WOW! Where to begin. The Indy Mini was A-MAZINGGGG! When Lindsey Hein told me about the race and how it went on the Indy500 race track- I was so excited to go out there & run it. Being a west coaster & a newer runner- I just didn’t know how iconic this race is (it’s been around for forever) & how huge it is (the half marathon had 35,000+ runners. INSANE!). I was reallyyy excited for the girls weekend aspect of it. I’ve loved Lindsey’s podcast for forever - she is just amazing at what she does and I was super excited to get to know her. And then my friend Janae (aka @hungryrunnergirl) was also going to be there. I have read Janae’s blog since 2012 (when I started running) & then when I went out to Utah for Big Cottonwood Marathon in 2014- I emailed her and was like CAN WE MEET. HAHAH. Fangirl people into being your friends is basically my life’s motto. Since then, we’ve kept in touch and she is just such an amazing person - I was just so excited to get to spend a weekend with her. And then the AMAZING Tina Muir said she would come up for the weekend as well. I have been listening to Tina for SO many years & have grown so much as a runner from all the content she has put out there. She was JUST as incredible in person. And then my friend Charlie was there too- which is so fun- because we had the chance to spend a week together last summer in Mexico. For where I am in my life right now - holding onto joy in the middle of healing up- I felt like a weekend with some amazing girls would be JUST what my heart needed. And it SO was.
I was coming back from Hawaii to Indy, basically- which was a 6 hour time shift.. in the wrong direction. Haha. While waiting for my flight- I was kinda a chatty Cathy. There was a couple opposite me that was freaking out about a purse being stolen- so I told them I would watch their stuff while they went to look. Then they ended up being fine and the purse was just on the ground next to their sweater. HA. This Buddhist monk heard me talking to them, so then he got in line next to me to chat me up too. Ha. He asked me what I was doing- and I told him that I was going to Indy to run a race. And he said- wow- that’s cool- I’m giving a talk to runners next month about meditation. But isn’t running already inherently meditation. I’m like- it is- but believe me- us runners need more of it/all the help we can get. I said how I had to learn how to take back control of my thoughts while running instead of drowning in the emotions that could sabotage my running. He said to me- YOUR LIFE IS LIVED IN YOUR THOUGHTS. Wow. What a simple & profound way to look at it. All that we have is our thoughts & the lens that we are perceiving our lives. We choose the lens. Our life is lived in the space between our ears. We GET to choose how we live this life by the thoughts we choose. It was such a great conversation with him- and just set the tone for the trip. I get to choose the life I live by how I think & perceive it.
So we got in Thursday night- and unfortunatelyyyyy sleep evaded me since I was on a time zone 6 hours earlier. I didn’t get to bed until 3 am. HA. Luckily I could sleep in the next morning and then we were off to the expo for the afternoon. The expo was amazing. We got to meet so many incredible runners. People I’ve never met & have maybe never commented on my social media- that said such incredibly kind & encouraging things to me. It just put faces to the wonderful community I’m apart of. Made me just so grateful to be in this community.
Someone even came up to me and said- are you @signedwithheart’s sister. HAHAHA. SO hysterical that at the meet & greet that they had for us at a running event- someone came up and knew me just as Ashley’s sister. How incredible is that. My lil sis is doing AMAZING things.
So for the race- I ended up doing the 5k instead of the Half. I thought it would be smarter healthwise. But the MAJOR bummer is that the 5k didn’t go to the Indy 500 - and I had REALLY been looking forward to that. When I mentioned it to my sweet friend Martha- her uncle was there with her… and he was the PRESIDENT OF THE SPEEDWAY. How amazing is that?! He called and got me a police escort after the 5k so that I could go and cheer on my friends and see the Indy500. Dream come true!
So the next morning-it was sprinkling and kinda chilly when I came outside. I warmed up with Charlie a whopping half mile and NO strides (we kinda got to the start late). But I just had a very chill attitude towards it all since I was just going out there to have fun. I was just SOOO excited to run “fast!” We started out and my legs knew the 5k pace- but I backed them down to 6:50’s because I’m totally out of shape and I didn’t need to DIE at 6:10 pace. HA. Is someone wising up?!
I had so much fun the whole time. I’ve missed running hard & fast & it was just wonderful to be at a race. Race environments are my favorite & truly like dessert. Usually for hard work. But in this case, it was like a treat I had in the middle of this tough time with my health.
I ran a 21 minute 5k - pretty far off my 19:30 PR of last year… but I had joy the whole time. Truly. I know this isn’t what I’m capable of. If my life is lived in my thoughts- I get to choose how I feel about this. I chose gratitude & joy for GETTING to run fast. I’ve been SO (needlessly) upset on PR days- that it would make more sense that I would be upset running a time slower than I’ve run in years- but I wasn’t. I saw the day for what it was & was JUST grateful to be out there running.
So right after the race- I ran up to my room, bundled up (because by now it was POURING) and ran down to the police officer Chris who escorted me to the Indy500. GAH. That was REALLY exciting.
I got down to the racetrack JUST IN TIME to see Janae & Tina kissing the bricks (what pretty much EVERYONE does when they get to the bricks- it’s what the winners of the Indy500 do too). And then I saw Charlie, Lindsey & Glenn, & Martha. I was on a TOTAL high getting to cheer for everyone. I think I stayed out there and cheered for an hour & a half. HA. So I had a plan to get TO the Indy500 but no plan for how I was going to get back. HA. I asked the lady who I was with- soooo is there a plan to get me back?? Haha. You can’t just call an Uber because we are DEEP into the compound of the speedway and it was pouring rain. She got a news producer to take me back & off we went back to town. HA.
We spent the afternoon at a fun post-race celebration at the Athletic Annex (owned by the LEGENDARY Bob Kennedy). And then went to dinner with the girls. Everything about the weekend was perfect. Getting to hang out with these amazing girls was so good for the heart. Being in a race environment with the FRIENDLIEST people was so fun and reminded me why this community is the absolute best. Choosing how I would perceive a race when I’m not fit made all the difference in my weekend.
INDY- I WILL BE BACK TO RUN YOU. It was such a fun & incredible weekend. And I LOVED Indianapolis- such a fun city with a warm & kind running community.
PS you can sign up for 2020 INDYMINI at https://www.indymini.com/p/mini-marathon/registration - registration opens up in September- I hope to be back next year & maybe go after a new half PR there. Fingers crossed. Who wants to meet me out there??!?
Thank you Lindsey for everything you did to make this weekend amazing & for giving me the chance to come out and see all the magic that is the Indy Mini! If y’all have not subscribed to her podcast - I’ll Have Another with Lindsey Hein- do yourself a favor and check it out. I actually recorded an episode with her a month or so ago (it’s kinda a summary of my life/running + a crazy travel story that my family doesn’t even know. Haha)- and she has interviews with some AMAZING people -like Jordan Hasay, Kara Goucher & Sara Hall to name a couple of my speedy girl crushes
Anyways- if you made it this far- THANKS for reading! Have the best day!