After an absence in 2010 (in retrospect, probably due to the 20mph winds at the start of the race last year), The Giant Flag returns.  It's draped across Washington St about 1/4 mile past the start line, and one of Chris's favorite parts of the Mini.  Just past the flag is one of Chris's <i>least</i> favorite parts of the Mini, the bagpiper.  Of course, he's what I look forward to every year
Hundreds of beach balls get thrown into the waiting crowd.  It gives us something to do during the 30 minute shuffle to the Starting line
See those flares and smoke waaay up there in the sky by the starting line?  They launched fireworks to celebrate the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500
The focus here was supposed to be on my fingernails, not these strangers' shoes.  I always paint them black for a race to make me feel like more of a bad ass
The sun came out for a moment as if to bathe us in inspiration and hope and the promise of personal determination and accomplishment and warmth in the chill of the morning air.  Then, of course, it went behind clouds and it started to rain shortly thereafter
And 27 minutes after the gun went off, there we were, at the starting line!
The streets just look like this for miles... full of people as far into the distance as you can see.  It's pretty awesome to be a part of something this big!
The Circle City Cloggers, always smiling and dancing across from the Allison plant in Speedway
They also perform at the State Fair, which is a slightly different experience.  Usually when we see them there, there's a corn dog in one hand and a milkshake from the Dairy Barn in the other hand.  This time around, I think I had just finished sucking down a tangerine Gu packet before I spotted them
Then there's always the square dancing team do-si-do'ing in front of the Pit Stop Liquor Store, right across from the Speedway
New for 2011!  A dancing cow promoting Chik-fil-A.  Frankly, I think this is a mean-spirited way to promote your product to a bunch of runners... your hand-breaded, deep-fried, chicken product that smells <i>awesome</i> right around Mile 6.  Jerks.
Here we are, about to go through the main entrance into the Speedway.  For those who want geographic references, we're on 16th St, about to go under the track between turns 1 and 2.
This is the steepest downhill of the entire race.  Lots of people cheer in the tunnel under the track.  Those cheering people all get winded as they go back <i>up</i> the hill after the tunnel
Here we are, about to hit the 10K (6.2 mile) marker on the straightaway between turns 2 and 3 (on the east side of the track)
I was feeling a little tired and sweaty... until I saw these dedicated public servants.  Wow, those guys are awesome
Happy to say, Donald Trump will <i>not</i> be driving the pace car this year, thanks to us (and 11,000 other Facebook fans of the "Dump Trump" page)
Aaaaand there's the Chevy Volt.  if the Camaro was meant to inspire people to go faster, the Volt is there to remind all of us slow people to conserve our energy and not push ourselves too hard
It's just so cool to see all these people on this track, knowing that the cars drive almost 55 times faster than I was walking
You'll notice that the street looks wet here.  That's because it had been raining for the past <i>six miles</i>.  We've just turned onto White River Parkway and are coming up on Mile 12... almost there!
This was the last shot I got before pcking up the pace and running the last half mile... mostly because I <i>could</i> run.  Chris had been hanging out for about an hour and a half by this point, but here's another Mini Marathon just about done!
Check out the healthy girl sprinting to the finish line!  Mini #5, (#6 for Chris), check!
The back side of the finish line, after I could stop and take another picture.  You can't see it that well, but there are a lot of smiling people in this chute!