Monday, October 20, 2014

Bib of the (Last) Week -- Indy Mini-Marathon, May 5, 2007

A little late on my BOTW since it I normally try to put one out on Friday or Saturday (so there will be another one coming out later this week), but in honor of getting some love from the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon folks -- thanks guys! -- I decided to post a race report about my most epic Mini ever.

In all, 2007 might have been my best overall year for running. From the beginning of the year I had been really motivated to lose weight and run well, and I had a lot of success in both of those areas. In fact, I'd love to have that same kind of success in 2015!

Not only did I set my half-marathon PR at the Mini that year, I also had two of the better runs of my career. Last year I mentioned both, my moonlit-inspired midnight run at the 2007 Ragnar Relay as well as the Chicago Marathon a couple of months later, where I didn't set a PR but ran perfect splits in the 87-degree heat.

Most, well, probably all, of that was the result of running close to 100 miles per month and eventually losing close to 40 pounds. That year was one of the most consistent running years I've ever had, and it certainly paid off.

The 2007 Mini represented the seventh straight year I had run the race, and as it turned out, the last year I have run it. To be honest, when I arrived in Indianapolis the day before the race, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I knew my training runs had been going well but I hadn't raced yet so I didn't fully know what I was capable of running. I thought my half PR (1:48:36) was a possibility, but I thought the best thing to do was go out a bit on the conservative side and see what would happen.

The cold weather from the previous year turned out to be an outlier, as the conditions returned to their normal Mini-type state (hot and humid) in 2007. It wasn't warm --temps were in the low 60s -- but it was pretty humid, so the idea of going out under control was the smart one. One thing I had learned in my six previous races was that if you burned yourself out at the Speedway, it was a long trip back downtown.

Mom and Karen came down with me, and were positioned just across the start line. I was in Corral D, so a little bit back, but things got spread out quickly enough that I got off to a good start.

One thing I remember about that day is that I felt really, really good! The pace was really free and easy for me, but I knew better than to try and press the issue early. I hit five miles in 40:42, so about an 8:08 pace, which was pretty close to perfect. I had hoped to run right around 40 minutes, but didn't mind being a little "behind" because I was confident that time could be made up later.

Entering the track, I kept to the plan since it was working so well. Once we were onto the front straight, just after mile 7, I felt like it was OK to start picking up the pace, and when I did, I just took off! Once out of the track, I hit the 10-mile mark in 1:19:47, which meant I ran the second five miles in 39:42 (about 7:54 pace).

I was still feeling good and my momentum just kept taking me forward. As we were heading back downtown and I realized that I had reached the point where I was passing A LOT of people. As I turned onto New York Street for the last mile, I just turned it up with what I had left, and when I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch, I could hardly believe it.

1:42:35.

Are you freaking kidding me!?!? I had broken my half-marathon PR by close to six minutes and had run the last 5K in 22:38, which was (and is) just 12 seconds slower than my 5K PR! I had run the last 5K at a 7:17 pace!

It was such an amazing day, and I realized after the race that it was the first time I had run a half-marathon non-stop. Usually I'll take a quick walk or two through a water stop, but I didn't even do that! Just like the Ragnar run later on in the summer, I had just stayed in the moment and followed a plan, and when it came time to go I was able to do it.

I'm not sure how I was able to have so many "perfect" runs in such a short amount of time, but I'm glad I got to experience that feeling. It's one I hope I get to have again someday.

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