We were in Indianapolis for a wedding. I didn’t come to do the race, and when I found out about the race, it was sold out. I went to their facebook message boards and asked if anyone had a legal bib to transfer and a woman who couldn’t make it, did. So I legally got a bib.
I wanted to do a race and would have been content running a 5k in the area. My ultimate goal was to run around marathon pace. 1:30 half marathons have felt like a struggle lately. If I could run a 1:30 half, I would be ecstatic. I hadn’t been to Indianapolis since I was a child and didn’t know anything about the race, course, or anything else. I did know the woman who transferred me the bib said the medals were “the best ever” and I can’t argue with that.
Anyway, I planned to use the half as a long run. I would just run, see how I felt and go from there. I wasn’t stressed about it, nor tapered. When I went outside in the morning and saw it was torrentially downpouring, I laughed. I have raced half marathons in the pouring rain, but this was pouring cats and dogs rain. In fact, you can see how hard it was raining in some of the photos.
This half had a couple of firsts for me.
The first time I ever ran a half marathon entirely alone and won.
The first time I ever ran through ankle-deep water during a half marathon.
I got my bib, made it to the start and by the time I knew it, we were off.
Immediately, I found myself alone. I stayed alone and ran the entire race alone. Luckily I had a police motorcycle ahead, so I didn’t get lost. I didn’t want a repeat of the Harrisburg half last month.
I just had my watch on time setting. I was running by feel and nothing more. I hit the first mile in 6:51, and it felt fine. I was thinking to myself what a weird feeling it was to run a race out ahead and alone. I just had to keep running. Would someone catch me? Would I fall apart?
The next mile didn’t have much excitement. I just kept running. The next few miles went off without any significant excitement. I ran between 6:45-6:51 pace.
I remembered someone saying we could go along a canal and as we went down into the canal, I was reminded of the San Antonio Riverwalk and how similar they are. I always wanted to do a race on that riverwalk, but when we lived in Texas, I never got around to it. The Riverwalk was desolate and peaceful, although there were a few geese around. I just kept running. I hit the 5-mile point in just over 34 minutes. It was only about a minute slower than my 5-mile race last week.
I thought, hmm maybe I could keep the same pace as the 10ks I haven’t done well at recently. My average pace for the half was 6:49 while the 10ks have been around 6:51. Anyway, I continued running. By mile 7, I knew that for a woman to catch me, they would need to run around a minute faster per mile than I was running. I knew it could be done, and I wasn’t really in the mindset of “I’m winning a half.” I just kept running and focused on me.
Around mile 8, we went along another path. It became windier up top, and we were running into a headwind. No wonder I felt so good earlier, I had a tailwind. I kind of just told myself, “only 6 miles to go”. I felt as though I was running a hard workout and not an actual race. The motorcycle felt like my pacer, and I felt like I was in a one-person video game.
Mile 8 and 9 were a blur. Miles were clicking off. Between mile 10-11, there was unavoidable course flooding. You ran through about ankle deep water. I laughed because beforehand many people had said: “swimming will pay off for you during the downpour.” I guess it did.
After running through the water, I felt my feet completely soaking wet. I was hoping for no blisters because I didn’t want to deal with that.
I ran a 7:01 next mile. The last few miles were into a headwind. I was starting to get relatively cold as the pouring rain along with the wind had chilled me.
I kept telling myself to make it to the next mile. Mile 11 gave me a boost of energy because I ran along with racers going the opposite direction. They were cheering “go,” and I was cheering “go” right back at them. It made the mile go by quickly, and by the time I knew it, it was mile 12.
I thought to myself: the longest mile. One more. You’ve come this far. I just ran. I wondered if I would see my husband at the finish. I told him he didn’t have to be there and might as well sleep. I just kept running. Around mile 12.5, you can see the finish line. I kept just trying to focus on the end. I’m not a self talker, but running for 90 minutes with nothing to focus on gave me a lot of opportunities.
This photo is funny to me because I ran under a low branch and go a leaf in my hair which stayed with me for most of the race
I crossed the finish line in 1:29.27, which is my fastest half marathon in a while. All race finishers got a flower presented by a guy in a suit which was fun.
I’m proud of my effort and where I’m at with my training. I enjoyed the She Power Half Marathon, and I will say, the woman who transferred the bib to me was right: they are the best medals I’ve seen. It’s so big; it makes me feel like Flava Flav walking around.
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Questions for you:
Have you ever run a race alone?
Have you run through water before?