"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Brrrr ... Indianapolis Monumental Marathon Recap

Continuing past mile eleven into 15 mph headwinds, thankful for the sunshine that seemed to have brought the “feels like" temperature above 20° for the first time all morning, when one of those unique marathon moments occurred (remember that the one constant to each race is how awesomely different each experience becomes).
Mid-morning once the sun came up!

We were fully exposed to the wind for this stretch of the route without any houses, trees, or structures of any kind helping us out. So I start to pull upon my NASCAR know-how and scout out a drafting partner. We’re still in a pretty good size pack so there has to be a bigger runner that I can fall behind and block the wind for a mile or so. I look left - no. I look right - no. I look well ahead - again, nobody to help me out. Then it hits me. I take a peak over my shoulder, and you guessed it, I’m that bigger runner that everyone else is using to block the wind! Like ducks in a row, I was playing lead duck. Nothing to do, but laugh and suck it up -- come on ducklings, onto mile twelve.

Head down, into the wind
The Indianapolis Monumental Marathon will go down as one of the coldest thus far, but in no way was it one of the most miserable--think Little Rock, Pocono, and Knoxville. In what was planned to be my PR course, the summer blues forced me into making it a finisher run and a good time with old Kentucky friends, which ultimately was just as good as a PR.

Below are several photos from the event. Overall, I can understand why the Brantleys have tried to make IMM an annual race. It was definitely PR friendly--congratulations to both the Brantleys and David Fedrick with new PR’s--as the long straights and the level elevation is almost unprecedented. There were a few bad spots in the road, that are probably the result of hard Indiana winters, but mostly the paths, trails, and streets were clearly marked and in good shape.

IMM is not necessarily for those seeking an overly scenic course or one filled with sights and sounds. You do not go near the speedway, and once you clear downtown it’s an uneventful trek out to 66th street for the turnaround. Realizing that the cold weather didn’t exactly help, but the IMM is not known for it’s enthusiastic supporters or course entertainment. Actually, there were probably more irate drivers having to wait patiently (or impatiently) at intersections as runners passed. They were backed up and seemed to have not known it was marathon day.
This one really resonated with me - Moving Forward! 
As for personal performance, I felt pretty good. A steady 9:30 minute mile throughout. No sign of knee or foot pain, and plenty comfortable at the finish. It was nice to relax and enjoy the run. I also saw two original signs, which is always an exciting find. One was simple and kept my attention for many miles that followed. It read: “Relentless Forward Progress.” RFP - yes, indeed! The second was either really funny, or it just came at mile 22 and everything can be funny then. A lady was holding it next to a gentlemen that I’m still not sure she was with or if he was just a random dude. The sign, with arrow pointing at the guy, read: “Run faster, he’ll take your Gu.”
Finish line at the Capital
Finally, a couple of thoughts came to mind as I was walking from the finish area to the hotel. First, wow, this swag is pretty good--nice beanie cap, great shirt, cool medal, and post-race chili! But also, this was my 12th marathon, and really without exception, running miles 20 to 26.1 always seem to make me reconsider why I do this. I don’t think I ever tell myself that this is the last one, but I do wonder if I have enough in me to stay at it. Then comes 26.2 ... and I start figuring out my travel plans for the next one. I absolutely love it, and the relationships, however brief they might be across that 4 hour path, are one of the main reasons that the marathon starting line is truly one of my happy places. See you soon - Huntsville, Alabama, on December 13th.
8 Hours till Start! 
Nice and cozy one hour to start
Medal is year one of 5 year series to make one XL medal
Expo in downtown Indy - easy in and easy out. 
Finding the groove, thinking about a Krispy Kreme!
If you know Indy, here’s the route North of downtown

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