Indianapolis Half Marathon, October 20th, 2012

Two weeks after a major marathon effort is the perfect time to set out for a Half Marathon PR, right? The miles are in the legs, the body is lean and ready for a peak performance and your motivation is high! Bring on the Half! Truthfully, I don’t know many coaches that would recommend this approach but since I was traveling to Indianapolis anyway for a conference and there just happened to be a race the day before the conference started…..Why not?
This is how I found myself on the starting line at the Indianapolis Half Marathon just two weeks after running the Chicago Marathon. The week after the marathon, rest and recovery was the main goal and the following week was almost back to normal mileage and had one medium hard track day. On the line for the Half Marathon, I felt good. While waiting for the start, I overheard two runners discussing pace. “Let’s go out at 5:40 pace and see what happens.” said the tall guy in the white hat. I decided to let them go at the start so I wouldn’t go out too fast. At the gun, there was the usual pack of lunatic speedsters. I ran 5:57 for mile one and was in about 15th place. White hat guy was nowhere to be seen. By mile two I had moved into sixth and a guy with an IronMan tattoo surged past me up a hill. He had already passed me twice before and then I caught up to him as he slowed going downhill. By mile five, I was cruising at 5:50 pace and was told by a volunteer I was 4th place. I couldn’t see anyone in front of me and I lost count of who I passed so it was good to know where I was in the field. The course was beautiful with the colorful leaves and (as every race director describes it) gently rolling hills. So far, it was feeling like a strong tempo run and I was enjoying the day.
Then the switch got flipped to chase mode at about mile seven. On a long straight stretch with a downhill I could see the flashing lights of the lead motorcycle. There was a runner right behind him and just a short distance back were the two 5:40 guys from the starting line. I ran a 5:28 mile. (give me a break- it was downhill!) It took two miles to reel in 2nd and 3rd place and when I went by, they were clearly slowing down. I could still see first place but he wasn’t slowing down.
Mile eleven had some hard hills and while I lost a little time, the legs still felt strong driving up the slope. Everything was holding together surprisingly well. There were several turns the last mile and lots of spectators had gathered because there were 5K runners finishing at the same time as the Half Marathoners. 1:16:24 at the finish. That’s a minute faster than I ran at the Tom Walker Half in Gainesville last year!
The race was well managed, fairly small with 1800 Half Marathon runners and 650 Marathoners. The post-race food included a full meal of grilled burgers so I left with a full stomach and a new Master’s PR . If you can find an excuse to travel to Indianapolis next October, I recommend this race. It might not be a true “Destination Race” but Indianapolis is a fun city and the race certainly was well done.
Official Results: http://onlineraceresults.com/event/view_event.php?event_id=9337
http://www.indianapolismarathon.com/results.html

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