Race Review: Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

The 9th annual Indianapolis Monumental Marathon was held on Saturday, November 5th, 2016.  This is the 4th time that I ran the Monumental Marathon and it has become a must run event for me every year.  This was my 20th marathon that I have completed.  

As usual, both Tina and I took Friday offf of work to head down to Indianapolis early to check out the expo and relax. We arrived at the expo shortly after noon. The expo was held in the convention center.  I am guessing there was probably about 20-30 vendors in attendance. You could also purchase race merchandise.  I picked up a sweet Reflective jacket that will come in handy this winter. 

Picking up your race packet with your number and shirt, is quick at easy.  You are emailed a link ahead of time to look up your number.  You take your number to the right table, show them your picture ID and that’s it. You can pick up a friends packet as well with a copy of their ID.  

Following the expo, we wento check into the hotel to rest.  Tina took a nap, I watched the end of the Chicago Cubs World Series Celebration and a special on Adolf Hitler on the History Chanel.  

Carbo loading was at our traditional location, Buca De Bepo.  If you run Monumental and want to eat here, call well in advanced to make reservations.  They were turning people away who didn’t have reservations. 

Following our meal, we spent some time walking around Circle Center Mall to help the food digest.  I walked around the mall disappointed in not finding any Chicago Cubs World Series Merchandise.  After the mall it was back to the hotel and to bed.  

After a great nights sleep, I woke up before my alarm around 5:30AM.  With an 8AM start, plenty of time to get ready especially since the starting line was only 2 blocks away from the hotel.  We stayed at the Courtyard and they treated us with free bagels, bananas, and bottled water.  They also gave marathon runners an extra hour to check out, so our check out time was 1:00. 

Race day temps were as close to perfect as you could ask for.  Temps at start tone were in the mid 40s and very lite winds.  At around 7:15, we made our way out to gear check.  We met up with serveral runners such as Chad Ganger, Luciano Villegez, Bill Mitschelen, Laura Gillette, and Kylee Crane. Myself, Tina, and Kylee Crane.

At about 20 till 8, we made our way to the starting line.  I wanted to make sure I got to the corrals early enough because the race somehow overlooked giving me a preferred corral to start in and wanted to make sure I lined up where I should be.  Luckily for me, no one was really checking the bins as we entered and I was able to get into corral A. I wished Tina luck as she headed to start the half marathon. 

After the National Anthem, we were sent in our way.  Chad, Laura, Luciano, Bill, and myself wanted to start off with the 3:00:00 pacer but somehow got separated from him right at the start and he started about 20 seconds ahead of us.  Chad, Laura, and I had the same goal of running under 3:00:00.  We started off easy, moving through other runners and started off at a comfortable pace with a 7:13 mile.  The first mile takes you right by Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. 

The second mile we picked the pace up some. We ran it is 6:50, still not at the goal race pace but getting there.  The key was to get up to race speed but not too fast.  The 3rd mile was in 6:43.  Now we are at race pace.  The third mile is probably my favorite part of the race course because you run around Monument Circle.  In years past you only ran a quarter of the way around the circle, entering from the east and exiting the north side.  This year, they made a slight course change where you entered from the south and exited the North going half way around the circle. 

After mile 3, Chad commented to me that it sounded like my feet were heavy, and he was right.  This was not a good way to start a 26.2 mile race.  My legs/feet were feeling dead already.  Now it was to see how long I could hold on.  Bad to say, but was already feeling that 3:00:00 would not happen but would hold on for as long as I could.  We spent the next 6-7 miles just gradually running down the 3:00:00 pacer.  Miles 4-10 were run in 6:48, 6:47, 6:42, 6:50, 6:50, 6:49, 6:48. 

We caught the 3:00:00 pace group of about 30 runners at around mile 11. Chad took off on Laura and I. As my legs were not feeling too good and didn’t seem like Laura was ready to make a move, I was fine with staying back with the pace group.  Miles 11-13 were 6:45, 6:46, and 6:43.  We finished the first half in 1:29:00. 

With the large pack of runners, it started to become difficult to stay by Laura with narrower roads and the movement at the aid stations.  I also knew Laura was feeling better than I was and by mile 16 I knew I needed to do what was best for me to finish in a decent time.  At this point, I wanted to finish as close to 3 hours but make sure I keep myself under a BQ time of 3:10:00. Miles 14-16 were ran in 6:41, 6:49, 6:51.  Things were going in the wrong direction. 

Mile 17 you run a little on Butles Universities campus.  Wish they were able to get the course to run by Hinkle Fieldhouse.  Miles 17-20 were run in 6:46, 7:03, 6:51, 6:59. Mile 19 had the largest downhill and even with that I couldn’t get my pace to go down much.  At this point, forget the 3:00:00 goal, I just wanted to get under 3:00:00. 

My main focus was just one mile at a time.  Just keep running and fight the urge to walk.  If I stopped to walk, the BQ is gone.  Mile 21-23 were 7:15, 7:24, 7:34.  The pace just kept slowing down.  

At mile 23 started the long stretch in Meridian St heading south.  This is the point where the half and full marathons joined up.  The race does a great job of keeping each race distance in separate lanes.  Miles 24-26 were just getting slower and slower. 8:01, 8:17, 8:19. Finally I made it to the capital building where the race began.  Finally I made the last right turn and saw the finishline.  I crossed the finishline in 3:06:03.  

This was not the race I wanted nor the race I feel I was capable of running.  I really do believe I was ready to run much faster.  Some days are just not your day.  As I said at the begging of the race, my legs were not feeling good.  The only thing I can think of is all the late nights I had earlier in the week watching the Cubs in the World Series.  Lets be honest, the Cubs in the World Series has never been an issues in past years.  Yatsvthe only thing I can think of as everything else was the same as usual. Just a shame to waste a great day for a marathon. 

Dispite the less than desirable outcome, the Monumental Marathon is still a race that I look forward to returning to next year.  Everything is well done from Expo to post race food.  

The expo is very easy to navigate.  The only negative is that you have to walk through the expo to get tonpa ket pick up.  I am sure this is sonthat you have to go through and see the vendors.  I get it.  Also they did have a couple of places for pictures including a large version of the posters they hand out which has all participants names on them. 

Race morning was. Dry organized, gear check was easy to find and well staffed at drop off and pick up.  Corrals were a little difficult to get into because of crowded sidewalks.  Seems like some of this was because of non runners.  If they could keep on runners out of this area, it would make it easier to get to your corral. 

Aid stations were plentiful on the course with most having water and Gatorade.  If I was a Gatorade drinker, my only complaint would be that water came first and then Gatorade.  For the second year in a row, CarBOOM energy gel was on the course.  Love this stuff. 

The course itself is fast and a great tour of the city of Indianapolis.  From monuments, to stadiums, to college campus and neighborhoods.  All beautiful with their fall leaves. 

Finishline food consisted of banana, water, cookies, chips, granola bars, chocolate milk, and seems like more.  Should offer a bag to carry all of this in.  Also, once again each runner got a finishers hat. In past years, the hat was more useful due to cooler weather at the finish, but this year, temps were in the 50s. 

Also you could get chili cheese dogs from SkyLine Chili.
At the finisher you were also given your medal.  The third medal in a four year set.  All most completed my set.

Lastly it was great to see some of the runners that I have connected with through social media at the race. You can check out Tracy’s review Here.  Spoiler, she rocked it!

You can read about Rob and Ryan’s race weekend Here

Can’t wait to return in 2017 to earn my final piece to the medal puzzle.  Hopefully I can run another BQ and make it 4 straight at the Monumental Marathon.

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