This past weekend I made a very short and productive trip to Indianapolis for the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. This is the largest half-marathon in the US with approximately 35,000 people in the race. Last Sunday I finished a personal best 122 mile week with a 24 mile long run, all at altitude. I came back with a great session of mostly 800s on the track on Tuesday with Matt Reed. The big goal of this spring is Grandma’s Marathon June 18th, so the half-marathon was planned as a great workout and secondary race. There were no specific time goals but to leave Indianapolis on Saturday with a good hard effort. My legs were definitely a little fatigued going into the race, but I was excited to compete again. I stuck myself in the front pack early until a big surge during the 4th mile was too fast. I split 4:49 for the 4th mile and let the lead back go by at least ten seconds. I felt surprisingly very strong and continued to push the pace with Joseph Mutinda basically in my right pocket the entire race. With a strong final 1/4 mile I was able to pull away for 8th place in 1:05:10, only 8 seconds away from my personal best time that was on a net downhill course and was after I tapered post-track season. I’ve noticed in my racing that for a half-marathon I need to be in better 10k shape than marathon shape. This result was MUCH better than I expected as I was looking to run a solid 1:06 or so. With less than 6 weeks remaining until Grandma’s Marathon I cannot help but be very excited about my preparation.
In addition to running well, the folks who organized the Indianapolis Mini-Marathon did a fantastic job. A well organized race, superb elite treatment, and friendly volunteers made the race extraordinarily fun. The course was interesting as well. You start in downtown and run out to the Indianapolis Motor-Speedway to do a lap on the track before running back with views of the city skyline. There were spectators on most of the course and sections of cheerleaders around the speedway. In addition to the race, the expo was large and impressive with Honey Milk and Sigvaris Compression Socks having booths.
After running an easy hour yesterday and a couple more easy days in the plan, I’ll be pacing the elite women at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon on Sunday. I will be running the whole way at ~6:00 pace to run sub 2:39 for the Women’s Olympic Trials A Standard. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an excellent article in today’s newspaper – which can be found here – on the incentives and elites running the half/full marathons. I’m thrilled to help out American distance running by pacing the women, but I’m also really REALLY looking forward to seeing my parents who are going to drive six hours across the state of Pennsylvania to spend the weekend with me. I have not seen my parents since Christmas and am anxious to see them again. They support and encourage my dreams and are always so positive. It will be nice to give my mom a late mother’s day hug!
Hope everyone is doing well and thanks for reading. I hope you continue to follow my journey to Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth!