Saturday, May 3, 2014

Midwest Race-cation day 3: Indy Mini Marathon race report


Today was nearly perfect -- found my reserved parking spot very easily, then walked up the street past all the corrals to the start. How many corrals? Let's just say there was a corral Z...


The street was pretty empty -- really just the volunteers in the corrals. (Hello, wave start!) I moved to the front to watch the 5K start. It was nice to see people looking nervous, kids looking excited, etc. then they sang "Back Home Again in Imdiana" and, of course, I cried. 

It's funny -- I have almost no memories of Indiana, other than a visit as a child, and when Wil and I came with Dad's ashes all those years ago. But I do have vivid memories of watching the Indy 500 every year with my Dad. AJ Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser, Mario Andretti -- those were the heroes of my childhood. And Jim Neighbors singing the song before the race, and the winner chugging milk afterward. 

After the 5K runners left, they called wave 1 to our corrals. I made a quick pot stop at one of the gazillion porta potties; NO LINE! Astounding. I swear, this race had the most porta potties of any event I have ever been to. Well done Indy Mini!!!



I got in the corral, we sang the national anthem, cheered the wheelers on their way, and then it was our turn. We took off and ran under two cherry pickers with the official starters in them, including the mayor of Indy. He and the other starters would be waving their green flags for a very long time!

We soon ran under the largest American flag I have ever been close to, suspended from two hook-and-ladder trucks:


Then we essentially ran to the speedway... but I had to stop to take a picture of this house:


Also, there were more water stops -- Pit Stops, that is -- than I had ever seen. More then one per mile, all well stocked and well staffed. I pretty much just ran between stops, picking up fluids at each one and walking while I drank. I know it is sometimes very hot here for the Mini, so the water stops are super smart. Later on the course they also had a couple f "spray stations" where you could run under a cold-water most -- the nice part is that you could also easily avoid the spray if you didn't want to get wet. 

We approached a turn with a small sign that simply said "Speedway". 



We ran down Main Street, which is where I caught my first glimpse of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and I couldn't breathe. 


We entered the speedway by running down and up the underpass -- the same way Wil and I arrived years ago. Clearly this was the steepest part of the course! I think we were on Pit Lane briefly, but soon we headed out on to the track proper. 

Now, look. I KNOW a 2.5-mile oval is big. But holy crap, a 2.5-mile oval is BIG!! The curves go on forever, and the straightaways are ridiculous. It felt like we were running forever and not moving. 

We passed Turn 4 (hi Dad!) and got on the finish straight. I just kept grinning because I was so happy to be there. A while longer and I could see that they had coned off an area to the outside edge of the track, so that nerds like me could pucker up and do this:


(Thanks to the stranger who swapped photos with me!)

I took a few more pics on the track:





but soon I was leaving the speedway and heading back to downtown. 

The rest of miles were a blur; lots of music, lots of folks on front porches or sidewalks in front of their homes, cheering, lots of kids high-fiving asana runners as they could. So friendly, Imdy!!


Got choked up again when I fit the "victory mile" at the 12.1 mile spot.  You run down a road filled with checkered flags and screaming spectators. They even had a 13-miles ruler (I LOVE that) AND the finish line was visible pretty much that entire last mile. 

I got the usual queasy feeling at around mile 12.7, so I slowed down till it settled, just before mile 13. Then I went for it, happily passing lots of peoe. State 23, a dream race, and a gorgeous medal!


Things I loved about the race:

SO MUCH MUSIC! every mile had multiple performers, be they Rock bands, rap trios, tap dancers, folksy duos, or DJs. You would still be able to hear the last band you passed when you started hearing the next one. 

SO MUCH LIQUID! I was super impressed by the number of water or Gatorade stops. One slight wobble: there wasnanClif Shots gel area, but the nearest water was about half a mile away. That seemed odd -- you really need to wash that stuff down. 

SO MANY PORTA POTTIES! At the start, at each water stop, and at the finish. All somehow without lines, clean, and with plenty of paper. 

Nice shirt, nice medal, nice swag... Overall I give the Indy Mini an A+ overall. 

3 comments:

Gretchen said...

Hi Sunny,
Congrats! Dad would have been proud!!

JustTrying Kim said...

What a wonderful race report. And great photos. I want to do this one for my Indiana race, you made it sound amazing.

Sunny said...

Thanks Gretchen -- I was so happy (and a bit weepy at times), especially at the speedway. I suspect my fellow runners were wondering why I was alternating between laughing and crying!

Thanks Kim! -- I'm still feeling giddy from the race, and I much preferred it over the Flying Pig the next day. I've got the Wickedly Fast Half on my list for a Kansas race -- you've gotten a lot of states done very quickly! It's nice to hear from another west coaster who is a 50 stater. It's the one time I wish I lived in the northeast -- all those tiny states!