Even though I’ve never considered myself a runner, after being on the sidelines photographing for my marathoner/inspiration a couple of times, I signed myself up for the 2008 500 Festival Mini Marathon because everyone does it and it doesn’t feel overly competitive. It was my first race ever, and I was so impressed with myself. Starting back in corral Y I walked the first mile until I got through some of the mass of humanity. I started running and did not stop. Of course I signed up again!
In August I had surgery to repair a labreal tear in my hip joint from a 2006 injury. (Yes, I learned to run with that injury.) I told the surgeon and physical therapist that teaching dance is part of my income and I was going to run the mini again. Running had become an important escape for me. I probably started teaching dance before I should have and my recovery slowed. It was nearly Spring before I was allowed to start trying to run, and my training wasn’t very consistent.
Two weeks before the race I got ill, which terminated my training entirely. When I was still sick with a week to go, I told my best friend I would walk with her this year. A few days later, she had to have an appendectomy, so she’s been confined to the couch. It had been raining all week; everyone was hoping for clear skies on Saturday morning, but I had to admit that I should not walk 13.1 miles in the rain with an occasionally uncontrollable cough.
Two days before the Mini, I found another fab friend who blogs about Indy to take friend 1’s place and walk with me barring rain. As I was preparing for bed, I realized I had absolutely zero clean socks for the race, so I started laundry; I have no clue what time I got to bed, but it wasn’t early. Friend 2 was to pick me up because I had the bibs and timing devices, but she wasn’t responding by text or phone (she’d fallen back asleep), so despite everything, at ten minutes until corral call, I started walking to corral J (I live downtown and parking is ridiculous on race day). By the time I got to the starting line, I had probably already walked 5k.
If I was without anyone to talk to and starting in my earned corral, I wanted to run at least some of it. Since I was intending on running, I had not taken the time to really stretch out. My plan was to just do what I could and be satisfied, realizing that I basically had not trained at all. It did not take long for me to get into the race mindset and want to push myself. One of the first things I realized was that I was being passed more often this year than I was last year, but I reminded myself that last year I’d started at the back of the pack and this year I’d started in the middle. Last year, I used it as a challenge and let very few people pass me.
Trying to be kind to my body, I tried not to be as competitive this year. I was pleased with each mile completed and wanted more. I knew my physical therapist was not going to be pleased with me (although probably not surprised), but I wanted to push to my limit. As I approached the Indianapolis Motor Speedway right before mile 6, I determined that I would not walk on the track. As I left the track, a security guard informed us that we had 4.5 miles left and I started walking. I walked until half mile to go when a friend caught up to me. I matched her pace and challenged her to sprint the last .1 with me.
All things considered (recovery, illness, late night, weather), it was probably a little crazy for me to get out there. 13.1 miles is an accomplishment (I bow to all you full marathoners). The Mini is a fun, important event in Indianapolis. Every year registration is filled several months prior to the race. I did it. My legs ache, my hips are tight, I’m tired, and I have events scheduled ALL day. I would absolutely do it again and I plan to next year (with more training this time)!
*Although I am a therapist, licensed to diagnose, the term “insane” is only used in self-deprecating humor. It would not be good practice to self-diagnose nor do I think I would fit a diagnosis. I do however strongly advise against anyone following in my footsteps.