This has been a long training season – starting in June for a December marathon. So, when my new found running bud Colleen signed up for the Indy Monumental Marathon, I checked the weeks between my planned Memphis Marathon and signed up!
We hit the road Friday, snacks in tow, for the four hour drive to Indy.
Our hotel was walking distance to the start which was super clutch.
We made our way out in the cold around 7 a.m. for the 8 a.m. start time. Anyone over a 9 minute pace didn’t have an assigned corral which I didn’t love. There were half and full runners and walkers of all paces just crammed behind the 6 or so corrals. Side note: the announcer kept calling them corals which really seemed to irritate the crowd.
10,000 + people piled in the CORRALS under the shadow of the Capitol building and its surrounding monuments, and the race begun.
The streets and neighborhoods of Indy, throughout the entire race, were filled with the most encouraging spectators I have ever witnessed – and I’m including my own drunk Boston Marathon Monday support in there. They shouted things like “you’re amazing” and looked us in the eyes and said “you are strong!” So much more than the usual limp claps and cowbell rings. They had clever signs and inspirational shirts. Adults, children and pets all offered their hands and paws for high fives.
I was skeptical when the Monumental website said “mostly flat.” But guys – this course is FLAT. There were maybe a few inclines but nothing daunting. If you train in a place like St. Louis, sprinkled with mounds and steep inclines of various distances, you will love this course.
There were almost always spectators, cheer groups or organizations there with snacks, water, beer and the afformentioned encouragement. There was one 1.5 mile stretch that was along a blocked highway where no spectators had access, but the staff lined the street with trivia and guess who’s, making for a little entertainment – relatively speaking. Water/Gatorade stops started at about 1.5 and continued every mile. My only course complaint was Boom!, the supplement sponsor similar to GU or any other running gel, didn’t start until 11 miles in, meaning we had to carry a good amount of our own to ensure we had calories when we needed.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous. I absolutely trusted my coaches at Fleet Feet, but did I follow the program right? Did I make up for missed runs properly? Did I give my speed workouts all I could? These pings of doubts all crept in. But, when it was game time, I was ready. We took each mile, one at a time, never stopping to walk, only for a few seconds of water here and there. We kept a strong steady pace the whole time and I PR-ed!! It wasn’t the under 4:20 of my dreams, but it was a strong and positive race. I owe it all to the Fleet Feet coaches and my team.
Speaking of my team, the MVP was my bud Colleen. Not only did she come prepared with an extra athletic long sleeve, but she was instrumental in my success. A steady stream of positive energy and mobile support – she helped me push through to the end.
This race is amazing. The course and the people were fantastic. I would recommend this race to anyone going out for the first time or for a PR. The medal is also pretty basic, which I like. Different colors for different distance, which I LOVE. And they handed out beanies at the end of the race!