Picking up from yesterday with all the great fun we had -
In the speedway, there were various cheerleading groups all around the track, bringing their spirit! They yelled out runners names as we went by. I thought it was so cool to hear them shout out so much encouragement to my dad by name.
One group was all decked out with Christmas apparel and props. They had signs with altered lyrics to “Jingle Bells.” (“Oh what fun it is to run the mini-marathon.” (But imagine fun, new lyrics for the entire song.))
We passed mile marker 6, 7, and I think even 8 while in the speedway. Music played over the speakers as we made our way through. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” came on, and I happily danced around and sang. That song is totally one of my many jams.
A bunch of people got down and kissed the bricks in the Brickyard – a tradition in Indy, from what I understand.
Every time we came to a curb (in or out of the speedway) I’d yell, “hug the curb!” That kind of seems to be my new thing. I don’t know how much time I really save by hugging a curb, but when there’s room to do it without getting in the way of other runners, it makes me feel happy.
My dad said some hilarious things as we went farther and he got more tired. At various times, he asked, “Is there anyone behind us?” (Maybe you had to be there to see how funny his exhausted delivery was.) I’d look back and say, “Nope, not a single person.” (Don’t sweat it. I was always joking. There were plenty of people behind us.)
Throughout the course, we were entertained by various bands and groups. There were spectators galore. Pretty much the whole city comes out for this race. We passed through neighborhoods where strangers had hoses at the ready to happily spray people. Thanks, strangers! (I even saw someone with a water gun.)
As we came into the final mile, there were a big signs that said “Victory Mile.” What a wonderful way to put it! It’s not a final mile of punishment. This is the victory lap!
There were checkered flags lining the course throughout the last mile. I thought it was so cool. The race people really made that final mile as exciting as they could.
When we were getting up toward the finish line, the announcer was out among the runners, congratulating various people. I pointed to my dad and said “first half marathon!” The announcer said “In another ten steps, you’ll never be able to say it’s your first again.”
That was a very bittersweet moment. How incredibly exciting that my dad was almost done with his first half marathon! But also, how sad that it’s almost over.
Well, I don’t think my dad was sad. I’m pretty sure he was done.
(Just for accuracy’s sake (vs. what I said in this video) – we had in fact passed mile marker 12, but we were not officially in the final mile yet. We had not yet completed a full .1 after mile 12, just for the record.)
After we crossed the finish, my dad wanted to sit down. I pointed to the medals, but he was not listening. I don’t think much mattered to him at all at that point – not food, not medals, just sitting.
He sat for a moment. Then we collected our medals, got pictures taken, and walked through the food area.
They do food up right here. Cookies, bananas, granola bars, etc. (Marsh the local Indiana grocery store rocking the finish chute!)
The organize it well. You get a bag to carry your various food items. And there are very large signs that say what food and drink is where, so you can easily see and pick what you want.)
I cannot imagine a half marathon better than this one. The OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon is my favorite half marathon. If I had to choose only one to do in a year, hands down it would be this one.
(Side note: My dad took me to Champps (a restaurant I love), which is exactly what we did after my first marathon. And at lunch, he was already talking about his next distance race.)
We survived! Tomorrow, I’ll talk about the half marathon I did today. (And then hopefully I can get my dad to write a guest post!)