|The train rooms|
The Crowne Plaza is still part of an active train station so at times, you do hear the rumbling of trains coming and going. On the 2nd floor you will find the train rooms, which are train cars converted into hotel rooms. These cars rest on Union Stations original train tracks. We have stayed in them once and although they are more expensive than the typical room, I think they are worth the splurge.
As I mentioned on my Facebook page, the Monumental Marathon happened to fall on the very last weekend the Terra Cotta Warriors exhibit was in Indianapolis. The exhibit was at the Children's Museum which is worth a visit, just make sure you have plenty of time to spend there to justify the $20 admission. The exhibit was an additional $10 on top of the admission, but it was worth it.
|Exterior of the museum. Skyway connecting parking to the museum is on the left.|
Since the race expo was open until 9:00 p.m. Friday, we had plenty of time to stay at the museum until it closed at 5:00 p.m. and then grab dinner before picking up our packets. Since we were staying right by the expo and the start/finish line once we parked to go to the expo, we left the car parked the remainder of the weekend.
At the expo we received what a volunteer called a "personalized poster." I didn't realize what this meant until the next day I opened the poster after the race (hence the bananas serving as paperweights). I thought this was a nice touch and unique swag.
|Great from a distance but.....|
|Personalized close up. That's me in the middle of the other Smith's!|
The race shirts were also unique, and they were from a company I had never heard of before, Alanic.
|Back - LOVE the Indy skyline|
|The race director offered to take our photo after we signed up|
|Consider running Geist next spring|
|Waiting for the start|
And then I had to stop and take this photo of the Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument as we ran towards it.
The remainder of the course ran us through the hip and trendy neighborhoods as well as several historic residential areas. The only CONS I experienced at this race were that the water stop just past Mile 3 was out of water when I arrived and the text alerts, including the 5K alert, did not come until about 10 minutes AFTER I finished. As a result, my parents went back to the hotel to wait for me rather than wait in the cold at the finish with no idea how close I was or how long they would have to wait.
But here are the numerous PROS:
- Flat course, literally two small hills that I can remember and they were mild
- AMAZING post race food. Amazing!
- Customized finisher's hat
|Mom's 5K medal and finisher's hat|
|Half Marathon finisher's medal and hat|
- Finisher's "coat" - I am not sure what you technically call the material, but it is almost like a gauze/medical grade material. It is was warm post-race, but nothing you would wear solo in cold weather.
|Back of the medal|
- And finally, great volunteer support and AMAZING support from the locals. I was honestly surprised at how many people were out on their front porches and sidewalks with signs, music, and Kleenex boxes for the runners. Even as we ran directly next to cars stopped in traffic due to road closures, drivers rolled down their windows to cheer us on.
When I signed up for the Monumental Half Marathon on New Year's Day for the discounted price of $50, I never would have thought that I would be tempted to run it four years in a row. What would tempt me to do such a crazy thing? A four year medal series that I just happened to inadvertently become part of during the first year. The half and full marathon medals for 2014 - 2017 will be the same size, just different colors (silver for the half and gold for the full). The four together will create a square and once you complete the series in 2017, you will receive a red and white star medallion that fits in the center, joining the four medals. If you have run in all 10 Monumental races, you receive a frame that will hold the medals together. I will have the option to purchase the frame IF I choose to complete the four year series. I gave my parents a December deadline to decide if they were in for three more Monumentals so that I can register for 2015 on New Year's Day (for the best price again), but I think we are all planning on spending the first weekend in November for the next three years in Indianapolis!