Joe Ely has a variety of running related thoughts and race recaps on his blog "Run With Perseverance", you can visit his blog here.
26.2 miles, 3:59:07, 9:08/mile. Continuous run, walk through water stops.
I finished the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 4 in 3:59:07. In so doing, I also qualified for the 2019 Boston Marathon. I can't believe this really happened. So much came together for one special race day. Here's the background and the day's story.
As best I can recall, this crazy idea first hit me while flying to the 2009 Portland Marathon...could I really qualify for and run the Boston Marathon? Since then, eight years now, I've pondered this, the dream of many marathoners, sometimes seriously, sometimes in resignation.
I got more serious about a BQ after running a four hour marathon for the first time ever at the 2015 edition of the Monumental Marathon. That success triggered thinking I could shave more time off 26.2 and get the BQ. I stated this goal on this blog in early 2016, hoping to BQ before September 2016 and run Boston in 2017. Didn't happen, though I got within 5 minutes of the required 3:55 twice. I tried again at Chicago 2016, which would have qualified me for Boston 2018, only to come up 8 minutes short and that on a perfect day to run on a dead flat course. I was bummed...could I ever get quick enough to BQ??
Two nights after Chicago, an idea hit me as I tried to fall asleep: When do I get old enough that I'd get the next bump in qualifying time? I got up, checked Boston's website, made a time line and eureka...Boston's qualifying time is based on one's age on the day Boston runs. On April 15, 2019, I'll be 65 and that means my qualifying time for that race would be 4:10, not 3:55. Starting in late September, 2017, the qualifying window opened...so, could I try to run another 4 hour marathon? Thus, the latest plan was hatched a year ago.
Central to that training effort was the quest to figure out how to hold speed through the entire 26.2 miles and avoid the deep pace fade in the final 6-8 miles that plagues most marathoners. Looking at a lot of my race experience, it was evident that I did best when running a very even pace, not banking speed. Logically, this would be a role a race pacer might provide. I had a hint of that benefit in the 2015 Monumental Marathon. But I needed more experience. So, I looked for opportunities to practice this pattern.
My first try for a BQ this fall was on September 23 at the Grand Lake Marathon in Ohio. They had a four-hour pacer, I fell in with him and it worked great through mile 15. But then the 95F temperatures took a toll. I bonked and so did the pacer. It didn't happen that day.
Then, three weeks before Monumental, I ran the Boilermaker Half Marathon, a big race only 10 minutes from my house. They had pace groups too, so I fell in with the 2 hour pacer to practice this pattern. It worked perfectly, as you can see me crossing the finish line here with Trena, an excellent pacer.
My time for that half marathon was 1:59:23 and I felt totally relaxed and fresh at the finish, despite it being a warm day. I felt more confident about the plan than ever and ran 17 miles the next day for my last long run before Monumental. And it was fun to finish the Boilermaker HM with several work colleagues.
Brooke, Michelle, Steven and I finished Monumental as well...first-rate engineers and scientists and good people, all.
Life goes on, of course; I had to get the Chicago Cubs through the baseball playoffs this fall. Not quite as successful as 2016 but we did our best, with our three oldest grandchildren sporting plenty of Cub stuff for a watching party vs the Dodgers. Duty calls.
Race week finally arrived and a pal sent me this cartoon...the perfect description of the lead-in to an important race.
Earlier in the week, the forecast had much rain falling on race day. But, that gradually slid off and by Friday, it was apparent we were going to have very favorable weather. That helped.
I've run this marathon 5 times before, so know the course and logistics well, which really helped. Up early and drove to Indy with long time running buddy, Jon, my son David (father of the kids above) and new running pal Sean. Jon scored a great parking place and we got to the designated warm up room in the Indy Convention Center nearly 2 hours before the gun. I met up with a team from our local running store...good to see them.
Monumental is now a big race in its tenth year, with over 19,000 runners in all distances. Squeezing this many people onto one narrow city street in front of the Indiana State Capitol Building is an adventure in shoe-horning. So, David and I headed to the starting grid around 6:40 and it was a good thing. I needed to make sure I found the 4 hour pacer and got into the same Wave with him. It worked and I settled in to await the many speeches before we started just past 8:00. The weather was nearly perfect, with the start temp of 45F, cloudy skies, and the finish temp of 50F. A bit of wind, but not bad, coming from the southeast. Only a few minutes of a very light mist, so it was terrific.
In the grid, I saw running pal Michelle (not work colleague Michelle), who also wanted to go with the 4 hour pacer. She and I have run several events together as we have about the same pace and many similar interests. It was fun to talk with her prerace and run together through the first eight miles. She ultimately pulled away from the pace group and set a PR at 3:54.
My plan was to set up with the 4:00 hour pacer from the start and stay with him. Amazingly, that's exactly how it turned out. He did a perfect job...we just hit mile after mile at 9:07 to 9:10. My final results showed the first half in 1:59:03 (9:06/mile pace) and the second half in 2:00:05 ( 9:10/mile pace). Just 58 seconds off a perfectly even split over 26.2 miles. I've never done a full marathon with a pace group, though I've observed pace groups for years. Predictably, there were about 40 people with our group over the first half of the race. By mile 16, the group started to thin. By mile 23, there was the pacer, me and one other guy.
By and large, the race simply became running and staying with Tim. It contained elements I've seen many times before. I hit a low spot around mile 11, which didn't surprise me, as I often hit a low spot around 90 minutes or so into any distance race. I knew to just persevere and work through it and that took care of it. I was then fine and felt very good at the halfway mark. AND I knew this was not significant...we had a long way to go.
My real interest was to see what happened at mile 16 and beyond. This is where I often fade (as do a lot of people) and I knew all the landmarks where I had faded in this event previously. Yet, it went well; Mile 16 rolled by fine, 17 was good, 18 happened quickly (the only hill on the course and I motored up it), 19 was a long, lonely stretch and went well, mile 20 came at just over three hours on the clock. I still felt fine. Man, I say to myself, might this be the day?? This was the first time I allowed myself to gently anticipate getting the BQ. I didn't want to be disappointed again.
At a water stop just past 20, a very enthusiastic local running group was cheering us on and I had a big smile to see chalk letters on the pavement saying "Boston in 2019!!" Yeah, that's what I'm shooting for! On we went, and went through mile 21, still OK. Where was The Wall? In those rare, good marathons, I usually find the wall somewhere between 16 and 21 and if it didn't show by then, it usually didn't show. Might that be the case today?
Just past mile 21, this race got serious. That Sneaky Wall, the scourge of Marathoners, had been laughing at me, hiding in the weeds, wanting to catch me unawares. My stomach churning was the first clue but, mostly, the turnover really started to flag. I had been close to the pacer, had my eyes locked on his bright orange shirt all day but for the first time I just was not hanging with him as easily as I had. I was working hard and my breathing picked up. The mental battle set in...what do I do? It hurt and I was at a low ebb.
Two things helped. First, I'm an engineer and thus a linear thinker. So, I had a pace chart in my pocket with mile splits to account for a slowing final 7 miles. Doing the math (I wasn't so discouraged I couldn't do the math...see engineer statement above), I realized I was still on track for the BQ...the pace hadn't slowed that much. On my wrist on my Garmin, I had a secondary screen I had scrolled to which told me my aggregate pace for the entire race was still at 9:06/mile. I needed 9:08 to go sub 4 and and had a lot of miles now at that pace and better. Plus, even if I came in at 4:07, I'd still likely get into Boston. Armed with that data and experience of running a lot of marathons, logic followed, saying to myself "Joe, dude, you have never been this close to a BQ performance. You will never get a better day on which to run. You have only 5 miles to go. Work through this." I got my head around the situation, even if my legs had not yet received the memo.
At the same time, Tim the Pacer dialed back his pace just a tick. This was the first time I pulled even with him all day...I had lagged behind earlier, as I didn't want to run in the crowd surrounding him. No crowd now. He commented we were "a bit quick" and he backed off just a bit. By this time, we pulled through the mile 23 post and I seemed to have worked through the low point. I felt better and had weathered the Mocking Voice of the Wall.
5K to go and at this point I felt OK even though fatigue was setting in. We made the right turn off of Fall Creek and onto Meridian Street, heading straight back downtown, which is a psychologically positive point on the course. Knowing where I was, I began allocating what energy remained to get me to, but not beyond, the finish line at this same pace. I hung next to Tim, told him I didn't want to talk in order to preserve oxygen and he was fine with that. We just ran. Our pace stayed steady and even picked up a bit, as we took only 8:52 between mile 24 and 25.
Originally, in my dream scenario for this race, I was going to bid a fond farewell to the pacer at the mile 25 marker and "hammer" the final 1.2 miles. In reality, with all my numbers, I realized a) all I needed was a sub 4 and b) I had no "extra gear" to go into anyway. I was just hanging on. So I stayed with Tim, feeling comfortable, through all but the final turn.
With a quarter mile to go, I saw a coworker who has functioned as a coach to me the last three years...Mike ran cross country at U of Toledo and ran Boston himself a year ago. He's both encouraged me and offered "tough love" when needed on my BQ training and strategy. He had been tracking me after he finished his 3:25 marathon and came out to find me. He knew I was in striking distance of a BQ. Mike's shout, high five and encouragement at that point was what I needed. I pulled ahead of Tim and powered with what I had left to the finish line. Man, that last 0.2 took forever, but it was awesome to go down the final 50m, knowing I had a sub 4 marathon in the bag. Jon snapped several photos as I wrapped it up.
I crossed the finish line, and I was done. I mean DONE. Stick a fork in the guy. Finished. I allocated that effort exactly. And there was nothing left in the tank. Zero. I collected myself enough to get this photo with Tim and express my deepest appreciation to him.
And, in my happy exhaustion, I kept looking at my watch, checking if it was really true. I did the math, even then...a buffer of nearly 11 minutes under my BQ time requirement of 4:10...that meant I'd almost assuredly get in. Amazing.
I then gimped to lean on a metal barrier at the edge of the finish corral and tried to collect myself. Mike got there shortly, gave me a big hug and we basked in the moment. And, as a true friend and coach, he watched as I silently smiled and said "Boston" several times. It was special. I called my wife and what a joy that was. She had followed along the final 5 miles on line via Garmin Connect. She was so excited and supportive. That was huge and she was the one person I wanted to hear more than anyone.
I gradually came back to the land of the living, got my medal and shuffled more than walked...it took me a solid 15-20 minutes just to get my act together to get out of the finish area. I was that toast. But then I bounced back, saw Jon, who had run the HM and was as happy about my BQ as I was. (note to baseball fans...zoom in on my bib here and you'll see "GO CUBS GO"... did I mention I'm a fan of the Northsiders??)
Ingesting chocolate milk, Gatorade and a cold piece of cheese pizza all helped accelerate the recovery. I saw my son David, who unfortunately had to drop out of the marathon at the halfway mark with a bum knee. Too bad for him but he was excited for me.
I saw the guys from our local running store in the food tent too...we had a wonderful time of celebrating. Scott, to my right in this photo, has run Boston twice and he'll be a huge help to me as I plan logistics 18 months from now.
Got my drop bag, changed into some dry clothes and a warm jacket and we headed home. What a morning.
Later, I downloaded my pace chart for the full race.
The general evenness of the pace is pleasing to me. The short spikes in pace are the water stops along the way, the only walking I did all day. Tim the pacer did a terrific job and delivered on the promise of a four hour marathon.
I was also pleased with the final race stats. I was 1953 of 4667 overall finishers. Is this placement a mere coincidence with the fact I was born in 1953 and my particular age was central to the nature of my finish? Hmmmmm. Inquiring minds will want to know. I placed 34th of 104 men age 60-64 and 1,340th of all 2,635 men who finished. I'm very pleased with these results.
Nine years of effort all came together for this race. I still can't quite comprehend I qualified for Boston. This is a pivot point in my running and I'm thrilled to now look to the next goals and plans.
I feel blessed to be able to run and humbled and grateful to be in this place.
And very grateful God has given me the grace to persevere.
Thanks for listening.
At the beginning of the year, I weighed 253.3 pounds (I'm 6'3")... way overweight. I began to change my diet and eating habits and began running. At a service at church, the pastor was speaking about physical well-being and challenged the church to become more active. It was at that time that he encouraged folks to join him and run the Marathon for clean water in Africa through World Vision. I decided to make it happen. I signed up for the half and began training. Summertime was tough and I didn't get all the runs in that I should have, but I trained and trained, each long run becoming the longest I'd ever ran at one time.
There were several other changes taking place in my life this year - a new job being one of the biggest. Training and running became a metaphor for the transformation taking place mentally, physically, and emotionally within me. In fact, I've called this my year of reinvention.
As I ran the half, there were some thing going through my mind that were especially significant regarding further growth I needed to make in my life and mind, and the race was the moment I'd been building up to in my mind as the sort-of major event that would kick off that growth. Crossing the finish line - running, no less - was a huge success for me. What a sense of accomplishment and pride.
As of this morning, I'm down 69 pounds since January. I now weight 184.4 pounds! I've gone from a tight size 38 pants to a very comfortable 34 (haven't worn that size in at least a dozen years or more). I'm making plans to join a gym and put some muscle on this body and continue the reinvention that running helped create.
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Editor's Note: Dave Tintelnot is planning to run his first marathon at the 2018 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon - we plan to follow his running journey throughout the training season!
Running had always been something I wanted to try, wanted to be able to do, wanted to succeed at. A 5K, half marathon, full marathon…. something I thought about, but never really felt I could achieve. I have always been a big guy, active at times, but nothing consistent. Running would take dedication, and up until last year, I wasn’t ready to give it.
In order for me to get really committed, I knew I had to go big, and take a giant leap. So in November of 2016, I announced at dinner with my leadership team, which included the CEO, that I was going to run a half marathon in 2017. Mind you, I had NEVER run in my life - but without a goal, and a lofty one at that, I’m not sure I would have done it. I just couldn’t look like a fool in front of the CEO! This guy had competed in American Ninja Warrior and done an IronMan! Now, my co-workers around the table all looked at me as if I had just said the craziest thing they had ever heard. There was no turning back.
By January, I was ready to actually put my feet to pavement. It was time for me to start taking time for myself, and to work on my health. As I started, I found it gave me clarity. My job is very stressful and I was always prioritizing everyone else. I also wanted to be an inspiration for the employees at the plant. I started on January 23, 2017 and could only run 2 minutes before stopping. My goal was to run the Mini Marathon. It took me a few weeks of struggling before I realized I had become a running addict!
I came to realize that running to me is my sanity. I love going for a long run and leaving the stress of the week on the trail I can clear my head, get away from my phone, and find the focus, and calm that helps me throughout the rest of my week.
My training quickly progressed from 3 to 6 to 10 miles in preparation for my first half marathon. I was running several times a week, and was signing up for events whenever I could. I ended up completing 4 half marathons in 2017 and logged over 440 miles for the year.
My last half marathon of 2017 was the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon. It was my favorite of the year and I ended up getting a PR. One thing I loved about this race is discovering the neighborhoods and parts of the city I did not know existed. Running the last section of the course, coming into all the screaming crowd was a high I didn’t know existed. I knew after completing the Monumental that I was going to run my first full marathon in 2018. To me, status quo is boring. I love raising the bar so the next logical challenge was running a full marathon. I am scared and excited about the challenge of training and completing a marathon.
Editor's Note: Stephanie Ingram received a cardiac pacemaker in April of 2017. The following was written upon completion of the 2017 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon.
“Trust your pacemaker. Trust your pacemaker. Trust your pacemaker." I was so petrified this morning!!! As I stood in the starting corral I could hardly catch my breath. I had flashbacks of other times I have been running, bad runs that I passed out in, and that my chest and head hurt so bad during them. I thought about all the times that a run ended with me on the ground- unconscious. Waking up with dirt or mud or scratches or bruises or blood or throw up (Eww, you're welcome) on me. Fear of failure was at its prime this morning!! What in the world am I doing here?! Is 6 months out too soon?!
I looked around and saw strong, fit, prepared, confident runners.... And then there's frumpy me, and all the sudden I felt foolish in my black shirt with a heart and pacemaker on the front and the word PACEMAKER on the back. It was time to run but I was sure that my legs were glued to the ground.
The first mile was torture (and I thought about faking my own death) but then realized I couldn't because my watch would show a beating heart.... I got to the 1 mile mark and ached to see the time on my watch. Slow!!!!!! I stopped, cried, and prayed.
Then I remembered my why. I wasn't there to compete with these people, I wasn't there to impress anyone, I definitely was not there to be unhappy about my body. I immediately switched my Garmin so that the screen that I saw only showed my heart rate. And, I started to run again.....Deep breath in, "trust your pacemaker", deep breath out, "trust your pacemaker".
Then my mind went still and quiet, and my legs took over, each delicious mile slipped by and I took the time to look around me at my fellow runners and look up at that sky that I have grown to adore. And Every time I looked down at my watch I had the physical proof that my battery powered heart was still working. Beat by beat I watched and step by step that battery and I got closer to the finish line. This old but new again heart- Still supporting me in this old but new again love of mine.
By the end of these endearing 13.1 miles, my mantra had changed though... Trust the Peacemaker. Trust the Peacemaker. The God who weeps with us, He will always pace us perfectly!”
This was my first marathon. I have been running for 3 years and decided a year ago that it was time to move up from the half marathon to the full. I trained with my Sole Sister (and 20 year younger) best friend Kala. We do not have a running coach. We do not belong to a running club. We do ask other runners a lot of questions, rely on advice from our chiropractor, and use goggle. After our last half marathon in September 2017, we decided to complete our marathon training running side by side.
Through the weeks that followed, we logged a lot of miles, starting earlier and earlier on Saturday mornings. There is nothing like a 15-20 mile run that starts in the dark, continues through the sunrise, and ends refreshed and ready to take on the day. We developed a check system to make sure our bodies and minds were still working. When race day came, there was still a little doubt if we would actually finish this. Our longest run was 21 miles, and the goal on race day was just to finish,regardless of the time.
Race day started with our usual pre-race routine: heat pad, light breakfast, double checking the weather forecast, changing our minds on what to wear. When we started the race, there were plenty of butterflies. By mile 5 we had worked our way through traffic and found our grove. I am not sure who had the biggest smile. We knew this was our day.
When we passed the split for the half and full - it was an easy choice to bear right. I know we screamed with excitement when we crossed that border. When we arrived at the State Fair, I was real confused on where we were. For some reason, the map in my head, did not have me arriving at the fair grounds in the same way as the course. Kala stopped me in front of the 38th St sign to prove to me that we were on 38th St. At the 13 mile marker, my grown kids meet us with supplies. Their race signs were getting lots of comments. It was so great to see them and to get a warm hug. It was at this point that I realized how fast we had ran the half - it was actually the fastest half I had ever ran (where is a PR bell when you need one). But on we go, as there are still more miles to run.
On we go through the neighborhoods. The spectators were great. There were young kids searching for High 5’s, riding their bikes on the sidewalks. Home owners were out tailgating, sharing jello shots, bloody-mary’s and beer with runners. On we go, smiles on our faces, just enjoying the run, scenery and spectators. When we arrived between mile 17-18 at Butler, we had a surprise as some of our co-workers showed up to cheer us on. This was a great feeling as they traveled over two hours to get here. After a short hello, we continued on to the IMA.
It was here that I hit the wall. I had given up my jacket at mile 13, and the temperature had started to drop. Kala was instrumental in keeping my head in the game. A few weeks ago, we had started a mantra, 5-4-3-2-1. Whenever we hit a hard place and we need to dig in, we kick it off with a count down of 5-4-3-2-1. From each mile here on out, we start it with 5-4-3-2-1. We continued to check our body and our mind - working out the negativity, concentrating on keeping warm, keeping the movement, and keeping our can do minds on the right track.
At mile 20 there was a large group that had some great signs. They were full of spirit. I remember there was a policeman there. We thanked him for being there as we do all police officers. He said thank you back, and told us we were doing great. I looked at him and said,”can you believe I am not dead yet?” He smiled and said, “Ma’am, you are amazing, you can do this.”
We keep running as the temps appear to drop. We see some runners at aide stations trying to warm up. I know some of them were not able to finish. Then we turn right onto Meridian Street. This long stretch felt like it was going to the south pole. Kala knows that I mentally struggle with long straight stretches. She turned and looked at me and said, “we got this. We are almost there.” We keep going, my smile started to come back.
At mile 25 there was another police officer. He was AMAZING. He was cheering us on, stating that we had 1.2 miles to go, there was a group of spectators ahead that wants to see runners, so we better dig in, pick it up , and make them happy. I wish I knew who he was, because I owe him a huge hug. We start to pick up our pace. Our heads were held high, huge smiles, and maybe a tear or two running down our checks.
Close to mile 26 I remember looking at Kala and saying, that I did not want to go dancing that night. She asked if we could still go out for tater tots, I said yes. The two runners behind us just chuckled. I think we had entertained them for the last 5 miles with our antics and conversation. When we made it to 26, Kala’s family was there cheering like crazy. It was so good to see them. When we had tenth left to go, I saw my kids. I remember looking at them and pointing to the finish line. They smiled and told me to run. Kala grabbed my hand and we crossed the finish line hand in hand with smiles on our faces.
I know this is not an amazing story to most. We are not elite runners and do not plan to be. For us, this was about the amazing journey. A story of two girls that wanted to see if they could run a marathon. Another page in our story book.
In November 2006 I was diagnosed with Head & Neck cancer. I had a modified radical neck dissection surgery in December 2006 to remove the tumor, 25 lymph nodes out of my neck, and my right tonsil. Because I was an unknown primary my surgeon recommended that I undergo radiation and a antibody treatment; which I commenced in January 2007. About half way through the 30 radiation treatments I was prescribed a fentanyl pain patch. This patched leaked too much fentanyl into my system and I began to throw up the entire next day. The following night, February 17, 2007, I threw up during my sleep and aspirated into my lungs. This is never a good thing. My wife found me nearly dead in bed the next morning; whereby the EMT's were called in and took me to Community North hospital. To make a long story short I nearly died in the ER, finally was stabilized and was in the ICU for the next 11 days, put on a respirator for the first 4 of those days, and on dialysis for 30 days.
I had incurred what is called hypoxia, which is a lack of oxygen to the brain, which caused a pretty serious brain injury; limiting my speech and literally changing me from an extrovert to an introvert. After being in Community North for 30 days, I was transferred to the brain injury unit at Community East, where I began pretty intense speech, occupational and physical therapy. After 30 more days in the Community East brain injury rehab unit I had advanced enough that I was eligible for outpatient rehab. I spent the next 90 days in the Hook outpatient rehab facility, undergoing intense speech, occupational, and physical therapy, 8 hours a day, five days a week.
When I entered the outpatient rehab center I underwent various cognitive and other type of testing; my family was told that the results were not promising and that it was likely that I would never be able to return to my commercial real estate banking job; as well, I would likely never be able to drive myself again. However, through hard work and determination I passed both the Hook Rehabilitation center drivers test, but past the Indiana State drivers test. As well, I returned to my commercial banking position shortly thereafter . In May 2014 I walked across the stage at Anderson University to receive my MBA certificate. I was back!
Then, in 2011 I was in a car accident where I had to be cut out of the vehicle by rescue workers, and transported to a level one hospital (St. Vincent's - 86th Street). I had broken my right leg, and my femur was push through my hip socket; as well, seriously messed up my right ankle to the point where I still can not dorsiflex that foot. When I woke up in the hospital I had an external fixator connected to my right leg. It was there to hold my leg and hip in place until the swelling went down, so that they could operate. During the operation the Orthoindy surgeon put me back together using 9 screws and two metal strips in my lower leg, just below my knee, and the same on my hip socket. I was "non-weight baring" for the next 3 months, on a walker for the following 2 months and walked with a cane for the next month. Long story short, when my surgeon was taking the staples out of my leg and hip I asked him if I would ever run again; his answer was "NO"; not likely at all!
So, when Team World Vision came to my church in June 2017 and presented the opportunity to bring clean water to children in Africa by running a 1/2 marathon, I thought I would give it a try. I hadn't run seriously since I graduated from college in 1984. So I was literally a couch to half marathon in training. Starting July 3, 2017, using the work-out schedule provided by Team World Vision, I began to find my stride. After 4 months of training, which included approximately 600+- miles, I accomplished my 13.1 mile run on November 4th 2017. By the way, I raised $1,775 dollars that will provide 36 children with clean water for the rest of their lives. There were 800+ Team World Vision participants in the 2017 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental race; raising more than $630,000 dollars for clean water; bringing it to approximately 12,600 African children.
That is my story.
My name is Roger Gammon. I am 58 years old and this years' CNO Financial Indianapolis Half Marathon will be extra special to me this year based on a series of events that occurred last year.
On 10-31-16, my mother passed away which, to say the least, was a low moment in my life. In Honor of my Mother, I was determined to dedicate running the 2016 CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. While running I surprisingly collapsed just before the 2-mile mark tearing three of my four hamstrings which required me to walk with crutches for the next two months.
If falling down and getting injured wasn't discouraging enough a month later on 12-13-16 I found out that I had Stage 4 Cancer which, with everything else going on, made the Christmas Season a low moment for my entire family.
During March 2017, thanks to my family, friends and the Good Lord I finished my cancer treatments.
Since my hamstring tears were all level-three tears and with my depleted body from the cancer treatments I was so weak in April 2017 I started walking a half mile a day to build my strength and stamina, with one goal: to finish the CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Half Marathon for Momma even though it's a year old promise.
Even though my time this year will not be comparable to previous years (I ran a 1:30 at the Monumental in 2014 When I was 55 1/2 years old) the fact that the Good Lord gave me more time to spend with those I love and to fulfill my promise to finish this year's half marathon in honor of my mother is overwhelming to say the least.
I am running better each week and slowly building up my base even though my right leg is not fully healed.
Last week I was told that my CT Cancer Test reflected that there is no sign of cancer anywhere in my body.
I am living proof that the best man for a job is a woman because my mom was one the person who taught me to never quit or to give up on my dreams, as well as Jennifer Stewart a Nurse Practitioner who first observed the tumor in my throat and kept on me to see a specialist to test the tumor which 100% saved my life. I am also alive because Doctor Sarah Ali who was over my chemotherapy treatments treated me like I was her own brother verses a patient, as she helped me get through some rough times when I was ready to quit my cancer treatments.
Doctor Garrett who was over the radiation treatments and Doctor Fang who surgically removed my malignant tumor were also a great reason I survived cancer to race again.
It is great to be alive.
Even though I competed in running events in High School and College this year's CNO Financial Indianapolis Half Marathon will be truly a Monumental Day to me as well as the most meaningful race of my life which I will be running in honor of my mother.
Failure will not be an option. Even though this year will not be a record time I am so thankful to the Lord and those caring Physicians who pieced me back together to live to see another day. My friends, I will return better than before but for now I am just thankful to race another race at the Monumental and to live to see another day.
Sincerely Roger Gammon
Back on My Feet is excited to participate in this year’s CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon; for Back on My Feet, this will be the organization’s seventh consecutive year participating in the full marathon, half marathon and 5K races.
Back on My Feet is a national nonprofit organization which combats homelessness through the power of running, community support and essential employment and housing resources. Back on My Feet has been serving the Indianapolis community since 2011.
In addition to being the 10th anniversary for the Monumental, this year’s marathon race will be particularly special for one member of Back on My Feet (BoMF.) Meet Wes; he has been involved with BoMF Indy since December 2016. Wes was living in Pathway to Recovery, which is provides safe, affordable, substance-free housing for more than 94 homeless men, women, and families. He sought salvation at Pathway to Recovery after many years of living on the streets, battling addiction.
Since joining BoMF, Wes has fallen in love with running.
“BoMF introduced me to running,” Wes said. “I think I always loved running but BoMF helped me find my love for it. I love to run!”
Wes has participated in numerous races around Indy, including two half-marathons; this Fall’s Monumental will be his first full marathon distance.
“I recently completed my first 18-mile training run and it blows my mind that I still have 8 more miles to go when racing a marathon,” Wes reflected. “Overall, [my training] has been going very well and I have been getting so much love and support from so many different people. Everyone is so excited for me and I have found something that I can look forward to, that I love doing.”
One future training opportunity that Wes is looking forward to the most is BoMF Indy’s own race, the Marathon Relay. The Marathon Relay is a unique race in which teams of 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6 individuals split up a marathon distance via a 2.2 mile loop in White River State Park. Each year, BoMF also encourages participants to utilize the Marathon Relay for their Monumental training.
“This will be my first time participating in the Marathon Relay,” Wes said. “I’ve heard that the event is a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to the fellowship during the event. I also am planning on using this as an opportunity to get another long training run in for my Monumental race. I’m looking forward to using this race to run with my teammates, it will make my usually solo training runs more fun!”
BoMF encourages all Monumental participants to use the Marathon Relay as one of their long training runs. The race is supported with water, Gatorade and race nutrition and it will also help raise funds for BoMF’s mission. Running while giving back to your local community – it’s a win-win!
Consider putting together a team for this year’s Marathon Relay. Race your long run #RelayStyle. It’ll be your best training run, guaranteed!
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.
My name is David Wilkerson I have been asked to do a blog for the upcoming CNO Financial Indianapolis Monumental Marathon! I am excited about this opportunity to share what running has done for me and offer tips and insights regarding training, nutrition, injury prevention and motivation.
First a little bit about me. I was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. I am married and have two amazing teenagers that keep me on my toes! I started running when I was 12 years old because my mom wouldn’t let me play football, which at the time I was very disappointed about. Then, good friend talked me into trying cross country and track and here I am! I ran in middle school, high school and college and most recently have been coaching girl’s cross country at a local area high school.
When I first started running I didn’t really understand what I was doing and it took me some time to figure out this crazy sport that I was now participating in. After running many miles with a lot of patience I finally started to figure it all out and it has truly helped shape me into the person I am today. I have been running both competitively and leisurely for over 25 years.
With running I have experienced both the highs of highs and the lows of lows that come with this sport and through every experience I have learned something about myself in the process. My goal is to share my views and personal experiences that I have gone through and have seen with my years of running and coaching. I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with everyone and hope you find the blog to be very beneficial and motivating.
People just like you...doing monumental things.