Nothing about Indiana went the way it should. First, I had chosen the marathon based on a couple friends who lived there and was only going there to visit them and finish a state. Second, I had taken a week off from racing and had hoped to get a PR on a great course to set your pace! Third, I was looking forward to a nice relaxing drive two states away and a nice comfortable stay afterwards. Fourth, I had hoped to talk a couple friends into doing what looked to be a fantastic run. None of these things happened and the entire weekend fell apart in one text less than a month ago.

Basically one of the two friends living in Indianapolis sent me a text telling me that the two were fighting and she was moving to Oregon in a few days and to make sure to let her know when I was coming out. I am sure she forgot that I was coming to Indianapolis just to visit them and even if she had the concern was minimal. The friendship with the other person was secondary to her and I was about to push to get out of paying for a hotel room.

I tried to convince a few friends to go with me but that was to no avail and even reached out to a couple runners just to go there so I could spend the weekend at least talking to someone? I even reached out to another runner I knew quite well who it looked like she was signed up but she was not going now. It was “I alone”. I got a hotel room on the cheap for one night and now suddenly it was a quick drive up and a quick drive back to Iowa. I was resigned but a ray of light came in! Two weeks before, I did have a new friend reach out to me at the last minute for dinner and to possibly hang out so there was promise!

On top of that I made things worse by getting into a fight with a friend over a pretty stupid situation. They basically accused me of not knowing what a friend was and I thought I had been a pretty good friend so I just did what any idiot would do – I said okay well I can certainly go on without any friends. I can run by myself and I don’t need your help or anyone else for that matter! So rather than reach out and try to find new friends? I had decided to run this one alone and was convinced this new attitude, my improving hip and a perfect course would get me a PR. I would just show everyone even if they had not a clue what I was pissed about.

I drove out Friday morning and was even more flabbergasted when the friend I was looking to go to for dinner basically told me that she had only planned to do that in case there was a Marathon Maniacs dinner! I am not going to say a mean thing because she did say exactly that. I guess I just thought we would have plans if that did not happen. Now I was eating alone. I guess I was frantically searching facebook for something when I did find someone on the way that said they were going out for a drink at eight that night and decided I would meet this “Abbi”. I had heard of her before and it would be nice to not go to bed at eight and instead go out for a couple. I am sure if she was reaching out this way it would be a small group at best and that sounded… comfortable.

I arrived in town just before rush hour and navigator took me through a sketchy neighborhood or two but it was nice to see the town rather than just drive interstates. Navigator really saved me on the way back because this route had no traffic but the interstates were clogged full. The perfect run and go trip was helped by the route in. Even in my waiting till the last minute to get a hotel, I was able to book the Sheraton in downtown and get in close to the expo so it was all looking pretty good and when I saw that I was right next to some sort of circle downtown – I knew it had to be the monument the marathon was named after.

I have been to Indianapolis four times in the past year or so and have never really ventured downtown. So imagine my shock when I went around the corner to see the most magnificent statue (though that does not even begin to describe) I have ever seen in my life! The statue was dedicated to fallen heroes of war and let me tell you – it has to be more magnificent than the Statue of Liberty. One may have history but this one is four sided, only 23 feet shorter and the detail is intense! I am not about to describe it more as you can google it but I did check out the images and it really does not begin to describe what you would see. You can climb up this as well (the steps are numbered) but it appeared to be closed and I was out what would have been a great part of my journey to Indy.

I went to the expo next and it was a fairly large event but short on the only two things I was looking for – compression sleeves and shorts. They had a few freebies which was wonderful and lots of running clothes buys. There were new products but they were just new versions of items at other marathons. Unfortunately nothing truly new or unusual. It was a pretty typical expo and somehow, the only people I ran into were the folks from Superbandz. It was great to see them again but running friends are always better to run into.

Next up was my personal tour of the city and honestly the streets have their sights but nothing is quite as breathtaking as the skywalk system which includes a good sized mall! Pretty nice set up for old Downtown Indy! The only thing that could have improved it was some glass floors so you could see the traffic passing below you. But really no complaints. I went out to dinner at the Weber Grill which is a franchise but not one I have close by to me so I wanted to check it out and it is not always easy to find a place to eat on a Friday night by yourself.

I was lucky enough to have a couple runners sit next to me and we talked up some running stories and just got along overall. We won’t become facebook friends anytime soon but it was nice to share some stories and I always find it fascinating why people choose one run versus another. I always find the runner who does New York every year so they can qualify for Boston so incredibly lame!  Why not try a new adventure? So thank you dinner mates! And on a side note every runner should boycott New York! (sadly enough that will go nowhere as others will gladly fill the spots next year.) But what they did to the runners this year was ridiculous.

I was able to have the drink with Abbi! I thought any person who was willing to put themselves out there like that was worth meeting! And I was right. She told me she used to make costumes for other runners and showed me a couple creations. I was too timid to ask her for anything. I was pretty impressed though. And we were joined by another runner Barco who was full of stories but his lesson was not one of joy. His lesson was one of not stretching yourself too thin. He has quit his jobs and scheduled 52 runs in 26 weeks. It was insane and just listening to him not only is he stretched out financially but also emotionally. It made me happy I took the week before off. I was not in the best of spirits in Maine either. A break from running and traveling can be the best medicine there is to someone who runs as much as some of us do.

The next morning I actually made the Marathon Maniac picture and met a couple new runners. But the truth was I could not wait to start the race. I lined up half an hour early and just waited. I did not meet anyone new which was unusual. I guess it was just nerves. I wanted that personal record in the marathon. Everything was set up for it!

I was indeed ready to go at the gun and started out fast. I was moving really well and it was looking like someone does not need friends to run a great race (sadly enough) I was thinking at Mile 9. I finally settled into a group a mile later and was enjoying the company… But then at Mile 11 i felt something twinge in my hamstring and I started to slip and I mean quick. I was running an average of about 6:45 miles before that and the second it happened I watched myself start to fall behind the group I was with. It was okay. I would just settle into a new pace. But the next thing I know I was getting passed like crazy! Talk about a fast race! If I am that far up it usually takes a while to get passed by anyone much less 20 someones.

At exactly the halfway point (1:30:24) I saw another struggling runner and we began to talk. He was a good guy from Chicago and our pace was about the same. I slipped a little but he stayed with me encouraging me to push on. I was not in good shape at all but he was able to carry me from miles 13 to 20 telling me I was helping him more than he was helping me. We were getting passed pretty bad though and I could tell I was holding him back. I kept telling him to go but he was an awesome friend and I was able to keep up eight minute miles until Mile 20. Trust me, that was a win. As much as he tried to push me I wasn’t going and at Mile 20 he took off like it was nothing with the 3:10 group. They did not stay in my vision long. And the way I started to fade after that? I knew the 3:15 crowd was coming soon! Worse? It was starting to rain and was that sleet?

I am not exaggerating. It was sleet. And it slowly picked up to by the time I finished it was pretty constant and not nice. I am not bragging but there are benefits to finishing fast. When weather gets worse, you are done. I was not able to hold back the 3:20 crowd (3:15 passed me at Mile 22) and crossed the line in 3:19:56 chip time. That was good possibly even great the way I was feeling. I just wanted under 3:20 was all I could think by the 20 mile point. The weather was not an issue as I had acclimated, but it was cold, the rain was getting worse and all I cared about was getting back to a warm shower.

I got a stocking cap or three! There was also bottles of water, chocolate milk and cocunut water so it was a good grab afterwards including subs and some other little things. I was able to pick up my goodies but not see my friend that turned a bad run into a fine run. I wish I could say I searched endlessly but I just looked. I thank you again Dave Cole for carrying me. You truly are remarkable.

And for all my other friends? I apologize wholeheartedly. I don’t deserve you and to turn you away for no reason was awful. That friend may be right. I may need to learn what it is to be a friend. But you have all been so good to me and though I started this trek alone, I am in the middle miles and this is where I need the most help. And this time, I do not want to finish this one alone. That did not work out at all for me, and more importantly, I do not want to do the final leg alone. Thank you everyone for all your contributions so far. Hopefully I can live up to your expectations.


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