A week or two ago I made the decision to travel to Indianapolis to meet up with Jonnie’s GoodGuys as they ran the Indy 500 Festival Mini Marathon. The Mini holds a special place in the history of the GoodGuys. It was the race that Jonnie & his wife were training for at the time of his passing and created the beginning of the group that has taken me in and provided support, friendship, encouragement, & made running about more than myself. Since Jonnie’s passing the GoodGuys have toed the line at the Mini year after year in celebration & remembrance. My plan had been to ride up and spend the race morning on the sidelines cheering for my friends. Unfortunately, one our team mates was injured a handful of weeks ago and was told by the doctor not to run. I was offered the bib to run in their place. This was after the transfer deadline set by the race, so if you a race director of any type reading this I apologize for breaking the rules I completely understand why I should not get a bib from a person and compete in the age 40-44 division. My plan going into the race was to pace a friend and turn back in the last mile or so to find other GoodGuys to run with.
On Thursday night I loaded up the car at around 9pm and drove north from Jackson to Grenada, woke up and hit the road the next morning at 5am to finish my very rainy drive to Memphis. In Memphis I met up with GoodGuy Otto and we started the 8 hour trek through Nashville & Louisville heading toward Indianapolis. We were thankful to finally escape the pathway of rain during the drive. We arrived in Indy Friday evening just in time for GoodGuys carb dinner. In a house full of runners we sat around catching up and discussing life since our time together at the Disney World Marathon, we also squeezed in a little bit of planning talk for the upcoming Dumbo Double Dare in September in California.
Saturday morning came early, as it always does on race morning. 6 of us loaded into the car and headed downtown for race meetup and start. We met up with a handful of other GoodGuys pre race for a picture and well wishes. This almost was immediately followed by a Half Fanatics meetup and picture.
I filed into Corral F and awaited the race start. I was touched by the moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. It was humbling as the field of over 30,000 runners froze to show respects for the entire running community. After this the corrals joined together singing the anthem of the past month around the country, Sweet Caroline. Since Boston it has become a sign of unity and was nothing less than that in Indianapolis. The weather was perfect for a run, low fifties with a little wind. The race began and I immediately started dodging & weaving my way through the crowd. Within the first mile I found GoodGuy Jeremy who wanted me to help pace him through the race so I stayed with him. We passed by GoodGuy Ed in the first few miles and wished him well as we continued on. I made a quick restroom stop inside of mile 3 and caught back up to Jeremy as we made our way out of the Downtown Indy area and headed towards the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As a fan of auto racing I was very excited to run into the Speedway and along the track surface. Entering the track I stopped for a picture with a spectator who was in costume on an inflatable horse. No particular reason, she was in a group cheering and I like to make people smile.
Little be known this was the last time I would see Jeremy. We separated after my abrupt stop and were unable to find each other again. Running along the Speedway was a course highlight for me and I took in every moment of it. I talked with a handful of runners nearby passing the time of the few miles inside the track. As I ran down the straightaways I thought about the dozens of races I have watched on tv that took place on the asphalt underneath my feet. I had no choice and had to stop on the start/finish line to take a picture on the brick line.
After leaving the track I was without anyone that I knew and approaching mile 8. I ran the next few miles at a steady pace, just pushing forward taking in a few sights around me. I really enjoyed the themed water stations here, one group fully embracing “May the 4th be with you” and dressed in full Star Wars regalia. I crossed the 11 mile line at 1:23:23 and as I always do immediately started to do math. I set my half marathon PR of 1:38:21 in February 2012 in the Mercedes Half Marathon somehow I managed to end up a situation where I could make a push at that time if I really worked through the last 2 miles. I started pushing, glanced at my watch and saw 6:30 min/mile pace and kept pushing, blocking out everything around me and focusing on my stride, form, and breathing cadence. I didn’t notice when I passed by a GoodGuy who was cheering on the side by mile 12, later she told me I had my “serious face” on. I came through Victory Mile and spotted the finish line as my watch ticked on. One final exertion of energy and I crossed the line in what I believed to be enough time to reach my impromptu goal. After collecting the finisher medal and a banana I found the results table to check an official time and here is what I was given.
It’s unfortunate that this time will never be officially associated with my name, that’s what I get for breaking the rules, but I was happy with the result of scoring a new fastest race time in the half marathon. One day soon I have to find a half that doesn’t edge up against another bigger race and try to really blow the clock out of the water. The medal is nice and the support/entertainment along the course was great. In light of recent events I was surprised at how safe I felt in an event of 30,000+ runners. There were military personnel everywhere along the start & finish areas. A big thank you to all race organizers for creating that safe, fun atmosphere that the running community expects.
Post race we showered ate a little recovery meal and I grabbed a quick nap. Then we all headed back downtown for a post race GoodGuys dinner at Ralston’s Draft House. A few drinks and a great meal with friends were the perfect way to wrap up the day.
Many thanks to Jonnie’s GoodGuys for another weekend of sore quads and great memories.
For more on the GoodGuys be sure to check out my post “Who are GoodGuys” from January.