This is one of those posts where I want to give an update on Ryan and his progress back after his surgery. Along with it, I also want to give a review of the race we ran last Saturday in the OneAmerica 500 Festival Miler Series Presented by OrthoIndy.
Both Ryan’s return and the new set up for the Miler Series in downtown Indianapolis are rousing successes so far.
I say so far because the pair is in their infant stages of Ryan’s comeback and a new location for Miler Series.
So, let’s just begin with the former and go from there in this post.
As I previously stated in the last post, Ryan spent most of the last week alternating between walking and running during various stretches of our 5k route. He looked like he hadn’t missed a beat in regard to his form. By Friday we had increased to running a half mile on each mile leading up to the Miler Series race on Saturday.
Since Ryan got the all clear from Dr. Tentler, I spent some time trying to figure out what kind of plan to put together training for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon.
Reviewing all the ones I found on websites and ones I put together in the past, I decided to keep things basic this time around. I chose a plan from “The Runner’s World Big Book of Marathon and Half-Marathon Training.”
It’s the half marathon beginner’s plan, which is set for 10 weeks. It has four runs a week scheduled. I took the days where it said to run two miles and added a mile. I also added an extra run of three miles per week. This is because we really need Ryan to focus in school.
Toward the end of his recovery, we began to notice he was losing focus in school. Case in point, we spent several mornings relearning multiples which before he had to stop running were coming naturally to him.
The adjusted plan has us starting out at 12 miles the first week (the current week we are on) and peaks at 27 miles. There’s no taper, but there is a cut back on week eight. I did make one long run of 13.1 as a confidence boost to Ryan to remind him he can run a half marathon.
We also don’t pick up any intensity until the sixth week. That’s when the third run of the week will have a two-mile warm-up then the middle part running at our half-marathon pace. It finishes with a two-mile cooldown.
Going into Saturday’s race there some anxiety on my part because I really didn’t know what to expect. Not only from Ryan’s running but from the new location of the Miler Series.
In regard to Ryan, I knew he would not want any part of walking the course when he saw others taking off in full stride.
I also wasn’t sure what pace we should run so that neither one of us felt like we were walking. I probably should have set the pace for what I plan to have us run the next few weeks. I didn’t.
Instead, I set the pace for what I plan for us to run race day for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon.
Pace and Race
Speaking of pace and race, Saturday’s Indy Milers race in downtown Indianapolis gave us a new venue to warm up along with a new course.
Banker’s Life Fieldhouse is the home of the Indiana Pacers and Indiana Fever. It also hosts a variety of other events throughout the year. Many around here have named it, appropriately I might add, “The World’s Greatest Basketball Arena.”
It can now add – “World’s Greatest Runner’s Venue.”
For the last few years, the Miler Series had been held at the NCAA headquarters. Runners could mingle inside the Hall of Champions or run around the canal as they waited for the race to start.
The weather in Indiana can be unpredictable most of the time. Last year for all three races it was bitterly cold. People were packed into the Hall of Champions like sardines. This also made it hard for participating sponsors to have their tables be effective ways to promote their products.
That’s not the case at BLF.
There’s plenty of room for the vendor’s to set up their tables and have participants come by and talk without the fear of being bumped into by others walking around. Along the same lines if the weather is not ideal there’s plenty of room for runners to stretch or even do light jogging between the entrances of the east and west ends of the building.
From the main lobby of BLF, there are steps to walk up to the concourse of the lower bowl of the arena. The 500 Festival had this set up for people to pick-up their bibs, shirts or even register for that day’s race, the other two Miler Series races or even 500 Mini Marathon.
Fortunately, the weather was ideal last Saturday for the race. People did stay inside BLF, but a lot of people took advantage of the outside and warmed up prior to the 3-mile race.
Ryan and I arrived and visited the OrthoIndy table to pick up the free knit hat. Last year’s color was black and this year was gray. Then we visited the Indiana Pacers table to spin the big wheel and got Boomer stickers. For those that don’t know Boomer is the Pacers mascot, which is a costumed panther. He has entertained fans at Pacer games for almost 25 years.
We went back to the car dropped off the hats and stickers and went back to BLF.
Instead of staying inside BLF, we ventured outside and warmed up for the race. At about 8:45 a.m., we made our way to the start/finish line.
Also, new this year for the Miler Series was the self-seeding corrals. I figured we would probably run around 8:00 miles. I decided we would start in the back of that corral for the race and take our chances for the race.
With the change in venue also came a change of the course. Once the green flag waved by Dr. Mark DiLella of OrthoIndy, we made our way north on Pennsylvania Street.
I don’t know if it was us or if it was people who didn’t know their own pace, but unlike any of the other races we have run, it seemed like it took forever for us to get up to speed. Personally, I didn’t feel comfortable until we turned on New York Street, which was about a half mile of the course.
As usual, I was the pacer for Ryan. He either stayed with me or was about 10 feet behind me. We made the turn from Fort Wayne Street to St. Clair to finish the first mile at a time of 7:40. We were probably 20 seconds faster than where we should have been. Mainly because this was the first time since Ryan returned we hadn’t stopped at any point to walk.
“How’s it feel?” I asked.
“Good,” Ryan replied.
I decided to go ahead and press on. Before he had to stop running because of his surgery, Ryan had enjoyed getting negative splits on our runs. We had a great streak going right up to the point of when he had to shut down.
This day it wasn’t about getting negative splits. It wasn’t about placing or time. It was about getting Ryan comfortable going the entire distance again without stopping to walk.
That’s also the goal for the other races leading up to the 500 Mini this year. The only thing that matters is getting the miles in and enjoying the experience. The 6-miler in March and the 10-miler in April will be used as nothing more than our “Long Slow Distance” runs.
Matter of fact, we will have not even had a run at our “half-marathon pace” when we run the 6-miler March 11.
I messaged back and forth with a friend the other night. I told them it’s more about the experience and enjoying running. That’s all Ryan wants to do anyway. I really don’t think he cares about where he finishes or his time. Ryan really only cares about getting the shirt and the medal. He knows regardless of how he does it gets both.
I have to remember that! It’s where that competitor in me could get the best of this and we don’t want that to happen – again especially with Ryan making his return.
Off St. Clair Street and heading south on Meridian. We ran past the Indiana War Memorial and the Federal Building. It’s a spectacular sight looking ahead of you and seeing Monument Circle – the exact middle point of Indianapolis. It’s just after the water stop on the east side of the circle where we completed the second mile. A tad slower than the first but still a decent 7:52.
We ran ¾ around the circle and turned south on Illinois Street. We went under the Indianapolis train station and had about a half mile left to the finish.
That’s when I said those words Ryan likes to hear for the first time since we ran the Turkey Burn race on Thanksgiving morning.
“It’s kick time. Let’s go!”
Ryan broke free from a couple of runners he was next to and caught up with me.
As we made the turn from Illinois Street to South Street I said to him, “time to start picking people off.”
Which is exactly what we did as we made the turn back on to Pennsylvania for the finish.
We got to BLF and Ryan tried as hard as he could to really put that kick in for the last few tenths of a mile.
I could tell he was gassed from the run. True to form though as we neared the finish line his arms went up in the air to celebrate the finish.
We crossed the finish line together with an identical time of 23:20.
We walked through and grabbed our refreshments.
Another new aspect to the Miler Series, they had brought out the PR bell.
I told Ryan since it was his first race back and it was a new course to go ahead and ring that bell. With being away for two months and finishing his first full week back, ringing that bell had been well earned.
Ring it he did!
We then headed to the car and back home. Unlike last year when Ryan was supposed to be at three places at once, all we had to worry about was me getting to “The World On Time.” Fortunate, I have a manager who allows me to race with Ryan and come in late on those days.
It will be the same way for the 6-miler next month. I was smart and have taken a personal day for the 10-miler on April 8.
Ryan had a great first week. We finished his second week this morning with a 3.30 run. We’ve slowed it down considerably since the race. We’ve been running about 9:00-mile pace.
With negative splits of course.