Race Review: 2015 Monumental Marathon

Not going to lie, I love this race! The 2015 Monumental Marathon/Half Marathon/5k, traditionally held on the first Saturday in November was held on Saturday, November 7th. The Monumental Marathon is the largest marathon in Indiana and is rated as one of the top 9 new marathons in the country.   

The expo begins on Thursday afternoon and goes into Friday.  At this time, and only at this time, you could pick  up your race bib.  If you are unable to make it to the expo, you could have someone else pick up your bib with either a copy of your confirmation email or a copy of a government ID. The expo also featured guest speaker Bart Yasso.  

 If you ever get a chance to meet Bart Yasso, do so.  Great and humble guy.  I also got an autograph copy of his book.  I was a little surprised when he said he recognized me from Twitter. 

 
The expo seemed a little larger than in the last couple years.  Venders ranged from gels, local running stores, different running clothing apparel and other races.  I didn’t register for any marathons at the expo this year, as I already have 3 planned already for next spring.  The only purchase I made was this shirt:  

 
Speaking of shirts, here is this years Monumental Marathon race shirt:  

 Front

   Side panel designed after the state flag of Indiana 
  Back

Overall, I am a big fan of this years race shirt.  I thought it might be a little darker blue but it’s still a good looking shirt. 

After some time of rest, we meet a bunch of other runners from the Northern Indiana area for dinner at my go to Italian restaurant in Indy, Buca Di Bepo for Carbo loading.  It was great to get to know other local runners better and also talk some race strategy.  Over dinner a local runner, Laura Gillette and I discussed some race strategy.  We hand comparable goal of running under 2:59, her PR. Her husband, Jake, who is also a local running stud, like his wife, would not be running.  Instead he would be cheering on early in the race and at the finish with their kids.  

   
Saturday morning came around, and after a good nights sleep, woke up at 6:00, I felt ready to go other than a little tightness in my calves.  After rolling them out with the Roll Recovery, my legs were feeling good and ready to go. I had my normal pre-race breakfast ofcinnamon  raisin bagels and a protein shake. Also made sure to drink my pre-race beverage of choice and some water. 

At 7:00, Tina, who was finally running her first half marathon (her first attempt in September was called off after a couple of miles because of strong thunderstorms), and I headed outside to check our bags at the gear check and get a feel for the current temperature.  We choose to stay at the Westin Hotel for the first time for this race.  The Westin is right by the finish line and is only about a block away from the start. The temperature was inter low 40s and very little wind, which was a huge difference from last year when it was in the 30s and very strong winds.  Saturday was a perfect day to run a marathon.  After checking our gear at the gear check tent, we went back into the hotel lobby to stay warm for about 20 minutes and returned back outside.

My race fuel would be carried with me Herbalife Prolong to drink (I hate Gatorade) and CarbBoom energy gels.  I had been training with both and CarbBoom is the official gel of the race.  I decided to take a couple with me even though they would be available on the course incase they didn’t have my favorite flavors or not when I needed them.  I took the Prolong every 4 miles and the gels every 45 minutes. 

This years race featured a couple of course changes, most notably the start and finish.  The Monumental Marathon listened to the runners, and changed the start.  The course originally started on Washington Street and headed east for a couple blocks before turning south and then a few more blocks until you make another right hand turn.  I think that a lot of runners felt that it was too packed with runners to make those early turns.  I never had a problem with those early turns but it’s nice to know they are listening to the runners. The 2015 race started on Capitol Ave infront of the Indiana State House and headed south for about 7 or 8 blocks before making a left turn.  The finish line was also moved, which at the time of the announcement, I was disappointed.  Last year the finish was right infront of the State House which gave runners a nice view at the finish line.  

 This years finish was on Washington Street just past where we spent the night at the Westin.  More on the finish area later.

Prior to the start, I stayed with my wife until she found Annie who we met while volunteering at the Chicago Marathon.  Tina and Annie has decided to run the half marathon together.  As soon as they met up with one another, I went to find one last port a potty and get into the starting corral.   

 In the starting corral, I found Laura.  We talked a little last minute strategy.  She stated she wanted the first 6 miles at 6:50 pace, miles 7-13 at 6:45 or a little faster and then pick it up for the second half. So that was the plan for the race.  Also in the corral, I ran into running friends Chad Ganger (who I ran most of the 2014 marathon with) Bruce Faltynski (college teammate who was running the half), and Ed McCollum (who I also ran much of the 2014 marathon with).  Also ran into Toby Magers who I have known for years through church who has become more of a runner since he graduated high school.  The race started at 8:00.  As you can imagine with a large race, it took a little bit for runners to spread out, especially with the half and full starting together.  The new start proved to be a great idea.  It was great to be able to get a good stride going before the first turn.  Only one problem, I started to feel some “reversal of fortune” from my breakfast within the first half mile. I didn’t eat anything different before the race or the night before. After just swallowing it down, I kept moving, not feeling it again for the rest of the race.  First mile was completed soon after the first turn in 6:53, a little slower than planned but no big deal.  Mile 2, we made up a little bit of time by running a 6:48. Mile 3 is one of my favorite miles one course.  It’s during this mile that we take a quarter lap around the “circle” (which goes around the Sailors Monument. I am not sure what happened, but somehow we ran it in 6:21. Maybe it was picking up a little bit of energy off of the crowd that was cheering at the circle, but it definitely didn’t feel like a 6:21 mile.

Mile 4 was run in 6:38, back to goal pace.  Mile 5-7 was also a slight change from years past.  Instead of running up Deleware St, we ran north on Pennsylvania St. Mile 5 was in 6:50, mile 6 a little fast at 6:39, and Mile 7 in 6:41.  Shortly after mile 7 was the marathon/half marathon split.  This is where I saw some friends (Landon and Lori Martin, and Jack andPam Corwin).  Gave me a little boost.Laura and I were both feeling good so we kept the pace where it was and kept it consistent.  Mile 8 was in 6:39, mile 9 in 6:42, and mile 10 in 6:43. 

Throughout the first half there are a few rolling hills, but nothing too bad.  It was fairly easy to keep a consistent pace. Mile 11 6:42, mile 12 in 6:41, and Mile 13 in 6:40. We came through the half at 1:28:23, right about where we wanted to be.  

After the half marathon Mark, the winds, as little as they were, were less of a factor.  Mile 14 was still consistent at 6:43 followed by 6:42 for mile 15, 6:45 at mile 16, and mile 17 at 6:44.  Mile 16 has what I consider the toughest uphill on the course. nothing too difficult, but enough to keep you honest.

Mile 18 was the first mile where the pace slipped a little, ran it in 6:52 but came back on mile 10 with a 6:37. Mile 20 followed in 6:39.  After mile 20, it fell apart on me. Probably a quarter mile into the 21st mile, I told Laura that my legs were going away, and to go on ahead and I would see her at the finish line.  Mile 21 was ran in 6:49.  Laura was probably 20-30 ahead of me at this point. Mile 22 I continued to slip and ran a 6:54. In my head, I was trying to do the math to run a sub 3:00 marathon. It wasn’t looking good as at mile 23 I ran a 7:13.

At this point, my feet were going numb as they did in the last marathon, but a few miles later. Around mile24-25, a runner came up behind me and asks, “your Daddy, Did You Win?” Of course I responded yes, despite not feeling too good.  His name wasMike, we had talked some through Twitter, so he knew the singlet I would be wearing.  We said a few words, I mainly said I was t doing well but looked like he was and told him to go for it, and off he went.

Mile 24 was the first point I had to take a quick walk. I still kept the mile under 8:00 and ran it in 7:41, followed by 7:59. Mile 26 proved to be my slowest mile, completing it in 8:37. I had nothing left, no kick, just needed to get a crossed the finish line.  A BQ was easily in reach once again so I was feeling really good about that.  

 As I made the last turn onto Washington, the crowds were great, even on Capital right before the last turn. This is where the finish line was improved.  Reminded me a little of Boston but obviously not as large of a crowd, still a very loud and supportive group. Felt more like a celebration this year.  As I am finishing, two things I noticed.  First, I heard “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC playing.  If that was playing the last 6 miles, maybe I would have felt stronger (ok, probably not). And 2: my wife was on the right, after she had just finished her half a little while earlier.  

    I had just noticed Tina at this point as I ran by. 

Finally, I crossed the finishline in 3:01:50.  Not what I had wanted but a lot better than I ran 6 weeks earlier at the Grand Lake Marathon. After finding Tina after the race, I caught up with Laura who informed me that she ran a new PR of 2:57:45.  This would be good enough for a top 3 place in her division and should get her a elite entry next year.  

While I did not run a PR this year, it was far from my worst marathon. My ultimate goal is to run under 2:55.  That may be s stretch at this point but will give it another shot in April at the Carmel Marathon.  A lot of that will depend on the weather we get this winter. 

Tina had a great first half-marathon experience.  She ran negative split second half and ran a 2:24:49. They only issue for her was that her Garmin would not turn on before the race.  The battery was dead even though it had a full charge the night before.  Despite panicking a little, she downloaded Map My Run quickly, but it wasn’t too accurate. Tina did state she probably felt more relaxed not worrying about her pace. 

Following the race, Tina and I had about 45 minutes to get up to our room, shower, and check out.  As Tona asked me who would shower first, I made a big mistake.  I attempted to take my shoes off without using my hands or bending over. I simply put one foot directly behind the other and tried to get my front foot out of the shoe.  This resulted in the biggest leg cramp I had ever felt in my life.  I immediately went down on the floor and started yelling in pain.  Needless to say, Tina showered first while I layer on the floor trying to work out the cramp.

POST RACE SWAG

The Monumental Marathon always make sure that you keep warm after the race.  Besides the space blanket, they also provide a nice hat to keep your head warm, and of course the finishers medal.  

 The race medals are a part of a 4 year series/puzzle, which will form the flag of the city of Indianapolis when completed.  This was year 2 of the series.  You know I will be back the next 2 years (at least).


Tina and I were not the only Davidhizar’s running this year at Monumental.  My dad, at age 63, ran his first marathon.  He had never ran a race further than a 15k (I think) before Saturday. Despite struggling the second half, and admittedly starting out too fast, he completed it in 4:59:32.  He fell short of his goal of 4:30:00 but still did well.      

 My mom road her bike around the course supporting my dad along the way.
The Monumental Marathon, once again, did not disappoint.  I feel like a broken record when I keep saying this, but Indy does big events better than any city. The city and businesses welcome athletes with open arms and are very accommodating.  The volunteers at the aid stations and the police at all intersections were very helpful and supportive.  

 
And of course, Tina and I did our traditional finishers picture infront of the Sailors Monument: 

  Look familiar? 
 

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2 thoughts on “Race Review: 2015 Monumental Marathon

  1. Mark, you favorable review of the marathon back in July helped me decide after Milwaukee filled before I could enter. Thanks! Your July review was spot on! Indy Monumental was a really nice event. Coming down from Chicago, it was good to see at least one familiar face in the corral prior to the race. I faded after 20 miles and couldn’t hold sub-2:50 pace, but still managed a PR. Are you running any other shorter distance races this year?

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    1. Glad that my review was of assistance to you and glad you enjoyed the Monumental Marathon. I am actually running in the Veterans Marathon this weekend in Columbia City, IN. As for shorter races, I have a couple in mind in the Elkhart, IN area but nothing that I have committed to.

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