Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Do the Double!

Last weekend my husband and I took a rather impromptu trip to Indianapolis, only about three and a half hours south, to get away for a few days.  I also decided to sign up for the Double Road Race, a new way to race where runners run a 10k, have a "halftime" and then run a 5k.

We dropped our dogs off at the kennel and hightailed it to Indy.  It's an easy drive down I-69 through a lot of corn and...corn.  We dropped our stuff off at our hotel about a half a mile from downtown and immediately headed out to check things out.  Thanks to Yelp, lunch was a burger place, Punch Burger, downtown. I built my own turkey burger complete with guacamole and pico de gallo with (the kicker) sweet potato tots. It was the perfect way to introduce me to Indy.

After lunch we headed to the state capitol building. We are on a mission to see all 50 state capitol buildings, and we arrived at the Indiana State Capitol at 2:10, exactly ten minutes after it closed. That means we will require another trip to Indy for a state capitol do over.

We did get to see outside!
We explored downtown and were surprised at how few people were downtown for a city the size of Indy. The streets just a few blocks from the center of downtown were nearly deserted, but we found more people hanging out closer to the Indiana War Memorial, a downtown cornerstone.  We discovered the Indy Artsgarden, a cool space that has regular performers and artistic touches. It was connected to a downtown mall that was packed. It turns out the mall attracted all of the people, and they were out en masse.

Inside the Artsgarden
War Memorial in Downtown Indy
The Indianapolis City Market was an obvious destination, but in the mid-afternoon on Saturday most vendors were closed. That was disappointing, so we headed toward the professional sports stadiums where there appeared to be more people (and the end to a fun scavenger hunt). We stopped at the Tin Roof, a nearly empty joint (in the late afternoon) that clearly attracts a lively crowd during football and basketball games. We enjoyed a few cocktails before heading back to the hotel to change for dinner.

The Fountain Square neighborhood was recommended for dinner - in particular Bluebeard restaurant.  We walked to Bluebeard from our hotel, and it was absolutely incredible. When we were in Toronto a few months ago we fell in love with Richmond Station, and Bluebeard was close to that good. The cocktails were probably better. We shared a cheese platter and panzenella salad. To carb up I had shells and cheese with the best chicken I've ever had. Ever. It was incredible. The Moscow mule was a bit too ginger-y for my taste, but their John Daly cocktail was a-mazing. If I hadn't been running the next morning, I would've had several more.

At the Bluebeard. Incredible.
We turned in early for the race, and our wake up call came way too soon.  We walked about a mile to the start at the NCAA Hall of Champions. The race packet pick-up the day before was several miles outside of town, and we didn't want to deal with moving our car and driving again to get the packet. Pick-up the day of was VERY slow. It felt like we were waiting in line forever. 

The 10k race started shortly after. The race ran the same loop three times, and it was a bit taxing. It would be my largest criticism of the race - the course was very boring to run three loops. It also ended up being hotter than I thought it would be, and there wasn't a lot of shade.

Start of the 10k

Around the halfway point. Hot.

A strong finish.
My 10k time was one of the slowest I've done in several years, but given the upcoming 5k and the heat, I felt okay about it. The race hosted a recovery zone for runners with massage therapists and foam rollers. Unfortunately only runners were allowed, and after asking my husband to wait an hour I really didn't want to leave him outside while I pampered myself. I changed my socks (my knee-high compression socks were too hot), and we explored the NCAA Hall of Champions. It is actually a really fun space with lots of exhibits and interactive pieces.

Stretching (and changing socks) during halftime

Playing around in the NCAA Hall of Champions

I did some stretching, and before the 5k we noticed Sean Astin wandering around. You know the guy - Goonies? Rudy? It was one of those "wait a minute...is that...?" moments. He was sitting near us outside, and he graciously posed for pictures with fans. A super nice guy, and a dedicated runner.

So this totally happened.
Like the 10k, my 5k time was my slowest in years. The course felt like Groundhog Day, and I struggled in the final mile. But I did it, and I couldn't have been happier to have my medal and head back to the hotel. It felt good to shake out my legs during the walk.

Round 2!

Finishing the 5k...slowly.


On our way out of town we stopped for lunch at Maxine's Chicken and Waffles, a random spot essentially in a gas station. It was awesome. I am a sucker for southern food. There is no better way to round out 9.3 miles than with fried catfish and grits. My husband had the traditional chicken and waffles. The place was packed, and the service was so friendly.   

Indy was a bit of a surprising city. It feels like a big small town. We had no idea there were such fantastic foodie options in Indianapolis. It was a perfect weekend getaway. The Double Road Race was a new, fun challenge, and I look forward to our next trip to actually see the state capitol building. And of course we'll be heading back to Blackbeard.

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