Hello! I wanted to take some time to write a quick update before I pack up and hit the road again. Tonight I’ll sleep in my bed for the second night in a row and will head out for another five nights.
I recently returned from a trip to Indianapolis where I was a volunteer representing the Penn State office at the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It was a long week, but was fun for the most part. I arrived on Wednesday and was astounded at how much a cab ride from the airport to downtown cost…$36. That’s just absurd. It was farther than I was anticipating, but not THAT far. Oh well!
The volunteers were housed in the media hotel, The Crowne Plaza. The hotel is actually set up in the historic train station, and while that station is no longer active, it is attached to the one that is very, very active. The building was three stories tall (so rather short compared to nearby buildings) and still very much looked like a train station inside and out. Check out these photos!
Overall the hotel was really nice. It was neat to be in such a historic place. I checked out photos of the trains cars on the hotel website and got a snipit of a looksie through open blinds. They seem really neat and it would be cool to go back and stay in one some time. Now to fill you in on the statues. As you can see in the “Inner Lobby” photo and the photo right above, there were white statues in the hotel. They were everyone. There was one that was a bellman picking up luggage, there was a woman with a dog on a leash, a little boy selling newspapers with his wagon and even a boy shining a man’s shoes. If you look closely in the photo of the train, you can barely make out a white statue far down the walkway. He was what looked to be a worker getting ready to hop on the train with a giant bag he was towing along. Past him were three young boys trying to climb on the train for a free ride. Stowaways I’d guess. The two men above were actually perched right outside my window. It made me jump quite a few times when I opened the curtains!
I spent most of my time in Indianapolis at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, home of the Pacers. The first two days there were four games each day, two on Saturday and the Championship on Sunday. The fieldhouse held over 17,000 people and was practically full making for a great atmosphere. I managed to get up to the concourse to check out concession offerings and was pretty impressed. They have everything from a baked potato stand, to a gluten-free stand, to Hawaiian shaved ice and Edy’s ice cream. They even had a Quaker Steak!
On Saturday, BMW sponsored a party at the historic Union Station.
The party was pretty sweet. Free food, beer and wine from 6-10 pm. The bands and cheerleaders for the two teams playing in the championship game basically had a “Battle of the Bands” and then were followed by a great live band. It was a lot of fun.
On Sunday, I got up a little early to get a good breakfast before the Big Ten Hoops Day 5k. I hit Panera and had a ham, egg and cheese bagel before going to pick up my race bag and number. The race began and ended outside the fieldhouse. There were about 1200 runners. I was a little nervous about getting a good time, but decided that regardless of what my time ended up being, it would be a place for me to start and work from. My personal record was 25:45, which I ran in the Steelers 5k on Labor Day. That course was pretty flat and I had been running a lot of hills in State College as part of my training. Through the winter I turned down my running to give my shins a much needed break. I’ve been training for a half marathon, but really limiting myself to 1-2 runs per week, always keeping a long one on schedule. Working out 4-6 days a week in addition has helped me stay strong. Regardless, I knew how flat Indianapolis was but wasn’t sure I could repeat the time I got in Pittsburgh.
So I took off at the start and it was chip timing so my personal time didn’t start til I crossed the mats and it would end when I crossed the finish line. I had a hard time finding my tempo while running with the group, but eventually things started to spread out and I found my pace. When I rounded the corner to run the final 1/4 mile to the finish line I started to push a little harder. I really wanted to see the clock. When it finally came into view I was really surprised to see it reading 24:45. I pushed myself and crossed the finish line at 25:05, but couldn’t wait to find out my actual time from the chip. Two days later I find the results and I ran a PR of 24:26. Super excited and super happy. I’m glad I decided to “embrace the flatness of Indianapolis”, as my friend Bill said. It was definitely worth it and a great start to hopefully a spring, summer and fall full of races.
That’s all for now. I hope you all have a great week and weekend. I’ll catch back up with you all with more adventures and photos soon!