Friday, May 9, 2008

Mini-Marathon 2008 - isn't it great?

Meelyn and my husband ran the 33rd OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon last Saturday, which was a gorgeous day for a run of any kind, whether you were trying to beat last year's time or just going out to the market for doughnuts and the morning paper.

The best news is that they beat last year's time by TWENTY FIVE MINUTES. Woooooo-hooooooo!

Last year, they were hampered by the fact that Mee developed a blister on her foot at the ninth mile, necessitating a pit stop right on the yard of bricks at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to put on a bandage that a kind-hearted fellow runner passed off to her. This year, Meelyn ran with a waist pouch containing Band-Aids, some Neosporin with a topical anesthetic in it, Glide balm, a battery for her MP3 player, some tissues, a camera and a chapstick. Because, I am told, nothing, but nothing, is worse than trying to run with dry, crusty lips.

Here's a little diary I kept of the morning's events:

7:43 a.m. We seems to be doing well after a bit of a bad start. Our Marriott Courtyard parking lot was closed this year, so we didn't have a clue where to park, after actually managing to make our way to New York Street (no thanks to MapQuest, more on that later) - not an easy feat considering how many downtown streets were closed off. I've been listening to 93.1 WIBC and Steve Simpson just related that while there are 35,000 runners, there are an estimated 60,000 more people downtown as volunteers, vendors and spectators. Which, as it turns out, is one heck of a lot of peeeeeeeoooopppplle.

Okay. Back to MapQuest. I told my husband that using MapQuest was a bad idea, mostly because every map I have ever foolishly relied upon from that website sucks the dirty water than a herd of camels and eight flocks of flea-infested sheep has just bathed in. MapQuest is one of the most useless websites on the internet and you who are reading this would do well not to forget that. But if you want to go to Indianapolis from Kansas City via Providence, Rhode Island, they'll getcha there.

Anyhoo, we found parking across from the Courtyard and it was only $5 as opposed to last year's $20, so we felt somewhat mollified.

My husband was nervous and irritable about the crap directions and the fact that Markin Luther King Street and West Street are not marked in downtown Indy. Mee was nervous because my husband was nervous. They set off for their starting corral at 7:22, which was U this year, a reflection on their slower running time last year due to Meelyn's blister. In 2008, they started in Q.

The race is supposed to begin at 7:30 with the wheelchair racers, followed by the A corral of elite runners, all of whom have legs six feet long and are made of sinew, bone and muscle with now available fat. They are all so very, very thin, they look as if you could track a bite of food through their entire digestive systems. We have no truck with that type of body structure in our family, no sirree.

Aisling and I have settled down in Buddy, armed with schoolbooks, library books, notebooks, the radio and my cell phone. I also had my makesup bag with me, so that I could make myself presentable before going out among the innocent, defenseless citizenry.

The weather is cool and overcast, a tiny bit humid, which is a total contrast to last year, which was sunny, cool and miserably, sweatingly humid.

8:44 a.m. I'm thinking about calling my husband and Meelyn to see what they're doing.

8:45 a.m. No answer

9:00 a.m. No answer

9:16 a.m. No answer. I am thinking about causing physical harm to my husband. What is the use of bringing cell phones to this $#%@ event IF HE ISN'T GOING TO ANSWER??!! AAAAGGGHHH!!!!

10:00 a.m. No answer. Much muttering in the under-the-breath style taking place. Listening to the radio is entertaining, though. The race seems to be moving along smoothly.

10:42 a.m. They're done! I just got the call. Now all we have to do is find one another in a crowd of 95,000 people. Shouldn't be too difficult.

11:00 a.m. I had to spend a great deal of time on the bridge over the Canal, shouting instructions into my telephone. I probably sounded like a harpy, but the noise level was so intense from bands playing, amplified voices on microphones and the sheer decibility of 95,000 human beings crammed into a relatively small space, I had to yell to make myself heard.

My husband was a bit turned around and couldn't remember where the Courtyard Inn was from last year. So I was standing there with Aisling yelling, "FIND THE BRIDGE! DO YOU SEE THE BRIDGE? LOOK FOR THE BUILDING WITH THE DARK GREEN AWNING! DO YOU SEE AN AWNING?"



"YES! I SEE THE MARSH TRUCK." It was kind of hard to miss, what with the six foot ear of corn on the side, and a bunch of grapes as big as dinner plates.


"WHAT?" he yelled. I began to get a terrible Grandad-and-Mary Liz foresight of our golden years together, hollering back and forth about the location of our false teeth and spectacles.

I finally got my husband and Meelyn walking up the street toward us, although he resolutely refused to admit that he could see a bridge, much less walk over it, until he was halfway across. By that time, I was bellowing, "I CAN SEE YOU! I CAN SEE YOU! KEEP WALKING!" while I watched the two of them, their heads swiveling this way and that, trying to locate us. Aisling was jumping up and down and waving her arms, but still they couldn't see us, even though we had both purposely dressed in bright clothing. The two of them practically fell over us before my husband clicked off his phone and said, in a slightly accusatory tone, "Oh, THERE you are."

We were all really stoked at their excellent finishing time and went for a celebratory lunch at Hardee's. The rest of the day was spent cheerfully lolling about and watching the action, which my husband taped on WISH-TV 6. And can you believe it? WE SAW MEELYN AND MY HUSBAND! It was just too cool. The television camera captured them just as they were crossing the starting line, moving from a walk into a slow jog. They were right at the front of the screen. It was awesome.

They're already talking about next year, and possibly doing the half-marathon at the Indianapolis Marathon in October.


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