Monday, May 11, 2009

A Slice of Americana

Oh look, here we are at the start of another race, the… which one is it? The Indy Mini Marathon, 13.1 miles of pavement, including the race’s claim to fame--a 2 mile stretch around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Here’s what I love. I love running a spring half marathon. I love traveling to a different city (even if it is Indianapolis) to race. I love lounging around a hotel room catching up with my running buddies. And (AND!) I love that my sister and her boyfriend Lars made the trip. Overall, it was a super fantastic time with friends, and I will do it again, just maybe not in Indy…

Here’s why:

Now you know me. I’m all about inclusiveness. I want people who have an interest in endurance sports or distance running, etc.--regardless of their level of fitness--to be accepted and, perhaps if I’m feeling particularly touchy feely that day, embraced. After all, slower runners have been known get a lot of shit from the hot shots who run sub 6-minute miles, and I’d like to think that I understand the plight of those who need a little more time to get through a race course.

Oh yes… best I can tell, from where I’m sitting, there’s a lot of love. But here’s what I did not love, much less tolerate, about the Mini. This race was “walker friendly.” Now I’m not “walker unfriendly” per say, but I have never participated in a distance race that targeted walkers. I’m pro this in theory. In practice… not so much.

I’m not exactly sure what was supposed to happen, but the runners (and the walkers?) were corralled based on expected finish time. The slower your predicted time, the further back you were in the start corral. Runners, at least the ones who have done a race or two, are pretty used to this, and I for one, have realized that it sucks big time to be corralled with a faster group only to be passed by a million and a half people as soon as you cross the start line. The walkers apparently, just lined up wherever they felt like it. And then I spent the entire race passing walkers.

I know, I know. I’m such a complainer, “Wahhhhhh… Lou had to pass a walker every now again…” Oh no. Passing a lone walker here and there would have one thing. But these were actual moving walls made entirely of people… who were walking. They often blocked up to 70 percent (rough estimate) of the path, making it annoying, not to mention dangerous, to navigate the course. I actually saw one runner bite the dust trying to break on through to the other side.

Despite the walkers, I had a pretty decent race miles 1-10. Miles 11-13… less so. At mile 12 point something, I even STOPPED TO WALK. I know, tragic. I made it through 12 point something miles of a race only to stop and walk less than a mile from the finish. My legs just could not take it anymore. I was hurting. Now, I blame this on two things. First, the walkers. How can I possibly blame everything on the walker? Well, because I was constantly moving around the walkers, the lateral movement took a toll on my hips and quads (I think?). Second, I blame my shoes. I recently was refitted with new running shoes, New Balances, and after a few long runs (like two), the shoe seemed to lose all its support. With each step, I could feel shock wave start in the bottom of my foot and make its way up to my hips.

It’s a theory.

I should get new shoes.

Oh and my time was 2:37:15, which isn't my best, but it's solid.


Kendra said...

I am also annoyed by the walkers. No big deal if its just a few here and there, but they tend to come in packs and block the entire path. You use a lot of energy just trying to get around them and when you are going 13 miles, you really don't want to be wasting energy. In the grand scheme of things, I prefer to weave around walkers than to follow strollers or people with dogs. I love dogs, but if you dog has an upset tummy that day, please leave the pup at home!

Roisin said...

YAY!!!! I'm glad you did well on the race...especially considering the fact that you had to dodge so many people. That wears you out like nothing else I know. Congratulations again :)

RBR said...

Woo hoo!! She is back in the saddle of distance races! I think your time is more than solid, it is great! Bring on the Chicago marathon training!

I know what you mean about the walls of walkers, or even in my opinion walls of run/walkers. It made me crazy at Big Sur when a group that took up the entire run area, would suddenly stop running and start walking without regard to everyone running behind or around them.

Lindy said...

I can't remember if I mentioned in my race report that my Garmin had me at over a 1/4 mile over our race doubt, from all that ducking and dodging.

If I do Indy again, I will be lying about my expected finish time, that is for SURE!

I had so much fun with you guys, and so did Annah, thanks for being so welcoming!

See you tomorrow, bright and early. :) You rockin pace leader, you!