Thursday, May 28, 2015


Redeeming themselves. They do run a full marathon in Vancouver, WA... wouldn't be surprised that its really 27.5 miles.
Well, good news on the Rum Run 10k front. They offered anyone affected by Sunday's snafu a free entry into next year's race. Nice of them and the right thing to do. While Energy Events still can't measure a course to save their lives, their reputation as a decent company who puts on a good event will remain in my mind. Everyone screws up from time to time and they are doing their best to right the wrong.

After the "race" on Sunday I went to group run Monday at PRC and felt super worn down. I really wanted to quit only after a couple miles. The 9:15 pace felt a lot faster. I think my body was still worn down from the race the day before. I took the next two days off but will run tonight at the Discovery Run in Tualatin. This is an event I always want to go to but have only actually gone to once. I always forget to pack clothes (it's not a habit yet and only once a month) or have some other conflict.

My left leg has felt funny since the run on Monday. I'm not too concerned because the pain is dull and moving around my leg. If it was concentrated in one spot I'd be a little more concerned. At times it has felt like I have had shin splints, a calf strain, a rolled ankle, and a busted knee. It feels much better today. I'll watch it closely to make sure I'm not ignoring anything serious, but all the pain has been very dull, nothing sharp, so I think my legs just got beat up with the race followed by six miles the next night.

Next race is the Bald Peak Half Marathon in just over three weeks. This is the really hilly one that's on half gravel. Under 1:50 there this year will be considered a victory. I should probably start planning my Portland Marathon training too.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2015 RUM RUN 10.3K RACE (?) REPORT

Did you say 10k or 15k? 16k? 13k? I need a drink.
Well, I was a little disappointed when I realized Sunday morning I forgot to write a preview for this race. I will tell you that I settled on a "sub-46" as my "A" goal. Considering this course is long, that translated to about 7:15/mile. Seemed like a good challenge given where I am fitness wise. I am getting back into better shape, but I am still nowhere near fast enough to match my PR speed of 6:57.

Now that this "race" is over, I'm glad I didn't waste my time on such a preview! What happened? Well, the 10k became a 15k for most. Everything was going to plan, another Rum Run morning, nothing out of the usual. The race starts and we run toward Tualatin Park. I had checked the route the night before just to double check that nothing had changed from last year. It hadn't. So the race leaders start streaming into Tualatin Community Park.

"No, no, no! This way!" yells the police officer manning the split off to the park. He was telling them to continue on the road. I was back about a block and instantly confused. Why wouldn't we go through the park like normal? I had a gut feeling the cop was misinformed about the route, but the leaders raced back and followed his instruction. I really wanted to break off the pack and go the RIGHT WAY but I followed the herd. Maybe they knew something I didn't?

Same event in 2012. My first 10k!
Well, they didn't. We ended up running on a street and having live traffic going both ways. The field is sizeable so we took up a lane of traffic ourselves. There was a biker everyone seemed to be following, thinking it was the lead bike, but I think it was just a dude in a yellow bike shirt that happened to be going about the same speed as the leaders. At some point he stopped and looked confused. A couple runners stopped to chat with him and then continued running. I imagined the conversation as "you're not the lead bike? Oh, well then..."

We ran almost two miles before a Tualatin Police SUV goes tearing by us with its lights on. It swerves in front of the leaders and tells them to turn around, they are going the wrong way. As soon as I saw it go by me I knew what was up. So everyone is like "WTF?" but flips around and starts running back. The leaders had at least four extra miles added to their race (they were over two miles out at that point) while the slower runners/walkers maybe had an extra two miles added. So if you ended up running the whole route it would have been 8-10 miles depending on how fast you were.

At that point I was pissed. I was hauling ass and really focused on getting the best 10k time I could. I really wanted to have a measure of my race fitness. The entire race was fucked up now, people were running different lengths and my final time would be meaningless. Who wants to haul ass for a 9.7 mile finish time and really have nobody else to judge it against? Immediately I began calculating in my head how much I was going to run and how much I would run if I switched to the 5k route once I was back on track. It became clear to me, from where I turned around, that if I "switched" to the 5k I would actually end up running about a 10k.

Everything to the left of the arrow was a "bonus."
So that's what I did. My watch actually beeped right at the mile markers once back on the course so I knew a switch to the 5k would put me at 6.1 miles. I planned to add a little "flair" somewhere to hit 6.22. Well, needless to say, I didn't have to do that, because this is Energy fucking Events and they don't give a shit about actual correct distances. The 5k course as planned was 3.4 miles. What the fuck guys. And here I was every year complaining about the 6.35 mile 10k course. Apparently Energy Events is not the company whose race you want to do if you actually care about the accurate running part.

Anyways, we had to weave through the ENTIRE 5k field (which was quite large and quite slow) on a small park path. Fun? I saw some other fast looking people branch off at the 5k split so I figured other people had the same idea. So I split off for the 5k. I kept having to remind myself to run hard, I was really pissed off and frustrated my race was ruined and my pace would suffer. I didn't end up having to run extra because the 5k course was so long, so I ran around the lake and prepared to finish strong, knowing I'd end up running about 6.4 miles.

"And we have our first 10Ker! The winner of the Rum Run 10k is Thomas Graf from Beaverton!" For fucks sake. Really? I immediately looked at the announcer dude and gave him the "nuh uh" sign and he looked at me and was like... oh. My parents were there at the finish and immediately knew something was wrong, because 1) LOL like I actually won, and 2) I was waving the guy off basically telling him to shut up. So after explaining to my parents and bitching about what happened I went to the results truck and had the guy either DQ (mmmm, Blizzard...) or switch me to the 5k. He switched me to the 5k so I am the proud owner of a 46:27 5k time now. I knew others ran the entire 10k course and didn't want to mess anything up for them.

Better memories at this race.
Looking at the results a lot of people just switched to the 5k route. The winner, listed right now, finished about a minute after me. Curious, I looked at his results from other races and he is normally just slightly slower than me. So yeah, he did the same thing. There is also a large amount of middle aged women in the top 20 with finish times in the low to mid-50s. So the 5k switch was quite popular, I just set the trend apparently. The results are useless to compare anybody against anything. I went to the beer garden, pounded my mojito and beer (YUM!) then went to my parents house for lunch. Stupid race.

My official time was 46:27 (7:16/mile) on a course of 6.41 miles. The last two years I have clocked the actual course at 6.30 and 6.29 on my watch or phone. Using this data I can calculate...

Official time: 46:27
Normalized "Rum Run" time: 45:40
Normalized 10k time: 45:05

So I guess you could say I got my "A" goal. Which is awesome, considering my lack of motivation once we had to turn around almost two miles in and the amount of 5kers I had to slow down for and weave around in the park. If they didn't fuck up and I could have ran the whole race hard I could see myself easily getting a "low 45" time on this course. I'm a little disappointed I don't have an official 10k to my credit. Maybe I'll sign up for another one this summer sometime. Unfortunately it's about time to start training for Portland in the fall so that will take most of my effort moving forward.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


The start of the half marathon.
My alarm went off at 6:45am Sunday morning after a solid six hours of sleep. I decided to join Alejandro and Katie to catch the MAX from the Sunset Transit Center at 7:15am. Originally I planned to take the train that was a half hour later, but decided to just nut up and get there a little earlier to be with my friends. We got there with about 45 minutes to spare, which was fine, as we had plenty of time to use the bathroom, go to bag check, take pictures, etc. Felt a lot like the Shamrock run just because of the amount of people and the fact it was along the waterfront.

The start line was a little chaotic. They had plenty of corrals, something like 1-20, but no way of monitoring who was going in what corral. I don't think my corral was even printed on my bib. In addition, even if everyone was in the right corral I don't think they would have fit. They seemed much too small to hold the amount of people they needed, which led to a bunch of people clumping outside the entrance gates waiting for the race to start so they could slip in. Luckily I was one of the last people to squeeze in before the corral could take no more people.

I ended up between corrals 2 and 3, which was probably about right. I signed up 50 weeks ago and put a predicted time of 1:35, which put me in corral 1. I wasn't going to run that, so I was fine with being back a little. Turns out I was surrounded by people running the right pace so it just kind of naturally worked out. I was dreading the start, as usual, but one the gun went off it was all business. It again felt way too easy, despite trying to start slower this time I looked at my watch about two tenths in and saw I was doing a 7:05/pace. Dammit! I eased back on the throttle a little bit.

Pre-race goofing off (7:45am... ugh!)
Amazing how easy those first few miles can feel! Because of my experience in Indy I tried to reign myself in a little to save something for the finish. The race sorted itself out very quickly, I was done dodging a half mile into the race and it was never again a problem. So that aspect was much better than the Indy Mini. First three miles were 7:33, 7:31, and 7:24. I was trying to target about 7:35, so not bad. That 7:24 mile had some downhill I decided to take advantage of, so I wasn't quite speeding up like it seems.

Those first few miles were pretty unique, weaving around Union Station and then across the Broadway Bridge. I was prepared for the hill at mile 3.5 so that didn't take me by surprise. It was a little steeper than I was imagining, but I just took it easier and reminded myself there was a lot of race to go and it didn't make sense to charge up it. My mile time on that uphill was 8:02 which isn't bad at all! It was a good challenge but not overwhelming... once I hit the top I was able to catch my breath and resume race pace pretty quickly.

From there it was a pretty uneventful few miles. Just locked into a groove and felt pretty good. The course was interesting and a lot of people came out to cheer. The route was mostly on residential streets so it was nice to see families out there cheering for us and handing out water and oranges and stuff. Miles 5-8 were 7:26, 7:28, 7:33, 7:34. Still hitting my "A" goal and taking the small rolling hills in stride. I was starting to tire though, I could feel my legs start to ache and whine and I just kept reminding myself I had a nice downhill coming up.

Just over nine miles in!
Mile nine I was a bit concerned the wheels were starting to come off. I had a 7:49 mile and I was thinking it would be another slowdown the last few miles of a half marathon. I was also noticing my watch fall farther and farther behind the mile markers so mentally I already knew I wouldn't get as rewarded with my pace as I could be. That mile was followed by a 7:43. I forget exactly where or why but I seemed to get a second wind of motivation. I just told myself I wasn't going to go quite so easily. Really just focused in on my breathing and locking to a groove. My legs hurt but I could ignore them for a few more miles.

Finally my "relief" came in form of the mile long downhill I was waiting all race for. It was a great break and I was still able to clock a 7:25 mile without working too hard. They kind of teased you by getting you really close to the Hawthorne Bridge (which you cross) but then sent you south to fuck around for a mile before you finally got to cross. I was slightly worried that once the downhill ended my legs would be dead, but to my surprise they responded really well and I followed up with a 7:38 mile on flat ground. Not too shabby!

After what seemed like forever we finally crossed the bridge and were headed toward the finish line. This final mile was 7:45, so a little slower than I would have liked, but that included the bridge climb and was mile 13 of a half marathon. So not bad at all! The bridge normally has a metal grate as a surface, but they covered it with carpeting for us. It was an interesting surface to run on, I could have moved to the sidewalk, but the prospect of raising my leg twelve inches into the air pretty much squashed that idea. Plus, just the novelty of the surface was enough to distract me from my body screaming at me.

What a great looking bunch!
Once off the bridge you did an interesting loop to get you back on Naito and headed toward the finish. I could see the finish line about a quarter mile ahead. My watch said 1:39:10... now, I had race brain, so I thought I had 50 seconds to meet my "A" goal, so I started to sprint. As I was sprinting I realized there was no way I could make it, I would have to be doing a 4:00/mile to even come close. So I pulled back on the throttle a little and accepted I'd miss my goal by a little bit. I didn't even realize I was under 1:41 until I stopped my watch at the finish. For some reason I thought after 1:39 was 1:41. So that was kind of an "aha!" moment and a happy realization that I had indeed met all my goals.

My time ended up being 1:40:37, which is 7:41/mile. However, my watch had me at 7:35/mile, which I'd believe. Why the difference? I ended up running almost 13.3 miles according to my Garmin. I hate to be one of those "the course was long" people, but everyone I talked to had it at least at 13.3. Whether the course was actually long or just all the turns really added up, who knows, but most races my watch is much closer. Anyways, had I ran a more precise course I was on pace for a low 1:39, which is awesome considering where I am at the moment.

Trying out a new celebration.
Needless to say, I am thrilled with my time and race. It wasn't the perfect day, my legs were screaming from mile eight on, but I gave it 100% effort and was rewarded with a time I wasn't quite sure I was in the shape to get. The weather was perfect (mid 50s and overcast) and the course really kept things interesting. I didn't like all the turns, but no race in Portland gives you a better tour of Portland than this race. You got to see downtown, Mississippi, some really nice neighborhoods, some more working class ones, commercial patches, cross two bridges, etc. It was great and kept me distracted enough not to be constantly focusing on any pain I was feeling.

For "Rock 'n Roll" though I was pretty disappointed. There were maybe four bands along the course. The Portland Marathon has at least double, if not triple or quadruple, the amount of bands per mile. So that was a major disappointment. I didn't really care too much because the course was cool, but with this series I expected a little more entertainment. I would never pay full price for this race, but would sign up again for $60. Overall I'd give it a solid "B."

After the race I met up with Alejandro and Katie and we had a couple of beers (Michelob Ultra... yuck) and listened to the band. It was too loud and we were tired. So we only lasted maybe twenty minutes before limping back toward the MAX. Mission complete.

Official Chip Time: 1:40:37, 7:41/mile. 277/5844 overall, 233/2215 male, 35/230 M25-29.
Mile times: 7:33, 7:31, 7:24, 8:02, 7:26, 7:28, 7:33, 7:34, 7:49, 7:43, 7:25, 7:38, 7:45, 6:47 (final .27 pace).

Friday, May 15, 2015


Never thought I would sign up for a "Rock N' Roll" series event, but they held a special discount last June for National Running Day. Only $60 instead of the normal $90 or whatever it is. Now, $60 is still a lot for a half marathon, but for a "full-featured" one such as this it's not too bad. Plus, this race is hugely popular and attracts 12,000+ runners. Other than the Shamrock Run, it is the largest non-relay event in the State of Oregon, even beating out the Portland Marathon. So I was in!

Haven't thought a ton about this race and I really don't want to. Normally I'll neurotically check the course on Google Street View, plan my pace on certain parts, etc. I'm just going to wing this one. The hubbub of the whole spectacle should keep me interested and I'm in decent enough half shape I don't really have to worry. Indy went pretty well and I feel like I can do about the same in Portland.

SPOILER ALERT: I signed up the next day.
I only looked up the elevation just now in preparation for this preview. There is one major hill in the race, it occurs at mile 3.5 as competitors climb from Interstate to Mississippi. About a gain of 150 feet in half a mile. Nothing to sneeze at. I'll want to take it easier up that so the tail end of my race isn't torture. Now, that isn't the only hill, there are plenty more, but that is the only "sizable" one. This is Portland, so there are rolling hills, bridges to climb, etc. Overall the course isn't too bad though and you could get a relatively fast time on it.

You more or less maintain the elevation gained in that hill until mile 9.5, where you fly downward on Hawthorne. You give it all back in about a mile, but the downhill is more gradual than the uphill, which is just the way I prefer it. Apparently last year they ran a similar course except in the other direction, and this now downhill was quite the bear to climb up. After that mile long downhill it flattens out, you go up and over the Hawthorne Bridge, and then finish downtown on Naito. Some ups and downs there but nothing major.

That's about as much effort as I'm going to put into figuring out the course. It should be fun to run east of the river... haven't really done that yet during a race. The whole spectacle of the event should be fun too and keep me motivated. The course will be full of people, just like the Indy Mini or Shamrock, to keep those judging eyes on me and keep me running. I'll know some people at the race so it will be fun to meet up with them after and talk about the race. Too bad the beer garden is Michelob Ultra... AGAIN. That fucking beer.

I'm in corral A with all the fast people. I don't know how many people are per corral, but hopefully everyone in there is mostly my speed. They don't have a wave of elites or celebrities, so I'm hoping that'll cut down on the amount of weaving and passing I'll have to do compared to Indy. If everyone is seeded right, it shouldn't be too bad and similar to Shamrock... that usually shakes out in a mile or two. One of my main goals is to have better pacing... no more 7:20s at the beginning like in Indianapolis and hopefully I can finish a little stronger.


"A" Goal: 1:40:59, 7:42/mile or faster. Now, that's on a perfectly ran course, so realistically I'll have to run a 7:40 average or so. Not sure how possible this is, but I feel like if the stars align and I feel good I could hit it. I'd give it a 20% chance.

"B" Goal:  1:42:25, 7:47/mile or faster. Really my main goal. This would beat the Indy Mini time from two weeks ago and also beat my first half marathon ever.

"C" Goal: 1:44:59, 8:00/mile or faster. Have to admit, anything over 1:45 and I'd feel like a failure. I can be happy with anything below this but if I get over 1:45 that either means I had an historically bad race or I didn't try hard enough.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


This will just be a collection of thoughts in no particular order...

- I ran ten miles last weekend with Matt. Averaged 9:12/mile. Felt about right. When I start marathon training I think my long run pace should be 9:15-9:20/mile.

- I'm not sure what my goal will be for the Portland Marathon this year. I'm not nearly as fast as I was and I'm not sure my quest for a sub 3:30 is realistic. I'm going to have to see how I feel when I kick it back into gear fully.

- I need to sign up for a couple races this summer. After the Rock N' Roll Half Marathon on May 17th and the 10k Rum Run on May 24th, I don't have anything officially until the Portland Marathon. Need to stay motivated somehow.

- I think I need to pick up my feet more when I'm running. I've noticed I've been "shuffling" along and generally look old and stiff when running.

- I hope I can beat my Indy Mini time at Rock N' Roll but I'm not sure the course will be any less crowded. The race will be about half the size but the streets we are running on won't be quite as wide. So we'll see. Hopefully it'll settle faster.

- I weighed myself yesterday. I haven't weighed myself very much the last two years, being slightly scared I have gained weight. Turns out I weigh the exact same as I did three years ago. So that's encouraging.

- I want to run a 50k for my 31st birthday (that's 31 miles). Yes, that is still over two years away, but I'm already looking at races. The McKenzie River Trail Run is looking good at this point.

- I'm trying to avoid getting a GPS watch tan line. Strategies including switching wrists, putting it on loosely so it slides around, and thinking about wearing it like a necklace.

- I'll have a preview of my upcoming half marathon this weekend in the next few days.

Thursday, May 07, 2015


Start line (that's over 26k!).
This race didn't get off to the best foot because of the time zone challenges. Whenever I travel east for an event it is always a challenge to get enough sleep before the race. At home I usually don't go to bed until after midnight, which translates to 3am back east. When you are waking up at 5 or 6am to make your event that doesn't leave much room for sleep.

Saturday was race day after flying in Thursday night. Friday was pretty low key but I still drank a little too much to be at peak performance. You can read about the rest of the trip on my earlier post. Anyways, I went to bed at 11pm Friday night but rolled around in bed until after 3am. I woke up at 6:45am with three and half hours of sleep at most. Better than the 90 minutes and three hours in Miami the last two years I guess, but still not optimal.

I felt alright though. Once I woke up and got some breakfast in me I was ready to go. Can't really blame much on the sleep. Maybe I could have done a little better with more, but it was mostly a non-factor. I joined my teammates for breakfast downstairs, having two mini muffins with peanut butter and some fruit. It was a perfect breakfast for before the race... got some fuel in me but not too much. I left the hotel, which was blocks away from the start line, around 7:45am knowing the race started at 8.

This was mid-course somewhere.
Good thing I left when I did! By the time I made it to my corral there were only a few minutes before the race started. After the national anthem and an Indy car leading us to the line the race was off! I crossed the starting line a mere 14 seconds after 8:00am. Despite being toward the front of the corral the course was very crowded, which would be a theme in this race. I went out of the gate a little hot too... I remember thinking I wasn't running fast enough so I looked at my watch and saw I was going 6:40/mile. Oops.

That first mile was much quicker than it should have been at 7:19 due to the race start adrenaline. I knew that pace was unsustainable but it just felt so easy. N00b mistake and I'm not a n00b. I expected to run around 7:45/mile, so while I knew 7:20 wasn't realistic (my PR was 7:27), I thought just maybe I could hit 7:35 or so. However, no, I did not magically get faster. This pace would catch up with me later, but not until after I settled into a nice long stretch of pretty steady running.

The course for the Mini Marathon isn't much to write home about. The route to and from the racetrack is pretty ugly and bland, as I was expecting. You run by the zoo but I couldn't see anything (I was on the lookout for elephants). Other than that it is just a lot of nothing and is in a more industrial/working class part of the city. Actually was kind of good to get some actual Indianapolis other than the shiny downtown area, which was very nice I might add.

The highlight for sure! So cool!
Anyways, I settled into a 7:45/mile pace after my second mile (which was 7:29 and still too fast). I'd be able to maintain this pace until mile ten. It felt hard but not exhausting. It was the correct half marathon pace. Running around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway was definitely the highlight of the race. It was SO COOL! I loved every moment of it and didn't find it boring at all. Then again, I am a sports nut, so I knew this was hallowed ground for racing fans and the site of great triumph for many of the best drivers in racing history.

When I was running around the track they played "Bailando" by Enrique Iglesias, which put a pep to my step. It was on the radio a bunch when I was in Miami earlier this year and I now associate it with having a good time. Plus, it is just catchy and good running music. I forget what else they played over the PA (no bands on the racetrack) but the music was fun and upbeat, which helped. The racetrack portion of the race was just over two miles long and I was sad to see it end, knowing I'd be back to running through the boring streets.

The way back downtown to the finish was even more boring than the way there. Oh well, it was better than another lap around Greenway Park at the Stars and Stripes Half Marathon. There were a lot of bands along the course so that helped to break up the monotony. I was still weaving through runners at this point of the race, which was starting to get annoying. I expected to have to do some weaving and maneuvering, but it took until mile eleven before the race really sorted itself out. I added a bunch of distance to my run going around people and not being able to run great tangents.

Perking up for the finish line yards away.
Crowding was a lot worse than I expected because they allowed thousands of people to start in Wave 1 at 7:48am, which was the elites but also celebrities, VIPs, etc. I think you could pay extra to start there or something. Whatever it was, it meant that the normies back in Wave 2 (me) had to weave around a TON of people walking or running the race very slow. Couple that with the already packed field and it was pretty annoying to get around. That was just about the only thing about the race I could complain about as it was pretty frustrating. However, in a large event like this, you just have to accept it.

Everything else about the race was great. The weather was absolutely perfect (sunny and mid 50s at the start, low 60s at the finish). That sun would pose a challenge as my race drew to an end. Around mile ten I really started to feel the effects of the faster pace earlier and just the race dragging on me in general. Even if I hadn't started out like a bat out of hell I'm sure I would have slowed toward the end, just as I have in about every half marathon ever, but this slowing was definitely painful. I wanted to be done.

Luckily I was able to run the final three miles in 7:55, 7:58, and 8:01, so I didn't fall off too bad. Couple those with the 7:19 and 7:29 at the beginning and you have an average right around the entire race average of 7:45/mile. So I'm not convinced trying to maintain a 7:45 the whole way or starting even slower and trying to negative split would have resulted in a faster time. I think I pretty much got the best time I could given my fitness and running extra due to the size and course. Overall I was very happy with my time.

Hurts so good. Felt much better after stretching.
I thought maybe I could gather some strength and fly that last mile but it was not to be done. I was just in "hang on" mode and hang on I did. Did average 7:20/mile over the final quarter mile, so that's good at least. Gotta perk up for the finish line cameras. When I crossed the finish line I was definitely tired.  I stumbled around the finishers' chute, drained and wanting to sit down. I took a bunch of food but didn't feel like eating until my body recovered a little bit. Rik's wife Cynthia helped me stretch out after the race and that helped a lot. I felt much better after that as my legs were feeling pretty trashed.

Overall a very fun and very successful race! I would do it again, but would like to travel to some other races first before I go back to Indy. The trip was a blast though so the run was really just secondary. Despite not getting great sleep or preparing my body really well for the race I am pretty happy with my time. Hopefully I am able to beat it on May 17th at Rock N' Roll Portland!

Official Chip Time: 1:42:26, 7:48/mile. 1296/26053 overall. 1098/10391 male, 159/1130 M25-29.
Watch mile splits: 7:19, 7:29, 7:41, 7:37, 7:48, 7:50, 7:53, 7:50, 7:51, 7:48, 7:55, 7:58, 8:01. Overall pace of 7:45 on a course of 13.20 miles.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


Beer run Friday early afternoon. Bonnie, Hilary, Jerry, Me, Cat, Nancy, and Paige!
There is no way to fit my whole entire weekend into one post so I'm going to make two: one about the race and one about the rest of the trip with my Solemates. This post will be the later about our shenanigans while in Indianapolis.

As I mentioned in my previous post, this race weekend really snuck up on me. Luckily I was able to get packed without incident the night before and my flight to Indianapolis on Thursday went off without a hitch with a quick layover in Minneapolis. I didn't get into Indianapolis until 8pm but a few of my teammates were there to great me at the airport including Hilary, Cat, Katie, and Jerry (Katie's husband). After a quick ride back to the hotel to meet everyone else it was off to Chipotle for a late dinner.

Hilary, me, and Martha! This is post-race, the pictures aren't
necessarily going to be in order.
It was so great to see everyone again! Most of us hadn't seen each other for over a year since Ragnar SoCal but we didn't miss a beat. Having the Facebook group really helps us all stay in touch and it was awesome to actually see everyone again. Unfortunately there were a few that couldn't make it, but overall we got an appearance from 8 out of 12 Solemates. It wasn't just Solemates though, Rik and his wife Cynthia (from the Fat to Finish Line documentary) were there, Nancy (close with a couple Solemates), Katie's sister Jeanie and sister in law Becky (along with some of their friends)... I think that's it? Needless to say, we had a pretty big group overall!

Friday was pretty low key by design. I slept in late, had some breakfast my teammies had saved for me, then joined everyone on a beer run. There was a liquor store not too far away that had a good selection of beers, so after some hemming and hawing, we were headed back to the hotel with our beer. After that it was time to hit up the Mini Marathon Expo to pick up our bibs and packets. Been to one, been to them all. Nothing too special to note.

After that it was time for dinner at Buca Di Beppo. Enormous dishes of food we ordered and we all shared. It was REALLY good! I ate too much (of course), but luckily it was an early dinner and I had time to digest. After that, we waddled back to the hotel, had a drink at happy hour, then retired to our hotel rooms. I ended up going to the bathroom around this time, which was really exciting. I did not want to run with three days of food choices still in me. Anyways, that greatly improved my outlook on the race the next day. We went to bed at 11 but I tossed and turned until 3am. I don't travel to the East Coast well.

The gang at Buca Di Beppo!
Morning was race time! More on that in another post! After I was done I cheered for the rest of the group to finish. We then split up, some of us going to the new Avengers movie (including me) and others going on a journey to eat some frozen yogurt with copious toppings. Those were concluded by 4pm or so, and the rest of the night was spent drinking and socializing. Dean made his surprise appearance which was super awesome. We played Cards Against Humanity before everyone was too tired and went to bed.

The next morning most everyone left (sad panda) but I still had another day and a half on my trip. I rode back with Katie and Jerry to their place. I had a direct flight out of Detroit Monday night, so in the meantime they showed me around their neck of the woods a little. I was able to meet Katie's pets and kids, which are basically mini-celebrities themselves after reading about them on the blog for so many years. For dinner we went out to a local bar called The Point which had some really good chicken wings. We also got to play with their dog Joey in a pretty marsh near their house. It was a fun, low key night.

Post race Jerry faces!
Monday morning I woke up to donuts from a local bakery. They were really good! After that we went to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. That was really interesting. It wasn't just about cars, it had all sorts of historical items from furniture to planes to toys. Unfortunately Jerry had to leave to go pick up the kids from school. I thought that was the last I'd see of him, but a text that afternoon would alter things a little bit. My flight was going to be two hours late. Why, oh why, does my flight home always get delayed? I think that's four vacations in a row!

Fortunately, I wasn't too bummed about this one. It'd get me home later than I wanted at 12:30am, but meant that I'd get to experience a few more things in Michigan. After the museum we went to La Pita, which Katie has made famous on her blog, and it did not disappoint. The garlic sauce there was to die for! I ate a bunch of it and became a fire breathing garlic dragon. Sorry everyone in my vicinity during the next 24 hours. The food was really good but I also ate too much, which is kind of a theme, leaving me feeling a little queasy for an hour or so.

After the meal we met back up with Jerry, who brought the kids, and went to Speedway to play miniature golf and race go karts. That was a lot of fun and it was nice to play a mini-golf course that wasn't the three around here I've played 89 million times. Next was go karts, which was also fun, although they all seemed to go the exact same speed so I didn't get to pass anyone or have anyone try to pass me. Their "track" was way better than Malibu or Bullwinkle's here though.

Margaritas on Saturday night. Yum!
The night was not over yet! Jerry took the kids back home and Katie and I made a quick stop at a bar on the way to the airport. It is owned by some old childhood friends of hers and it was fun to meet the guy working there (his name escapes me). Anyways, after an hour or so, it was onto the airport. The flight home was without a hitch, other than the previously mentioned delay. It is pretty cool you can hop on a plane in Detroit, Michigan and be home in Portland, Oregon in four hours. Air travel is pretty neat!

Overall, a very fun trip. It was great to see all my Solemates again and also meet all my new friends. I cannot wait until the next reunion!