May 4, 2014

Indianapolis 500 Festival Half Marathon (The "Mini")

1:07:00, 16th place.

This one gets classified as a total BOMB. I've written up a race recap below, and kept it light because this is probably one of the worse races I've traveled for in a long time (ever?). These things happen. I'll make a few tweaks to my training - put in another solid block of training and be ready to deliver next month in Duluth. In a few days I'll post an analysis of training leading up to this race. I figured, even on a bad day, I'd be able to break 1:06, so this sort of came as an (unpleasant) surprise.

My report on Fast Running Blog:

I did not have it today. I could probably find some excuses about stuff going on that affected my performance, but the fact is that I ran 1:07 (on the dot - again!) which isn't something I should ever be doing at this point in my life. It's not acceptable. I am glad I have one more shot at a half-marathon this spring and 7 weeks to train for it before turning my attention to 26.2; I intend to knock one out of the park in Duluth and redeem myself for what has been a disturbing trend of solid training and poor racing. Ultimately, I judge my running based on actual race performances, and don't get any satisfaction about what I could/should have been able to do. The stopwatch and tape measure never lie.

The last time I was in Indianapolis, I got beat by Michael Jordan. On Thursday night I got a text message from a guy named Steve Kerr - "Hey Jake, I'll be picking you up at the airport tomorrow." You can't make this stuff up! Indianapolis-ans must have been secretly rooting for the Bulls during the 90s.

The Indy Mini is a pretty cool event - the biggest half-marathon in the USA with 38,000 runners! In addition to being a bucket list item for the masses, they also put together an impressive prize money purse which draws out a very competitive field of athletes. The course is nice and flat, as you'd expect in the Midwest... and why I keep coming here to run.

Almost 2.5 miles of the race is on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - which I had heard was a very lonely place... but it wasn't too bad - it just reminded me of my boring tempo loop! I actually wouldn't mind doing workouts there.

The RDs were very accommodating, and put me in a nice hotel (with my friend Paul) the night before the race. We burned the midnight oil until the clock hit 8:30pm (6:30pm our time) and then hit the sack.

I felt flat from the start of the race (on our warmup too) and never really got going, despite a more conservative start compared to other half-marathons I've run.

Splits: 5:02, 4:59, 5:09, 4:57, 5:13, 5:08, 5:05, 5:16, 5:05, 5:14, 5:02, 5:12, 5:06, :27 = 1:07:00

I knew going into this that I wasn't going after 65... but I figured I had a good shot at cracking 66 and taking down my PR. That race in Long Beach just doesn't want to give up it's spot on my sidebar!

On a positive note, I was able to beat Michael Jordan this time.

The top pack ran fast - 6 guys under 1:03! [Results]. Kenyans dominated. I think I was the 3rd American - in 16th place overall.

After the race I had a ton of time to kill before a 7:45pm flight home. I ended up at the hotel gym doing a lot of stretching while Frank Shorter was riding the stationary bike. I should have introduced myself, but I was afraid he would ask how I ran. Later, at the airport, Frank kept walking past me in the terminal, rubbing it in! He won the original Indy Mini, back when it started and finished on the track.

The craziest part of the day was the ride from the hotel back to the airport. I got picked up by Bill Cartwright, Stacey King, and Horace Grant. But not the Indianapolis versions... the real Chicago Bulls. I take it as a good omen from the universe that running the Chicago Marathon this fall is the right choice. Like I said, you just can't make this stuff up!

OK I made the last part up.

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