Half Marathon #7: One America Indy Mini Marathon
Wow, it's been ages since I did one of these. I felt for sure one was missing, and I realized that after I started experiencing knee pain I quit running for three months...so the only one I'm technically missing is the Shamrock Shuffle 8k, and it was lumped in with my Nike React training post.
Basically I'm telling you this to say, I'm excited to be back racing!
My first half marathon of the year was last weekend: the Indy Mini Marathon! I was excited for this one, as it was a home-state race for me and I'd heard good things. For the most part, my expectations were met! I had a great time overall!
Half marathons are my favorite distance. I have time to warm up into them and really hit my stride. And for that reason, I'm terrible at training for them. Yeah, I know. I got into the habit of not training because my times weren't bad without it. But this is one of those races that had me asking what I could have done with training, and realizing I would be a lot more comfortable post-race if I had trained.
That aside, let's talk about what I loved!
Starting with the expo: the Indiana Convention Center has a lot of cheap parking nearby, and parking in the Circle Center Mall garage meant I had a very short walk to the hall where the expo was held. I was really pleased with that! In addition to a quick walk over, packet pickup was ultra fast and the expo was a manageable size to navigate. I was able to browse the booths quickly, say hello to the Balega Rep, grab my pace band and head out in a jiffy.
My one complaint with the expo was that apparently they were supposed to be passing out the Mini Marathon hats at the entrance, but as I arrived right at 4 when it opened, there was no one there with them yet. I had to have my college roommate grab me a hat when she arrived. I'm not sure why this is, but I wish they had either been put in our gear check bags or handed out at the finish.
Moving on to talk about race morning. This was SO PERFECT. We arrived, parked for $10 RIGHT NEXT TO my corral, and the corral had TWO ENTRANCES (one on each side of the street) so I was able to walk right in, no problem. This is something Hot Chocolate 15k could really learn from. I just kept thinking about how for a race that size (around ~27k people) it was SO EASY to navigate. There were tons of port-a-pots and the corrals were just so easy to get into. I was very impressed. I met up with my junior year roommate, Erin, and we ran the first mile of the race together (before I had to run off and pee hahaha). I wish we'd ran the entire thing together, because I would have appreciate the push she could have given me.
The course itself was really neat (map left, courtesy of the Indy Mini website). While it wasn't the most "exciting" course per se, the groups that peppered the course for entertainment were so neat! I loved the Baptist church that had a rapping preacher around the 4 mile marker (I think) and I loved the Circle City Cloggers! There was entertainment by a local group about every 1/2 to 3/4 mile mark. Since I forgot my headphones, it was very much appreciated! There was either water or gatorade with port-a-pots every mile-ish, which was great in the warm weather.
My words of wisdom for this course are watch the railroad tracks! There are lots and they're tricky. My only "wish" was that rather than alternating water and Gatorade, I wish they'd both been at each stop, as it was warm and I wanted Gatorade more than I did water.
The big highlight of this course is running around the track, and it definitely is neat. Shout out to my alma mater's cheerleaders for shouting and cheering us on as we came up into the track!! I loved seeing the IU presence there.
The track itself, to me, is very boring. I did march around it 4 times with my high school band, and twice as a volunteer to help them while I was in college, so maybe the novelty has just worn off. I will say, the Golden Mile, showing photos and flags for Indiana's Gold Star families (families who lost a family member to war) was very emotional for me. It's weird, because I'm not usually super emotional for that kind of thing, but I just kept seeing so many whose signs indicated they were younger than me when they died, and it really got to me. Having their family members there cheering us on made it even tougher to get through that mile without crying. I think that was my favorite part of the track, honestly.
As you approach the yard of bricks at the Start/Finish line in front of the grandstand, you have the option to run through on the left, or stop and kiss the bricks on the right. There were two reasons I chose to run through: the first, is that I've stomped on those bricks six times already. The second is that I knew if I got down there, I couldn't get back up. That was around mile 8 of the race, which is traditionally where my half marathon wall is. I did, however, blow the bricks a kiss. I wish a photographer had gotten a picture of it.
After leaving the track, I took one of my Science in Sport gels. I usually take a gel at mile 8, but there are no gels or packets of anything allowed on the track. I chose Green Apple and it gave me the fuel I needed to pound out the next few miles. They did also offer Clif energy shots around mile 9, and I do like the Vanilla flavor of that. So if you're considering this race for 2019, that's something to consider. [[If you want to give Science in Sport a try, you can find them on Amazon or on their website here. They have a lot of good deals on their site on both bundles and just sales in general. I'm a proud ambassador for them and you You can get 10% off with my code: AMB10BTT.]]
It felt like an eternity to get to the finish line from here. At this point, the sun was fully out and it was warming up, and my IT bands were starting to protest. The "back half" of the course had less entertainment along the way, but I DID see a dude yelling "Happy Cinco de Mayo!" and "Runner fuel!" while giving out Jose Cuervo shots, which was super entertaining. I hammered out the last 4ish miles, and it was a lot of fun running the last .5 miles to the finish. They had checkered flags up and it was a neat view as you ran back into downtown. I saw my parents about 20 yards from the finish line and gave them a high five, which gave me my final boost.
After finishing, I honestly thought I was going to pass out. I really pushed the last mile and I was feeling that direct sun. They had lots of food after (bananas, clif bars, pretzels, fruit cups, etc) and they did something all races with lost of food after should do: they passed out bags to collect it in! That was so clutch. I actually took snacks because I had a place to put them. I met up with Erin, my junior year roommate, and we went to the post-race party and found my parents together. After that, we limped our way to the Capitol Grille for brunch, where I had an amazing caprese-style salad and bloody mary.
I loved this race, and I've decided to do it again next year! Last year I did the Flying Pig and while it was a really cool race, I think I left part of my soul on that hilly course. This was nice and flat and I didn't have to wake up super early (5:30am rather than 4:30am for Flying Pig) to get there. Parking was easy and $10 and I loved having my parents there. Overall, it was fantastic and I can't wait to go back!
If you'd like to run next year, pricing is low right now! You can sign up by clicking HERE.