This past weekend was the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon weekend. Or at least it would have been if it weren’t for the ‘ronavirus. And to be honest, now that my virtual is completed and it’s the last race of the year, I’m having pretty mixed feelings.
The actual run itself this past Saturday was great. I’ve started driving up to run in Dublin, which for my non-Ohio readers is an affluent suburb northwest of Columbus. The recreational trails might be my favorite in Central Ohio – although I haven’t run all of them yet, I definitely plan on it – with plenty of tunnels to go under the main roads and trees lining the trails. The fire engine reds and vivid golds, coupled with the unseasonably warm, sunny day, were energizing and uplifted me. I had fun and felt alive and toasty once I was done.
Last week both my Indy Monumental Half and Air Force Half medals come in the mail, so I hung those up on my display. The 2020 collection is complete, and at first I felt warm and accomplished inside. But now I can’t shake the feeling something was missing, like I didn’t really race or earn them since all but one race was either cancelled or virtual this year.
Indy going virtual has been hitting me differently from any other race of 2020. I went to college in Indianapolis and look forward to the homecoming whenever I get out there for a race or a day trip. After growing up in a small town and vowing to get the hell out of Ohio for good (we can all have a chuckle at this part), arriving in Indianapolis for school hit me like a ton of happy bricks. I was 10 minutes away from downtown! Downtown was – and still is – one of the most cosmopolitan places I’ve ever seen. There was Monument Circle and the Circle Center Mall, the state capitol and historic cathedrals all within a close walking distance. The evening lights of downtown breathed life into me.
One of my coolest Indy experiences came when the city hosted the Super Bowl in 2012. My roommate’s family was gracious enough to invite me along when we all made our way to “the Epicenter of Awesomeness.” It was the Saturday the weekend before Super Bowl and frigid, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t wear appropriate footwear. More importantly, I have never seen downtown so alive and crowded. It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing to see.
As you all can see, Indianapolis holds a lot of happy memories and emotions for me. Every year since graduating in 2014, I’ve made an effort to get out there and see downtown and my alma mater. So not getting out there this year has frankly sucked.
Going along with the homecoming emotions, I’m also bummed that my mom and I didn’t get our Girls Road Trip for Racing.
The race weekend Indy road trip has become a tradition for Mom and me, where we stay downtown, enjoy an afternoon stroll along the canal and then walk over to the Sailors and Soldiers Monument on the circle. Dinner is typically at the TGI Friday’s connected off our hotel or another downtown restaurant within walking distance, and then we enjoy the peaceful night in before the fracas of the next (usually) cold and early morning.
The last three races were full marathons, and this year I registered for the half. I was looking forward to running the city in half the time and exploring a new course, and then by July I came to the realization that with the pandemic and likely post-election protest – since the race is the first Saturday in the month – that could be taking place downtown when I was running, the race would likely go virtual anyways. So I switched my registration and told myself the city isn’t going anywhere, and I’ll likely be back in 2021.
Now though I don’t feel so confident what this time next year will look like for my racing goals. I’m trying to keep perspective and focus on the important thing – that I completed the race even if it wasn’t where I originally thought I’d be running. However, running Indy is running Indy. It’s an experience I really can’t replicate anywhere else. And that part of me will take a little while to get over the disappointment.
So while I’m getting over myself, I’m going to focus on the happier Indy Monumental memories. From my first time running in 2017 and humming the “Macho Man” theme song the entirety of the race, to bringing Mom with me in 2018 when President Trump was also staying at our hotel, the memories of races past were the ones that reconfirmed why I love to run and travel to new places. Love has to trump disappointment, and commitment to keep going is going to have to trump pandemics, general uncertainty and whatever else we’re all going to have to put up with in the future.
I hope you all are able to find peace and calmness in the midst of the world’s crazy.
Yours in writing,