Race recaps are my favorite posts to write because it means I get to relive the entire experience again when I write them and the Indy Mini was definitely one of my favorite race experiences.
Thanks Lindsey for having us and thanks Tina for running with me! The night before the race Tina asked if I wanted her to run with me and that she wasn’t planning on racing it… Ummm run a race with a 2:36 marathon and host of one of your favorite podcasts? Yes, PLEASE. I told her I wanted to squeeze in a workout during the race and she definitely pushed me BIG TIME in those final 4 miles which helped me to realize that ultra training didn’t steal my speed, it’s actually helped to make me stronger.
I got out of my bed around 6:30 and made it down to the lobby to meet the girls at 7:00. On the elevator down to the lobby one of the runners said, “I guess I should start training now for this!” For my first 1/2 I did not train at all for it besides a few short runs so I knew exactly how he was feeling in that moment!
I had some white rolls and a donut (I don’t normally do before a race but it just sounded really good) along with a lot of water before leaving the hotel room. I forgot to bring any throwaway clothing with me so I was a bit cold while we were walking to the starting line but my hand warmers helped.
Five minutes before the race started I took a gel and my nanohydr8! Usually I eat a gel during a half marathon but for this one I stuck to just gatorade and water (they had huge signs up where the water and gatorade were which I thought made it so much easier for the runners to know where to get what they wanted) throughout the race.
Between talking, taking pictures and the rain I kind of forgot but also had plenty before so I didn’t really need anything more. If I was racing the whole thing then I would have definitely planned to take a gel or two along the way.
We started in the second wave and ran for a bit with Lindsey, her husband and Charlie (<— she did the 5k, half and some w/u and c/d to get in her 20 miler for marathon training!) before separating. There was a lot of weaving for a good chunk of the race but that is part of the experience of these big races.
The National Anthem before the race was gorgeous (I need to find out who sang that morning… it was unreal). I loved running under this huge flag in the first mile.
Along the way there were people out dancing and singing which was so much fun to see.
Tina and I were able to get in a lot of talking throughout the first 9 miles. We have known each other for years (via social media, phone conversations and then finally met just a few weeks ago at Boston) and I have always looked up to her for so many reasons. I never thought I would ever run an entire race with her so I really took advantage of asking her so many questions and using her to push me in the final four miles. She is an incredibly well-rounded athlete that is so humble about how incredible she is. I am so grateful that I got the chance to run with her.
The Gold Mile at mile 6 was incredible. In this mile they honor the fallen service members (and their families). It was decked out with flags, pictures and signs for these incredible people that sacrificed so much for us. It was a very memorable experience.
To get onto the speedway there is a hill and that was probably the most elevation gain of the entire race. Running on the speedway was so different than anything I have ever done. It was one of those moments where you think, ‘how in the world am I here and running is the best because it takes me places like this.’ Tina and I definitely stopped to kiss the bricks BUT it wasn’t until after that I learned that Frank Shorter passes out donuts at this point. I would have definitely stopped for some of those donuts if I would have known.
Getting back up afterwards was tougher than expected hahaha!
There were people out dancing and giving high-fives and the 2.5ish miles in this section were a blast.
We were able to see Kim along the way on the course too!
Before leaving the hotel I was debating whether or not I should wear a hat… yep, definitely should have worn a hat. It was raining pretty hard for the entire race and rain in my eyeballs is not my favorite feeling but I just keep thinking, thank goodness it isn’t HOT. I’ll take rain any day (and I feel like it is a very common theme in a lot of my races haha).
At mile 9 I put my phone away (which I realized during the race that my Koala Clip and the lulu bra I was wearing do not go together… I could not get it to clip onto my bra because of the straps but that is something I should have tried out before using it on race day… it has worked perfect on every other bra that I own though) and asked Tina to give me a workout.
I had no idea where I was at and really have been nervous thinking that I didn’t have speed after ultra training but I realized yesterday I have been doing a lot of speed work all year so far… in the form of HILLS. All of the ultra training and hills that I ran really do translate over to speed work. I’m going to continue to get in some good hill climbing in my training because of how strong they make us.
We did a 6:25 mile and I felt pretty strong and then towards the end of the 2nd fast mile I started to feel my muscles screaming at me. My breathing never felt crazy (coming from altitude I had that advantage big time) but my muscles were definitely telling me to slow down.
Here is what I thought when my brain told me to slow down.
A) Ummm you are running with Tina. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, enjoy every step with her.
B) You are comfortable (on repeat)… the second I start to lie to myself and convince myself that I’m comfortable with an uncomfortable feeling the second I start to push it and believe that I can do it.
C) Tina told me, you did 50 miles so you can do this… that ultra is awesome for my races now because I can think back to how hard that was and it gives me confidence.
D) If you don’t enjoy this why do it? So I smile and talk nicely to myself and think about how lucky I am to do this and that helps me to hold a pace big time. I can choose to not only have fun when the pace feels easy and I’m having a great conversation but I can choose to have fun when it is pushing me out of my comfort zone and hurting too. It’s up to me!
E) I love finishing races strong… after 482 races (slight exaggeration) where I went out crazy fast and DIED those final miles, it feels good to finish fast (even though I wasn’t technically racing yesterday) and to soak that feeling in.
F) Your brain is just being silly and telling you to slow down but your body has SO much more to give.
Tina was so helpful those last few miles and said all of the right things. I kept looking at my watch and she told me to stop doing that and oh my goodness it felt so much better to not do that. I think I let my watch dictate my run a lot so to just run off of effort and focus on the right foot, left foot thing felt amazing. She doesn’t even look at her watch during a marathon and runs a 2:36 so clearly there is something to that.
Runner’s cough= when I really push it in running and I have to stop and cough for a few minutes. It’s such a weird thing that happens to me but I’ll take it as a sign that I got in a solid workout on Saturday and I can’t wait for what is next.
Here are the splits. I’m very excited that I could talk pretty easily with a pace in the low 7’s but that could have been partly because I live at elevation and came down to sea level so let’s see how the races go at home for me.
I feel like the race temperatures were actually perfect during the race but once I stopped, I was cold.
We stopped a few times to grab some food and talk to people but other than that we walked right back to the hotel.
I got back to my hotel room, stretched for a minute and then took one of the hottest showers of my life! Luckily the power bun meant that my hair wasn’t snarly after running in the rain. I jumped back into bed to eat a donut and relax. At home I usually jump into mom mode the second I get home but it felt nice to truly relax after a hard effort.
Our feet were drenched by the end but I swear by my Balega sock + Hyperion combination. I was blister free at the end and my feet felt great. These are my absolute favorite racing shoes ever (I wear them for everything… including the marathon) and this particular pair is my favorite.
Thank you to the 500 Festival for bringing me out! I loved the race! While I was there I met people that had run it 15+ years in a row and now I know why they are hooked!
Are you a constant Garmin checker?
-Naturally YES but thanks to Tina I’m going to really work on doing that less and focusing in on my effort rather than getting freaked out (either by feeling like I’m going too slow or too fast) by what I see on my watch every 14 seconds.
Flat races or hilly races, what do you prefer?
-I REALLY enjoyed how flat this race was. I feel like it helps you to really dial in and hold a pace which was fun for me.
Have a go to shoe that you love to race in?
What was the best part of your weekend?