Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon was my 26th race at the 26.2 mile distance. As a countdown to my 26th marathon, I posted a photo each day on Instagram of my previous marathons (1-25) with my result and a brief description of the race. It was pretty interesting to see my marathon progression over the years.  If you have some time, be sure to check it out on my Instagram (click here). 

I decided to run Indy Monumental for a couple reasons: (1) my coach had recommended the race; (2) I wanted to run a course that was mostly flat and fast. The last two years I ran Boston and California International Marathon, both of which are rolling hill courses;  And (3) I qualified as an elite athlete and would get a comp entry.

I arrived in Indy on Thursday and after stopping by the expo to pick up my bib, I enjoyed a nice birthday dinner date with my wife. I turned 39 years young two days before the race. On Friday, besides a pre-race shakeout run in the morning and then brunch with my wife in downtown Indy, I didn’t do much of anything. I stayed off my feet as much as possible. I waited till the late afternoon for the elite athletes’ meeting, where we would receive some instructions and drop off my fuel bottles for the race. I dropped off three Herbalife24 water bottles filled with a mixture of Herbalife24 Prolong and Prepare. My green bottles would be easily identifiable, because all the other bottles were clear with markings on them. 
Prepping my fuel bottles with Herbalife24 Prolong/Prepare

After the meeting my wife and I met up with Scott (my coach), Joseph Alsakr (who was running the half), Joseph’s friend, and another of Scott’s athlete for dinner. We ordered some take out pasta, found an area with tables and chairs in the Circle Center Mall, and carbo loaded. I thought this was a brilliant idea. We didn’t have to decide on a restaurant, and even if we did we'd probably have to wait a half hour for our food. 

My race plan was similar to my last CIM race, go out at 5:43-5:45 pace for the first half (1:15ish) and then try to negative split the 2nd half. When the gun went off, everyone shot off. The half-marathoners started at the same time as the marathoners, so there was no way of telling who was running the marathon until the half-marathoners split off just after mile 7. In the first mile, my GPS was reading 5:45 pace, so I figured I was running the right pace. When my watch automatically split at 5:45, there was no mile marker in sight. I got to the 2nd mile marker and the clock read 11:17. It turned out that I likely ran the first mile in around 5:35. I didn’t want to run any faster than 5:43s, and Scott said that it’s easy to get sucked into running a faster pace with the half-marathoners, so I slowed the pace a tad bit. Around mile 4, three runners (from here on out I’ll refer to them as the small group) came up beside me. I heard one runner say that his plan was to run the first half in 1:15 and the second half in 1:15. I said “Awesome, I’m also aiming for 2:30.” Not long after I said that, the group kept on rolling and immediately put about 10 meters on me. I was confused because I felt like I was running 2:30 pace and here they were rolling on by. I decided not to go with them and continued running my pace. (Turned out it was the right decision). I came through the 10k in 35:34, right on 5:43 pace. The small group went through 20 seconds faster.

Just after the half-marathoners broke off around mile 7, one runner (Shawn Ferguson) came from behind me. I ran with Shawn for about a minute and then backed off as I felt like he was running about a 5:40 pace. At mile 8, I saw the first fuel table and I had no problems spotting my green Herbalife24 bottle. I held on to my bottle for about a quarter mile until I took in most of my fluids (about 10 ounces). Over the next few miles, I continued to run alone with Shawn about 100m ahead and the small group about another 100m in front of Shawn. I came through the half in 1:15:15, right about where I wanted to be. Looking at the results, Shawn came through the half in 1:14:55 and the small group in 1:14:22, sub-2:29 pace. I knew the small group was running faster than 2:30 pace.

At 14 miles, I picked up my second fuel bottle. I carried it until I took in all my fluids. I continued to feel pretty good running anywhere between 5:43-5:46 pace. At around 17 miles into the race, my GPS acted really weird. It showed that I was running 7:50 pace, and then it would jump down to 4:40 pace. I decided to stop looking at my watch and just focus on running by effort.   

Just before mile 20, I started to feel a little cramp developing in my left hamstring.   I experienced this in previous marathons and learned that I just needed to take in more fluids and an energy gel.   Luckily, the third and final fuel station for elites was at 20 miles.   I picked up my last fuel bottle and drank every ounce of it.  The cramp subsided, but my pace had slowed into the 5:50s.  

During the long stretch of road on mile 22, I caught and passed each of the runners from the small group.  Two of the runners from the small group ended up running the 2nd half four minutes slower while the third runner ran seven minutes slower.  I was glad that I stuck with my own pace early in the race. 

Around midway through 24 miles, the marathoners and half-marathoners merge onto the same road.  Traffic cones separated the two races, but there were still half-marathoners who thought it was cool to run on the marathoners' side of the road.  About 24.5 miles, one marathon runner (Jake Sutton) came from behind and caught me.  Jake shouted to the half-marathoners in our lane to make a hole.  I didn't have the energy to say anything and probably would have just gone around the half-marathoners.  Jake clearly had something left in the tank because his turnover was a lot quicker than mine.  I tried to go with Jake, but I just couldn't hang on to him.  It was the first time being passed by another marathoner since mile 7.  Jake ended up running a really smart race and huge negative split (1:16:31 / 1:14:53).

Jake behind me in yellow/red singlet about to put a whooping on me!

The last half mile of the Indy Monumental course runs by the Indiana state capitol building before making a sharp right to the finish near the Government Center.  When I hit the 26 mile marker by the state capitol in 2:30:30, I realized that I could still PR if I booked it in.  I then shifted into another gear and crossed the finish in 2:31:44, a new personal best by 10 seconds.  I placed 11th Overall and was 1st in my Age Group. 

Overall, I was pretty ecstatic to PR, because honestly I thought I had lost too much time between miles 21-25.  I was a little bummed, however, that I didn't run 2:30/sub-2:30.   At 39 years young and approaching the Masters division, I still think that I have a 2:30/sub-2:30 in me.  We will see! 
11th Overall, 1st in Age Group

Pre-race: The morning of the race I had a bagel with peanut butter and jelly, a Herbalife24 Formula1 Sport shake and a banana.  I also drank 20 ounces of Herbalife24 Prolong a couple hours before the race.  Normally, I drink a cup of coffee, but I didn't this time around because my tummy was already full, and I wanted to ensure I took in electrolytes before the coffee.  Right before the race started, I took in one energy gel. 

During the race: At miles 8, 14 and 20, I took in about 10-12 ounces of Herbalife24 Prolong mixed with a little Prepare.  I also took in 3-4 gels throughout the race.