Monday, May 9, 2011

Recap: 500 Festival Mini Marathon

This past weekend I ran my best ever 1/2 Marathon, the 500 Festival Mini Marathon in Indianapolis, Indiana. I knew no matter what I would set a personal record (PR) but how well I wasn't sure. Let's break it down by the numbers. I ran four times a week for the past 12 weeks, running almost 56 hours, covering over 355 miles and burning just shy of 36-thousand calories so on Saturday May the 7th I could cover 13.1 miles in record time and gain a PR. My goal was to come in at 1:59:59, that's about 10 minutes off my first 1/2 race time of 2:10:18.

In Indy each runner was assigned a corral, based on your estimated finish time, and I was in "E" so pretty close to the start. Saturday was a perfect day for a run wasn't hot, wasn't cold, rain was expected but luckily I didn't feel a drop until the last 3/4 mile of the race. Once the gun went off it only took me about 2 minutes to get to the start line, there are 35,000 people in the race alone (that also doesn't count the thousands watching and the thousands volunteering) so I was very impressed it only took 2 minutes. Once you cross the start line your timing chip starts and you begin your run. There was some congestion at the start but not as bad as I expected and in  my opinion in helped to keep me slow to start, you never want to begin a marathon or a half at full speed out of the gate because then you crash to quickly. I had a good pace right around 9 minute miles for the first mile. As I glanced down at my watch I instantly know that I am on target to reach my goal. I'm feeling good, legs are strong, I'm going at a very comfortable pace, my heart rate feels good and then it hits me. I have to pee, CRAP! Now 9 times out of 10 when you feel like you gotta go when your running its just the bouncing and after a mile or so it goes away. So I keep on and it gets worse and now I know that its real and I've got to stop and hit the porta potty and it cost me about 90 seconds. Ninety seconds may not seem much but when you have a time goal it can really bring you down. And after that stop from mile 3 all the way to mile 10 I was in constant doubt of my ability to come in under 2 hours. And when I hit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the main reason I am running this particular race for the wow/cool factor of running the speedway, it gets worse. It wasn't the wow moment I had hoped it to be, it was a mind killer. For the entire track I was in constant battle with my pace, it was so difficult to run the track because as you keep going, and going, and going, and going (yep this is what its like) you feel like you've not even gained any ground, I felt like I stood still the entire track (about 2. 25 miles). Even as I crossed the yard of bricks at 1:10:29 (and well on pace to smash my goal) I continued to feel like I was slipping and wasn't going to make it. But every time doubt came in I said to myself "picture yourself crossing the finish line under 2 hours" because a well known tip is if you picture it you will do it. Finally leaving the speedway I felt a little more confident because that part was over and now I can feel like I'm back to going someplace. I reach 10 miles at 1:30:54 (still on target) and my confidence starts to come back. I'm still regretting the "pit stop" but was feeling less guilty when ever I needed a water or Gatorade stop. I've learned in training that if I run and drink I run and get water on my shirt and get absolutely no benefit of the refuel. I had stopped twice for water and twice for Gatorade and each time was recharged. Once I hit the victory mile (the last mile) I know I am going to make my goal, I have 15 minutes and I can slow down a bit so I can sprint my last mile. At 3/4 I start to feel tiny raindrops, my legs are tired, cramped and I start taking 10 step strides, fast for 10, slow for 10 and then I hit 1/2 a mile and drop the hammer, 400 meters keep sprinting Anna, at 100 meters I just can't sprint anymore and I slow back down to average pace. I see the finish line, I hear the announcer saying "look at all these runners trying for the goal of under 2 hours" and I'm looking at my watch, know I can do this but my legs hurt so badly. Will I make it? Will I PR? Legs done give, keep running!

Miles 1 and 2 was done in 8:53, 3-9:57 (stupid bladder), 4-8:37, 5-8:57, 6-8:48, 7-9:02 (this is where the speedway got to me) miles 8 & 9-8:59, 10-8:36, 11-8:59 (intentional slow down so I can finish strong) 12-8:56 (struggled to sprint) and 13.1 miles done in 1:58:40! I DID IT!


  1. You da bomb!!! Congratulations girl!!!

  2. Yay!! Congrats!

    There was never a doubt in my mind that you would hit less than 1:59:59 on this race. So whats your next goal? :)