Carmel Marathon Race Review


 A week ago, on April 9th, this was the weather in Indiana:  

Fast forward to a week to April 16.  Temperatures were completely different.  Race day temps at the start of the race (7:30 AM) were at 49 degrees.  By the end, temps were expected to be in the mid 60s and near 70 degrees. We have not been experiencing these temperatures since last fall.  A rough way to run a marathon. 

On Friday, Tina and I both took off work for the day and headed down to Carmel (a suburb on the north side of Indianapolis). We arrived at the expo shortly after 12:00.  The expo isn’t too big, but probably between 20-30 vendors/races there.  

  Even got the chance to meet Michael from the a Urban Bourbon Half Marathon, which I will be running in October (use Promo Code BourbonRave2016 for 10% off registration).  

 We did some looking around, bought a couple Carmel Marathon pieces of swag and made our way out, and check into the hotel, followed later by a trip to Buca Di Bepo for dinner.  

 Get in my belly!

After dinner, it was back to the hotel.  Earlier in the week, my coach Jake Gillette and I talked about visualizing my race through tour the week.  Wednesday, work called me down to Indianapolis so over lunch, I drove as much of the course as possible.  This helped me in visualizing my race as well.  The only issue with visualizing, I usually fell asleep while doing it.  This night, it didn’t take me long to fall asleep, which was great for pre race rest. 

Saturday morning, woke up before the 5:00 alarm.  Not really a big deal since both Tina and I feel asleep early.  My morning pre race ritual went on as usual.  Cinnamon raisin bagel, protein shake, electrolytes, and water. Made all my drink that I knew I would need for the race, rolled my legs out with my Roll Recovery, and shortly before 6:00, we were out the door. 

We arrived in downtown Carmel before 6:30, leaving a little more than an hour before the 7:30 start.  Got in a 1 mile warm up, visited the port o pots twice, meet up with a couple friends just to talk prior to the race before heading to the corrals. At about 7:15, said goodbye to Tina, wished her luck and went to the corrals.  

The race plan for the Carmel Marathon was to run the first 5 miles at a 6:42 pace, 6-10 at 6:40 pace, 11-15 at 6:38, 16-19 at 6:36, 20-25 6:35, and mile 26 with what I had left.  This would get me around 2:53-2:54 finishing time.  After a longer than needed opening game ceremony (national anthem, Back Home Again In Indiana, recognizing all 30 countries represented, wishing runners good luck in each language of those countries, a few last words) and then we we’re all off and running.  

 The course turned out to have more hills than I remembered.  Right from the start, we were running uphill. After the first mile, the next 4 were a net down hill.  The first 5 mile splits were 6:38, 6:37, 6:42, 6:40, 6:41.  Obviously the first 2 miles were a little fast but compared to past marathons, I recovered from that mistake and got it back to the 6:42 pace quickly.  At about mile 3.5, the half marathon, which started with the full, split off.  This gave me a better idea of who I was running with. 

After 5 miles, the climb began until about mile 13.  One of the things that Jake and I talked about in the week leading up to the race, taking into account the predicted weather, was the strategy of using gels.  I typically aim for every 8 miles.  With the heat, we agreed that every 6 miles would be best. The great thing about the Orange Mud Hydroquiver is that they have pockets on both shoulders which is great for carrying gels.  They are within easy reach when you need them. I had packed 2 gels in each shoulder pocket, plus to spare gels in the large back pocket in case things went real bad and I got desperate. Mile 6, I got a little excited and sped up to a 6:36 pace (starting the uphill miles, followed by 6:39. Right after mile 7 we got to the first bike trail on the course. 

The bike trail proved unnecessarily challenging. After a mile (8th mile run in 6:36), myself and another runner who had started running together approached a pack of 4 runners running a crossed the path.  It took us a little bit to get around them.  When passing, I probably put on an unnecessary surge out of frustration and still only ran a 6:48 mile.  After mile 9, we were back on the roads. Those guys really slowed us down.  Mile 10 I continued to go to fast and ran a 6:38.  Not too far off pace but still needed to settle down.  

Mile 11, time to pick it up to 6:38 pace.  We were back on the bike path for a short time, still going uphill.  Probably pushing a little too much on the uphill, running a 6:35 mile. Mile 12 started on the bike path and then back on the road.  Time was 6:39. Right before mile 12, the marathon and half marathon courses came back together.  The half marathon had a 6 hour time limit and at this point we were passing a lot of people walk g the half marathon.  Unfortunately, a lot of them were walking 3 or 4 wide taking up most of the lane lane we had to fit in.  Mile 13 was run in 6:38. I crossed the half marathon at 1:27:08, ahead of my PR pace. The only problem is, my legs and body are starting to feel it. 

 I tried using mile 14 to recover a little and ran a 6:46 mile. Off pace but I had some time to use.  Mile 15 I managed to pick it back up and ran 6:35. Then it’s back on the bike path.  This time the bike path was crowded with half marathon runners/walkers.  Nothing more discouraging than trying to pass on a bike path.  Mile 16 was completed in 6:36.  After leaving the bike trail, the road continued to be packed with the slower half runners and it became a game of zigzagging around them.  Mile 18 where the half marathon splits off again couldn’t come soon enough.  Mile 17 had a tough uphill and it seemed to be what did me in.  Ran. I’ll 17 in 6:43. Mile 18 I really started to feel the heat getting to me.  My hydration was good, but it was just getting very warm.mile 18 and 19 was in 7:05 and 7:03. Ouch.    

  Mile 20 took us through an office development area.  Probably one of the dullest areas on the course.  The big issue in mile 20 was that landscaping crews were mowing the grass and I felt like air was not getting to my lungs.  Mile 20 was in 7:05. At about mile 20.5, my lungs needed to recovered and I walked for 30 seconds.  After getting myself back together, I started running again.  7:31 for mile 21.  The following files were run I 7:27, 7:47, 7:41, 7:51, and 7:36.  I did walk two more times, one at an aid station to get fluids.  Each for less than 30 second. 

I finished with a time of 3:02:12. Not a PR, didn’t get under 3 hours, but it is a BQ and given the heat, I will take it.  The heat felt like 71 when I finished.  Not sure the last time I ran a marathon in that kind of heat.   

Apparently they had this board with all the runners who BQ’d at the marathon, I wish I would have seen it. Overall I finished 25th and 3rd in my age division.  Not sure what I won as I left before awards, not knowing I got third. I should find out soon. 

 Tina also had some issues with the heat but did run a PR in her second half marathon.    

Thoughts on the Carmel Marathon


  • Well marked course
  • Mile markers were right on it seemed
  • Good use of bike trails
  • Aid stations had water and PowerAid
  • I believe one aid station had gels
  • Medals were real nice  
  • Nice looking shirts   
  • Good amount of post race food plus chocolate milk.    
  • The expo was easy to navigate.  Not a large expo buts good amount of vendors.  Also packet pickup was a breeze.  
  • Free race photos to download 


  • I would have liked to have seen more aid earlyin the race.  The first aid station came at 2.5 miles, followed  by the next one at mile 5. I can understand why there wasn’t any at mile 1, but with the heat, there need to one at every mile after mile 1
  • The very last aid station had 2 workers at it and both were pouring water and not handing any out.  If you wanted water, you had to grab it off the table. 
  • According to my wife, at the start it was extremely congested at the back.
  • I would like to see separate start times for the 5k/8k races than starting at the same time as the half and full. Allow the marathon and half marathon runners to spread out more.
  • This is not a knock on the back of the pack half marathon runners, but it gets very congested on the bike paths after the half and full combine again.  It makes for a lot more zig zagging through traffic.  The only way I can see to avoid this is to revamp the half course somehow.
  • This year, Carmel Marathon implemented a “Sprint to the finish.” Basically, whoever runs the fastest last half mile compared to their average pace the rest of the race, wins $100.  First of all, $100 is not worth registering for the race alone when you can pay near that for the race depending on when you register.  2nd, all you have to do (if you want to win) is slack off the rest of the race and just sprint the last half mile.  Kind of defeats the purpose of the rest of the race.  Just do away with this. 

Overall, the Carmel marathon is a very well run race.  Honestly, if it weren’t for the heat, the aid station situation. Probably wouldn’t have been so bad.  Just glad to be able to add one more medal to the BQ medal holder.  

What’s next:

Well, I have a 5k this weekend (Wakarusa Maple Syrup 5k), Then on May 7th I have the Wisconsin Marathon and on May 8th I have the Kalamazoo Marathon.  The plan was to run those easy but right after the race, my coach suggested I run Wisconsin hard for time to try to get under 3:00.  Kalamazoo is s very hilly course, so it could be an interesting weekend. 

6 thoughts on “Carmel Marathon Race Review

  1. Wakarusa Maple Syrup 5K??? Have you done that before? Why have I never heard of it!? I might have to head down for that one! I like running a 5k right before my half marathons and have had trouble finding one!
    I love watching Kalamazoo! Haven’t run it yet as I always have a race the last weekend in April but hoping too in the next couple of years!


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