How to Dress for Winter Training Success

Deciding what to wear while running and walking in an Indianapolis winter isn’t an easy task. Negative wind chills at the beginning of the week can easily shift to sixty degrees and sunny by the end of the week. One thing that won’t shift, however, is the date of that Spring race you signed up for in November. I mean, who wants to train on a treadmill every day until the end of March? This blog post is going to help you make sure you have the perfect running or walking outfit to tackle the fickle Indiana weather all season.

Dress for “Adjusted” Temperature.

The first thing you want to think about when deciding what to wear before a run or walk is the “adjusted” workout temperature. When you run or walk, your body is going to heat up, and your outfit needs to be suited to deal with this change comfortably. Try to dress for a temperature that is 15-20 degrees warmer than it actually is outside. I look at the “Feels like” temperature on my weather app (which takes factors like windchill and humidity into account) and go from there. Everyone responds to temperature changes differently, so it may take multiple trials to figure out what is right for you. Start out by making the 15-20 degree adjustment, which is pretty reliable, and then make further changes as you see fit. Also, keep in mind how strenuous your run or walk will be. A leisurely jog or walk may not require as extreme an adjustment to the actual outside temperature as a fast-paced interval workout will.

Base Layers

Choose the right Base Layer.

A good base layer uses special synthetic fabric (and not cotton) and weaving technology to help wick (pull away) moisture away from your skin to aid in the evaporation of sweat. These are durable shirts that will never fade and will benefit you in hot or cold conditions. The most underrated winter base layer in my opinion is the wind boxer shown above. It’s a great piece for men and women, but to the guys out there: if it’s cold enough, you will wish you had a pair, trust me. 😉

Mid Layer

The Mid Layer helps regulate body temperature.

The mid layer helps regulate your body temperature by directing body heat back into your body and by stopping cold air from passing through to your body. They often feature specially placed vents, fleece-lined panels, and, in some cases, protective wind and rain shields. Many thermal layers contain special pockets to hold personal items like phones and keys. For the majority of the winter season, you can easily get by with just a base layer and a mid layer.

Shells

Top it off with an Outer Protection Shell.

The outer protection shell is most beneficial in poor winter conditions. Its function is to protect you from rain, sleet, ice, snow, wind, and more. There are a variety of options available depending on the level of protection you require. There is a variety of apparel items, from vests to jackets, available to provide you with the protection you need on any given day.

Neck Gaiter, Balaclava, Hat, Gloves

Don’t forget your head and hands.

Having a good running hat and pair of gloves is crucial for making it through the winter. There are a variety of different options and thicknesses to fit what you are looking for. If your hands are super cold all the time, then I suggest a mitten. If being able to use your phone is important, there are now a lot of options that allow you to use a touch screen without taking off your gloves. I personally run with a glove-mitten hybrid so that I have the option of a mitten but can switch to a glove when my hands get warm. On the really cold days a balaclava or neck gaiter are crucial to protect your face against the elements. It’s best to try on different options and think about when you will use them. A good hat and pair of gloves can get you through several winters.

Hopefully this blog post gave you a good idea of how to tackle difficult winter training days. Investing in a good winter wardrobe will not only help you train like a champ this winter, but for several winters to come. Best of luck with your training. If you liked this post next time you see me say balaclava and I will take that as a thank you!

Five Mental Tips for Race Day Success

Ever hear the phrase, “running/walking is 90% mental”? While that may be a bit of hyperbole, there is a lot of truth to the saying. Having a strong mental game on race day can be the difference between cashing in and crapping out on months of hard work and preparation.

Sport psychologists encourage relaxation and visualization during an event. Physiologically relaxed muscles are more fluid, react more quickly, and burn less energy. Relaxed bodies have lower blood lactate levels and allow for greater mental concentration. On the opposite end, when you are experiencing fear and stress, the body becomes tense and tight. Blood flow is directed to the brain, making it harder for the body to perform. Referenced from “Running Within” Jerry Lynch

The following five tips will help you relax and visualize your way to Race Day success!

Tip 1: Breath

There is no consensus on what the best breathing pattern is. I have personally found it helpful to keep my breathing under control as much as possible. If you can be thoughtful about each breathe, it will go a long way; staying relaxed will bring in enough oxygen while also relaxing your mind and body. You can even take this a step further by visualizing clean air circulating through the body with each inhalation, and toxins, stress, and negativity being released with each exhalation.

Tip 2: Body & Face

Remember: staying relaxed and under control is the name of the game. To do that you need to identify and eliminate areas of tension in the body and face. Aim for having loosely cupped hands, relaxed arms, dropped and relaxed shoulders, and a gentle anterior tilt of the head. You also want to relax your face. I typically visualize one of Salvador Dali’s clocks and try to make my face as close to that as possible.

Tip 3: Words

Develop positive mantras and be relentlessly optimistic. I remind myself over and over about all the hard work I have put in and how ready I am. But that is just me. Everyone runs or walks a race for different reasons. Whatever your reason, lean into that! And give yourself plenty of reminders when things are getting tough. I have also found that putting a smile on my face from time to time really helps a lot. After all, this is supposed to be fun!

Tip 4: Images

Using visual images can really help during challenging parts of a race. I typically like to think back to a time when a workout or race went really well and how great I felt. Putting my mind into that positive space helps me will it into existence again. I also like to imagine myself at the moment I cross the finish line and the joy I will feel when I’m done running and my goals have been met. Again, this is just me; mantras should be personal. Find what images motivate you and use them.

Tip 5: Handling Bad Patches

There are several coping strategies that help with handling bad patches during a race. I personally like to break the race into small, manageable chunks – the next mile marker, the next street corner, etc. Focus all your efforts on making it to whatever spot you have picked out in your mind. When you reach the spot you targeted, then choose another and repeat. Other successful tactics include quickening your pace for short bouts of 50-100 meters to change things up, or focusing on your running form to make sure you are maintaining good running posture.

Now that you have the keys to the castle, you should be ready to crush it on race day! If you think I missed anything feel free to share in the comments any strategies that work for you. I also love hearing success stories, so let me know if any of these tips work out for you. Fare well! I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming events!

Be an A+ Spectator

Spectators can be game-changers for runners chasing a PR or finish line. Their energy is contagious, as is their confidence in us. Their shouts of encouragement propel us forward and their creative signs make us laugh, taking our focus off our legs and lungs.

The smaller ones offer high fives and the adult ones occasionally offer a PBR.

With the Monumental Marathon just around the corner, we wanted to share a few tips that will help you ace your spectating experience.

  1. Runners don’t stop for red lights and we don’t stop for spectators trying to cross the street. When you cross, make sure there’s enough time and space to get across in one go. Stopping, playing Frogger or weaving will almost certainly end poorly for you and a runner. It may even end his race.

    Be extra cautious if you’re crossing with kiddos or doggos in tow. 

  2. Speaking of doggos, keep them on a reasonably short leash. A dog wondering even a couple feet into the street can be problematic for a runner. Same for little people. Make sure, too, that you have a hold on doggo’s leash. You know he wants to go all-out toward the finish line.
  3. It can often be hard to breathe and run, so please keep the cigarettes, cigars and vapes away from the course, starting corrals and post-race festivities.
  4. Lie to us. Tell us we look great; we look strong; we can do it. Don’t, though, tell us that we’re almost there unless you can see the finish line.
  5. Please please please enjoy yourself. It can be a long day, so consider dressing in layers if the weather is cool. Bring snacks. Get out the Cornhole boards. Whoop it up. Pull up your favorite camp chair and pour your favorite morning cocktail. Call us by name on our bib or the team name on our singlets. If you’re having fun, we will, too.
  6. Don’t quit on us! The front-runners are exciting to watch and the mid-packers give you a lot to watch and cheer for, but don’t forget there are more people who could use your support.  

Ok, grab your cow bells, poster board and markers and get out there. Oh, and please forgive us if we throw a snot rocket in your general direction. It’s… ummm… a sign of affection. 

CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon & Half Marathon Course Changes 2019

The 12th annual CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K is less than three weeks away! Since the marathon was first run in 2008, it has grown to be one of the 15 largest in the country. It is popular in part because it consistently offers great running weather and a fast course. As both the Half and Full marathon races have grown in size, small tweaks have been made to the courses to make sure participants continue to have experiences matching the high standards that they expect. The 2019 race features four such changes: two each to the Half and Full marathon courses. Without further ado, here is a breakdown of the new CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon & Half Marathon courses.

Half AND Full Marathon Change:

The first course change affects both the Half and Full marathons between miles 3 and 4. As participants head north on Alabama from New York, instead of turning right on Michigan Street, as was done last year, runners will now pass Michigan and go 1 block farther to North Street, turn right, and head towards Mass Ave. I doubt anyone will really notice this minor change. My impression is that this change adds a little more of a straight away and a slightly easier transition onto Mass Ave.–all good things for fast running!

Half Marathon Change Only:

For the Half Marathon ONLY, between miles 9 and 10, participants heading south on Talbott Street will reach 30th Street and, instead of turning right like in previous years, continue south to turn right on Mapleton Trace toward Meridian. This appears to be a pretty minor change to the course. If anything, it avoids the new Red Line for an extra block and a half. I anticipate this change will be inconsequential.

Full Marathon Change Only:

On the Full marathon course ONLY, as participants approach mile 13, instead of continuing north on College to 66th Street and turning left, they will turn left onto 64th Street and take that to Park Avenue. When marathoners reach Park, they will turn right and head north one block to Riverview Dr. where they will rejoin the traditional course route. This is also a minor change to the previous course. Turning off of College a couple blocks earlier than in previous years will help avoid any potential conflicts with the Red Line turn-around point on 66th Street. I actually run this section pretty frequently and think that, considering the Red Line, this is a very good change and will not negatively impact anyone’s performance.

These are all the course changes for the 2019 CNO Financial Group Indianapolis Monumental Marathon & Half Marathon. If you’ve run or walked either race in the past, the rest of the course is going to be just as fantastic as you remember! If this is your first time participating, then you can view both the entire Half and Full marathon course maps by clicking on this link: Be Monumental Course Map. Good luck to everyone! And make sure to come by the Indy Runners cheer tent post-race. Rumor has it we will be serving breakfast burritos! 😉

How To Avoid 3 Common Running Injuries

You love to run, but you hate admitting you may have an injury, especially if you’ve gone to the doctor and heard the dreaded words… just STOP running for awhile. 


The fact is that 27-70% of recreational runners experience a running injury during a training year. For a lot of people running is medicine, it helps keep the crazy away, decrease stress, push yourself to heights you never thought you could! So how do we help prevent all of our hard marathon or race training going out the window by having to sit out due to injury?

Do any of these sound like you?

Runner/Walker #1: I’ve been noticing some pain around or under your kneecap that has slowly become annoying after runs, you shake it off at first but now the front of your knee has been bothering you more and more over the last weeks

Runner/Walker #2: You’ve decided to up your running and train for a half or full marathon or you haven’t been as consistent with your running and you up the mileage… but now you’ve began to notice some tenderness on the outside of lower leg that as you get warmed up it goes away and then after your done it comes back

Runner/Walker #3: Ok, you are starting to up your training intensity and miles (yippee for hill repeats, track workouts or increasing your mileage) but have been waking up with sharp pain on bottom of foot especially near your heel. After walking a bit its better. It’s been a few weeks now and its starting to be a bear getting more painful with prolonged standing, getting up after sitting a bit or climbing stairs

Let’s take a look at these 3 common running related injuries, what they are and ways to help prevent them.

Runner’s Knee (Runner #1)

Definition: knee cap not moving as it should, cause rubbing, irritation and lead to grinding down of cartilage

Causes: potentially weak quads, poor foot mechanics, tight ITB

How To Decrease Risk: Strengthen quadriceps and gluts, no big jumps in training mileage, proper stretching post run for hamstrings and quads

Shin Splints (MTSS) (Runner #2)

Definition: muscle most affected is tibalis anterior which goes from your knee down to your ankle. Pain is located at lower leg next to shin bone. Another important distinction is to rule-out compartment syndrome or stress fracture which are a lot more serious so another set of eyes are key for pain in this area

Causes: overuse injury: characterized by the “Too’s: training too hard, too fast or too long, also running downhill, old footwear

How To Decrease Risk: recognize tenderness in shin early and don’t try to power through, that can result in creating microtears and longer recovery

No big jumps in training load, keep track of mileage on footwear (general guidelines new shoes every 250-300 miles) and also think about having several pairs of running shoes to rotate

Plantar Fasciitis (Runner #3)

Definition: symptoms of stabbing pain or dull ache across bottom of foot, can normally pinpoint a real aggravated area near your heel; usually worst pain in the morning; small microtears of tendons and ligaments that run along the bottom of foot, name implies inflammation but alot of times you won’t see “swelling or inflammation”

Causes: overuse, won’t be any specific event that occurred, increased training (are you seeing a theme here..),

How To Decrease Risk: Good running form, strength training and proper shoes! No surprise here strengthening foot and big toe, foot alignment and footwear check, adequate warm-up prior to running. Also here’s a quick video of my favorite ways to revive tired and achy feet!

Let’s face it, we are runners and at some point an ache, pain or injury will occur! That’s just the nature of the beast! But taking steps to help decrease risk and recognize when you should seek outside help can keep you on the pavement, happy and crushing goals!

Don’t let a running injury take you out! Listen to your body and don’t wait to get checked out if you do start having nagging aches and pains. Happy Running!

Dr Latisha Williams @runforlifeindy, is a new member of Indy Runners, loves helping others, has been a physical therapist since 2007, RRCA Certified Run Coach and Owner of Run For Life Performance & Physical Therapy

Getting Down to Business.

There are few things worse than finding yourself still in line for a port-a-potty when the gun goes off at the start of your race. Here are a few tips to help keep the lines moving so you can get moving.

Get Down to Business. When you arrive at the race site, scope out the port-a-potty situation. Often times, you’ll find more than one bank of pots with varying wait times. Cue up and do your business before everyone else has the same idea.

Line Up
. You’ve likely seen a wide variety of lines form outside a row of port-a-potties. Some with one line per porta. Some separated by gender. Some with a single line feeding dozens of stalls. Some with just a blob of people waiting with no real order.

One of the more efficient options is to create one line for every 

4-5 potties. Think zones or sections. This will reduce the steps (and time) needed to get to the next available porta, yet prevent you from getting stuck in line behind ‘that guy’.

Get ready. Get set. Go. 
When you’re nearing the front of the line, pay attention. Get to a stopping place in your conversation, scan your section of potties and be ready to move when you see a door beginning to open.

The person before you will be polite and hold the door open for you, saving valuable seconds. Repay the favor and hold the door as you exit.

They’re made for one thing: pottying. 
Port-a-potties are not changing rooms, phone booths or … well, whatever othere use just popped in your mind. Really, who wants to hang out in there any longer than necessary!?

Although lines are more common before a race, there are often runners and spectators in need of the facilities after the race – often urgently. As a side note, if the units aren’t in constant use (i.e., no line), put the seat down. This will help ventilate the unit and minimize the odor.

Participants Get Priority. 
It takes a lot of people to put on a race, including volunteers and spectators and we get that they’ve all been drinking coffee since way before dawn. As much as possible, please allow runners and walkers to take priority in the line, especially if you can hear the National Anthem playing in the distance.

Lock the Door Behind You. Yes, this may cost you a few seconds, but the fright resulting from facing a stranger with your running tights around your ankles will cost you much more time.

If you find yourself in need of a pit stop during the race, look for port-a-potties along the course – often located near aid stations. Please avoid using lawns or alleyways, as tempting as they may seem.

 It’s rude, not to mention unsanitary.

flanagan-shalanetoilet-boston18-1523927399

As Shalane has shown, it is possible to go fast…

View Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t131MwydJlc 

Author’s Note: the porta does NOT double as a trash receptacle. Banana peels, gel packs, and car keys should not find their way into the bowl. Think about the poor person who has to fish those items out before the bio waste can be dealt with.

Running & Walking Nutrition Basics

I vividly remember the moment I started to appreciate the relationship between food and running. It was my freshman year of high school (Go Panthers!) when I discovered both distance running and gyros at the exact same time. I thought gyros were the perfect lunch–until I ate one on the same day as a track workout. Let’s just say that after that day my relationship with gyros changed forever. And my understanding of how to properly eat before a workout (and why) got a little better.

My next big revelation about nutrition and its impact on running came after college when I started running longer and longer distances (marathons and ultra marathons). Luckily, I had an experienced distance-running coach who explained the importance of in-race nutrition and its impact on performance. Even after 26 marathons and a half dozen or so ultra marathons in just over a decade, I am still playing with what works best for my body during long running events.

While I am not claiming to be a Sports Nutritionist, I do have a lot of experience when it comes to seeking out and finding the right fuel for my endurance events of choice. This is probably the topic that gets brought up the most when I talk with new half- and full-marathon runners.

If you are planning to run a race of ninety minutes or more and you are not thinking about a nutrition plan, you might want to start!

Below are some basic rules of thumb that I follow. Keep in mind that everyone is different and it is important to experiment and figure out what works best for you.

Nutrition Pre-Exercise or Pre-Race: (Source: Cassie Dimmick)

  • Shorter weekday workouts: eat 30-60 min before
  • Longer weekend workouts or competition: eat 2-3 hours before (Don’t worry about waking up that early before the long run unless you are simulating race day. Eat well the night before and snack 30-45 minutes before running.)
  • Choose a meal or snack that is low in fat, contains complex carbohydrates, and has a little protein.
  • Rule of Half: half a bagel, half a banana, half a cup of coffee, etc
  • Eat familiar foods that you know you can tolerate
  • Practice leading up to a long distance race
  • Drink 10-16 oz of fluid 1-2 hours before exercise and another 4-8 oz right before you start.

Pre-Exercise food examples:

  • Granola bar and a banana
  • English muffin or bagel with peanut butter and a piece of fruit
  • Smoothie
  • Nutrition Bar
  • Gel or Sports Chews
  • Pretzels

Nutrition During Exercise or Race: (Source: Cassie Dimmick)

  • Muscles use glycogen (the stored energy form of carbohydrates) and fat for fuel. Both fat and glycogen are used in most activities. Fat can be used as a fuel during aerobic exercise (long, low intensity exercise), but glycogen is the main fuel during strenuous exercise (running a half or full marathon) and anaerobic exercise (short bursts of all-out running).
  • For exercise over 90 minutes, you need additional carbs from gels, bars, or other well-tolerated foods.
  • For runs up to 120 minutes, 30 to 60 grams of carbs per hour of exercise is helpful.
  • For runs over 120 minutes, aim for 60-90 grams per hour as tolerated.

Examples of approximately 30 Grams of carbohydrate:

  • 1 banana
  • 10 pretzels
  • 2 Fig Newtons
  • 1/4 bagel
  • Gels and Sports Chews (Note: Gels and chews have roughly 22 to 29 grams of carbs per serving along with electrolytes. Take these with water to speed delivery of energy into your system.)

Nutrition Post Exercise or Race:

To become a better runner or walker you need to recover from running or walking. For proper recovery, it is recommended that you eat something with both carbohydrates and protein within 45 minutes to an hour after exercise. Failing to do so will most likely effect recovery time and limit the the improvements you can gain from your workout. Failing to recover not only can hinder potential benefits from exercise, but also can lead to injury over time. Read more about the science behind post-exercise recovery in this report by the American Council on Exercise.

I hope this article helps you answer some of your basic sports nutrition questions. At the very least, I hope it gets you thinking about the subject if you have not been already. If this is something you are really fascinated by and think it is the edge you need, I would recommend going to see a Sports Nutritionist to learn more. And remember, we are all different, so it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for your body.

Thoughts on Sleep Hygiene for Recovery – aka “it’s time for bed…”

Greetings everyone from the Indy Runners Medical Desk. Thanks to Jesse for getting our Blog going as a good forum to share thoughts and ideas for our Club. I’ll aim to get out some good medical thoughts as often as possible – and you can always write to me with any issues or concerns at medical@indyrunners.org.

Let’s start with a bit of a discussion about Recovery. As our mileage and workloads increase towards Fall racing, how we Recover from this workload becomes more and more important. Remember, it’s not the runs or the workouts that make us stronger – it is our ability to Recover from them that allow that Adaptations that make us stronger.

By far, the Number 1 way to allow our bodies to Recover from the work is to get a consistent good night’s sleep. At least 7-hours, hopefully more like 8-hours.

Let’s break that down. What does a “good” night’s sleep look like, and how can we facilitate it? Simple things like darkness of the room (trickier with daylight savings time in the summer), limiting screens 30-minutes before bed (trickier with phones, social media, TV shows, etc.), and cooler/reasonable temperatures (also trickier in the summer). These are all things we somewhat inherently know – but, are we good about following them?

And watch our caffeine intake in the afternoon (2:30pm diet coke to get us kick started to finish the day?). And be mindful about how alcohol affects our sleep patterns (one glass or one beer might not affect us, but a second or more might wake us up on the middle of the night?). Some of us travel quite often for work – how are we managing our sleep hygiene when we get in late or are crossing multiple time zones? And are we realistic with our Training expectations on those weeks that are the most stressful

Also, what does “consistent” look like? It might sound obvious, but consistent means consistent – 7-8 hours every single night. Not 5-6 during the week, then 9-10 on the weekend; or 5.5 one night, then 8.5 the next to “catch up”.

Each of us are different between being more “morning people” or more “evening people”. Usually, it’s easier to get more sleep by going to bed a little earlier. Let’s do some Math – if we can start by getting 10-minutes extra sleep for 6-nights per week, that is a whole Hour of extra sleep each week! That would certainly serve as a meaningful boost in our Training!

So our Homework for the month of August is to take an honest look at our Sleep Hygiene and thoughtfully discern what habits are helpful and what habits we might tweak to get the most out of this important time for our bodies to regenerate from the workload they’ve been handling. We don’t need large changes to make a difference. A few small changes at a time could pay big dividends over the coming weeks as we build towards good Racing.

Please let us know if you have any insights or tips you might like to share. And any questions, please send them along.

Thanks and see you out there.

Brian Schuetter, PT, DPT, OCS – St. Vincent Sports Performance

Indy Runners & Walkers Member Spotlight: Carole Miller

You might recognize Carole Miller, (standing in the center of the featured photo above), as one of the smiling faces serving breakfast burritos and pancakes at our cheer zone tent after the Monumental Marathon. Or, perhaps you know her from our Spring Training Program where she takes new walkers under her wing and keeps them coming back week after week with her encouragement and wonderful sense of humor. Carole has also served the past two years on the Indy Runners board as the co-walking director. Her self proclaimed mission has been “to give a face to walkers, because they are just as passionate about walking as runners are about running–it just takes us longer.”

Having served on the board with Carole the past two years, I can honestly say she is the perfect representation of what makes our club special. She is always looking out for others and making sure everyone feels welcome and appreciated. I couldn’t think of anyone better to do our very first member spotlight blog post with than Carole, who truly makes Indy Runners and Walkers a place for every pace!

Below are a series of questions Carole took the time to answer for us.

When and why did you join Indy Walkers?

I joined Indy Runners in 2013. I was looking for a training program for the 500 Mini. The last year I attempted to do the Mini was 2003. To put it mildly, it was the most miserable and painful experience of my life and it took me 10 years to try it again. I knew my training in 2003 was insufficient and I had to do better, so I went on the internet and Indy Runners popped up as a local running club.

What kept you coming back?

The reason I kept coming back was because of Kay King and Sue Murry.  Both of these wonderful women took me under their wing in 2013 and walked with me. Although their pace was much faster than mine, they made sure that I was never alone. They are part of the reason that I always tell the new walkers our motto: “No one is left behind.” The training is fine and the seminars are helpful, but you can pull down a training schedule from the web and get what you need. The most important thing for me was the camaraderie of our walking group. Sue and Kay and anyone who walks with me has heard about my WONDERFUL grandson, my crazy sister, my stressful job, and my cancer.  These wonderful people are always there to listen. That’s why I get up on Saturdays and go across town to Broad Ripple to walk 6 miles. I could walk in Eagle Creek, but Eagle Creek would not have the wonderful people I’ve met training with Indy Walkers.

Left to right: Natasha Jones, Kay Greene, Carole Miller

When were you diagnosed with cancer and what is your current status?

I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Breast Cancer in January 2018. The first people I told were my walking buddies. First, because it was the start of the 2018 training for the Mini and I would not be able to continue as a pacer, and second, because they were my walking buddies and after five years I told them everything. When I was diagnosed I had grand plans; I wasn’t going to let cancer dictate to me how I was going to live my life. I was determined to keep my walking routine. I received so much love and support from everyone in the Club, and not just my close walking buddies, but runners that I only knew in passing. I don’t think I would have had such a successful recovery without my buddies at Indy Walkers. They laughed with me about my bald head and the side effects of chemo, and when it came time for “slice and dice” also known as surgery, Kay and Sue provided me with meals so that I would not have to cook. I will never be able to thank them enough.  I truly believe that one of the main factors in my successful recovery is that I was in good health. I contribute that to walking three times a week: 3 to 4 miles on two days and 6 miles on Saturdays.

What is your most memorable Indy Walkers moment?

Believe it or not my most memorable moment with Indy Walkers is walking up Holcomb Hill without stopping! I complain a lot and on that first attempt at Holcomb I was complaining at the top of my lungs. The first time, I had to stop 3 times and at the end, my lungs were burning, my heart was beating so fast I thought I would die, and the words coming out of my mouth would put anyone to shame–but at the time, I didn’t care. Five years later, I can make it in one try! I still breath hard, but I don’t stop. I still complain, but not as robustly. And I really don’t have that much time to complain because it doesn’t take that long for me to do it. That just tells you how successful my time with Indy Walkers has been in improving my health.

What does Indy Walkers mean to you?

Indy Walkers and walking are part of my life. Want to make me mad? Tell me I have to work on Tuesday or Thursday evenings or Saturday morning. Want to get on my bad side? Keep me from making a race that I paid for in January. I spend more money on shoes for walking then casual or dress shoes. Sometimes I feel like the Post Office: nothing–and I mean nothing–keeps me from my Saturday morning walks. If I don’t make it on Saturday, my entire weekend is messed up.

What would you tell someone thinking about joining Indy Walkers?

I really think Indy Runners/Walkers is a great club for anyone wanting to train for races or just get in shape. I’ve tried training on my own and it was not a good choice for me. I’ve tried walking by myself and it doesn’t work. The accountability, camaraderie, and sheer fun of seeing myself improve keep me getting up every Saturday morning. On top of that, talking with my buddies beats spending money on a shrink. Without Indy Walkers, I never would have met Pam or Natasha, or Sharon and her brother, Karen and Kathy, or Chris and Laura. And without Sue and Kay, I never would have survived that first year. Throw in the facts that my health has improved, I can walk Holcomb in one attempt, and I’ve seen parts of Indianapolis I never would have seen without Indy Walkers, and you have the reasons I continue to come back and would recommend it to anyone.

What are some of your proudest walking accomplishments?

My proudest walking accomplishment is going to sound insane. One year it was bitter cold. Elizabeth, Sue, and I decided that we were going to walk that Thursday. It was 5 degrees outside. Our vow was that if we could walk 1 mile we would reward ourselves with dinner at 317 Burger. That night I wore 2 pairs of socks, 2 shirts, 2 pairs of pants, 1 jacket, 2 pairs of gloves, and a hat and scarf. At the .5 mile mark, we looked at each other and said, “Let’s keep walking.” At the 1 mile mark, we kept going, all the way to 75th street. That night, I knew I was crazy but had accomplished something special. I walked 3 miles in 5 degree weather with two of my crazy walking buddies. I’ll never forget that night. So regardless of how wet, hot, or cold it is, I try to walk. Ice is the one element that I’ll say no to: broken bones aren’t any fun. Also, any time I finish a race and I’m not the last walker crossing the finish line is great.

What races do you currently have lined up?

In 2019 I have only one goal: to finish the races I’ve signed up for. I’ve done the Mini and received my medal. I’ve signed up for all five 317-Series races: that’s 5 medals. I’m making plans to complete the Wright Patterson Air Force Half (1 medal), Fort Ben 5K (another medal) and the Women’s 5K (yet another medal). The goal this year is to get as many medals as I can and not be asked to leave a course. So far, I’m on track. I will start to improve my time and pace next year, but right now I’m just glad to be alive and glad I have my walking buddies to help me along the way.

Thank you Carole for letting us all get to know you better! You are truly inspiring and represent the club so well.

If you know someone that you think should be featured in a future blog post, email Jesse at blog@indyrunners.org.

Monon Trail: 7 Places to Hydrate and/or Evacuate. Broad Ripple Village to 96th St.

It’s time to continue our journey of the best and worst places to hydrate and/or evacuate on the Monon Trail! This time we head north from Broad Ripple Village up to 96th St. My previous blog post on this topic covered Broad Ripple Village to 42nd St. I’m not going to rehash stops previously mentioned, so you can refer back to that post for two spots–The Runners Forum and The Loft–where you can pop in and take care of business in the Village.

Special Note: I was going to include the Annex Club House in the Village but saw on social media that they are closing down that location. So please don’t blast me in the comments when you don’t see it!

Now that we have covered all the pleasantries, let’s get down to where you can handle the unpleasantries while traveling north on the Monon Trail!

Water Fountain Only

Stop 1: The Rock water fountain, located approximately 5-10 feet west of the Monon Trail, about a half mile south of 75th St.

Pro Tips: Do you smell what the Rock is cooking? The way this fountain has been leaking lately chances are you do. If you look closely at the picture above you can see the mini-swamp that is forming on the fountain side. If you do manage to get around all the water without soaking your feet, you will be rewarded with a very low drizzle of water. To drink from this location you practically need to do your best Andy Dwyer impression and put your whole mouth on the nozzle. I can’t remember the last time I attempted to drink here, but I’m fairly certain this fountain is seasonal and is shut down for the winter.

Recommendation: Unless you are on death’s door, skip it. The juice isn’t worth the squeeze.

Water Fountain Only

Stop 2: The School for the Blind water fountain, located approximately 20-25 feet west of the Monon trail just about a quarter mile north of 75th St.

Pro Tips: This fountain is currently leaking too. Good news though, the water pressure is a lot better than the rock and you can easily get a drink without soaking your feet. This fountain is also seasonal, so it shuts down in the winter.

Recommendation: This is a common place for runners and bikers alike to stop for a break, so make sure you have your gossips ready!

Water Fountain Only

Stop 3: Jordan YMCA water fountain, located approximately 100 feet east of the Monon Trail. When you are getting close to 86th St. look for the Jordan Y sign and start heading that way. You will see the fountain on your left right before you get to the parking lot.

Pro Tips: This is a pretty reliable fountain with good water pressure. On the other side of the fence is a Port A Potty. That fence is locked a majority of the time and I’m guessing not meant for the general population. Do with that information what you will. This fountain is also seasonal and shut down during the winter.

Bathroom & Water Fountain

Stop 4: Kroger located just south of 86th St. approximentely 200-300 feet west of the Monon Trail.

Pro Tips: This isn’t a RRCA runner friendly location or anything, but it can save you in an emergency. I can’t speak for the women’s room, but Guys: be ready for the stall to look like a WWE cage match just took place and for some rando to be camped out in there for long periods of time. Other than that it’s pretty great! It also has the added benefit of being open in the winter, and the water fountain is pretty solid.

Water Cooler Only

Stop 5: Big Lug water cooler, sponsored by the Carmel Marathon, located approximately 10-15 feet east of the Monon Trail just south of 86th St.

Pro Tips: This is the second hydration post in a row where I have mentioned a Carmel Marathon sponsored stop. Kudos to them and their brewery partners for helping us stay refreshed during these hot summer days! If anyone from their marketing team is reading this, I have three words for you: Logo. Urinal. Cakes. Run with that. Big Lug fills the cooler daily. I’m not 100 percent certain, but I’m guessing this is only a seasonal location as well.

Bathroom and Water Cooler

Stop 6: Athletic Annex, located approximately a quarter to a half mile west of the Monon Trail in Nora Plaza Shopping Center on 86th St. The exact address is 1300 East 86th St. Ste 29A. Best way to get there on foot: once you are north of 86th St. run west around Huddles into Nora Plaza and head north in the parking lot by the Whole Foods. You should be able to see it from a distance.

Pro Tips: Admittedly, I have never been in this location. It is relatively new and looks pretty nice from the outside. I’m guessing though, being a running shop, that they would be cool with you stopping in for a pit stop and a drink. Not sure about fresh dance moves though? Try it and let me know in the comments.

Bathroom and Water Fountain

Stop 7: 96th St. Rest Stop, located just north of 96th St. approximately 5 feet on the east side of the Monon Trail.

Pro Tips: When you arrive at this location you are officially in Carmel, IN. That means a couple things. First: Unisex bathrooms open year round! Second: A water fountain that, at first push, will squirt water into your face if you’re not careful. This is actually quite comical when you see an unsuspecting victim of these H2O shenanigans. The water fountain, unlike the restrooms, is shut down during the winter.

Special Tribute: Seen in the picture above is Pirate Cat. I’m not going to get completely into his story, but you should check him out on Facebook or Google him. One of my favorite memories of Pirate Cat is during a pit stop, on a 5 AM run, at this exact location, I saw him come out of nowhere to pounce on a mouse and swallow it whole. The things I find amusing while exercising half asleep could fill another entire blog post. Anyway, enough digression, the day after I took this picture I heard Pirate Cat is sick and not expected to make it much longer. Just wanted to give him a special shoutout and say thank you for bringing me joy on countless runs on the Monon.

Please leave a comment on this article if you know a stop I missed between Broad Ripple Village and 96th St. I promise to head even further north on the Monon in a future post!

Yours in timely hydration and evacuation,

Jesse