Off to the Races

indianapolis half marathon

This weekend I traveled down to Indianapolis to run the mini marathon with one of my best friends. She and her husband live in nearby Carmel and were gracious enough to host us and another couple for the weekend. Oh and two babies. Remember the days when the only person you had to coordinate before an early morning race was yourself? I’m still in that boat but she gets extra credit for baby duty the night prior. 

It was a weekend filled with baby coos, coronas and checkered flags.

I can’t express how proud I am of my friend for what she accomplished this weekend. Not only did she push through the entire 13 plus miles with me, but she did so just a few short months after having a beautiful baby girl. The calf strain I was fighting after my race last weekend felt obsolete compared to the physical fete she put on with minimal training. We had decided last year to do the race together and it was so nice to follow through on the commitment.

I love driving through the country on the way to their house, past expansive horse farms and ridiculous mansions with lots the size of the entire streeterville neighborhood here in Chicago. Don’t get me wrong I love the city, but there’s just something about driving the through the country that makes me feel home. We arrived Friday evening and had a nice dinner, played with the babies, ate cupcakes and chatted by the fire pit.

Meanwhile the boys drank beer and talked about shooting guns.

After seeing the forecast for Saturday earlier in the week, I began doing anti-rain dances and praying. In hindsight, maybe the dancing is what caused my calf to flare-up. Whatever the method, come Saturday morning the percent chance of rain had dropped from 80 to zero and it was off to the races we went.

indianapolis half marathon race
clearly my eyes weren’t ready for an eastern time start. Not sure the folks behind us were either.

The entertainment on the course was more frequent than any I had seen before. From belly dancers to renaissance actors, rappers to country singers, the race coordinators did a great job at keeping you entertained. And if the bands weren’t enough, with 35,000 runners there were plenty of ponies to choose from. If you’re not familiar with pony picking, you should be. It’s a little game I learned back in the middle school ice deli days and has expanded into trade expos and long runs. Some people like to focus on their bodies when they run, I prefer to distract myself by making new friends, counting ponies (tutus or lululemon tanks are always top picks) and playing would you rather. Fortunately Kel has known me long enough to just crank her headphones and nod her head when she didn’t feel like chatting about the elephants when we passed the zoo or whether the bands were working off generators or plugging into nearby establishments to get juice. I never said the conversations had to be two-way.


One cool feature of the mini marathon was that miles 6-8 were run on the Indianapolis motor speedway. And while I don’t know we set any course records compared to those Indy cars, it was pretty cool to take a lap on the track where the Indy 500 will run at the end of the month. You could smell the sweat patriotism in the air.


We followed the checkered flags to the finish just in time for the sun to come out and were greeted by the next generation smiling from their baby Bjorn perches.

indianapolis half marathon

What a day for sports Saturday turned out to be. After breakfast we headed back to get cleaned up and watch the derby, a surprisingly exciting sprint cup race and the bulls game.

Meanwhile, the boys double fisted with mint juleps and coronas.

That evening, we celebrated an early cinco de mayo with a full fiesta of chicken tacos, salsas and cupcakes. It was so nice to spend some quality time with some of my oldest friends and just relax after a long race.


I’m a wee bit obsessed with a little french bistro in Indy called Petite Chou. My friends introduced me when I first visited and we typically make a stop each time I’m in town. My aunt also lives in Indy so it’s not unusual for us to frequent it on family visits as well. So it’s no surprise that come Sunday morning we stopped in for an early breakfast before heading back to the city, medal in hand lap.

I was looking forward to seeing Finn as he had spent the weekend playing with some of his buddies, but about 3 minutes into the door he had no interest in playing anymore. They must have served mint juleps and coronas at tucker pups as well.

greater swiss mountain dog puppy simply social blog

I was pretty fiesta’d out by Sunday evening but my managed to throw together a little Cinco De Mayo meal to round out the weekend. Mangoes are finally back so we grilled shrimp and tilapia and served it with one of my favorite mango salsas.

mango salsa simply social blog

Mango Salsa

  • 2-3 large mangoes 
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 2 TBL red onion, diced
  • 3 TBL grape tomatoes, diced
  • Juice of 2-3 limes
  • Cilantro
  • Salt

Find flat part of mango and use knife to slice horizontally just above the top of the pit. If you haven’t seen a mango pit before and you don’t want to mutilate your mango into mush, be cognizant of where it is located. You can see an easy tutorial here.

Chop cilantro, jalapeno, tomato and red onion. In a small bowl mix mango with other ingredients. Add lime juice and salt to taste. Try not to eat the whole bowl as I may or may not have done.

cinco de mayo mango salsa

 Hope everyone had a great cinco de derby weekend. Here’s to a great week! 

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