I sit here at the desk on Tuesday morning and just shake my head at the weekend I have had. My weekend really started on Thursday morning when my race weekend began. Then on Friday, after my race, I watched the Miller Lite Carb Day concert at the Speedway. It was 3 Doors Down and I like a lot of their music. I had to watch from afar as the crowd was enormous! I was too tired to fight my way to the front of the group and so I watched the concert and the entertaining crowd at the same time. Then I headed to downtown Indianapolis for dinner (Weber Restaurant) with my parents. I was very frustrated with the race result, but after talking through everything with them and listening to their perspectives, I was feeling a lot better about everything.
Saturday, I had lunch with my parents at Panera Bread. It was my first time eating there and I loved it. The only other experience I had with a Panera was through a fantastic diabetes blogger, Kerri Sparling. Her post Employee of the Month was a great story and a good introduction to a very tasty lunch place! We had about an hour to kill before they had to get to the airport for their flight back to CA. My mom wandered into Bath and Body Works while my dad and I soaked up the sun on a bench outside. We commented on the parking meters in the mall (Seriously? Pay for parking to buy things at the shops?) the growing humidity with the heat, the building thunderheads and the possibility of rain during the 500 on Sunday. My dad was happy to let me go to the race while he could watch it from the comfort of the couch from home (and fast forward through all the commercials). My mom came out after finding an appropriate thank you present for the wife of my tire guy (and yes 'tire guy' is an official technical team designation......sorta) who has been putting me up while I am staying here in Indy. We walked into Barnes and Noble as I was completely out of reading material and I found three books I hadn't read on the bargain priced aisle. Score! I tend to go through books like they are newspapers and while some people have pointed out that libraries do exist, my travel schedule makes that more complex. I packed my parents off to the airport and came 'home' and took a nap! I love days off when I don't feel guilty about taking a nap or just lounging around. I went out to dinner with the team principal and then headed in to Broad Ripple to see what the nightlife would be like on the 500 weekend. Also, I was planning on meeting up with some friends I went to High School with who had just graduated from Purdue. They came to see me race and were staying the weekend to experience the 500 up close. As they had been to school here for 4 years and had never gotten to Indy for the race, they figured they should in their last year. I called it a reasonably early night and headed home.
My alarm on Sunday went off early enough for me to watch the Monaco Grand Prix live. I have seen either the 500 or the Monaco GP the last few years, but never both on the same day (because of time differences or TV availability). This year I was determined to watch every lap of both. After the race, I grabbed my stuff and headed out to the Speedway. There was already traffic at 10AM- 3 hours before the race started and parking within 5 blocks of the racetrack was full! Walking through the city of Speedway towards the Speedway I was overwhelmed by the sheer size of the event. There were people everywhere! The 5 lane street leading into the track (16th Street) was a sea of people. It was unbelievably cool. I knew the size of the grandstands and knew that they were usually full, but wow! I walked into the garage area and walked around on pit lane. The atmosphere was already electric and it was still 2 hours before the green flag. My team had arranged for some of its guests to be in a suite in Turn 2, right at the track side level. I walked out there and got ready for the start. Then I realized that Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts Quarterback and Super Bowl MVP) was in the suite next to us with a group of players and their wives. Very cool!
The race was good and the crowd was amazing. In the last 5 laps, you could see the whole grandstand moving as people stood up for the run to the finish. It was like an ocean moving in all these different colors. I have been to great races and neat events, but I have never experienced anything as big as that. The sheer size of everything made the biggest impact on me.
Then I came home, went to bed early and slept over 12 hours! :)
Here's a photo from the suite balcony (and I think the big guy in the black in the foreground plays for the Colts...and if he doesn't he should!). Check out the full Turn 2 grandstand in the background: