Despite a Broken Knee Cap, 6 IMM's in a Row!
by Ross Nordhoff
In 2008, I stumbled upon the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on RunnersWorld.com race finder. I was fresh off finishing my first half marathon near my hometown and thought Indianapolis was a good place to try another, so I registered. I remember going inside the State Capitol to pick up the race packet. I had to empty my pockets, take off my belt, and even my shoes just to get in. It was an experience to remember. As for the race that year, I was able to shatter my previous half-marathon time by over 15 minutes. At that point, I knew I would be back for another Monumental, I just did not know it would grow on me like it would.
With each Monumental experience, something positive seems to come out of it for me. In 2009, it was all about just completing a marathon, something I told myself the year before I would never even attempt. In 2010, it was all about qualifying for Boston, which I failed to accomplish, but I set a PR in that race which still stands for me today. In 2011, I struggled through the race with a bum knee, but I was beginning to see the big picture of what the Monumental is all about, the kids. I believe I was having the worst race ever, but when I saw the banner that said, "Indianapolis Public Schools thank you", I forgot about the troubles I was having during the race and knew it was about the kids I was helping. The thought was cemented in my brain, and even though I do not know them, I love being able to help the kids with their education.
In 2012, if you participated, you know what I mean...it was all about staying dry. I remember it down pouring just as I turned onto Meridian at mile 24 and those last two miles could not go by as fast enough. A significant moment happened when I crossed the finish line in the rain. I was awarded the "five year participant" medal, by far the one I treasure the most. At this point in time, I knew the Monumental was going to stick with me and going to be my home race even though I live 3 hours south of the start line. My love for the Monumental and what it stands for was coming to light.
Now, for 2013: It was early March, and I was a part of an overly competitive basketball tourney put on by my work. I was being pretty careless and ended up with an injury that I regret happening to this day. Long story short, I injured my knee. Before going to get it checked out, I did what every other "tough" guy does, play it off, ice, rest, "it will get better" treatment. Weeks went by and my passion for running was starting to flow, the only problem was, I couldn't. I could not run a quarter mile without extreme pain and many nights I lost sleep wondering what was wrong. Then, in early May, it finally hit me, go to the doctor!
After x-rays and MRI results, I was told I had a fractured patella and my whole leg would be placed in an immobilizer for six to eight weeks. The doctor had to tell me this at least four times before I accepted it. My first thought was the Monumental. I had already registered, I had my hotel booked, and I had no idea if I would be able to participate. I sent an email to Blake Boldon, Monumental Executive Director, letting him know what happened. My main concern at the time was keeping my streak of finishing every year alive. He offered words of support and it was at that moment I knew that I want to participate in the Monumental Marathon until I can no longer walk.
In late September, I was finally able to jog normally with minimal pain and it encouraged me to attempt some longer runs. With each run I felt myself getting stronger and I was feeling confident I would be able to at least complete the half marathon. Even though I was not as fast as I once was, I was running again, it was a feeling like no other. About three weeks before race day, thoughts of taking on the full marathon started lingering in my head. I know I did not put in the proper training to PR, finish well in my age group or even come close. With my stubbornness to succumb, the rest is history.
Although it was my slowest marathon to date time wise, I was able to complete it. The positives from this year's race are endless. I finished, I helped support the public schools and children, the participant shirts were amazing (I already ordered two extra from the monumentalgear.com website), the weather was perfect, the fan support and volunteers were second to none, and most of all, the slogan lived up to its name; "Indianapolis, a beautiful place to set your pace". I know where I will be every first Saturday in November.
Indianapolis Monumental Marathon 6-year-finisher