[This is the unabridged version of my column that appeared in the May 11 issue of The Commercial Review. For the abridged version, click here.]
Mentally and physically I was prepared.
I had a plan I was going to follow that I was sure would help me reach both of my goals — finish, and do so in under two and a half hours.
I was already in the area because of the Indiana Associated Press Media Editors awards banquet*, I stayed just north of Indianapolis in Fishers with my friend Eric, his wife Clorissa and their son Sawyer. (It’s my go-to spot to crash whenever I need a night in the donut.
I had an alarm set for 6 a.m. Saturday, knowing full well I was going to hit snooze a couple times. I got up, changed, and left Fishers about a half hour later.
I got to Indianapolis and the Indiana Parking Garage, where I had reserved a parking spot for myself, not knowing what the parking situation was going to be like with thousands of extra people in the area.
I parked and made my way to the starting area on Washington Street in Indianapolis.
Rain began to sprinkle from the sky through the 44-degree air. I found the gear check UPS trucks, and it was then I opted at the last minute to ditch a jacket,]. Instead, I decided leggings, shorts, a long sleeve shirt, T-shirt and ball cap would be sufficient attire for the next three hours.
“GOOD MORNING IT’S RACE DAY”
I joined the thousands of runners who were herded like cattle between steel barriers with banners indicating the start of each of the five waves, with letters representing “corrals” within each wave.
I made my way to Wave 4 in Corral Q, trying my best to be near the front and not have to fight too much with any runners ahead of me that might be a little slower than my intended pace.
We started to make our way forward toward the starting line, with an approximate start time of 8 a.m. As I took each step, my anxiousness to run was subdued. The wind was gusting and at that moment I regretted my earlier decision to run without a jacket.
Wave 4 approached the starting line. The IndyCar zoomed west on Washington Street in the Wholesale District of Indianapolis. With the official time above my head, the emcee began to count down from 10 to signify the start of the race.
As I began the race, I left my strategy in the starting corral.