So in about 24 hours I will be on my way to Indy for the much-anticipated Mini marathon. Here are three things I'm thinking about as race day approaches.
*This is my first Mini since 2007 and I couldn't be more excited! The race was a yearly staple for me for several years, but it's been eight years since I've lined up for the 13.1-mile journey. Long story why I haven't, but let's just say the past is in the past and I'm focusing on the future, so I don't need to talk about it! :--)
Next to the Chicago Marathon, the Mini is my favorite race. I lived in Indianapolis for several years back in the early 1990s and just love the city. It's definitely changed a bit since then and since my trips there now only involve a yearly jaunt to the west side for the Indy 500, I'm looking forward to seeing the city on foot again.
*My favorite part of the Mini is the lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. With out the lap around IMS, the Mini would be just another half, but the fact they do incorporate the track is one of the coolest things about the event. At 2 1/2 miles long, the track is so big that you cross the six, seven and eight mile marks during your lap! While an Indy car at speed will make a lap in 38 or 39 seconds (which they will be doing when the track opens for practice on Sunday), it will probably take us close to 30 minutes on Saturday, but the nice thing is that the track surface itself is like glass and is very nice to run on.
The track also poses a real challenge during the race too, as the asphalt and the 220,000 metal seats suck up all the sun and heat they can, and because the grandstands are so large a lot of the track gets blocked from any type of cooling breeze. Experienced Mini-ers will tell you to be very conservative until you hit the eight mile mark of the race because the track takes its toll otherwise.
As a fan of the 500 since 1979, and a sort-of historian of the track and the race, it will probably be the coolest 2 1/2 miles I will run this year. The Speedway is a living, breathing place to me and I get a little giddy any time I enter its gates. I'm looking forward to "Kissing the Bricks" at the start-finish line just like the drivers and their teams do after they win the race!
*I'm also excited because I'll have some company! The weekend will be made very complete because of the presence of Darcy and my friends, Wally and Larissa. I'm thankful for Darcy and the support she always gives me, and I am always happy when she has the opportunity to come and watch my races. It's always fun to have new adventures with her.
If you have read my blog before, you'd know that Wally and Larissa are world travelers and runners, having completed races all over the world. Wally and I ran the Mini in 2006 we all last ran a race together in 2008. Wally and I were on the same team together for the Ragnar Great River Relay in 2009-10 but since we were in different vans you can't really say we ran "together". Plus, it will be the first time I've seen them since Darcy and I were married last July, so it should be a lot of fun.
After running the Mini on Saturday, they are heading to Cincinnati for the Flying Pig Marathon on Sunday. They like doing crazy stuff like that!
*Bonus: Well, not really. More like bad news. I found out that the group leader position I put in for with Team V for Rock N Roll Chicago didn't work out. It seems like they chose a different candidate. Oh well...I tried! I'm a bit disappointed about it but there will be other opportunities.
Best of luck in your training and racing this weekend! Look to this space for my Mini recap sometime this weekend!