This was my 22nd state in my quest to run a marathon in every state, and my 2nd fastest marathon ever.
This post will share details on my personal performance as well as the race in general. If there are any details I missed that you’d like to know about this marathon, please ask!
Where to stay:
We arrived in Indianapolis via a short flight from Minneapolis around 5 pm on Thursday evening. We were staying at the JW Marriott, which was a perfect location for the marathon. The hotel was steps away from the gear check on race morning and a block away from the finish line. We could even walk to the marathon expo via the skyway! No need to put on a coat and go outside. The logistics of this marathon were exceptionally easy.
We didn’t rent a car, but relied on Uber and Lyft, though my sister did drive in from Chicago for the half marathon, so we could have driven her car if we needed one. But if you stay downtown, a car isn’t necessary.
Thursday night, we ate dinner at the hotel’s Italian eatery, OP Italian, which was decent. We had a very friendly waiter who encouraged us to go to the Nascar museum (we didn’t) and eat a fried pork tenderloin sandwich, a “Hoosier tradition,” (we didn’t.)
Our hotel was quiet the first night, but then got very busy into the weekend. There was a Colts/Dolphins game on Sunday. Many Miami Dolphin players were staying at our hotel, so there were tons of fans there hanging out in the lobby hoping to get an autograph or a picture.
Erin and I were way more excited to meet Deena Kastor in the hotel lobby than any NFL player!
We started the day with breakfast at the Starbucks in our hotel before heading to Cafe Patachou to meet up with the McKirdy Trained group for a motivational chat with the founder of McKirdy Trained, James McKirdy, followed by a shake-out run. If I haven’t mentioned it, I’ve been working with Esther Atkins, a coach with McKirdy Trained, since my training for the Houston marathon. She brought me back from the broken leg, through Houston, Antarctica, and Brookings, and now Indy. I’ve been really happy working with her.
McKirdy had a large contingent racing at Indy- either the 5k, half marathon, or full. I think they had over 100 athletes racing, though only about 40 showed up for the shake-out run.
Even Esther was there!
We ran 3.7 miles with some strides; everyone sort of did their own thing with regards to the run.
After the run, Dustin and I went back to the hotel to shower and then walked to the expo through the skyway. So simple.
The expo was held in the Indianapolis Convention Center. It was of average size, nothing too crazy. I purchased a throwaway ear band and some throwaway gloves, as well as a new pair of blue Goodrs to match my race day ‘kit.’
There were no lines for packet pickup and I was able to pick up my sister Erin’s half marathon packet as well.
A+ on logistics for Indy! I think these midsize marathons are my favorite (4,000 runners in the full.)
After the expo, we had a delicious lunch at Cafe Patachou and then went back to the hotel to relax for awhile.
Erin (my sister who lives outside Chicago) arrived around 5 pm; she was racing the half and stayed with us at the JW Marriott. She and I always have such a good time at races; it was awesome to hang out with her for the weekend.
And even more awesome? My parents, who live in Kalamazoo, Michigan, made the 4 hour drive to come cheer for us. My mom hasn’t been in the greatest health, so it was especially nice to see her. We all had dinner together at Napolese Pizzeria (a Cafe Pachatou restaurant) the night before the marathon. I had a basic margarita pizza and lots of water. A great pre-race meal. We had dinner early (6 pm) and were back at the hotel to relax by 7:30. I was asleep by 9 pm. I’m so much fun the night before a marathon! 🙂
We slept in until 6 am. This is so much later than I got up when training for the marathon! I’m usually out the door running by 5 am, so going to bed at 9 pm and sleeping until 6 am was a treat. I was well-rested!
I ate a plain bagel with peanut butter, drank some Gatorade, water, and a small cup of coffee in the hotel room before we made the short walk to gear check and the start line. (Seriously, the JW Marriott was a perfect location!)
About 45 minutes before the race, I took a Spring energy gel as well as a few Powerade chews. Apparently, I was bit too hydrated at this point, which came back to haunt me later in the race…
We met up with my friend Christie and another run club friend Ramses around 7:45 and then made our way into Wave 2. Dustin was in Wave 1, so I wished him good luck and said goodbye.
After the national anthem, Wave 1 was off; Wave 2 started about 5 minutes later. I tossed my throw-away sweatshirt and sweatpants and got ready to race!
The Right Fit for the marathon:
I wore an Adidas tank (similar here) that I had received in a Mercury Mile box (which is essentially Stitch Fix for runners, though I think the company may have gone out of business!?), a pair of Rabbit Mountain Climber shorts (all the pockets!), Pro Compression socks, Louva arm sleeves (another company that seems to have disappeared!) a new pair of Goodr sunglasses that I picked up at the expo, and my trusty Brooks Ravennas.
Christie and I ran together for the first 12 miles and oddly, our Garmins were totally different. Somehow mine got ahead of the mile markers and hers got behind and each mile ticked off with very different times, but this is what my Garmin had:
Mile 1: 8:30
Mile 2: 8:18
Mile 3: 8:09
To be honest, it was quite crowded in these first miles. The half and full start together and don’t split off until about mile 7. I could tell; I felt really boxed in and couldn’t really let loose and run normal until the half runners split from us.
Mile 4: 8:11
Mile 5: 8:28
Mile 6: 8:09
Mile 7: 8:15
I believe this was where the half marathoners split. My sister Erin said there was a lot more crowd support for the half, at least it seemed like it. But we did have some bands and some fans for the full too. But if you’re expecting rows and rows of cheering spectators, this is not the marathon for you.
Mile 8: 8:12
Everything was feeling nice and easy at this point, but man I had to pee…I started eyeing up the porta potties that we passed to see if there were lines, but most of them had lines a few people deep. I didn’t want to wait that long!
I was also hoping I could just “run it off’ but that doesn’t really work does it? I know plenty of runners are able to just pee on the go, but I just can’t do that…
Mile 9: 8:11
We ran past some really pretty houses somewhere in these miles, houses that looked like those on Summit Avenue on the Twin Cities Marathon course!
Mile 10: 8:16
Mile 11: 8:10
I don’t know Indianapolis, so I don’t exactly where we were running, but I would say that it was mostly a flat course.
Mile 12: 8:52
I finally gave in and stopped here to go to the bathroom. Hence the 8:52 min/mile!
Mile 13: 7:55
I probably shouldn’t have, but I sped up after the porta-potty, thinking I might catch up to Christie. It was at this point that I ran into an athlete I used to coach! She was trying to break 3:50 to qualify for Boston. I later learned she ran a 3:55, which was still a PR, but not quite what she had hoped for. 🙁
It was still fun to run into her and meet in person! Totally unexpected and a nice surprise.
Mile 14: 8:03
Still going a little faster than before, but feeling strong and in control.
Mile 15: 8:13
Mile 16: 8:17
And just like that, I caught up to Christie! It was fun to be able to run together again. I really feel that we pulled each other along during the miles we had together, especially as things started to get a little tougher. I may have been hurting a bit and thinking about slowing down, but knowing that she was right there with me kept me going. It was great to run with a friend with whom I had trained so many miles!
Mile 17: 8:06
Mile 18: 8:06
The spectators were generally sparse, but some of them had some really good signs. I liked the one that a picture of Lori Loughlin and read, “PSST! I can get you into Boston!” Ha!
Mile 19: 8:10
Mile 20: 8:04
There were plenty of aid stations along the course, but I will say that several of them were a bit ‘low stocked.’ I appreciate that they are all manned by volunteers, but it did add a bit of frustration when you’d have to actually stop to get a cup.
I was pretty diligent about following the fueling plan that Esther had laid out for me- first gel at 45 minutes and then every 35 minutes after that, which meant 5 gels over the course of the marathon. Five gels might be a lot for some, but it worked for me; looking back, I feel that my fueling plan was great, other than the over-hydration of course. This is the 3rd time I’ve had to stop during a marathon to pee, so I really want to get that part figured out, as had I not had to stop, maybe I could have broke 3:35!
Alas…what if, what if…
Mile 21: 8:10
Mile 22: 8:17
Mile 23: 8:08
Mile 24: 8:04
Mile 25: 8:27
It was during this mile that Christie pulled ahead of me; she definitely had a bit more kick at the end and I was fading. (She ended up with over a 2 minute PR- congratulations Christie!)
I saw our coach Esther around this point as well; it was so nice of her to come out to cheer for us, even after racing (and winning) her own race, the 5k, that morning!
Mile 26: 8:24
Final 0.2: 7:48
I saw my parents in the final 1/2 mile; they were there with some really cute signs (pictured below) and it definitely gave me one last burst of energy to the finish.
Finish Time: 3:37:54
This finish time was about 3 minutes slower than my PR (3:35:27) from 2016, but it was my first time breaking 3:40 after breaking my leg and it was about 20 minutes faster than the Houston 2019 marathon, which was my first one post-leg break.
The marathon was a blast, and it was a big confidence booster because other than the final two miles, I felt totally in control of the pace and had a really great time out there. Man, I love marathons…
This finish time of 3:37:54 would have qualified me for Boston under the old time standards, but with the new ones, I need to break 3:35, so no Boston qualifier this year. But closer! Progress is progress.
For those that are interested, Dustin set a 7-minute PR with a 2:54:05, significantly under 3 hours! He was very pleased. Look how even his splits were! So proud.
Our hotel was so close to the finish that Dustin actually had time to shower and then come back to the finish to see me cross the line. When I connected with him after getting through the finisher’s chute and heard how well he did, I was so, so happy! He worked really hard for that time and it’s awesome to see all that hard work pay off in a big way.
After I took a shower, Erin, Dustin, and I met my parents at Starbucks to chat for a bit before they hit the road back to Kalamazoo. Here are the signs they made:
Even though I was tired, we rallied and met up with our run club friends at Taxman Brewery for food and some beers.
Erin and I shared a few flights to try out more of their beers!
All in all, a very fun weekend of running; my most favorite hobby.
As much as I love marathon TRAINING, I do love marathon racing and the experience of each and every 26.2 mile journey. (Obviously, I must love it, or I wouldn’t keep doing it 33 times!)
I am proud of how far I’ve come since the broken leg. Truthfully, I did want to break 3:35 at Indy, but I said I would be happy with 3:3X, which I obtained. I’ll break 3:35 at some point. And Indianapolis was nearly a 20 minute improvement from Houston (Antarctica was a whole other kind of marathon and Brookings was with my sister Erin.)
I had a strong training season for Indy with multiple 70 mile weeks, two 20 milers, and a 22 miler. And my ankle held up well!
I’m calling it a success.
I’m taking this whole week off ENTIRELY. No working out at all. My coach said I could swim, yoga, or something similar, but I feel like mentally I need a true lazy week (which I never normally do.) It feels weird to have all this extra time, but it’s good for me…right?
My next marathon will be the Publix Atlanta marathon on March 1. Dustin and I had already tentatively planned to go to Atlanta to cheer/spectate the Olympic trials the day before (February 29- Leap day!). Since we haven’t run a marathon in Georgia yet, we figured if we’re already flying down there, we might as well run the marathon the next day. I don’t plan to race that one; I’m thinking something around 4 hours would be good, but we’ll see how I feel after my week off.
Thanks for reading and supporting me on this blog, I truly appreciate it. Please share your questions or comments, I read them all and am so happy I have this little space to share my running adventures with the world