Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon Race Report

Today, November 2, 2013, was the day that I’d been training for since the beginning of June. I’ve logged 484 miles since then while following a Lydiard based training plan from Running Wizard & Running Ahead. I’ve had off and on knee pain since August and have been wearing Cho-Pat patellar tendon straps on both legs since then. Maybe not the smartest way to run, but it’s gotten me to the starting line and the knee pain has all but gone away.

Capital Building in the morning

Capital Building in the morning

It was a nice enough morning for a run. Around 40 degrees and a light wind coming in from the west. I wore shorts, a short sleeve shirt, a long sleeve shirt, hat, and I started off with cotton gardening gloves on. The organization at the start of the race as we were lining up was a bit of a mess. The 4:30 marathon pacer was about 15 yards behind the Level 4 seeded runners, and the 3:50 group that I wanted to get close to was up near the Level 3 seeded guys. I ended up starting near the 10:00/mile sign, way back from the 8:00 – 9:00 area that I wanted to be. I couldn’t really tell if I would have been stopped if I tried to move forward, so I just stayed in my spot. Oh, yeah, I had to pee about 15 minutes before the gun, but the lines for the porta potties were pretty dang long. So I didn’t mess with it. Next year, I hope they have more of those!

My first mile clicked by in 8:47 – about 10 seconds slower than I wanted. I had to do A LOT of dodging and weaving. It’s annoying when walkers start near the front of the pack and proceed to walk 3 wide. The second mile wasn’t much quicker, and I was a little worried. I ended up pushing the pace in mile 3 down to 8:12. Whoops! Too fast! Shortly after mile 4 I ate the gel that I brought with me. I didn’t “need” it, but since I’ve been eating less carbs I didn’t want to fall behind. It may have been a waste, but maybe not. It was a mental boost at least. I think that I’ll wear a pace band the next time I run a long race with a time goal. I had a hard time figuring the math in my head to know if I was behind my goal time or ahead of it.

The first 10k clicked by in 53:19. It turns out that is a PR for me at that distance! Of course, I’ve only run two 10k’s in the past, but that doesn’t matter! A little after mile 7 the full and half marathon folks split ways. The course is very well marked and there’s no reason that anyone should go the wrong way. The Monumental does this part VERY well. The crowd didn’t really thin out because we started running on narrower streets. It was just after mile 8 that there was an aid station giving out Strawberry flavored Clif gels. I took one of those as well, to make sure I had enough energy to get to the end. I was doing pretty well staying well under my goal pace for each of my miles, so I felt I was on track, even if my Garmin was off a tenth or so.

Splits

Splits

It was around mile 9 or so that my feel started hurting. Right up around the edge of the ball of my foot, sort of wear my forefoot strikes the ground. I did put on Body Glide before the race, but it seemed like the friction was starting to bother me. I had to make a conscious effort to keep my speed up and run through the foot pain. It hurt all the way to the end. All the way down the 2+ miles on Meridian Street. Ugh. I was able to speed up a bit for the last full mile, running it in 8:26, and then the last .16 (as my Garmin measured) at 7:58 pace.

I finished in 1:52:04! That was 24 seconds faster than my Running Wizard predicted time from when I started the race — it did an excellent job of predicting the future! And that was over 4 minutes faster than my previous half marathon personal record from the 2010 500 Festival Mini Marathon (which was my first half marathon). And nearly 18 minutes faster than when I ran the Monumental Half Marathon last year! Wow!

Since I’ve talked about weight loss, check out this comparison of post-race photos from last year to this year. I’m about 40 pounds lighter this year!

2013 on left, 2012 on right

2013 on left, 2012 on right

The finishers area was crowded, as usual. The volunteers didn’t seem to be handing out chocolate milk. It was all covered up for some reason. Maybe only marathoners get to enjoy chocolate milk? I grabbed a bottle of water, banana, cookie, and a cup of Gatorade. I wanted to go to the massage tent, but I wasn’t in the mood to stand in the long line outside of the tent. Steak n Shake was providing chili in a recovery tent, but that really didn’t sound good at the end of the race. There were also several food trucks selling various types of food, but, again, not interested in eating right then. So I headed on home.

Let’s Go Racing @IndyMonumental Half

Well, I’m ready for my goal half marathon – The Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon! I’ve been training since the beginning of June and feel that I’m mostly prepared for the race. I don’t know that I have a 1:52:28 in me, but I think I can break my personal record of 1:56 and change from my first 500 Festival Mini Marathon in 2010.

Cya at the finish line!

Training is winding down – Ready for @IndyMonumental

My training is winding down; I am in the middle of my taper right now with the Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon just a week away.

I went out this morning for a 5k “time trial” because I was too cheap and lazy to go run a race. The Running Wizard plan I’ve been following says that I should try to run that in 24:42, or about 30 seconds faster than the 5K that I ran in June. That was the race that I used to setup the plan.

It was cold this morning.. 39 degrees with 12MPH winds gusting to 20MPH. This is exactly the kind of weather that I hate! Chilly and windy, but not chilly enough to be really bundled up, and too windy to dress down. I set the Garmin up for a warmup, 3.1 mile interval, then cooldown. The warmup wasn’t long because I figured my legs would start to cool off after going outside!

I started off running at a comfortably fast pace, and noticed after about a 1/2 mile that I was running a 7:46 pace. That sounded fast. I decided to try to dial the speed back a little bit, but I was still near the 7:50 – 7:55 range each time I looked at my watch. I felt like slowing around the 2.75 mile mark but I managed to hang on and finished the time trial in 24:20 for a 7:51 pace. That was 48 seconds faster than the 5K I ran in June, though still 30 seconds off my PR (Maybe I can hit that on my turkey trot in a month?).

So I decided to see what speed McMillan predicts for my half based upon this time trial. 1:52:40. And what did Running Wizard predict at the start of my plan? 1:52:28. Wow. It seems that my training has all come together.

Cleaning up my eating

Since I’ve basically been stalled at the same weight for 3.5 months now, I think I’m going to switch my Weight Watchers and go back to counting calories with the My Fitness Pal app. At the same time, I am going to try to change my eating style around. I want to try some lower carb / higher protein / primal / paleo type diet.

There’s several challenges in my way. Bread. Potatoes. Beer. Rice. Corn. Things like that! I love those foods. It’s going to be a learning process for me. Maybe, at some point, I’ll have my eating cleaned up enough that I can stop counting calories, but I’m going to keep doing that for the time being.

During my Googling on cleaner eating, I discovered Mark’s Daily Apple. I don’t know too much about Mark, but seems to have a pretty informative website and a decently busy forum. And he’s written a bunch of books. And he has some neat recipes on his website. So, I guess he can’t be all that bad. I may learn a few things from him. I’m sure there’s worse people to learn from.

Anyways, just as I’ve discovered this, Mark is starting a 21 Day Challenge. It amounts to making a pledge to eat clean for 21 days, exercise a lot aerobically, some quickly, and some heavily. Got it. Exercise party is easy. Eating part… not so easy. I sorta decided this on a whim this morning, so it’s going to be tough going the first few days as I learn what I’m getting in to.

Track Workout Number 2

Today was track workout number 2, ever. I decided to do 5x800m w/ 800m recovery. The suggested time is 4:12, and fastest is 4:00. The temp tonight was about 30 degrees cooler than last Monday! I wondered if I would do the 5th interval somewhere in the middle of the 2nd, but I “got over that” and did my planned workout. Warmup and cool down was 3 laps around 10:45 pace.

1 – 4:06
2 – 4:08
3 – 4:04
4 – 4:04
5 – 3:54

The heart rate range, according to the plan, is 170 – 187 and it wasn’t until the 5th interval that I got over 170. I felt a bit wobbily right at the beginning of the second lap of that 5th one, so this probably was the right number of intervals for me. It did feel pretty hard to finish, and I think a sixth may have been pushing things. I will try to do 6 next Monday (the Running Wizard plan says to do 5 – 7). My 5K pace in June was 8:07, so I’m doing these intervals right around that pace.

The track provides a good change from the regular road routes, and it does feel good to let my legs turn over faster than normal.

Nice evening for running

Did the heat break in other parts of the country like it did in central Indiana? I wasn’t going to run, but talked myself in to it. I went out at 7PM tonight and the temps were in the mid-60′s with a nice breeze out of the north. Nice break from the mid 90′s earlier in the week!

It was a 5 mile PCR (Progress Calibration Run in Running Wizard terminology; basically a steady state run) and with pace range of 8:55 – 10:14 (9:21 suggested) that I did in 8:41 average pace. Went out way fast at 8:28 for the first mile, then told myself to slow down for the second at 9:04, then 8:55, 8:48, 8:36. Whoops! I hope tomorrow’s long run isn’t too painful :)

My running group, Indy Runners, is doing an event in 2 weeks that has people on the marathon plan running the length of our rail trail, and us half marathoners doing about half of it — about 11 miles. My RW plan calls for just 7.5 that day, but I’m thinking of doing it and making sure I run slowly. Just for the social aspect and the box lunch on the downtown canal after.

Another silly idea is a half, Kokomo Highway Half, on 10/12 (my goal race is 11/2) on an almost complete stretch of highway. It will be a one time race run before the new highway opens to traffic. That’s less of a possibility, but on aspect of races that I like is the opportunity to run where I normally wouldn’t get a chance to run. The RW plan calls for a out-and-back or 7 mile race… so 3 miles of warm up, 7 miles of “racing”, and 3 miles of cool down, right? ;) I don’t think I’ll do the race, but I am rather tempted. What’s stopping me, primarily, is that it’s the morning of my grad school commencement that I sorta want to go to :) I found a 7.7 mile race in the evening of 10/12 that I’ll probably do instead.

My Good Deed

I got home from work about 8:30 Friday and my neighbor was outside putting tarps on his roof. He’d been working on replacing it for the past few weeks, but it’s been so dry that he hasn’t messed with tarps on the front of the house. Well, tonight there was some rain in the forecast, so he was messing. He’s probably near 60, and aside from meeting his wife when they moved in, I’ve never really talked to them. I made a comment about the challenge he was facing and headed inside.

About 9:45 I hear some thunder. I look on the weather radar, thinking of my neighbor, and see a few small blips off to the north west. No big deal, they’ll stay north. Then more thunder and some lightning. Should I go offer to help them? About 10:10 I go offer a hand. And he and his wife gladly accept. Shortly thereafter, the sprinkles start. Then the full thunderstorm. Bright displays of lightning, big thunder, lots of rain. He’s up there on the ladder & roof (found out he’s 61 and roofed when he was younger, so he tackled this himself) moving tarps and I’m helping tie off the tarps. We’re rigging things up the best we can in the middle of the thunderstorm.

Did I mention the aluminum extension pole he was using to push tarps in to place? Yeah.

His wife asked me if I knew Boy Scout knots, and I said, “Yea, I remember a few. I’m an Eagle Scout.” A few minutes later, she said, “I prayed to God that we would get some help, but I didn’t expect this kind of help from an Eagle Scout!” I told her to consider it my good deed for the day My knots did make it easy to loosen and tighten lines to get things in the right place.

We get mostly done and he sees an edge of the house that’s uncovered, so back up he goes… and here comes the thunderstorm. Danger close the lightning was striking. I tell his wife, “You should have him get down for 5 minutes, that’s awful close.” She doesn’t. He gets down and I made a comment about the lightning and how I told his wife she should have him come down… He said, “She didn’t say anything because she knew I wouldn’t.”

We get done and most of the roof is covered. They tell me they should do something for me and I say, “Well, you don’t have to, this was just the Boy Scout in me helping out.” I came back in, soaked of course, almost 2.5 hrs later. Sometimes it’s just nice to be neighborly.

Since I didn’t get in until 12:30, and then still had to shower and calm down, I didn’t wake up in time for my long run. I did get in 7.5 miles, just enough to hit 100 for the month.

Oh, a second pair of new shoes for the month. I got a 10% coupon from the local running shop, so I stopped in a week ago and bought a pair of Brooks Ravenna 4′s. They’ve been pretty comfy so far. I’ll be rotating between those and the Ghost 5′s for the remainder of my training.

Taking it easy – knees are hurting

I guess it was about 3 weeks ago that I first started noticing some knee pain after running. I figured that maybe my shoes were nearing the end of their life (I can usually only get 200 miles on a pair!) and thought I’d shop around. About 20 – 25 days ago I missed my Saturday long run so I could do some school work in the morning and ran a shorter run instead. Oh, worth mentioning, 15 days ago I did a trail run and fell pretty hard, scraping up my knee pretty good. I ran through the week, and ended up buying some Brooks Ghost 5 shoes on sale. I figured since I always run in to paid in Support type shoes that I’d try a neutral shoe. I ran my longest run of the training program, a little over 11 miles, and had knee pain about the entire way.

Last Monday, 10 days ago, I was walking down stairs at work and felt some twinges in my knees. I decided not to run for the rest of the week. I got out my Yoga DVD and did a couple workouts, went to the gym once (I hate the gym!), and did some other knee related exercises. I also ordered Cho-Pat Knee Straps to help support my knees.

Two days ago I ran 4 miles at a quicker pace, instead of the 5.5 recommended by the plan. I also did an exercise routine to help strengthen and stretch my leg muscles. Dang that beat me up. I ran 6 miles last night at a slower pace and my knees weren’t too bad. Today was a rest day so I did that routine again. It gets me sweating and my legs feel tired afterwards, so I guess I’m doing something. And my upper body hurts from supporting myself during the foam rolling. I’m a weakling!

My knees aren’t hurting as much now… maybe the trauma from the fall is healing, or maybe some of the pain from overuse is healing. I’ll just do 4 runs this week, instead of 5, and see how I feel after my run Saturday to determine whether I should take next week off. I’m more interested in getting to the starting line pain free than I am in hitting all the workouts and setting a PR.

Catching up on things

Well, like I usually tend to do, I forgot about the blog for a few weeks. Oops!

On July 4, 2013, I ran the Firecracker 6 mile race in downtown Indianapolis. I have a bit of a streak going with this one since this was my 4th year of the race and the 4th time it was run. It starts at the City Market, just a couple blocks off of Monument Circle. In fact, the course was slightly changed this year and the race started off with us running towards and around the north half of the circle. I always have liked running that circle for some reason.

I guess my training is paying off because I set a race and 6 mile PR of 49:02 for a 8:11 pace. I do think the last mile may have been short because my Garmin was always going off about 20 yards before the mile markers (normal), but I only measured the last mile as .8 at a 7:39 pace. I saw another guy’s race on Daily Mile and his last mile was also much quicker. I guess I shouldn’t complain because I set a PR! And what made it even neater was that it wasn’t that much slower than my 5K race just a month earlier.

The training was going ok until the long run last Saturday. I felt mostly ok for the 9.8 or so miles, but boy was I sore afterwards. And then Sunday. And still sore today, Tuesday. I actually skipped the run Monday, but went out for 1 hour 10 minutes tonight. I felt some soreness in my thighs from the 3 mile point onwards. I’m not too sure what that is all about.

Weight loss… ugh. It seems I’ve been at a plateau since late May, or at least my losing has slowed down to under 1lb a week. This coincides with starting to run more, and is what usually happens when I increase my running. I’m still plugging away, but feeling a little upset at how that’s going. It is what it is, and as long as the scale keeps going downwards then I’ll keep at it.

Hoosier Park 8K Race Report

Nestle Bunny

Nestle Bunny

I ran the third race of the Hoosier Park 8K Triple Crown Series today, which was at the Hoosier Park horse track in Anderson, IN. Anderson, IN is also home of the world famous Nestle Bunny on the side of I69. Quite a treat!

I went in hoping to average 8:45/mile.

The pre-race festivities were near the finish line and included a trumpeter playing “To Post,” which was pretty cool. The race started on the back stretch of the horse track, just off turn 2, so we walked as a group (field of 266) around to the start line. We started off behind the “gate truck” which is used to start the harness races that they do at the track. That was very unique!

Field lined up to start, from Hoosier Park photographer

Field lined up to start, from Hoosier Park photographer

The 7/8 mile track was a fine gravel that was pretty well packed and not at all hard to run on. Thankfully, they cleaned up all the “horse mess” before the race! We ran about 1/2 way around the track before venturing in to the parking lot, then running the roads around the facility. At one point, an SUV went down the left lane because runners were taking up the right lane. About when he was getting up to oncoming traffic a police car had caught up to him, then the officer got out and seemed to tell the guy to pull over on to a side street for a talking to. The weather seemed to be either sunny and humid or sunny with a strong headwind, depending on which way we were running – temp was in the upper 70′s and it felt muggy. There were two water stops and I drank half my cup and dumped the other half on my head!

Triple Crown 8K

Triple Crown 8K

The race finished with nearly a full lap around the track… really a unique experience! I finished in 43:09 for a 8:41 pace. This was just my third 8K race but was a 1:51PR from 4/2012, and 4:42 better than the 8K I ran April 21 after a winter of not running much. So I was pleased with my results.

Mile 1 – 8:34
Mile 2 – 8:26
Mile 3 – 8:41
Mile 4 – 8:38
Mile 5 – 8:38
Garmin measured 5.02

My long run was supposed to be today; it was supposed to be 7 miles (5.5 – 8 range) but I didn’t go back out for the extra 2 miles. This wraps up 2 weeks of my training plan. Enjoying it so far.