The Indianapolis Half Marathon has been on my list of local races I have wanted to do literally since I moved to Indy in 2007. The timing has just never worked out with my schedule until this year. It was my wife Diana’s first half marathon she ever ran, and she has always spoke very fondly of the race. Having run it now, I would say it definitely lived up to expectations.
Pre-Race: Parking was pretty easy to manage. They had lots of volunteers and police officers directing you to a huge lot. So no real headaches there. There was a little bit of a threat of rain, so I left a lot of my gear in my car. The only real logistics issue I saw was the bathroom situation. There were not even close to enough bathrooms for the amount of people running the race. Instead of waiting in the line that was literally a quarter mile long, I decided to go back to the parking lot a half mile away to wait in a shorter line for a solo Porta-Jon there. It was slow going getting to the bathroom, and it really cut into my warm up time. I spoke with a board member for the race afterwards, and they were fully aware of the situation and promised there would be double the restrooms next year. I know a lot of the people in charge of putting on this race and I expect that this will be a non issue going forward.
Race Breakdown: The first couple miles are pretty flat with a little downhill going into Fort Benjamin Harrison. I was out quite quick, (4:57,5:12), the first two miles. I knew I would not be able to hold that pace, but didn’t feel like I was pushing so I just kind of went with it. The next couple miles in the park were more challenging and the pace came back to me, (5:36,5:30), with the same perceived effort. Anyone that is thinking of doing this race I would anticipate that at least mile three will be a bit slower. I wouldn’t panic though, because this is an ebb and flow race.
Around mile 5 there was a very light rain for about a minute or two. I was hoping it would continue and relieve some of the humidity I was starting to feel. Instead it just made parts of the course very slick. I struggled at varies points with sharp down or uphill keeping my traction. Despite the slick surface and rolling up and downhill I was able to keep a fairly steady pace, (5:19-5:24), from miles five through ten. The trees were just starting to change color a bit so there were sections that were very pretty in the park.
At 10.5 miles there is a half mile segment of uphill that is the most challenging of the race. I knew this going in and expected it. My pace on this mile slowed thirty three seconds from the previous mile, (5:24 to a 5:57). If you plan on doing this race again I wouldn’t stress this mile. I would bet that for 99% of the people running this race, this was their slowest mile. The last 2.1 miles have a little bit of roll but nothing crazy. I saw a lot of people I knew running the race that started in a later wave through this section and it was really cool hearing them cheer me on as they ran by. I was happy with my effort at this point in the race and was confident my lead on second place was going to hold. I decided to ease off the gas a bit and just enjoy all the last little stretch of the race. My last two miles were, (5:38,5:37).
Post Race: The featured photo of this article, the one where I’m holding the banner, was taken by Rhiannon Johns the Communication and Marketing Director for Beyond Monumental. She was very kind and sent it to me so I could use. Funny story, when I tried to grab the banner to hold above my head the guy in the picture behind me didn’t want to let go, so I kind of pulled it from him. If he is reading this right now, I apologize! I kind of felt bad afterwards. I was asked to do a couple interviews one over the loud speaker which was cool and the other was for USATF Indiana which you can find the video on there Facebook page. To give that interview context, this race was the USATF Indiana State Half Marathon Championships. State Champ! Whoot…Whoot! If you are looking for a challenging but scenic course then I highly recommend the Indianapolis Half Marathon at Fort Ben.
Footwear: 361 Chaser 2 (Racing flat)
Headwear: 361 Technical Trucker Hat (All the rage right now!)