Indy Mini Race Report

I headed down to Indianapolis last weekend to visit an old college roommate and teammate, Steve Rogers, and to race the Indy Mini.  I made the trip down on Friday afternoon with Brad Topol, another college teammate.  Unfortunately, I had been sick all week and was just finally getting over my cold by the weekend.  I felt a little flat on race day, but not horrible.  However, the next day, my cold was back.  It seems like I was 95% rid of it, and then a hard race effort knocked my immune system back down... and back it came.  

I ended up 21st overall in the race in 1:09:05, which is 5:16 per mile pace.  Given how I felt on the day, I don't think I could have raced much faster.  I raced intelligently and was pretty happy with the result.  Only 20 seconds off a PR, and I was getting over sickness and untapered / in the middle of marathon training.  My first mile was my slowest in 5:24.  I then dropped a 5:17 and 5:18 before picking it up a bit and running a string of 5:10-5:12s.  (This was what I was hoping HMP would be, and if I had been able to run 5:11s the whole way, I could have dipped under 1:08.) 

I realized while we were on the Indy 500 track mid-race that I probably couldn't maintain 5:10s to the line, so I backed off for a bit as a few guys running near me bunched up.  After a 5:18 eighth mile, I opened a little gap and ended up hitting 5:11 for the ninth mile.  As this point, I was pretty extended and I didn't have anyone to work up to in the closing four miles.  That made for a pretty long last 20+ minutes running solo, trying to hold off the three or four guys behind me.  I held on pretty well however and remained in 19th place to the finish. 

Again, I'm pretty happy with this result given the circumstances.  I think for a runner like me, my half marathon PR and marathon PR (assuming I'm tapered for both races and run well) should differ by about 15 seconds per mile.  So if we take my race pace, 5:16 per mile, we can perhaps assume 5:31 per mile is a realistic pace for Grandma's Marathon in six weeks.  However, I was not tapered for, or training specifically for this race, so I would expect my pace to be a bit slower than my hypothetical PR pace.  I think, conservatively, even feeling like I did in Indy, I could run 5:10 pace for a half marathon if peaked on my current fitness.  And that puts my marathon pace closer to 5:25 per mile.  This would equate to about a 2:22 marathon.   Add to this the fact that I was perhaps run down from being sick, and there could be a few more seconds to play with.  2:19 (the Olympic Trials qualifying standard) may be a bit quick still for me this cycle, but on the net downhill Grandma's course, with a tailwind...  who knows.  Probably a bit of a stretch, but I'm not counting myself out yet.