When I put together the training plan for Ryan’s return and the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon, I mainly used a beginner’s program I found in the Runner’s World book “Big Book of Marathon and Half Marathon Training.” I did put in some of my own wrinkles into it.
Like several plans you’ll find for beginner’s, this one had the longest run of the training cycle at 10 miles.
Even though Dr. Tentler has put a mileage limit on Ryan, I knew a 10-mile-long run would not be enough. I believed we needed to go at least the distance of the 500 Mini once before the actual race took place on May 6. Back in February I scheduled a 13.5-mile run in our plan with three weeks to go before the “greatest spectacle in running,”
Now I know what you’re thinking, “Uh, news flash, Rueff. The Mini is only 13.1.”
Yes, but if you don’t hit the tangents properly and have to pass several people, a runner can run closer to 13.5 than 13.1. Thus, I decided for us to run the extra four tenths of a mile.
Since our latest visit to Dr. Tentler’s office when it was decided Ryan would need orthotics to help with his “forefoot varus,” I have paid closer attention to his strides. I can’t constantly look down at his feet when we run, but yesterday was the first time I actually heard his left shoe making contact with his right.
We set out for our longest run of this training cycle yesterday morning with the goal to stay around 9:00-9:15 miles. Because by the book your long-slow-distance runs should be somewhere between a minute to 90 seconds slower than what you want your pace to be on race day. I even set the virtual pacer on my Garmin to 9:15 for this run. When a friend asked me earlier last week how fast I planned for us to run this particular long run, she replied, “You’ll feel like you’re walking.”
We also mimicked everything we would do on 500 Mini Day from what we would eat before the race, wearing our “kits” and doing our warm up. We even started at 7:33 a.m. when our corral is supposed to start on race day. The only thing we didn’t do was drive downtown and run the course itself.
We were 5 1/3 miles into the run at an average pace of 8:50 per mile (so much for that 9:00-9:15 pace and my friend was right). It’s also at the point during the last training cycle for the Mill Race Half Marathon, Ryan would begin to have issues and we would cut our long run short and head back home.
Ryan glided down Lacy Way in Pebble Run. Not only was he moving smoothly with what looked like as perfect as a form could get, Ryan had the biggest smile on his face. It was the biggest smile I had seen he started running again back in February.
I got a crazy thought in my head. “Why stop at 13.5 mile?” I thought to myself. “Let’s round this up to an even 14 miles.” For the first time during this training I felt “Me the Competitor” returning to my mind palace.
We were coming to the part of Pebble Run where Heckman Drive becomes Scott Drive going into Brookstone. From previous runs, I knew Scott Drive, Red Stone Lane, Wild Rose Lane, and Brookstone Lane comprise a half-mile loop.
I started to lead us to the curve and continue on Heckman Drive. Then I hesitated for a moment and said out loud, “the heck with it. Here we go.”
“You fine with this?” I asked Ryan.
“Do I have a choice?” He replied still smiling.
“How are you feeling?”
We headed straight to Scott Drive and ran around the loop and back into Pebble Run. We crossed Morgantown Road and ran to our usual water-break point of the house where I grew up. We were close to completing the seventh mile of the run at that point. We stopped at the mailbox to quickly top off our water bottles from the hydration belt for the next half our run.
“We are actually a tad faster than we should be,” I told Ryan as I poured water into the bottles. “You feel comfortable?”
“Yes,” he replied. It was a typical teenager response. I think it even include an eye roll.
The next four miles would be the toughest of the run. Even though for the most part the course for the 500 Mini is relatively flat (except for going down and up the tunnel under track at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway), to me and others I have talked to it becomes a mental game around the famed 2 1/2-mile oval.
Once you leave the inside part of the track and begin running on the back straightaway heading into the north chute of turns three followed by the main straight, where a lot of people stop to kiss the bricks at the start and finish line of track, there isn’t anything to keep you distracted except for the “Why you Mini” signs. There is music on the PA system and you can also see the NBC affiliate’s coverage of the race on the big screens around the track – usually showing the elites crossing the finish line.
This part of the run would be a good test for us both physical and mentally. Although the inclines in Pebble Hills, Villas and Silver Springs aren’t like the ones of Skyline and Brer Rabbit drives that we also run, they are no cupcakes. It’s a lot like the course of the Indianapolis Half Marathon at Fort Ben – the inclines never seem to end. Fortunately, we have run them enough now and I remember them from when I lived in Pebble Hills growing up that I can count down how many inclines are left.
We made it through the dip on San Ricardo Drive in the Villas then through Silver Springs and back into Pebble Hills. The hard part of our run finally over as we again crossed Morgantown Road and into Pebble Run.
Unlike the 10-mile race from the previous Saturday in the finale of the Indy Miler Series, Ryan never faded with me. He appeared to get stronger as we crossed Fairview into Innisbrooke and reached mile 13. That was great to see especially since we had ran the last few miles with the never-ending inclines. I wish I could say I felt the same way. As we crossed Fairview, I looked to my right and saw the CVS Pharmacy down the road. Maybe we should make another detour and get three bags of ice on the way home I thought to myself. My quads screamed – “ENOUGH!”
We pressed on from Innisbrooke into Wakefield. We got to the corner of Pennswood and Wakefield roads. My Garmin said 13.5 – a half mile left. I looked at Ryan and said, “It’s kick time. Go. Let’s go and finish this run off strong!”
We got to the yellow pole that used to be the indicator for Ryan to pick up the pace when he first started running with me two years ago and he picked it up another gear. That was also about the time we saw our neighbor Shari walking her dog Baylee.
“Looking good,” Shari said.
“Thanks.” Ryan replied.
As we made the turn on to Oakhaven Drive we reached the 14-mile mark. The pace peaked under 7:00 mark as we reached our mailbox and I said stop.
“Well,” Ryan said.
I replied with two words – “ICE BATH!”
Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about what Ryan and I will be doing Monday. Once he gets done with his school work, we plan to spend most of the day in the man cave watching the Boston Marathon while also virtually cheering on friends, the American elites and some other noteworthy runners. If you have family, friends or want to follow the elites make sure you download the app to your phone or go on the website – http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/att-athlete-alerts.aspx and sign up for text alerts.
Here’s who Ryan and I will be following in this year’s Boston Marathon
Virtual running friends and other notables
JoAnne Lavin – running for the Dana Farber Cancer Research and coached by Jenny Hadfield.
Jeff Lavin – JoAnne’s husband and also running for Dana Farber and coached by Jenny Hadfield.
Clare Connell – running for the Semper Fi Foundation and coached by Jenny Hadfield.
Cheryl George – was selected for her outstanding efforts as a teacher through the New England Acura Dealers and coached by Jenny Hadfield.
Brent Shirley – person I follow through #runchat on Twitter.
Lisa Johnston – person I follow through #runchat on Twitter.
Jacqueline Hanson – member of the Mile to Marathon group coached by Ron Byland.
Nicole Seiler – a friend of a friend and a Hoosier resident.
Ian White – person I follow through #runchat on Twitter.
Madison Armbruster – another person I follow on Twitter.
Jody Berinato – she was hanging out with my favorite YouTuber’s Ali Nolan and Hannah McGoldrick from Runner’s World’s “Super Secret Mystery Meeting Crew” so she is a must follow.
Monica Olivas – blogger at RunEatRepeat
Sam Ryan – MLB Network reporter and also running for Dana Farber
Kathrine Switzer – the first woman to ever race in the Boston Marathon returns to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her historic run.
Alex Schneider – 26-year-old-non-verbal-autistic runner. Schneider has come close to breaking a sub 3:00 marathon.
Jared Ward – US Olympic marathoner. Ryan and I had the pleasure of running with Ward the day before the 5k of the Monumental races in November here in Indianapolis. Would enjoy seeing the “run nerd” be the top American. Plus, he had a cameo in the “Super Secret Mystery Meeting” episode about the Boston Marathon course – so he has that Karma going for him.
Jordan Harsay – on the cover of the recent issue of Runner’s World and making her marathon debut at Boston.
Meb Keflezighi – Meb’s final run in Boston. Can he make it as spectacular as the race in 2014?
Desiree Linden – Team Brooks and the odds-on favorite to be the top American woman and a chance to win the women’s race.
Galen Rupp – can he do what his coach Alberto Salazar did in 1982 and win the men’s race? Will there be controversy if he does?
Who are you following? Which American do you think will be in the hunt to still win the race by “Heartbreak Hill?”