For the past 25 years, the Indy Mini has been one of the largest half marathons in the country. It’s certainly Indianapolis’ premier road race and has topped multiple “Best Of” lists for more than two decades.
I have run the Mini three times (2011, 2012 and 2013) and had the great honor of volunteering at a finish line water station last year. This year I am thrilled to be running it again, having signed up for the Mega Mini Challenge less than a week after the 2015 race. My Mini training program started Monday. As the wind chill dipped below zero more mornings than not this week, and I forced myself out from under my flannel sheets in the wee hours of the morning, I asked myself “Why DO I keep coming back to this race each year?”
For Perspective. The 2011 Mini was my first half marathon. That Mini was supposed to be a “one and done” thing so I could cross half marathon off my 30-Crisis Bucket List … but that was 5 years ago. Since then, I have completed 13 half marathons and numerous shorter distance races. Not bad for a girl who had never run in an organized event of any kind until about 9 months before that first half.
Sometimes, I look back on those first finish line pictures and wonder how that girl, who used to roll her eyes at anyone who muttered the words “exercise” and “run” in the same sentence, managed to even cross the finish line. Let alone stand up, walk or smile when it was over. For me, this race signifies growth and perseverance.
For Family. Not to be outdone (especially after I spent several months talking about my next Mini Marathon adventure), I convinced my brother to sign up too! Being able to share in his first half marathon was pretty awesome. Though we’re 2 hours apart, I’ve been fortunate to run 4 half marathons with him while our parents cheer us on from the start/finish lines! (When I say “run with him” I mean we started in the same corral and he patiently waited for me to finish 15-20 minutes later.)
For Friendships. I trained for my first Mini on my own, but when I decided to continue running, I knew I wanted (no, needed) to join a training group because I knew there was SO MUCH I didn’t know about nutrition, cross training, injury prevention and gear. What I didn’t know is how much the accountability would change my once-sporadic training schedule … and how irreplaceably important the friendships formed with the girls in that training group would become.
Even last year, when I wasn’t sure my schedule would allow me to run, I knew I still wanted to be involved. When presented with the opportunity to volunteer at an aid station, I jumped at the chance!
So whether it’s your 1st or your 40th … whether you’re walking or running … Don’t let the #IndyMini pass you by!