster in myself that day. I knew from then on out that I would continue to run…half marathons. Now let’s celebrate my graduation, my first half marathon, and Cinco de Mayo with a beer, a margarita, and a cupcake!