The Recap: Indy Half at Fort Ben

I love the idea of traveling for races – of exploring places I’ve never been before or only go once in a few years, of getting out on the road and out of Columbus for a weekend.

Race day itself was wonderful, and I’ll recap that next. But first I gotta share my major travel gripe:

Why in God’s name is every major highway either shut down, reduced to one lane and an incredible mess on the one weekend I don’t need it to be?

I-70 into Indiana was fine, as was the interstate back into Ohio. But the 465 interchange and 65 northbound were madhouses. It also doesn’t help that I had my boyfriend with me and wanted so badly to make his first trip to downtown Indy – and his first trip to Indiana – fun and seamless.

Our Friday eventually calmed down and ended on a high note of baked lasagna and tiramisu at Buca de Beppo and a walk around the Central Canal, but the traffic/navigating/trying to get downtown to the observation deck by four o’clock sharp left me feeling short and snappy with my boyfriend.

(Author’s note: we’re fine.)

I woke up Saturday feeling pretty good and energetic, then had a stress flare up when my boyfriend and I got stuck in construction on 465 while trying to get up to the race in time. By the time we got parked and hightailed it to the start line, it was already 8 a.m. and the elite runners had taken off.

Thankfully I was able to squeeze into my corral in time. I’m not sure if it was stress, happiness or a mix of both with some premenstrual hormones thrown in for good measure, but as soon as I got into the corral I started to cry.

I was thinking about last year and how miserable I was during that race – unseasonably hot, humid and disappointed in myself for not being able to conquer the hills in spite of the fact I hardly train on hills at home. This year was chilly and darker in the morning, which generally are my best running conditions. Through the tears I had a sense of comfort and the feeling this would be a great race.

I ran strong during the first two miles and felt confident. Mile 2.5 was the first hill on Boy Scout Road, which I walked-ran and felt far better on than the previous year.

I was happy to see I ran the first 10k in the same time as my Run Like A Girl 10k. I figured with the hills and eventually needing to take more walking breaks I would finish the race in 2:20, which is ten minutes past my usual half marathon goal time, and something I was more than okay with.

Mile 7 took me downhill into Fort Harrison State Park. I didn’t feel bad, but I definitely felt the race at Mile 8. Around Miles 9 and 10 I walked through the aid stations and loaded up on water and Gatorade for the real gauntlet: the bigass hill of Mile 10.5 through Mile 11.

This hill is pretty much a straight incline and killed me last year, slowing me down and making me question why I thought this particular race was a good idea. This year I jog-walked it along with a significant chunk of other runners, and even though it’s still the same challenge, emotionally and mentally it didn’t kill me.

I used the first half of Mile 11 to recuperate and then at 11.5 picked up the pace again. I texted my boyfriend at Mile 12 to let him know I was almost done and ran strong to the finish.

The cutoff time I gave myself was 2:20. I finished the race in 2:19:47.

And what turned out to be the biggest victory of all is that I felt strong the entire way, which was a huge boost from last year and for the two full marathons coming up.

Emotionally I still feel great, although I got sleepy shortly afterwards and put away some Chinese, followed by Taco Bell on Sunday once we got home.

(A/N to self: take a break from going out to eat. Your pants need it.)

A hilly half is done. Now on to the next races: the Columbus Marathon on Oct. 20th and the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on Nov. 9th.

Run happy friends,


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