06 May 2018

Finish

I can see the finish line! I'm almost done!
Ever since moving to Indiana, I've wanted to run the Indy Mini Marathon, one of the country's largest half marathon. It's in May, a few weeks before the Indy 500 and has been a tradition for decades. I hadn't taken the challenge because most years, I was either pregnant or had a newborn baby and wasn't up to running 13.1 miles. This year, however, was the year!
My warmup: carrying Henry while powerwalking to the start line so I wasn't late.
Thanks to the treadmill Jack got for my birthday, the warmer weather, increased daylight hours, and the triple jogging stroller, I've been able to more consistently run than I have in the past. That meant I was probably more prepared than I was for my first half marathon, way back before Henry was even born.
Walking with me to the start.
Since there are so many people running the race (it's their 12th consecutive year of selling out of the 35,000 half marathon spots!), I was put in the very last wave, the very last group, which was okay by me, since that meant the latest starting time. Though we hurried to get everyone up and in the car in time (they may have been still half asleep and hadn't had breakfast yet) I made it to the start line in just the nick of time.
I don't get downtown often enough...I didn't even know they'd put a giant sticker on the Marriott.
By the time it was my turn to cross the start line, about 95% of the participants were ahead of me, so there was plenty of people watching to do. One of the things I love about running these types of races is that there is a multitude of different participants: I saw the elite runners heading the opposite direction, almost to the finish line while I had barely reached the two-mile mark, there were Jehovah's Witnesses, Baptists, pregnant mothers, crippled people who looked like they shouldn't have been able to walk, much less run, old widows and widowers with their spouses memorialized on their shirts, bridal parties, friends pushing their wheelchair-bound friends, children, families, recent graduates, and one very thin looking Santa...
I always have the goal of jogging the entire distance, with the exception of stopping for a drink (running + drinking Gatorade = Gatorade splashed down front and sucked up nose). It's around the three-mile mark that people really start dropping like flies.
Most people continue walking, rather than giving up entirely, which I'm all for--you paid to run this race, so keep going! However, like driving, I got sooooo annoyed by people who walked wherever they felt like it. Instead of pulling over to the right to allow runners to go on the left. I'm nearly positive I ran at least two extra miles weaving in and out of walkers who didn't pull over for the runners.
On the plus side, all those people walking made me feel like I was an Olympian sprinter. I just focused on someone in front of me and tried to catch them. Once I did, I moved onto the next person, unless I could find someone to be my pacesetter, and ran with them. More than once, I wished I could have just brought Raven along with me to keep up the pace.
One of the most fun and memorable parts of the race was when we finally made it to the track--we literally ran on the raceway where the Indy 500 cars drive. The first mile is dedicated to all the fallen Indiana veterans and is incredibly difficult to run past without getting choked up. I'm not ashamed to admit tears fell, especially when I passed one man who was kneeling and weeping by one of the signs. It was an incredibly sacred experience in the middle of a grueling run.
Around the curve of the track, we jogged on the perfectly smooth asphalt (no potholes to trip on!) until the Indy 500 finish line was in sight. Though, not the end of our race, it was another entertaining sight as I passed it. By tradition, race car drivers kiss the line of bricks when they win.
Kissing the bricks.
Lots of people stopped for a breather and a picture with the bricks but I opted to keep jogging. No time to waste (and those bricks have got to be nasty after that many shoes ran over them...if I ever actually win the Indy 500, I'll make an exception).
No time for kissing the bricks. Or tv interviews.
 After leaving the track, we were over halfway done. I was still feeling pretty good. But, with each mounting mile, more body parts began complaining and aching. My heart and lungs were fine--they could have gone to the end of the earth--but my feet, knees, and hips were about done with all of it.
Why are you walking?! We can see the finish line!
All the while I was running, Jack took the kids to get a pancake breakfast. I updated them on occasion where I was and at mile 12, I tried to kick it in for a strong finish. Apparently, I'd hydrated enough along the way that I didn't have any leg cramps and if I can do anything well, I do tend to have good finish. The last 1,000 feet, I probably passed about 500 people and had some spectator yelling that I had great focus ("Focus! Focus! Look at her focus!!!") and just like that, I was done!
I finished! And I didn't have my camera on selfie mode, so you'll have to take my word that I'm at the finish line.
In fact, I was so fast that I beat Jack and the kids to the finish line, who didn't even get to see me kick it in. Dragging five kids around a bustling city isn't exactly easy, you know.

Eh. I'll always remember how awesome it was.
So, overall pretty pleased with my performance. I'm still firmly convinced my time would have been even better if it hadn't have been for all the walkers clogging the race course and the extra distance I was running weaving my way in and out of them. Plus, being in the top third out of 35,000 people felt like a decent accomplishment. All I was looking for was to finish and I did!
That's a lot of people wanting morels...
Part of the reason I wanted a quick finish was so we could get down to Brown County State Park, where there was a mushroom fest going on. Due to our strange spring weather, morel mushroom hunting has been on the fritz so it was easier (but at a handsome price) to buy them. Thankfully, we arrived in time for Jack to wait in a really, really long line...
...while the kids and I snuck around back and looked through the small nature center, which was much more fascinating than standing in a stagnant line.
A half pound of Oregon-found morels!
 With mushrooms in hand, we stopped by a park on our way out...
 ...and climbed up a very rickety radio tower the kids insisted they wanted to climb. I watched from the car to let my legs and a sleeping Zoey rest, while Claire and Kate raced to the top, Jack trailed Henry to keep an eye on him, and Evelyn very, VERY cautiously scaled her way up.
The rest of the family having had a late brunch and my stomach finally settling down after my run, we decided it was time to find some lunch. On our way back from a camping trip a few years back, we'd driven through a small tourist town that we vowed one day to return and visit. Turns out, now that town is only about 45 minutes from home and minutes away from the mushroom festival we were just at.
The town is basically art shops, ice cream parlors, a couple restaurants, inns, and nut, fudge, or jerky stores but it is so cute and incredibly friendly. Which you kind of have to be when you're trying to get people to spend money.
Mostly, we window shopped until we found a pizza place that had enough space to fit all of us. However, the good weather and the mushroom festival had brought out a slew of other people and even at two in the afternoon, there was an hour wait for pizza. So, we got ice cream first.
You wish, Evelyn.
 It'd been a long day, so why not? Saturdays don't come often enough!
Everyone trying everyone else's flavors.
We looked around a bit more, played on a fun pyramid of logs, and took nice family pictures...
...until everyone's competitiveness came out and it turned into a game of King/Queen of the Logs. Thankfully, the restaurant texted that our table was ready and we scurried off to eat.
Evelyn won that round.
Once we were full and ready to take a nap, we grabbed a bag of kettle corn for a treat and made the trek home.
Half of them zonked out, the other half were in hysterics due to lack of sleep. At least they weren't bickering! ;)
To say we were all exhausted and that I'm sore today (seriously, Zoey can outrun me and I think twice about having to take the stairs), it was an oddly fulfilling--even fun--sort of day: a mix of work, exercise, accomplishment, early mornings, road trips, yummy food, new sights, family time, and rest. Honestly, the perfect kind of Saturday to me!


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