Jenny and I didn't quite meet the cut off time, but we did get medals and Jenny PRed in her 5K, half marathon and marathon time, so I would call the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon a success.
We got to Indy early enough Friday afternoon to walk over to the expo and check out the action there. Pick up was easy and left us plenty of time to shop. Probably too much time, if you ask my credit card. It was the biggest expo I've ever been to, and I really enjoyed shopping and talking to all the vendors. A cool freebie they offered was a poster with all the registered runners printed on it.
We also met some celebrities - Wesley Korir, who won the 2012 Boston Marathon and placed second at the 2011 Chicago Marathon was there. He signed our bibs and posed for pictures! He was a very nice guy, too. Jenny asked him what he has to eat before a race, and he said a bagel. We asked him to clarify, just one bagel? I've been doing this wrong.
Saturday morning, we got up at 5 to get dressed, eat breakfast and walk to the start. We dressed as Tinkerbell, complete with glow in the dark wands.
While we did have to wait in line for port-o-potties, the lines moved quickly enough. We shuffled off to the start line and waited for about 10 minutes before we were off! There were no corrals for this race unless you were an elite or going for some kind of world record.
The course was great - very flat and took you past some pretty monster houses and monuments. There were 19 aid stations on the marathon course, which included gatorade, gel, water and a food table, which was out of food when we got there. We did find an aid station with hot broth, which we definitely needed.
You see, we earned out "running badasses" badge yesterday. It rained on us for ours. It hailed on us twice. But we kept going. I was going to ensure Jenny got redemption, weather be damned. We do not drive four hours and stay overnight in a hotel with a moldy bathtub and smoking noisy teenagers above us to quit. Nope. We keep going.
There was a ton of crowd support, too, in the form of dressed-up spectators adorable doggies, kids with signs (my favorite said "You are crazy and we are lazy") as well as a house that set up it's own aid station. They had candy, pretzels and bloody marys. I only took two of the three. There was also a couple with bibles somewhere around the 10th mile talking about Jesus. They did have a captive audience, though.
Also, a note on costumes. If you're at an out-of-town race and want instant crowd support, celebrity and fame, run in costume. It doesn't matter what the costume is.
It got tough for me between mile 19 and 20. It was cold, my hands were numb and my muscles were sore. This race took me two hours longer than my first marathon, and hurt at least twice as much. Around mile 22 or 23, they tried to pull us off the course. We were confused, because the course was still open for more than an hour. I told them if they try to force me on the SAG wagon, I will scream bloody murder. We trudged on. A cyclist kept checking in on us in the last eight or so miles, which was great.
Jenny and I made it across the finish line in 6:38 and were not the last ones. The finish line was almost empty by that time, but we still got our medals and finisher's caps (nice touch, by the way), along with sandwiches, water, chips and bagels.
It was so strange for me, almost surreal, to cross a finish line that was deserted. There were only three volunteers left, who were supportive, but almost everything was closed. Luckily, the volunteered hadn't donated our gear check bags. One volunteer was sweet enough to help me get my gloves on. My hands were so cold, I couldn't properly point and bend on my own. I still have numbness in two fingers, so I learned a very important lesson about gear.
I would recommend this race to anyone. It was well-run, well-marked and well-attended. It was also flat and had a great expo.
Cost: $75 for the full, $65 for the half
Time: 6:38 for a marathon
Pros: Flat, easy to get to, cheap hotels available within walking distance, great expo, friendly staff and spectators, great medals, nice tech T-shirt
Cons: Unpredictable weather, staff tried to pull us off the course
Would I run this again: Yes