In the Spring of 2013, I decided I needed some new challenges, so I put a half marathon on my to do list. I had been told that the Monumental Half Marathon was a fast and flat course, so I signed up and started training until all of the sudden, it was the brisk morning of November 2nd
I headed to the starting line with a few thousand of my closest friends, muttering quietly to myself how crazy it was to not only wake up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday in 35 degree temperatures to run 13.1 miles, but that I PAID to do this to myself. A woman next to me asked me if it I was my first half, and when I told her it was, she gave me a half hug and told me how much I was going to love it. I had to smile at the Hoosier hospitality, but I didn’t believe her. But before I could give it all much thought, we were literally off and running.
As we started the race, I looked up. Directly in front of me, the sun was rising over the Artsgarden. As I ran through downtown, fans lined the streets cheering. I took a turn, and Lucas Oil Stadium was rising into the sky above me. I took another turn and I was running down Mass Ave, seeing the bars I love to frequent (and only slightly wishing for a beer). I took another turn and I was running past beautiful old homes in the old Northside neighborhood. Spectators were standing in their front yards, holding signs, both encouraging and humorous, playing instruments, giving out high fives, and cheering us on. The landscape continued to change, and we ran through it all.
I distinctly remember breaking into a huge smile around mile 8, thinking “This is the coolest Indy thing I have done yet.” As the marathoners broke off from the half marathoners around 30th Street, the runners wished each other good luck. My smile got bigger.
This isn’t a story of how perfect my run was, or even how much I enjoy running. In fact, around mile eleven I remember thinking “…but why are we running? Where are we all GOING?” (some Gatorade helped refocus my quasi-philosophical running brain.)
This is a story of falling in love with Indianapolis, step by step through my running shoes. Running through distinctly different and beautiful neighborhoods, seeing the many people who make up the fabric of Indy- the runners, the spectators, the volunteers, the coordinators; all of this filled me with immense pride. As I closed in on miles 12 and 13, running straight down Meridian with Monument Circle as a visual, I knew I would return to run the Monumental year after year.
Interested in signing up for the Monumental Half or Full Marathon? Sign up here!
Written by: Molly Sender