With the race app on my phone, bags packed, errands already run, I waited for my friends to head to the Indy Monumental half marathon race. Over the summer, Jane and I planned a trip for the race where we’d stay outside of the city at a less expensive hotel and use a parking app to reserve a space ahead of race day. We found two more friends to join on the trip.
Maureen and Kristen came to my house together after Jane came solo. Maureen was our driver and I was to navigate when needed. Kristen gave each of us a paper face mask and candy in a cute paper bag. The ride to Indy was filled with conversation and laughs. We found a parking spot in a garage near the race expo convention center. A passerby was snarky about our close parking space saying we must be special. I assure you, it was not a designated space for any specific person(s) and it was simply the first space available after entry.
The expo was packed. We got our race packets and then explored. We got separated at packet pickup. I found Jane and bought race merchandise before walking around the expo. I found the Run Like a Mother table and found a new hat that I’m excited about. Here it is:
We got in line for a photo as our meeting spot. We ran into our friend, Patrick, who recently moved to Northern Michigan and was running his first marathon in Indy. We had to get a photo with him as well.
After the expo, we set out to locate and check in to our hotel. We stopped for gas along the way and Maureen’s Subaru wouldn’t start after the fill up. Some young guys used their car to jump the car for us and we went to the Lawrence, Indiana Baymont Inn and Suites. While checking in, Jane was told that her requested room required additional cleaning from the previous guests and would not be available. As a substitute for a room with 2 queen beds: a suite with a king sized bed, a sofa sleeper, and a roll away bed. We agreed, unloaded our luggage, and went to dinner at Applebee’s. I felt like I should write in my blog that I wasn’t expecting much, but I enjoyed my food there.
We returned to the Baymont, and saw the Goodwill store across the parking lot was still open. We headed there for ‘throw away’ clothes for race morning. [Athletes wear clothes to the start that they don’t intend to wear the full duration of the race. In many races, those clothes are donated to a local charity after being collected.] I found an Adidas jacket I wanted to keep and a hooded zip front sweatshirt to use as my throw away. I had already gotten gloves for a dollar in case I didn’t need them for the whole race. I couldn’t find a jacket in my closet that I wanted to part with.
At the hotel, we started getting ready for race morning. The hotel delivered a roll away bed that we had to call for help to open. When we pulled the bed from the sofa, there were black spots all over it. They weren’t moving, but it was obvious it hadn’t been cleaned from a prior use. Maureen called the front desk and they gave us another suite upstairs. Kristen and I left Jane and Maureen and went to the other room to use that bed. I’m not hip on trying this particular hotel chain again. I don’t think a sleeper sofa and roll away bed were a comparable substitute for the room we’d reserved and we were still charged the same. Lesson learned. Kristen and I again unpacked our things and organized them for race morning. I set an alarm for 5:15 am.
I still managed to wake up before the alarm despite the time difference. Kristen had already gotten up. We got ready, packed all of our things, and headed to the hotel breakfast area. The hotel offered a continental breakfast, but I was hesitant to eat more than my usual Stinger waffle. I had yogurt cup from their offerings. We saw other people with race bibs heading out of the lobby of the hotel.
Maureen drove as I navigated to the parking garage where we had a reservation on the Spot Hero app. The parking was easy to find. There were other race people in the same garage and we had a semi warm place to hang out a little bit before going to the race.
Once out on the street, we encountered a woman who ran the Chicago Marathon in October and recommended that we try it sometime. We all chimed in that we ran it in 2017 and Kristen had also run it this year. We congratulated her then wished her luck. We stopped in at a hotel lobby to use the restroom. A hotel employee unlocked the door for us saying that they lock them to guest only use for events like the race so people don’t just wander in off the street to use theirs [ha, ha…oops].
As we brought our official [clear] gear check bags to the gear check, we stopped a few times to chat with people we knew. Like our Girl Boss friend, Lauri:
Checking the bags was easy and we had a little time, so we waited inside of some doors with a bunch of other race participants to stay warm and to take some group photos with our training group from Fleet Feet. We rushed to the start at about 7:45 for the 8 am race start. The four of us were in Wave 3.
I plan to talk about the race in another post because this one is going pretty long already.
After the race, Kristen and I were in different places in line for a free massage. The line turned into a nearly 2 hour commitment. I ran into Wendy and socialized with her for the last part of the wait. I had been chatting it up with a woman from Boston I’d met waiting. When Wendy went to take our selfie, her camera was rear facing and I suggested she take the photo anyway to confuse herself later. “Who is that person I took a picture of?” We got our selfie, though.
The long wait for the massage meant that Jane and Maureen had lunch without Kristen and I because we told them to go ahead instead of waiting. I was distraught when I’d realized how much of a waste of time waiting had been and that I’d missed out on trying out beer at Rock Bottom Brewing. I was already emotional, so tears welled up in my eyes. Kristen and I were encouraged by Maureen to go ahead and order food to eat there instead of having our orders wrapped for take out. I had lost my appetite, so I ordered a bowl of chicken tortilla soup and a beer. Both were really good. The chicken tortilla soup was warm and spicy, so I felt a little better after eating it.
The ride home was a good kind of uneventful. We chatted about things including our experiences at the race. We all shared similar plans to bathe and relax the rest of the evening. I’m pretty sure my dogs missed me more than my children, but I was only gone a day, so I’ll accept it. The dogs wanted to lay on me, but my kids wanted to go play with friends.
Have you ever had a bad experience with lodging for a race? I didn’t realize that gear check was so easy. That was my first experience with it and I was happy to have some dry gear available at the finish. Now I need to decide if I want to do this race the next 3 years to complete a series in the medals…
My race story will be tomorrow. I hope you enjoyed this and read my post tomorrow, too!