Tomorrow night, I’m flying home. To Indiana.
I’ve lived in DC for a couple of years. I love it here and consider it my home, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get excited as all hell to head back to the Midwest. I’m super excited to see friends and family, and I can’t wait for Saturday: the 2013 Indianapolis OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.
Confession: I like to say it exactly like that in conversation because it’s such a ridiculously long title for a half-marathon. Example:
Mom: What time does the race start?
Me: What race? You mean the 2013 Indianapolis OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon?
Mom: Um, yes. When does it start?
Me: The 2013 Indianapolis OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon starts at 7:30, I think, but I’ll have to check. Let me get on the 2013 Indianapolis OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon website to be sure.
Mom: What’s the web address? I can look it up.
Me: I’m not sure. I’ll Google “2013 Indianapolis OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon” and let you know.
Mom: It’s fine, I’ll just ask your brother.
Me: Which brother? The one who is also running the 2013 Indianapolis OneAmer–
See? It’s fun.
It’s called “the Mini” for short. Now you know why.
In actuality, it is anything but mini. I’ve heard in the past that this race is the biggest half-marathon in the United States — probably because there is no full marathon offered, just the half, and it fills up every year. Forbes had a piece on it last year, if you’re so inclined.
The Mini starts downtown, in the heart of Indianapolis, where you line up with 40,000 of your best friends:
First, you head west and run past the Indianapolis Zoo, where sometimes you’ll see an elephant or seven hanging out as close as to the road as possible, course-spectating LIKE A BOSS.
Then you tromp through the west side, passing through Haughville, I think (I don’t really know, I just run it okay?) and then through Speedway — which is both a town and a thing — for 2.5 miles on the track of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
After that there are some shaded, winding streets, then a straightaway through a neighborhood with lots of nice spectators cheering a lot and playing instruments poorly. And then you head back downtown, crossing The Bridge That Feels Like The Longest Bridge In America But Is Actually Just A Normal Bridge.
And then you’re in the home stretch, finishing on another straightaway that spits you out in Military Park.
I. Am. Pumped.
So I’m going to get my head straight and lay out some Poke-tastic Mini goals:
1. Don’t go out too fast. I am aiming for a 2:05, but I’m feeling overconfident because I’ve apparently become a cocky asshole. I’ve had several confidence-boosting LRs in recent weeks, which are giving me all sorts of crazy high hopes. I juuuust might get a little too hopped up on Starbucks and stranger danger (it gets super crowded at the start) and bust out of the gate like Seabiscuit. I need to run consistent 9:30s to go 2:05, but I’ll probably feel like starting with 8:45s and 9:00s. I need to remember to hold back a little and save the juice for a kick at the end. Ain’t nothing like a good kick at the end.
2. Hold the pace steady and stay confident. I think part of the reason I ran so well at RnR USA is that I ran with a friend and didn’t overthink it. I wasn’t thinking it at all. I just ran, smiling at the crowds like a pageant girl and high-fiving everyone in America (I get excited). The closer I get to a shiny new PR during the Mini, the more panicky I’ll probably become, fearing that I might not have enough gas at the end, that I might hit a wall, that I need to slow down and save energy. NICHT! This will not happen. This is the first time I’ll be running with a GPS watch, so I’m going to monitor my pace without letting it psych me out. Slow and steady wins Pokey the PR.
3. Let myself be excited; have fun. I signed up for this race in 2010 after watching my little brother run it in 2009. The energy in downtown Indianapolis on Mini morning is contagious, and I was so insanely jealous of all the runners. I want to keep a vice grip on that enthusiasm and enjoy the atmosphere. Hoosiers love the Mini. It’s an incredibly fun day. You get to run on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and kiss the brickyard, for crying out loud! (Which is fun, but can also make even the strongest runners feel like a trash bag: no shade, no variety, just one giant, two-and-a-half-mile loop like you’re running a high school track & field nightmare come true). It’s a celebration for the whole city, kicking off the month of May and all the Indianapolis 500-related festivities that come with it. I plan to revel. Those are my people; that is my home.
The last 4-5 miles were trying to control the panic that comes from self-doubt. You’re in pain and all you want to do is make it stop. I’m constantly trying to reassure myself that I can handle it, but my mind was panicking thinking, “I can’t do this for 2 more miles; I’m going to have to walk. I’m going to have to tell Mason that I can’t do it. I can’t make it.”
Of course, you can and you do.
Words. To. F#$*ing. Note.
You can, and you do.