Submitted by Rob Rueff
It’s hard to believe that the 10th CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon will be my fifth overall time racing 13.1 miles with my 14-year-old son, Ryan, since he began running with me in March of 2015.
Ryan was diagnosed with autism when he was 18-months old. During the winter of 2015, Ryan would wake us up in the morning with the thumping of his feet and his laughter by running around the first floor of our house.
At the urging of my wife, Wendy, I took him on a run. We noticed by running with me in the mornings, Ryan is more focused for the rest of the day. Since we homeschool, we can tell the difference between the days Ryan does or doesn’t run. On the days when he seems to lose his concentration, we have him stop his school work and we do some quick exercises to get him back on track.
Ryan spent December of last year and January of this year recovering from having a subungual osteochondroma removed from the big toe of his left foot. He returned to running the first week of February just in time to begin training for the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini Marathon.
When we ran the 5K of last year’s Monumental, it was already known that Ryan needed the surgery to remove the bone spur from his toe. We continued to train and even went for the shake-out run with United States Olympic marathoner Jared Ward the morning prior to the race. Ryan set a new Personal Record in the 5K with a time of 21:40.
Now, Ryan looks to break his PR in the half marathon for the second time this year with his debut in the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon. Even though we were conservative with his training this spring, Ryan beat his previous time in May at the Mini with a time of 1:48:12.
After our experience running the 5K last year we felt it was only natural for us to move up to the half marathon this year for Monumental. We began building our base mileage back up in June in preparation for our training. We are already over 30 miles a week including double-digit long runs as the real training part started at the beginning of this month. Ryan also started running on a newly formed homeschool-cross-country team on the southside of Indianapolis through the sports club Genesis United.
We are running Monumental because it gives us a chance to run through another part of Indianapolis that we haven’t previously experienced with other races in the city. It’s also a new opportunity for us to run with friends we have made throughout the Indianapolis running community in one of the nation’s premier running events.
For whatever reason, Ryan brings us running up a notch when he runs in Indianapolis. I see that being the case again when we enter our corral for the start of the Monumental Half Marathon.
Ryan says he has three numbers he wants to beat running this year’s Monumental Half Marathon. He’s not telling anyone – no even his Mom or me – what they are unless he tops one or all of them on Nov. 4.