The 2018 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon was last weekend. After 18 weeks of training, including a few half marathons, and the very anxious week before, it’s all over. It’s a weird feeling- I feel so accomplished but also sort of sad that it’s over.

2018 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

I finished the race in 4:53:51, achieving my under 5 hours goal and shaving off 51 minutes from my last marathon. We started off a little too fast, but settled into a good pace for the second half. I walked through some of the water stations and only walked 1 other time on the course. I felt really good and strong running through the last few miles. Β πŸ™‚

We ran the first several miles as a group, quickly shedding our throw away layer. We agreed to stay positive, smile a lot, and use the word fork whenever we felt like swearing. Then, Becca took off and Dan dropped back. For the next several miles Melanie and I stuck together. We didn’t even talk much, but just having her by my side, like at the Queen Bee Half, was encouraging. At one point she dropped back and I just yelled “Get the fork up here!” and she did. πŸ™‚

The Cheerleaders

Throughout the course there were several cheerleaders, funny signs and music. The guy above was especially encouraging. I saw him several times on the course and he made me laugh and smile every time! He said things like “Yep, it’s me again! You can’t get rid of me that easily!” I saw him after I finished and thanked him. At this point he could barely talk anymore from screaming so much. A guy who loses his voice cheering for runners gets an A+ in my book.

At somewhere between 12-18 there were two other Tri-State folks that ran with us for awhile. Random cheerleaders are great, but a familiar face and someone to run with you for awhile is even better.

There was also a little kid in a stroller that poked his head out and said “You guys are running SO fast!” Cue the smiling. πŸ™‚

Two other cheerleaders that stood out were two young girls early on in the race. One was screaming encouraging things like “You got this!”, “You’re doing great!”, and “Looking good runners!” After every chant the other girl would scream “YEAH!” Their excitement and energy was infectious.

At mile 21 Tri-State had an entire tent set up with anything you might need at mile 21 of a marathon. Melanie and I stopped for a quick smiling picture and a sip of coke, which made me burn, but what else is new?

The last cheerleaders around mile 25 were my Tri-State people. This is the most supportive group! Some people had already finished and ran back to cheer others on. Emily and my coach Kim ran with me for awhile, then Kim peeled back to run Melanie in since I knew she was close behind me. Emily was perfect! I told her to just talk about anything but running. She told me all about her dog and if you know me, you know I love dog talk. It was the perfect thing to distract me from my tired legs.

What I Learned This Time

I once heard that you learn the most your first marathon and then only incrementally during the following marathons. I agree, but I still learned a few things!

  • Don’t wear headphones. Several people use them, but I found it was much better to listen and take in all the cheering (like the stroller kid) and music on the course.
  • Take nutrition, even if you don’t feel hungry. I ate 1.5Β GU and several of these gummies. Β The GU gives you more of a shot of energy but I find that I can’t eat an entire packet at one time. They are kind of sticky and messy. The gummies are easier to consume but have less of a kick. I forced myself to eat one or the other every 3-4 miles and it worked! My stomach was never empty or upset.
  • Use a mantra, or two. I had my favorite two on the inside of my wrists. “Embrace the suck” on my left wrist and “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.” on my right wrist. Nolan struggled to write it legibly (or straight) but I knew what it said. πŸ™‚
  • Limit the water/gatorade. Unlike Nashville, Indianapolis was chilly so less chance of becoming dehydrated. For some reason, I still drank at almost all the water stops, but realized that was too much when my stomach felt sloshy. Luckily this didn’t last long.
  • Find a running group. The biggest thing I learned this time around was the impact the run group had on me. We slogged through so many hot and humid runs together and then got to reap the benefits together. They welcomed me to the group, made me feel immediately at home and encouraged me throughout the training. Several of us got PRs last weekend and celebrated by having a great dinner together. We work hard, play hard. πŸ™‚

Now, it’s time to tackle my after marathon checklist, including singing up for the Flying Pig next year! πŸ™‚

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