Wednesday, May 15, 2013

8th event of 2013: Indianapolis Mini-Marathon

OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon: Indianapolis, Indiana

Thursday, May 2nd:

4:00am wake-up to board a 5:30am flight from Greensboro to Indianapolis. Flights are on-time and uneventful, just the way I like 'em! We arrive in Indy around 11am and set off towards downtown to check into the hotel. We're really excited to see Indy, Jim has never been here and I've only had one brief trip here where mostly I just saw the hotel convention rooms. Also, neither of us have run this race before--it's billed as the largest Half Marathon in the country.

Just landed and already feeling the excitement in the airport. Can't wait to run on this motor speedway!

Jim is swooning over the cars.

Wow, what a beautiful day today. Too bad they're predicting rain for the next 2 days. 

More Indy cars at the airport....
Jim had lunch and meetings with his reps all day while I spent the afternoon working via phone and computer in my hotel room. This was a great way for me to catch up without interruptions, a rare occurrence for me these days. By staying in the hotel I was also ready in case some of the interested media requested me for an impromptu interview; I am usually "on call" in this capacity for every trip since opportunities can materialize in an instant. If I'm not ready and in the vicinity when they call, we miss the chance to share our Get Back UP message.

As it turns out, most of the media are hoping for a race-day interview. So, I got a lot of work done but no air-time today. After such an early start to our day both Jim and I were too tired to venture out in the evening. A pizza delivered to the room made for a relaxing, uneventful night.

Friday, May 3rd:

We woke up early and were pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn't yet raining. We chose to go to the Expo to pick up our race packets as soon as it opened, then would plan our day based upon how nice the weather was going to be.
More Indy cars at the Expo.

I love this t-shirt! I haven't seen the "Fellow Flowers" team before and I had to buy a few shirts as gifts for some of my friends who are in challenging times.

Still more Indy cars.

The Boston Strong sentiment is high following the tragedy a month ago.

Dorcas sighting! We weren't expecting to see a fellow Rock n Roll gypsy here in Indy, it's not an RnR event. What a pleasant surprise to catch up with her.   :-)
After checking in at the race expo and getting our packets and t-shirts we check drop our goody bags at the hotel and then immediately set out to explore while the weather is still nice.

This is the ground level version of the view we have from the 8th floor in our hotel. The historic building in the center was the former 1927 Indiana Theatre, now home to the Indiana Repertory Theater.
We realized quickly upon our arrival in Indy that not only is this a major sports-town (Indiana Pacers, Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Fever, Indianapolis 500, Indiana Ice, Indiana Speed, Indianapolis Impalas,  HQ for NCAA, Baseball International League's Indians, 2 Football Club teams...the list goes on!) but also a major cultural arts town. (Jim and I could spend a lot of time here!) The Indiana Repertory Theater was one of our first clues since we passed it each time we walked out of the hotel. I love the history and current incarnation of this institution:

All over the downtown you'll find a mix of modern, historic and in-between architecture.

This was my favorite aspect of downtown; a purposeful campaign to turn this city into a pedestrian's dream.  We found it so easy to walk everywhere we went...and we logged well over 7 miles of walking the downtown quadrants today. Everywhere you go you'll see signs telling motorists to yield to walkers, runners, wheelchairs, skateboards, strollers, bicycles and inline refreshing!!
Please check out the link below to learn more...and DEFINITELY utilize this amazing treasure when you're in Indy next time:

We took a short-cut through the farmers market on our way to the shops along Massachusetts Avenue.

We hadn't yet eaten and Jim was tempted by every vendor in the market.

We chose this spot for a quick bite, the Old Point Tavern on Mass. Ave. Notice the public art "dancing girl" sign out front, yet another another feature along the Cultural Trail.

The view from inside Old Point Tavern.

We shared the vegetarian nachos to hold us over until we found the next interesting spot for food.

My tulips at home have come and gone but here they're out in full force. This is the view further north on Mass. Ave looking back towards downtown city center.

Succumb to my powers! Okay, so maybe this isn't what they meant by all these signs. :-)

Still further north on Mass. Ave along the Cultural Trail. We're heading to that brick building on the right, the Art Bank. Upon entering this gallery co-op its moniker became obvious; the building was a former bank complete with vault and teller cages. 

Another public art installation on the Cultural Trail. This sign was in front of  the Art Bank.

Of course I had to change the sign to "Care".

Just another view looking back towards town on this perfect day for exploring the city.

At the northeast tip of Massachusetts Ave you'll find R bistro, with their herb and vegetable gardens on the corner. We hope to eat here while we're in town but they won't be open tonight until 5:00 so we move along for now. Check out the website,, or any of the foodie review websites to see why this place is an Indy fave.

Art Deco architecture on the facade of the former Coca Cola Bottling Plant on Mass. Ave.

Another view...

They sure don't make 'em like this anymore.

Everywhere you look along this building you find details within details...

...of wonderful craftsmanship.
Just a quick note about Massachusetts Avenue: This boulevard runs northeast out of downtown on a 45 degree angle. We heard it was a nice spot for local boutiques, restaurants and galleries and specifically on this Friday it was a great place to shop because it was "First Friday". Just like we have in Greensboro, Indy sponsors "First Friday Gallery Hops" on the first Friday evening of every month. We always seem to miss the Greensboro FF's since we travel so much but this was a fantastic substitute...we were not disappointed! I love the official motto of this section along the Cultural Trail--"45 Degrees From Ordinary". Check out more:

We head due East from Mass.Ave through an historic neighborhood called Lockerbie Square. Jim is pestering me to hurry along, it's beginning to rain and we are a long way from our hotel with no umbrella or rain gear. Poor planning on our part, tough luck for Jim. :-)  (And Merle, if you're reading this, he's carrying your birthday present hand-picked from a gallery on MassAve.)

View along one of the streets in the Lockerbie 'hood.

This smelled divine!! 

Not sure what type of shrub/tree this is but the fragrance was so alluring I had to take some photos.

Just a sign for reference.

We've reached the easternmost edge of the NorthEast Quad!

Jim asks me who I think is smarter between these two....

... and I happen to agree with Kurt. :-)
This mural of Indiana-author Vonnegut by artist Pamela Bliss stands over 30 feet tall, located on Massachusetts Avenue downtown.

We wandered through various streets in the NorthEast Quad back to MassAve to check out a few of the places we missed on our initial walk NE along the avenue. We stopped at many more galleries and shops and had a fantastic time dodging the light rain while we got a bit of exercise and shopping done at the same time.

Back into the heart of the city center, we stop for tapas treats for our pre-race dinner.

We shared several small plates, every one of them was fabulous.

Fresh goat cheese in a savory herb and tomato sauce.

Funky atmosphere in BARcelona.

Must be an Indy favorite because we arrived here early and all tables were already occupied. We sat at the bar while we sampled 5 of their scrumptious Tapas plates.

Finally, after 7 hours of exploring the town on foot it's back to the hotel for sign making and race prep. From here it's lights out...see you at the race in the morning!!
Saturday, May 4th--RACE DAY!!

The forecast for today's race is now better where the rain chances are concerned, however the winds are at 18mph with gusts expected throughout the morning up to 30mph. Well, at least it should be a dry day--I'll take it after Nashville's deluge!

We also lucked out with our hotel choice-- the Start and Finish Line areas are only a few blocks away from us. Since we were so close we chose to forego gear check to avoid the added security measures and headed outside with just the Get Back UP sign and my phone.

Wow! As soon as we hit the outdoors the wind about knocked me over, I suppose it didn't help that I was carrying the GBU "sail". Also surprising was the number of people already filling the streets with an hour to go before the start. We read in the paper that 35,000 runners were registered and thousands more would be there in support along the way.

I get a phone call almost immediately after stepping outside, it's Channel 13 wanting to interview me before the race gets underway. Yay! We never know what we may get and Denny Kelly back in Greensboro has been working hard on securing coverage for today. Jim and I weave our way upstream against the massive crowds trying to reach the corner where the TV truck is supposed to be. On our way we run into another Rock n' Roll gypsy friend, Kevin Gonzalez. Just think, out of 35,000+ people we just happen to bump into him, very cool!
Kevin's coming off a tough international race and is hoping for a good showing today. Great to see you, Kevin!
(By the way, please notice the streamers in this shot. You're right, they don't look much like streamers when they're blowing straight back in the 18-24mph winds. It was all Jim could do to keep the sign upright while I took the photo.)

We finally make it through to a side street a half block away from the starting corrals. Here I am waiting to be interviewed by Jill Glavan of Fox59. Again, notice the streamer-action.

We're getting ready to go live after the Wheelchair Start.

Jim took shelter from the wind to watch my interview by the side of the TV van. I'm not sure how long this link will stay active, but here's the recap of the live version they aired later in the day:
Thank you, Jill, for helping us spread the Get Back UP message!

Jim debates whether or not he's going back to the room for a long sleeve shirt.

After the Channel 59 interview I make my way toward the corrals where a reporter from another station may grant us a live interview. I find Nicole from WTHR Channel 13 and she does want to go live--woo hoo, two-for-two! While the runners are all lining up in the corrals the emcee calls for a moment of silence for those who suffered in Boston. As soon as that moment was done, the crowd was led in song to the Bosox unofficial anthem, Sweet Caroline. Both Nicole and I were enjoying the festive scene when she prompted me to get ready.

Nicole and I enjoying a rousing rendition of Sweet Caroline at the start. I don't think there's a video clip from this interview, with live spots it's tougher to get them, however here's the link to the article the station posted:
Thank you, Nicole and Channel 13 for encouraging those in the Indy area to Get Back UP!

Immediately after finishing with Nicole, Jim and I had to slip into our corrals before the starting gun went off. The crowd was unbelievably large and yet the organization at the start was incredible. With no one here to cheer us on for this race and no gear check for us to drop the sign I made the bold choice to carry the sign the whole way. Jim told me I was crazy and that he didn't want to get stuck with it in this wind. I promised him I'd handle it and if things got too difficult or dangerous with it I also promised to ditch it.

The view behind us in the starting corral...and there were just as many in front of us. This race is HUGE!
And... we're off!!! So far so good, the wind isn't too bad the first 300yds or so... the mass of the crowd is protecting me from the worst of it. 

And...we're stopped! 

Ha!..Not even through the first mile and Jim has to hit the first set of Port-a-johns. I guess I owe it to him to stop and wait for him since he was helping me with my media obligations at the Start instead of taking care of his "pre-race business."
Trying to hold sign out without it blowing away while taking photo of the Port-a-johns with my other hand.

Jim is in the back, in red, finally making his way back to the course. He's gonna love that I'm posting this. At least it's proof that he wasn't the only one needing a pit stop. :-)
And...we're off again! The race started downtown and followed a weaving course through neighborhoods to the 6-mile mark where we would enter the track of the Indy Motor Speedway. I have to say that carrying the sign was much more difficult than I expected. Not only was it thrashing about in the wind even with 2 hands on it at all times, it was tricky trying to carry it straight up and down so the pole wouldn't accidentally poke any runners.

With that being said, the fabulous part about running with the sign was all the attention we got from the spectators. The fans here were so energetic and I was thankful for my last-minute decision of writing "NC loves INDY" on the back of the Get Back UP side.

This is somewhere around the 6-mile mark where we run through the tunnel into the speedway.  The track is 2.5 miles long so we don't come out of here until we're near mile 9. Too cool!!

Jim takes a water break while I try to pull off a shot with one hand, hold sign with the other.

Jim takes my phone to snap a pic of me on the track.

We're approaching mile 7 now, the crowds are still running strong.

Clouds are building but still no rain, just lots and lots of wind.

Not the best shot ever, I just thought the view looking back along the turn was cool.

Taking the high road!

I had to have a photo at the top of the track. You'd never guess how steep this is until you see it "up close and in person".

Along the straightaway! I totally recognized this from watching a few races on TV.

Ahhh... my hero. Jim felt bad for me and took the sign for a stretch along the track. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Kissing the bricks! If you don't know about this tradition, please check out the story here:

It may look like a push-up but Jim actually took a break to kiss the bricks, too.
Finally, we have downtown in our sights again. Another photo op crossing the White River towards the finish line. (Streamers still gallantly streaming)

That's Jim again with the sign. He wasn't as keen as I was to hold it up for spectators to see but I wasn't about to complain. My arms were feeling like jelly from the workout today. He spelled me for the last stretch before the home stretch.
And.... we're done! I really loved this race but I especially loved the spectators and the bands all along the run. Thank you, Indianapolis, for treating us like royalty out here today! In case any of you are considering running in this event I wholeheartedly recommend it. And just to give you an "aerial" version of the course, check out the race map:

As soon as we cross the finish line I see News 8, WISH-TV and got a remarkable THIRD interview of the day! 3 different reporters, 3 different stations all sharing the same Get Back UP story in hopes of enabling others to return to their quality of life goals. Again, this interview aired live but I'm so grateful to each station for airing clips of our mission throughout the day's news reports.
Thanks, Steve, for sharing our story!
Here's the most recent link I found for this interview:

Thanks to all 3 reporters, our message got out in grand fashion. I was recognized about 8 times on the course by people who saw the morning spots, then again for the remainder of my stay in Indianapolis...including at the airport! I love to hear from people who get inspired by events like today's OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon.

Friends to the finish! Congrats, Kevin on a great run!! And you, too Jim. :-) Thanks for helping with the sign out there today. I wonder who feels worse, the Streamers or the RnR Gypsies. Everyone is looking a bit wind-blown.

Thanks to our Art Hop yesterday afternoon, Jim and I met one of the brewmasters from Flat 12 Bierwerks. He invited us to the after party at the finish line festival and gave us wrist bands to get in. What a nice treat to get out of the wind...

...also a treat to have a craft-brewed pilsner to celebrate another 13.1 miles covered. Jim loves to replenish his carbs!

Once again, I was amazed at how well organized and fun this event was. I think they estimated the crowds at close to 50,000 people and yet access to everything was so easy. 

The rain held off the entire day for us and the clouds helped to keep things from getting too warm. All in all a perfect day for a run.

Hey, a girl can dream can't she?

The stage in the background with happy finishers everywhere.

Kelly M., this one's for you...They don't grow 'em here like they do in Texas but I'm still gonna give 'em a run for their money. :-)
The medal.

Once again I want to thank all the TV stations in Indy for helping us in our mission to raise awareness for those with mobility issues. This weekend was a phenomenal success on this front... I lost count of how many people asked me more about Allard's bracing after seeing our stories air.

Not only was it "mission accomplished" on the Get Back UP front, I truly fell in love with Indianapolis and it's people. I will definitely be coming back here to see more of what this city has to offer.

Next stop... Portland, OR for the Heart & Stroke Walk 5K and the Rock 'n Roll Portland Half Marathon. Hope to see some of you there! (Not that there are some of you I don't want to see there, just kinda assumed that I wouldn't see all of you there. But hey, maybe I should be more optimistic...)
I hope to see ALL of you there!

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