I’m returning home from a reunion weekend with my Strangers to Solemates team in Indianapolis. A weekend centered around catching up and beer drinking – with a little bit of running thrown in for good measure. I flew out early Thursday morning – my husband was still out of town returning home from a business trip later that evening so my “village” was kind enough to handle some logistics of getting the kids where they needed to be while both parents were out of state.
Paige and I landed about the same time, in different concourses of the airport, but we quickly found each other. Katie and her husband, Jerry, picked us up and we headed to our hotel downtown. Bonnie and another “adopted” Solemate, Nancy, had arrived a few hours beforehand and were already exploring Indianapolis. We checked in and settled into our room. The Indy Mini race expo opened on Thursday afternoon so we went over there to pick up our race packets and shop before they ran out of merchandise. This race is the largest half marathon in the country – expecting 35-45,000 runners. They had a large 2-part banner and volunteers handing out Sharpies so that the participants could sign and add a message about “Why I Run”. I had 300 things I could have put on there, but finally wrote one that is close to my heart – “I Run 4 Brennan”.
We had a few cocktails in the hotel then Katie and Jerry left to pick up Thomas and Cat. But Katie had been keeping another addition from us – Hilary also flew in from California! She had told us for months that she would not be able to make the trip due to her school schedule. It was a fun
surprise! I had been able to hang out with her at Ragnar
Trail in Arizona last fall but most everyone else had not seen her for over a year. We walked over all together to a Chipotle down the street for dinner, then returned to our hotel. We had 3 rooms at the Embassy Suites right next to each other and each room had a little sitting area where we hang out and visit. There was no need to go to a bar, we just loaded up the fridges with some drinks from the convenience store. So after dinner we knocked out a few beers.
The time zone change completely messed me, and my fellow west coast travelers, up. I slept in really late the next morning (which, in all fairness, was only 6:30 am in Arizona). After more lounging around in the hotel, we wandered around the downtown area some more and went back to the expo. John Hulsey had registered for the race but could not make the trip so he had provided his info for me to pick up his race packet so that I could give some of the swag to Brennan. I had sent some emails before the race hoping to get a medal for Brennan using one of the extra bibs we had from members of our group that were not running, but they told me they would have to mail it to me after the race since there was no “system” in place to distribute medals to those that did not cross the finish line.
Another member of our group I was really looking forward to meeting was Rik Akey, the co-captain of the original From Fat to Finish Line team, and his wife. They arrived right before dinner. I knew Rik was going to be really fun – he has provided a real unifying presence in the FFTFL online community and he has really spent this past year dedicated to helping others achieve their running and fitness goals. He did not disappoint.
Katie had spent a good amount of time organizing our large dinner at Buca di Beppo, which was conveniently about 20 yards out the front door of the hotel. Katie’s sister, sister-in-law and a group of their friends were also joining us. We had early dinner reservations – and we really appreciated that so we would have time to let our large carb-loaded pasta dinner digest. Sometimes large group meals can be a disaster but we had great food and quick service. We walked back to the hotel, and yet another “happy hour”, followed by a trip to the hotel hot tub to loosen up our legs for the race the next morning.
I tried to get to bed as early as I could, still fighting the time change issue. I also failed to mention I’m fighting a head cold that started the day before I left town. The cold wasn’t really developing into anything serious – it was mostly just annoying. I tried really hard to get some sleep, but that always proves to be challenging as pre-race jitters (and not being in my own bed) made that a bit more difficult.