500 Festival Mini Marathon 2014: Redemption

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Mini Marathon PR!!!

500 Festival Mini Marathon

Indianapolis, IN

May 3, 2014

Time: 1:54:15   Pace: 8:42

Overall: 4136/25525

Gender: 1001/13509

Age Group: F30-34, 184/2043

5K: 26:42   Brickyard: 1:06:54   11M: 1:35:53

After my lackluster performance at the Carmel Marathon (I know I keep dwelling on it), I needed to redeem myself at the Mini Marathon with a PR. I had my sights set out for 1:54. Easily doable and not out of reach. Bryan wanted me to go for an 8:30 ave pace which would be a 1:51:15, but this seemed a touch out of reach for me. If I had specifically been training for a 13.1 I think I could achieve that but I trained for a slower pace for the marathon with minimal speed work. Plus I had only ran three times since the Carmel Marathon – the B.A.A. 5K , a 3 mile race pace session, and a 3 mile easy run with my sister on the Monon the week of. Although, I did have a few swim sessions in between for active recovery.

I’ve noticed a pattern with my race performance over the past year. The races that I put a lot of pressure on myself, my performance suffers. But the races that I’m more relaxed about and just go with it, I perform my best. So my mindset for the mini was more relaxed. I knew I could PR so why put pressure on myself to run an 8:30 pace? Since Bryan was still recovering from Boston, he knew his body wouldn’t allow for a PR at the Mini – although he’s been wanting to run a sub 1:25 half. So he decided to run the Mini with me and pace me to my PR. I knew with Bryan by my side it would happen. I think that’s another reason why I was more at ease. Bryan would push me even if my mind wanted to give up.

We went to the expo Thursday evening to avoid the craziness of Friday. After going to huge expos at Chicago and Boston, the Mini expo seemed so tiny! I used to think the Mini expo was huge and I would get excited for it. We were in and out fairly quickly. Friday evening I made my traditional prerace dinner of quinoa pasta w/ marinara sauce, ceaser salad, and homemade garlic bread. I set out my race outfit and went to bed fairly early.

My alarm went off at 5:00 am but I hit snooze until 5:15ish. I know you’re not supposed to try anything new on race day, but my old routine of gagging on oatmeal wouldn’t cut it anymore. So this time I had a slice of ezekial toast with almond butter, agave, and banana slices w/ a half cup of oatmeal and a water bottle of water mixed with nuun hydration electrolit. I was able to eat it all easily and felt good about my prerace nutrition. The start of the race was 44 degrees and I know I should dress 20 degrees warmer but again I just felt relaxed and thought of it almost as a training run and I wanted to be comfortable so I wore my usual race shorts but instead of my swiftly tank +/- armwarmers, I opted for my swiftly long-sleeved shirt.

I was very relaxed until it was time to park. This was the first time that we had to drive and park since we moved to South Broadripple. When we lived downtown we jogged to the start for our warm-up. We were a little unsure of where to park and we forgot our wallets to pay for parking. Luckily, we found a close parking spot on West St and the people in charge let us park for free. We still jogged to the start and were only in the corrals for about ten minutes before the start. I was in corral D this year. Moving on up! Even though Bryan was supposed to start in corral A, he jumped in D with me to pace me.

I had my music on but just loud enough that I could still hear Bryan’s coaching. He told me to stay glued to my 8:30 pace. Even though I thought that would be a reach for me for 13.1, I had Bryan with me and I thought what the hell, I’ll go for it. Our race plan was for him to run a few yards in front of me so I could just focus on staying with him and not have to look at my watch as much. It’s a bad habit, I constantly look at it. I had to trust that he would keep me on pace.

It only took us about one minute and 40 seconds for us to cross the start line after the gun went off. Bryan asked “How long before the congestion breaks up?”, it never does at this pace I said. He’s used to being in the front with the freaky fast runners where there are not as many people. We saw Connie, Miriam and Mike a few minutes into the race with their signs cheering us on!

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Connie & Miriam made the Indy Star!

Mile 1: 8:26 – The first mile on Washington St was packed. So crowded in fact that Bryan and I ran most of the first mile on the sidewalk. That was the only way to pass people and to stay on pace. I still don’t get how slower runners get into the first few corrals. You have to send in your previous times for seeding to be in Wave 1 so why are some people moving at a snail’s pace? Maybe it’s their warm-up mile, maybe they were injured, maybe they bought someone’s bib off them. Either way, I guess it doesn’t matter what wave you are in for the Mini because regardless it’s going to be crowded. Despite running on the sidewalk, the first mile felt great. Right on pace. I can easily run this for 13 miles I thought. Or maybe it was just the adrenaline talking.

Mile 2: 8:38 – Now on White River Parkway, I slowed it down a tad to get comfortable. I can’t remember if I took water or not at the water station. I think maybe I did just to stay hydrated even though I wasn’t thirsty yet.

Mile 3: 8:35 – Mile 3 was right on target. It usually takes me a few miles to feel warmed up. Now that we were on Michigan St I was feeling good. Ten more miles. That’s nothing compared to a marathon.

Mile 4: 8:22 – Oh a little fast here, match 1 lit. Slow it down I told myself, but I was trying to keep up with Bryan. He did tell me though that he would be running a little bit in front of me, so if I was right next to him then that was too fast.

Mile 5: 8:42 – Definitely made up for it here on 10th St. going west. We were running into a head wind and there were a few small inclines. Bad combo. Bryan told me to slow it down a bit while running into the head wind so I wouldn’t waste so much energy.

Mile 6: 8:44 – In the Speedway – my least favorite part. I think the first year I ran the Mini it was my favorite part because who doesn’t love running on the track? But now, it seems like it’s never ending. And of course everyone wants to hug the inner curve so you’re not running on uneven pavement and running a farther distance. Like last year, I had to run on the grass to pass people.

Mile 7: 8:56 – Still on the track. I looked over to Bryan and said my matches are lit, all of them. My pace was slowing and my mind was trying to give up. He told me no they’re not lit and to keep going. I had my gel and tried to recoup.

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Bryan coaching me through the track.

Mile 8: 8:53 – Almost out of the track and trying to pull myself together. My breathing was all wrong. Every time I took a sip of water, my rhythm was disrupted and I had difficulty catching my breath again. I knew I was gasping for air at points but sheesh do I have asthma I thought to myself. Exercise induced? Allergy induced (my allergies have been out of control the past few weeks)? Or am I just pushing it to my limit? Bryan told me to take a few deep breaths in through my nose and out my mouth. But the thing is – I couldn’t breath in through my nose. It was too congested.

Mile 9: 9:02 – Worst mile. Leaving the track and some where in no man’s land. Not much going on and so close but still so far. Head wind again. Don’t give up now. Bryan was so awesome. Every time there was a water or Gatorade station he grabbed a cup for me. He knew I was struggling at this point and was helping me as much as possible.

Mile 10: 8:44 – Now on 10th St. Probably one of my favorite parts of the course because you can feel the sun on your face and the street is lined with homes and people sitting on their porches and yards cheering on runners. I started to get my second wind and focused on passing one person at a time.

Mile 11: 8:41 – 5K to go. Bryan reminded me that this final 5K is what all my training is for. I didn’t train for months at a time to just give up now. Think about my tempo runs and how I push myself through those.

Mile 12: 8:47 – Back on the White River Parkway. I skipped the last few water stations. I just wanted to keep pushing. I didn’t want anything to slow me down or break my stride.

Mile 13: 8:42 – The final turn onto New York Street. I can see the finish line a mile away. Bryan was trying to push the pace a little faster and I was trying to keep up. I knew our family would be on the left side of the street so we ran on that side of the road. I looked for them a little bit, but then with about a half mile left I just zoned out and looked forward and pushed towards the end. At one point I saw Bryan wave and that’s when I realized we had passed our family, but by the time I noticed it we were too far away so I just kept looking at the finish line.

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Bryan casually running 13.1 miles and me looking miserable.
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Final stretch.
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Finisher pic together.

Redemption! PR by over 4 minutes! It felt good to get that PR. I couldn’t have done it without Bryan though because he definitely pushed me when my mind was trying to give up. My body felt good the entire time, just my mind trying to trick me and my breathing needs improvement. Although it wasn’t the 8:30 ave pace Bryan wanted to push me to, it was still an 8:42 ave pace which is good for me! I wanted to run a 1:54 and that’s what I did. I set a goal that was reachable and I didn’t burn all my matches this time, just one. Now I just need to learn to do it without my pacer because next time he’ll be reaching for his PR too. But I know I can do it, I have my confidence back. And next time I’ll be shooting for sub 1:50. It may take me a year to achieve it during the next Mini Marathon but I’ll get there.

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My shishy surprised me at the finish.
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Our cheer squad.

To celebrate my new PR, the fam and I went to Café Patachou (my absolute favorite brunch place) for brunch in Broadripple. It was a beautiful day. Perfect weather (minus a few head winds and I didn’t get too hot in my long sleeved either!), PR, Café Patachou, followed by wine, Chinese food, and relaxing in our new house.

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Post race kisses with my fur baby Carson.
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Carson bear.

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